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The Stages of Change: How Patience Builds Lasting Recovery

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“Patience is a virtue” this saying may come off as a cliché, but having patience delivers great rewards when utilized mindfully through the stages of change. Recovery is a marathon, not a sprint; throughout the process of overcoming drug addiction, one will be faced with many opportunities to change. Patience helps you get through a lot of challenging phases in life and allows you to better appreciate the outcome of those phases.

We tend to want to speed up life and skip to the endings. That is also not completely our fault either; we live in such a fast-paced society that we have yet to be desensitized to the idea of placing value in the process. Technology has made everybody in today’s society accustomed to instant gratification. Likes on social media, mobile ordering, prime delivery… The world is so convenient now, but there are some aspects (like addiction recovery) that instant gratification just does not carry over.

 

Getting Over Addiction with the Stages of Change

Sometimes good things take their sweet time. Gaining enough experience to land a great job, losing weight, completing an education; there may be apps or technology that will make these processes easier, but none that make them faster. The same goes with being patient towards your addiction recovery.

Instilling patience in our lives, especially for addiction recovery, allows you to appreciate the journey you had to go on to achieve sobriety. When you have a greater appreciation for the journey, the destination will be of much more value to you. If the journey was fast and easy, you wouldn’t have much appreciation for what you’ve become (this would make relapse much more likely.)

Letting yourself unwind in this face-paced world, and just giving our mind and body the time to heal makes for the best success stories. You will lead a long healthy life, and we will be content and happy with your choices as well.

 

Stages of Change

The Transtheoretical Model, or more commonly known as the stages of change model, suggests that people pass through six phases of change before being ready to make difficult alterations in their life. For each stage of change, different intervention techniques are most successful in bringing the person to the next stage of change and, subsequently, the ideal stage of action through the model of maintenance.

 

Precontemplation Stage

People do not plan to take action at this point; they may only be beginning to be aware that their acts are problematic. People sometimes underestimate the benefits of behavior change at this point and put too much focus on the obstacles they face. The idea of change is just a thought at this stage.

 

Contemplation Stage

Individuals plan to begin healthy conduct in the near future at this point. People understand that their addictive behaviors can be troublesome. A more careful and realistic analysis of the pros and cons of altering behavior occurs takes place. Even at this stage, individuals can still feel ambivalence about altering their behavior.

 

Preparation (Determination) Stage

In this stage, individuals are prepared to take action over the next 30 days. People are starting to take small steps towards improving their behavior, and they think that changing their behavior will lead to a healthier life. They may research treatment facilities, mental health problems, anxiety disorders, etc.

 

Action Stage

People have recently changed their behavior and plan to keep going forward with that behavior change. By changing their problem behavior or learning new positive mental health behaviors.

 

Maintenance Stage

Individuals overcoming addiction have sustained their behavior change for a while and plan to keep the behavior change moving forward. People are working to prevent relapse to earlier phases in this stage. This is a good point for support groups, giving back to the community, sponsorship, and other aftercare treatment programs.

 

Termination Stage

People have little inclination to return to their dysfunctional habits at this point and are confident that they will not relapse. Since this is seldom done and people prefer to remain in the maintenance process, this phase is also not considered in health promotion initiatives. Many people in recovery never reach this stage, and instead subscribe to the belief that they will always be in recovery, or even that relapse is a stage to expect. 

 

Getting Over Addiction

When you aren’t getting that instant gratification you’re used to, it can feel impossible to get over your addiction, and you may just give up and quit trying. The good news is that you can still beat your addiction and live a life of sobriety, it is easier when you understand that it’s a complicated process that requires a lot of patience and time. 

Many factors, such as physical, mental, emotional, and even biological factors, can make quitting a pretty tricky process. 

 

Mental Health and Co-occurring Conditions

It is considered a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis when you have both a drug abuse issue and a mental health condition such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety. It is not a piece of cake to deal with substance abuse, alcoholism, or opioid addiction, and it is much more complicated when you are also dealing with mental health issues. 

stages of change

An integrated approach is an ideal treatment for co-occurring conditions, where both the drug addiction and the psychiatric illness are handled together. Long-term recovery relies on the same care provider or team getting treatment for both disorders. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, no matter what part of the stages of change you’re in, contact us at Pacific Sands Recovery Center. We offer services that range from detox to aftercare and would be happy to guide you to the next stage of change.  

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