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Stages of Change and Living a Better Life

Stages of Change…

Smart Recovery teaches the five stages of change people in recovery might experience.  The first stage an addict might experience is the pre-contemplation.  Then he or she might enter the second stage which is called contemplation.  Next, a person could realize the third stage of change which is preparation.  The fourth stage is called the action stage.  Finally, the last stage of change is called the maintenance stage.

So let’s discuss what a person would experience in the first stage of change which is pre-contemplation.  During this time a person might say things like, “I am not as bad as everyone says I am” or “I can stop gambling whenever I want to!”  One former patient discussed how he had stopped gambling for twelve days.  He truly believed that he had the ability to control his gambling because of this experience.  This stage can be very frustrating for family and friends as they see their loved one destroying themselves with an addiction.  Inevitably the addict will continue to gamble while in this stage.

Next, a person might experience the contemplation stage of change. In this stage the person starts to notice that some of the things people are saying about his or her gambling might be right.  The addict might have the thought that maybe I do have a problem but I don’t want to think about it.  He or she just can’t imagine living life without gambling so they often continue to gamble.
The third stage, which is the preparation stage, is when a person starts to become curious about how they can get help for their gambling.  So, an individual might start getting online and reading about treatment centers or other ways to get help.  They could also begin to look where there might be some twelve step meetings in the area that they live.  A recent article discusses one man’s gambling experience and how he stopped.

Stages of Change , smart

Stages of Change. If this man can change…

A person during the fourth stage or the action stage actually seeks out help.  They either enter treatment for their gambling or they begin to attend twelve step recovery meetings.  They are taking the steps to not gamble. This action can be a relief to family and friends. They finally see their loved one getting the help they had hoped for.

Change is not Always Easy! Take Action and Experience the Benefits…

Lastly, the addict goes into the maintenance stage of change.   At this point in time the person attends twelve step meetings on a regular basis.  He or she spends time with others who are in recovery and help others who are new to recovery.  In other words they stay connected to recovery, healthy people and family.  Their loved ones now see a change for the better and start to enjoy their time with someone whom they had worried about for so long.  This stage is rewarding for the individual and their family and friends!  This is all because the active addict no longer gambles!

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