Behavioral change is possible. There are five stages of change, much like there are five stages of grief. Changing unhealthy behaviors help people lead healthier lives, and therefore live longer. 


The Five Stages of Change

The stages of change include:

  • Precontemplation stage, in which the individual is in denial, and refusing to acknowledge the problem with their behavior. This stage may involve no interest or disbelief that one is capable of changing behavior. People in this stage may have tried and failed at changing their behaviors resulting in a loss of motivation. There is a marked belief that the action or habit is not negative at all, and therefore doesn’t need changing. An ignition for change, such as an emotional trigger, may be necessary to motivate one to change in this stage.
  • The contemplation stage is when the individual is weighing the pros and cons of making a significant change in their life and their behaviors. They consider the costs of changing their behavior, through time, money, or effort, which may result from changing their behavior and how that compares to continuing the action. This stage may take months up to years without moving to the next step, in which a person knows they should change, but cannot bring themselves to do so. 
  • The preparation stage involves an individual who is ready to take action to change their behaviors and therefore plans to do so shortly. They seek an action plan and actively reach out to counselors, doctors, or life coaches, dependent upon the behavior they wish to change. 
  • The action stage includes individuals who make noticeable lifestyle changes, which are observable by others. Giving up a substance would be an example of this stage. Unfortunately, this is when one is at most risk of relapsing and reverting to previous stages.
  • The maintenance stage is when someone’s changed behaviors become positive habits that are part of everyday life. This stage involves less temptation to relapse into previous unhealthy behaviors, and continue developing confidence so they may sustain their positive changes. The longer someone spends in this stage, the lower their chance of reverting or relapsing to previous unhealthy behaviors such as substance use. 


Are You Looking for Change?

Unfortunately, reaching stage five of change, the maintenance stage does not guarantee an individual will be immune to relapsing. Even maintaining years of this stage does not mean that someone will not relapse or revert to previous stages of change. This behavioral model helps the development of interventions that encourage individuals to change negative and unhealthy behaviors positively. 


At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.