Navigating the Stages of Change and Taking Achievable Steps Towards Success

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It is easy to feel overwhelmed by the plethora of changes throughout your recovery journey. Tackling all facets of addiction and recovery at once can be intimidating. Doing so can lead to stress and may even cause feelings of resistance and self-doubt to become prevalent. 

Breaking down your journey into clearly defined steps can help you manage this stress while setting reasonable expectations for yourself throughout your journey. Putting one foot in front of the next is a testament to dedication and perseverance. Understanding the stages of change that will occur throughout your recovery can help motivate you to continue working on the next step in your sober goals with a healthy mindset of success. 

Stage One: Stabilization and Control

The first stage of recovery is finding a way to build a foundation. Entering a recovery program can be intimidating. Bouts with urges and cravings throughout addiction, coupled with feelings of anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders can all converge to create a complicated starting point. However, before concerning yourself with establishing reintroduction strategies and developing a new worldview, it is important to first situate yourself in the present with a sense of agency and control. 

This is often one of the most difficult stages of recovery, as finding a way to physically, mentally, and emotionally ground yourself can be a difficult task. Mental health concerns can alter the way that you perceive environments and relationships. Coupled with symptoms of withdrawal; present urges and cravings can induce physical symptoms that may override one’s higher thinking and decision-making skills. Finding an air of stability is crucial for navigating further healing.

Creating a shared sense of reality is of the utmost importance to practice during these first stages of change. Begin with breathing techniques, mindfulness practices, visualization techniques, and grounding strategies. These are essential tools in creating a stable sense of control over one’s immediate impulses. 

Stage Two: Replace Desperation with Non-Traumatic Experiences

This stage of recovery is intended to directly introduce the idea of fundamental change in your perception. Even after you have begun to ground yourself in their recovery space, persistent feelings of anxiety, depression, panic, anger, and more can still dictate your routine. 

This is especially true if you are constantly being stressed over urges, cravings, or impulses to re-engage with self-destructive behavior. Replacing these expressions of desperation as you grapple with a transforming reality is crucial for creating a new outlook on your life. 

Engaging in individual and group therapy, practicing mindfulness walks, equine therapy, yoga, hiking, or aquatic therapies are all ways you can safely begin to experiment with new aspects of change. All these can be done while benefiting from the supportive backdrop of a curated recovery environment. 

Stage Three: Finding Everyday Happiness

Setting daily goals that you can accomplish and treasuring the changes made in your life is crucial to find happiness. Recovery from addiction or mental health disorders can recontextualize many parts of your life. Finding hidden silver linings can reinforce your motivation in recovery. Continuing to practice communication, tend to responsibilities, expressing gratitude, and engaging in acts of service are all important during this stage. 

Techniques like journaling and visualizing can also reinforce these changes. Your goals in recovery may seem grandiose at first. However, this stage of change is about recognizing and cherishing all of the little details of your life that are affected by recovery. It is important to take pride in your skills, identity, relationships, and progress that may have otherwise been overlooked.

Stage Four: Resolve Incompleteness and Embrace Joy

Addiction and mental health disorders can create a pessimistic worldview where even the idea of joy can feel enigmatic. This final stage of recovery addresses any loose ends that may hamper your ability to experience serenity. 

For some, making amends in relationships can be a final expression of change. Others may see this stage as the ability to embrace positive elements of their lives while understanding how addiction has affected those around them. 

It is also possible that you may not believe you are deserving of happiness as a repercussion of your past behaviors. However, this stage of change aids in embracing joy and happiness in the changes made. This helps to create a complete sense of identity by recognizing all of the obstacles overcome on your journey. Doing so allows you to reconcile the past with directed therapies and use your wealth of experience to create a new lifestyle for the future. 

Building your recovery plan in manageable, digestible steps can help each individual maintain a consistent and steady progression, even throughout the ebb and flow of recovery. At Avalon Malibu, we understand the need to set effective and structured goals and are ready to help you embrace these stages of change at your own pace to create a positive, motivated, and sustained recovery plan. Your time with us can be personalized at each stage of your recovery, with art and writing therapies, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness practices, all backed with individual and group therapy approaches. Neurofeedback, nutritional aid, and relapse presentation can also be incorporated at any stage in recovery – from the early stages of detox to residential living, partial hospitalization programs, and intensive outpatient programs in order to address your unique needs. For more information on how we can help you, call to speak to a caring staff member today at (844) 857-5992.

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