Alcohol, Prescription Drug Use &
Use of Illegal Drugs Are NOT The Answer

What makes a problem a problem?  You may not even be thinking about changing your drinking or drug use. You may not see it as a problem, or you might think that others who point out the problem to you are exaggerating.  Substance use becomes a problem when you continue to use the substance in spite of negative consequences.  Only you can be the judge of whether or not this applies to you.

When substance use starts to interfere with your life, but you keep going back to it ... it might be time to make a change. But behavior change does not happen in one step. Rather, people tend to progress through different stages on their way to successful change. Also, each of us progresses through the stages at our own rate.  Each person must decide for himself or herself when a stage is completed and when it is time to move on to the next stage. Moreover, this decision must come from inside you  -- stable, long term change cannot be externally imposed. 

Understanding your readiness to change by being familiar with the six-stage model of change can help you choose treatments that are right for you. We can assist you in understanding where you are in terms of readiness to stop drinking or using other substances, and we can help you find and maintain the motivation to stop using.




My Recovery from Addiction

Stages of Change


1) PRECONTEMPLATION STAGE: In this stage, we genuinely do not see that we have a problem. Precontemplators usually come to therapy because of pressures from others … spouses, employers, parents, and courts … They tend to resist change. When their problem comes up, they change the topic of conversation. They place responsibility for their problems on factors such as genetic makeup, family, society, destiny, the police, etc. They may feel that their current situation is HOPELESS.


2) CONTEMPLATION STAGE: People reach this stage when they get tired of feeling so stuck. Contemplators acknowledge that they have a problem and begin to think about solving it. Contemplators struggle to understand their problems, to see their causes, and wonder about possible solutions. Many contemplators have indefinite plans to take action within the next few months. It is not uncommon for contemplators to tell themselves that some day they are going to change. When contemplators transition to the preparation stage of change, they begin to think more about the future than the past. The end of the contemplation stage is a time of ANTICIPATION, ACTIVITY, ANXIETY, and EXCITEMENT.


3) PREPARATION STAGE: Most people in the preparation stage are planning to take action and are making the final adjustments before they begin to change their behavior. They have not yet resolved their AMBIVALENCE and still may need a little convincing about the necessity of making a change.


4) ACTION STAGE: This is the stage where people overtly modify their behavior and their surroundings. They finally make the move for which they have been preparing! The action stage requires the greatest commitment of time and energy, and the resulting CHANGE IS VISIBLE TO OTHERS.


5) MAINTENANCE STAGE: Change never ends with action. Without a strong commitment to maintenance, there will surely be a relapse, usually to precontemplation or contemplation stage.​


6) RELAPSE: This stage is not inevitable, but it IS common.  The most important thing to do if you relapse is to return to the ACTION STAGE as soon as possible ... all too often, people feel so ashamed and dejected after a relapse that they again become stuck in the precontemplation stage, causing more damage to themselves and the people who love them.

Ready for the Action Stage? 

We can provide expert advice on Achieving and Maintaining your Recovery

As a therapist treating addiction, I call upon my personal experience in addition to professional expertise.  I have been in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction since March of 2008.  


I know how hard this road is.  I know how scared and hopeless you may be feeling, and I know the shame you experience each time you realize you have made another unhealthy decision. Because I have walked this path before you, I am in a unique position to guide you past the many pitfalls that so often keep people trapped in their addiction.  


Give yourself the chance to change ... It is worth it!

Sara Black LPC-S, LCDC, CCTP