Most of us go on with our destructive habits for years until something awakens us, and unfortunately it’s impossible to predict what it will take to make a individual aware of their condition. Early in my own recovery, I accompanied some AA friends who were going to tell their stories to a group of men who were confined in a minimum-security facility for alcohol-related automobile offenses in Connecticut. These inmates had repeated arrests for driving under the influence (DUI) and there were some who were there for what was then called “involuntary vehicular homicide while under the influence.”Continue reading
This post covers the last three stages in the Prochaska-DiClemente change model, the Maintenance, Relapse, and Termination phases. How these are approached depends upon the action method you choose, and whether your goal is abstinence or moderation of your addiction. As are the other stages, these are fluid, and should be looked upon as a continuum, not as though they are hard-and-fast categories.
Maintenance – learning to live
After a few months of action in your chosen method, you’re starting to feel pretty good about yourself again. “Unconditional Self-Acceptance,” which we haven’t mentioned yet, but will be in important tool in your program no matter which one you choose, will have really kicked-in, and you should be starting to do some long-term goal-setting. Your emphasis here is in truly making the new thought processes you are learning such a part of you that using just isn’t something you can conceive of doing any longer. You are becoming a different person, and life without your drug-of-choice is something you can not only conceive of, but you are actually planning it.Continue reading
This excerpt from chapter 5 of “Powerless No Longer” covers the next two stages of change, the Preparation and Action phases. Both will be discussed more fully in subsequent chapters.
Preparation – making plans to change and deciding upon the method
Entering this stage, you have done your CBA and decided that the benefits of making a change outweigh those of continuing the way you were headed. You have taken care of the “why,” and are now considering the “how.” The good news is, there are many choices available, and, if you are really convinced that you want to change, many, if not most of them will work just fine for you. The bad news is that if you are still wrestling with the decision to quit, and many still are at this stage, some of the available choices may do you more harm than good. As I mentioned earlier, these stages are not cast in concrete, and people often drift back-and-forth between them, they are only a framework we use as a starting point so we can have a discussion about a difficult and complex subject. At this point, you are experimenting with taking control of your own life, and for some of you, this is a new and frightening experience.Continue reading
The number one reason for the self-changers I referenced in the last chapter quitting or modifying their substance use was, overwhelmingly, that it was no longer “worth it.” Using was too much hassle, too much trouble, and was causing too much discomfort and pain in their lives, relative to the benefit they were receiving from the drug. As it was their number one reason, it was also their number one motivation for self-change. With motivation, almost any program will work, or, in the case of 75% of former addicts, no program at all, as long as the addict has reached the point when he or she realizes that the costs outweigh the benefits.Continue reading