According to the Transtheoretical Model of Change, there are steps that an addict will go through when attempting to achieve and maintain sobriety. The speed in which an individual move throughout these phases is extremely individualized. Research has concocted a general rule for those going through these stages: 40% in pre-contemplation, 40% in contemplation, and 20% in preparation. The order of these stages is not the same for each person. Most of the time, the movement between stages is rounded or spiral versus linear.

Often, there is stagnation within the earlier stages. Change can be scary. For those who have been masking their emotions and thoughts with opiates, alcohol, cannabis, or other illicit substances, it is difficult to face depression, guilt, fear, and even happiness. Most addicts do not want to face how their behaviors during active addiction have affected their loved ones. It seems easier to mask them.

Breaking Down These Stages

Stage one is pre-contemplation. During this phase, individuals are not yet thinking about making a change anytime in the future. They may not even be fully cognizant that they have a problem. Not-so-positive consequences or crises may not have happened yet for these people. Therefore, they may not believe that they truly have a problem regarding their substance use. Help may be needed to aid this individual in becoming aware of their current situation. Their unwillingness to change may also be due to being discouraged.

Contemplation is next in line. Once awareness of the individual’s substance use being a problem comes to light, it is easier to think of the reasons one should make an alteration. There is still some uncertainty to whether the individual truly wants to change. During this stage, substances are still being utilized, and information to aid in decision-making skills, as well as support to aid in quitting drugs and alcohol, may be needed.

Preparation happens when a person becomes aware that change would be a positive thing and that any detriments are outweighed by the benefits. Commitment becomes strengthened as self-efficacy is investigated. This individual has begun to search for the best ways to maintain sobriety.

The Six Stages of Change in Addiction

Hard work to preserve advances is seen in the maintenance stage. Sobriety has been reached and the individual is doing everything in their power to avoid relapsing. During this stage, evaluating triggers as well as learning coping skills and boundary setting is important. Changes to one’s behaviors are essential.

Even with hard work and abstinence, some individuals may fall into the relapse phase. This is also known as the recurrence stage. Triggers are difficult to fully avoid and sometimes coping skills fall to the wayside. Often times, individuals may reach this stage multiple times before finding a fruitful recovery.

Where to Start Your Journey of Change

Whether you are searching for sobriety for the first time or after a relapse, it is important to remember that relapse does not always need to occur. Let the Discovery Place of Burns, Tennessee help you along your journey. We have trained professionals who can assist you 24/7. Call us today at 1-800-725-0922. We offer partial scholarships and information to aid in paying for our alternative treatment center, and offer a multitude of programs including, continuing care for recovery.


  • Discovery Place was the answer for my son. He did the 90 day and then the step down program and sober living. We give this organization 10 stars. They met my son where he was …emotionally, mentally, physically. They helped him put his life back on track. Discovery Place employees care about their guests. If your son, brother, nephew, grandson or husband needs excellent supportive care THIS is indeed the facility.

    Kim Morton
    Alumni Parent
  • I have remained sober and it is because of DP. DP is the best place there is, hands down. I keep everyone there in my prayers, and I encourage everyone there to take what they are practicing and do it in their lives, after.

    Roy Mantelli
  • Over the past year, I’ve been putting into actin what Discovery Place taught me, and I have experienced a complete perspective change of the world, and the people in it. I get to be a man of service and love today, and for that I am grateful to Discovery Place.

    Matt Kassay
  • Discovery Place means the world to me. They showed me the tools that I’ve tried to use everyday in my life to think less often of myself, and more frequently of others. I am learning to lend a hand when I am able and to have a honest and humble relationship with God and the people around me. Not only am I clean and sober, but also I am happy and fulfilled.

    Tommy Parker
  • Discovery Place and the men who work there made recovery attractive, and more importantly, fun. There is strength in the struggle. I am forever grateful for my time at Discovery Place.

    Creed McClellan
  • When I got to Discovery Place my whole life was in shambles, but I didn’t know it. I spent 6 months in their programs, participating in all three phases, and was met with kindness and love all along the way. It is unbelievable to me, where I am now relative to where I was when I arrived at DP.

    Lance Duke
  • I can never say enough good things about Discovery Place and the people who work there. Before checking in to DP, I was out of options and out of answers. Fortunately, Discovery Place has a solution. Taking suggestions from the staff at DP saved my life, and as a result, I’m now more content and hopeful about life. I’m grateful for Discovery Place showing me how to live a healthy life so that I can become a better man and help the next guy.”

    Tyler Buckingham

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