Six Stages of Working Through an Addiction
Susan McQuillan, M.S., RDN wrote an article for Psychology Today where she mentions some excellent work done by Dr. James Prochaska, professor of Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Rhode Island, where he cites six stages of change we go through while trying to work through an addiction.1
1. Pre-contemplation: You recognize the addiction but not actively working on fixing it. Perhaps it will go away on its own.
2. Contemplation: You’re really starting to think about your addiction and whether or not it is worth going through the effort to change.
3. Preparation: You begin to research what you can do about your addiction. You’re convinced that you can give it a good shot but are looking for the best way on how to do it to be successful.
4. Action: You are now doing something about your addiction. In the case of a sodaholic, that may be stopping cold turkey, substituting another drink to take the place of soda, or perhaps picking up a daily exercise routine in an effort to stave cravings.
5. Maintenance: You’ve conquered your addiction and are actively working on sticking with it.
6. Relapse: Some are not as successful as others in conquering addiction. Many have to go back and make a subsequent attempt.
Dr. Prochaska states that many will linger in the “Contemplation” stage for some time, even years. That may work for some, but for others already suffering from Type II Diabetes for instance, time is of the essence. 2