When you attempt to change a self-destructive behavior pattern — such as heavy alcohol or drug use, cigarette smoking or binge eating — research has shown that you will go through quite predictable stages of change on your journey to recovery.
These stages of change were first identified by Prochaska and DiClemente in 1982 and since then hundreds of studies have validated their original findings.
The stages of change are: precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance and termination.
It is useful to know which stage of change you are currently experiencing because then you can use specific, targeted strategies that will be effective in taking you to the next level in your recovery.
If you don’t use the right strategy for your particular stage of change, then your attempt at recovery can stall. This also helps to explain why rehabilitation sometimes fails.