The Stages of Change Model in Relation to Overcoming Addiction

The Stages of Change Model in Relation to Overcoming Addiction

When people undertake change (especially in relation to addiction) it is known that there are five main stages. Pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.

Behaviour change is a slow process and it is complex.

To undertake behaviour change a person needs to disrupt their current habits and adopt a new set of actions which are often unfamiliar and possibly uncomfortable. Studies have shown that making what might seem a simple change like drinking an extra cup of water per day, can take up to two months to become habit. One of the keys to successful change is how a person manages setbacks or relapses.

How many of you have tried to undertake a set of New Year’s goals or changes and not stuck with it? Then you find yourself becoming critical of your ability and feeling like you have no willpower. Or you might look at someone else who is trying to make some changes and when they have a setback, you think they are lazy or stubborn or unwilling.

Learning how to manage these setbacks is a huge part of our teachings as inevitably, setbacks happen but that doesn’t mean you turn around and head home. We will help you look at why the setback happened, what your triggers are and how, how to get back into the stages of change wheel and move forwards and how to self soothe in a positive and healthy way.

Here are the main stages of change below.

PRE-CONTEMPLATIVE/UNAWARE – (the ‘Nah not me’ stage)

Not aware your life could be better

Resistant, unmotivated, in denial

“There’s nothing wrong with my behaviour”

“I can stop any time”

“I don’t need to change”

CONTEMPLATION (the ‘well maybe I might have a problem’ stage)

“Maybe, things could be better…”

Trigger event

Seeking information

Opening up to options

Starting to think about levels of use

PREPARATION (the ‘ ok so what do I do now’ stage)

Realise situation is “serious” and needs attention

Change is about to happen

Made decision to change

Commitment to change

ACTION/TRYING (the ‘yes I’m going to do this’ stage)

Making real changes

Modifying lifestyle

Living a “new” lifestyle

“Willpower” stage

Analysing behaviour changes to build confidence – open to help and support

MAINTENANCE (the ‘ I can keep this up’ stage)

Consolidate changes in behaviour – habitual

Maintain new status quo

New strategies are working

Former behaviour is no longer desirable

If you, or someone you love is thinking about making a positive change and getting help with addiction, then get in touch and find out more about our programs.


The Whitehaven Clinic

Phone : 1300 766 925
Email : info@whitehavenclinic.com.au
Location : Burswood