Addiction was once believed to be a moral failing, then it was thought to be a physical disease, now we know the reality is much more complicated. The mind and body are connected in surprising ways. Treating addiction effectively means addressing the problem on all three levels – mind, body and spirit.
To make these changes we need to
be ready for change. Change can be
hard no matter what you are addicted to, and
so making a lasting change in behaviour is
rarely a simple process and usually involves
a substantial commitment of time, effort,
To make these changes we need to be ready for change. Change can be hard no matter what you are addicted to, and so making a lasting change in behaviour is rarely a simple process and usually involves a substantial commitment of time, effort, and emotion.
Below is a brief explanation of The Stages of Change Model which was introduced in the late 1970s by researchers James Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente who were studying ways to help people quit smoking. I use this model to help with techniques that I use in counselling.
Stages of Behavioural
Stages of Behavioural Changes
Pre-contemplation Stage: In this stage the substance user has no desire to change. They do not see their using as problematic, even if others do.
Contemplation Stage: The substance user is still using at this stage, but they are starting to consider whether they want to change.
Preparation Stage: The substance user makes a decision to change and starts to prepare themselves.
Action Stage: The substance user takes practical steps to bring about a change, such as using less or deciding to give up completely.
Maintenance Stage: When someone reaches maintenance, they have achieved a change in their substance using behaviour. A substance user may have either stopped using drugs or alcohol, or moved to a more controlled, less harmful way of using and is maintaining that change. As we all know, sticking to the changes we make in our behaviour can be the hardest part of the process.
Revert to old habits: A lapse is when the user briefly returns to their old substance using behaviour. It is possible for them to go from lapse back to any stage of the cycle. However, a relapse when the user fully returns to their old substance using behaviour and then needs to go all the way through the Cycle of Change again.