Addicts Cycle of Change
“Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission” ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine)
The cycle of change is a model that was invented by “Prochascka and DiClementi” who were two psychologists looking to invent a road-map for people to help them overcome changing habits and addiction. It was originally invented to help those who wanted to give up smoking, but since its invention it has become a very useful tool in helping people in all addictions known as the Addicts Cycle of Change.
Addicts Cycle of Change
The Addicts cycle of change is based on the idea that changing the behavior of people in active addiction does not happen with one step only. It has been shown that people go through a process which involves different stages. The different stages are:
Pre-contemplation or Step O
People in the pre-contemplation stage aren’t yet thinking about addicts cycle of change. They are perhaps already seeing negative consequences of their using however are still in denial and feel that their addiction is not a big enough problem to initiate change. People at this stage tend to be defensive when challenged about their problem.
When people reach the contemplation stage, they are at the point where they can see the negative consequences of their addictive behavior and are thinking about change, however tend to be ambivalent about it. People in this stage are more open to suggestions and advice from others and may go back and forth weighing up the pros against the cons. This stage can last for a long time as they are not quite at the action stage yet. Sadly people can waste many years in active addiction by becoming stuck at this level.
The preparation stage begins with a decision to change and steps taken to make this happen. For our clients this is the stage in which they contact Hope and make plans to come and get help, away from the stresses of everyday life in a safe environment.
Triggers are constant reminders of addiction or addictive behavior which result in large cravings and make it difficult to fight going back. It is much harder to overcome these alone without the support of professionals and peers which is a big reason many choose to come to Hope.
This is the stage when action happens! For our clients, this is the time when they arrive at Hope and start the program. The early days of action are so important as although this can be a new and unfamiliar time, it is also a very exciting period in one’s recovery. The program we offer our clients is designed to help them through the action stage and set them up with a solid recovery for when they leave treatment and go back to their homes.
The maintenance stage helps people continue with the progress made already. It involves staying abstinent from drugs and alcohol and following the tools learnt while in treatment. Part of what we offer here at Hope is a chance to start working a 12 Step program. Our clients attend three AA/NA (Alcoholics Anonymous/ Narcotics Anonymous) meetings each week and by continuing this as well as the CBT work once leaving treatment brings an opportunity for a full and happy life in recovery. We also offer our clients the opportunity to go and spend some time in a nearby Sober House to help with the transition from primary treatment.
The tools that we provide our clients with at Hope means that there is a good chance of the addict leaving treatment and having a free, happy and healthy life in recovery. The alternative to this in the cycle of change is relapse, in turn starting the cycle again.
Addicts Cycle of Change By Simon Mott