Whether someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, their thoughts and behaviour are likely to go through a particular process. Known as the Cycle of Change, it is highlighted by the addiction relief charity Adfam, which also notes how an addict might begin on the road to recovery.
The cycle has six stages – at each of which, you can help relieve issues. Those stages are…
This is where the substance user does not even want to change, as they do not discern a problem with their usage – even if other people do.
If you notice someone in the pre-contemplation stage, you can still help by limiting harm which the substance poses to the user and other people. You can also encourage the user to transition to…
Through cautioning the user about their behaviour and potential consequences of such, you could lead them to both consider their situation and assess whether they wish to change it.
At this stage, they may decide that they indeed want to change, but be yet to make that change. With that user, you can explore the treatment options available to them.
Here, the user not only decides to change their behaviour of substance use but also begins preparing to relinquish the habit. However, they may still be anxious about changing.
If you are the substance user in this situation, rest assured that we acknowledge this anxiety. However, you can still benefit from help and encouragement in making the changes …