The Six Stage Model of Change introduced by Carlo C. DiClemente and J. O. Prochaska about 20 years turned out to be the breakthrough process for helping those with addiction.
The six stages of the model are:
All of these stages are critical to getting someone to change. But the trickiest one to master is the Maintenance stage or the Relapse.
No matter how much you try to change, there will be something that’s always trying to get you back. Whether this is environmental or internal, I feel that this is the one stage you have to figure out the most.
Unfortunately, this post comes out during the untimely death of Philip Seymour Hoffman. A brilliant actor that didn’t get as much fanfare as he deserved.
I won’t dwell on the tragedy of his substance abuse here but there was a relapse. A place that he went at the least for comfort. There is no way to speculate the exact reason.
But in most cases, it’s a path to move away from something you don’t want to deal with. But it’s also a comfortable place where there is pleasure involved.
Going back to that place that most call a relapse is really a place of satisfaction. It’s something you associate with pain till much later.
And while you see this more prominent addictions, there are other addictions that people live on a daily basis.
I’m no longer in denial about my TV watching. Some don’t see this as an addiction. But ask me if I’ve ever gone a week without television in my entire life.
I think only when I went to Camp Ganderbrook as a child for about two weeks.
Now I’m so conditioned, I don’t know what I’d do without a week of television.
How about a week without the internet?
Or how about a week without eating bread?
A week without your smartphone or tablet?
Now these may not be life changing examples so let’s take it deeper.
How about when you’re going on a good run of losing weight and you drive a Burger King or KFC…whatever your fast food pleasure is…
It’s a pleasure that’s bad for you.
You and I know what the deal is but it’s a relapse…we don’t associate pain to that food. It’s always good till much later….
So this is why you should focus on this stage so much more. What do you do when you’re faced with this challenge?
Are you ready for it when it comes at you?
Because it will come at you fast.
Everybody has a place they go back to where they feel is a comfort.
Mine is TV.
Yours might be Ice Cream…
Or Social sites like FaceBook…
Or Just plopping on the couch…
Or back to the job you hate…
Or back to bad relationships
Or back to taking shortcuts
Or back to lack of passion
Or back to no motivation
What do you do when you’re faced with this tap on your shoulder that says to come back?
You should have a plan. An escape plan if you would, to get out of it. Otherwise, you’ll get so immersed into that lifestyle that it’ll take longer than you think to get out.
So you need to focus on this stage more than any other. You need to figure out your exit strategy when your relapse comes knocking.
Because it will knock again and again.
Have a plan to knock back. It’ll getcha for ahwile. It may even knock you down…just make sure you know how to get up. And get up fast!
That’s the key. Otherwise you risk never getting back up to the person you’ve become.
Expect a relapse to come in your life. It’s something you can’t avoid. But also have a plan to prevent it from bring you all the way back to who you were in the past.
You’re a changed person now. There was pleasure in your past actions but nothing long lasting. Protect the person you are now or striving to become.
Fight for the brilliant and exceptional person you are. And kick that relapse stage on it’s butt! Cool? I’m out.