5 Stages of Change in Addiction—How to Recognize and Address Them

Last Updated on November 29, 2022

5 Stages of Change in Addiction—How to Recognize and Address Them

Stages of Change is a commonly-used framework that helps people understand the different factors that can influence someone to change their behavior. It consists of five stages, each of which offers a specific opportunity to help someone grow and make positive lifestyle changes. The Stages of Change model was originally developed by Dr. Arnold Relph, an American psychiatrist and now it’s often used in addiction treatment programs around the world. If you’re ready to take action and get help for your substance use, then read on! This article will help you gain a better understanding of the stages of change in addictions, tips for getting started, and what to expect if you choose to make a change for the better.

What Drives People to Change?

People make changes for a variety of reasons. If a person isn’t ready to change, it’s not the right time for them. Other people may be ready for a change in the way they live but are held back by the challenges of addiction and other factors. Therefore, it’s important to ask why someone wants to change and what they might need to support this change. An important thing to remember is that someone may have good reasons to change, but their reasons aren’t necessarily relevant to another person. Therefore, it’s important to have an understanding of what drives someone to change so that you know where to direct your support and attention.

How People Change in Recovery

People often focus on the initial stage of change when someone is seeking help for an addiction. This is due to the fact that it’s the most challenging for the person experiencing the changes. They are often the ones who are resisting the change the most, which can make it more challenging for the other person to support the change. However, once someone enters recovery and begins to understand the impact of their addiction on their life, they’re often more willing to change for the better. They may want to improve their health, their relationships, and/or their financial situation. During this stage, a person may struggle with urges to use, but they’re often aware of the consequences and know that continuing to use will result in negative consequences. This knowledge combined with their desire to change is enough to get someone through the early stages of recovery.

What’s the difference between change and recovery?

When most people think about changing their behavior, they imagine a dramatic, sweeping transformation of their lives. In some ways, those who find themselves struggling with addiction are at the mercy of the same process of change that is normal to anyone else. In this sense, change is a normal part of the human experience, but it doesn’t necessarily mean healing. When someone talks about recovery, they’re referring to the process of healing from addiction. The key difference between change and recovery is that change is a temporary, partial process of healing. Recovery is a complete process of transformation.

5 Stages of Change in Addiction

The five stages of change in addictions are as follows:


People who are in this stage have not yet decided to change their behavior. They’re often not even aware that they have a problem. 


People who are in this stage are aware of the problem and might even be pondering solutions. They, however, still want more information before making a commitment to change. 


People who are in this stage are actively trying to solve their addiction. They’re often just starting to look for solutions, like a 12-step or detox program. 


People who are in this stage are taking action to solve their addiction. This could mean facing the reality of your behavior, such as going to 12-step meetings, admitting that you have a problem with your friends and family, or seeking professional help. 


People who are in this stage are actively working to maintain their recovery. This includes things like continued education, maintaining abstinence, and staying sober.

Recovery With Nova

At Nova Recovery Center, Houston we provide our patients with a very comfortable detox process, where medical professionals provide monitoring and care around the clock. You will be provided with all the medications you need to combat the withdrawal symptoms. You will then be enrolled in the in-patient recovery program where you’ll learn to stay away from drugs, through counseling, group therapy, and so on.

Nova Recovery Center commits to helping you overcome your addiction so you can get back to what is most important to you. If you or someone you know are struggling with addiction, Nova Recovery Center can provide support. We have locations in Austin, Houston, and Wimberley Texas. Call today to begin your journey in recovery at (888) 428-1501.

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