The 5 Stages of Addiction Recovery: A Guide for Addicts and Their Families

Addiction is a complex issue that affects people in different ways. To help those struggling with addiction, James Prochaska and Carlo Di Clemente developed the Stages of Change model, which evaluates a person's readiness to enter recovery and provides strategies or processes of change that guide them to take action. This model is useful for treatment professionals and family members to better understand an addict's motivation to recover. The five stages of addiction recovery are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenance.

Each stage requires different strategies to effectively treat each individual, and understanding these stages can be helpful for people who are addicted and their families. The pre-contemplative stage is when people are not considering the need for change and are not interested in seeking help. At this stage, the addicted person is likely to become defensive and rationalize drug and alcohol use. The treatment team will use motivational interviewing techniques to help the client consider the possibility of a change.

In the preparation phase, people have committed to making a change. The treatment team will support the client in inadequate preparation to take action by helping them gather information about potential change options and seek recovery supports that meet their personal interests. At the action stage, people believe they have the capacity to change and are actively involved in taking measures for recovery. The client is immersed in tasks, personal inventories, and relapse prevention work to ensure a successful transition from treatment to recovery.

The maintenance stage is when people have achieved their goals and are working on sustaining their recovery. This is an ongoing process that requires continued effort from both the client and their support system. By understanding the five stages of addiction recovery, addicts and their families can better understand how even casual use can transform into behavior that cannot be easily controlled. With the right support system in place, addicts can successfully transition through each stage of recovery.