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The Five Stages of Addiction Recovery

Alcoholism and drug addiction can cause a whole host of problems. Long-term substance abuse can increase one’s risk of serious health conditions such as stroke, heart, and liver disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. Addiction can affect an individual’s relationships, driving a wedge between them and their loved ones.

If you are struggling with addiction, the sooner you act the better. It is best to enter an addiction recovery program near you rather than wait till your addiction gets out of hand. Before you discuss your options with a counselor, familiarize yourself with the five stages of addiction recovery.  

The Stages of Change Model was developed by James Prochaska and Carlo Di Clemente. The model describes the process many recovering addicts go through. It dsescribes what happens to the subconscious mind of a person with substance use when it slowly stops relying on addiction as a coping mechanism.

So, what are the different stages of this model? Let’s take a look.


During this stage, the person is completely unaware of the problems related to their addiction and can’t find any compelling reasons to quit their addiction. They might think that their behavior is completely normal, and they might even rationalize their addiction. This can be frustrating for the family members of the person, but it is crucial to understand that their loved one is in denial and their addiction is affecting those around them.


In this stage, the addict realizes that their addiction is affecting them and the people in their circle of influence. They become aware of the issues resulting from alcohol or drug abuse. They may be still reluctant to explore different treatment options at this point but may feel or express remorse for their actions and choices and yearn for a drug-free lifestyle. In the contemplation stage, recovering addicts make conscious attempts to reduce their drug use, but do not make any commitment to change. Many recovering addicts stay in this stage for years.


In the preparation stage, the recovering addict shows signs of making positive changes to their lives. They take concrete steps to reduce their drug use and start thinking about treatment options.


Most people will regress to the preparation stage after entering the action stage until they’re ready to progress forward. In the action stage, the recovering addict believes they can turn over a new leaf. The addict enters an addiction recovery program and gets admitted to rehab so they can learn the skills required to resist temptations and get sober. With the right support mechanism, addicts in this stage can bring stability to their lives.


In this stage, the addict learns ways to avoid triggers and resist temptations. If you are in this stage, do not get complacent or you may slip back into old habits.

At Life-Rock, we are committed to supporting recovering addicts every step of the way. Our staff have walked through the five stages mentioned above and are living clean and sober lives today.  They share their experience, strength, and hope with others.  Our sober living homes are devoid of temptations. A stable and drug-free living environment supports recovery. To talk to a counselor or join an addiction recovery program in Santa Rosa, call (707) 575-9100 for our men’s helpline or (707) 575-9599 for our women’s helpline.