A little more on what to do during the stages of change process…
This is a good time to gather data. You can educate yourself about the identified problem It may be true that other people or circumstances are fostering the problem but it works best if you can begin to assume some ownership since you can only change what is yours.
This is the time to consider the pros and cons of continuing the behavior including making an honest review of past, present and future consequences. Listing reasons to change as well as reasons not to change may be a useful process. Consider cultivating a sense of hope as you seek out input from others that have overcome the same or similar problem.
You can begin to take small steps toward action. Seek out reliable information from a variety of sources so you can begin to understand the issues.
Maybe it feels right to let others know of your decision especially if there are those who provide encouragement in a way that works for you. Review obstacles. Find ways to go around them.
Challenge excuses such as not having time or financial resources to get the help you need by honestly reviewing what your current behavior costs you in time, money and consequences related to your health, work, relationships or well being.
Replace the old behaviors with healthier ones. Do something! Take any kind of action, even a small step in the right direction can lead to another. Make an appointment with a therapist. Do the “homework” he or she suggests. Attend meetings for support. Practice.
Once progress is made, be persistent and diligent. Now is not the time to let down your guard or reduce your efforts although that may be tempting because you can honestly see how far you’ve come. Do a reality check. Continue to do more of what works and less of what does not help.
Pay attention to relapse triggers and avoid situations that have led to a return to unhealthy behaviors in the past.
While you may be experiencing success, don’t get seduced into thinking you can skate.
Be vigilant but also allow yourself to enjoy some of the rewards from all your efforts.
Deb Owens is a Therapist & Licensed Professional Counselor in Chestnut Hill & Lower Gwynedd, PA. Deb is also a Certified Addiction Counselor at the Advanced Level. Her counseling specialties include addiction, alcohol misuse, anxiety, marriage counseling and those effected by the partner, spouse, sibling, or child’s alcohol or drug use or any type of addiction. 215-802-6521 www.debowens.com