We have been discussing the five stages of change which essentially include:
Let’s talk today about how to go from preparation to action. We find this is one of the most difficult transitions to make. During the contemplation stage a person may start to see negative effects that their substance use is having on their mind, body, or people around them yet making a change has not really crossed their mind or if it has, it may be very brief considerations. The preparation stage on the other hand, is when a person fully acknowledges to themselves that a change must occur and must occur soon. However, what is one have to do to change? There may be many circumstances that prevent such a life change or conditions that keep a person from accessing the tools they need to be successful. While, it may be an “ah ha” moment when this recognition occurs it’s not enough sometimes.
Taking action is hard work. Think about the action stage like this. What is one thing I can do today to move me forward on this path of sobriety? It’s also important to know that the action stage includes not using substances or on a very aggressive taper down. For some people, especially those who have been using alcohol or benzodiazepines, a small amount of use may be necessary to avoid deadly withdrawals. Action means that you have made the commitment to participate in a plan. This plan can be a specific treatment program but it doesn’t have to be. While professional help may be ideal it is not always an option. Have you committed? Are you substance free today? Congratulations! You are taking action!