99Relapses Podcast Episode #25 Part II- 5 Stages of Change

Hi, I’m James Egidio, your host of the 99relapses podcast. The podcast that moves you from recovery to discovery through the grace and mercy of our Lord and savior Jesus Christ. This is episode number 25 part two, titled “Five Stages for Change”.

In this episode I would like to finish up by discussing the five stages of change that I had summarized in episode number 24. But just to recap, episode number 24, I had mentioned that addicted individuals go through stages of change when trying to acquire full sobriety. And of course these changes are not an event, but a process, as I had mentioned,

And the changes. Take place in five stages. And they come from the motivation for that change. In that recovery for change comes when the pain of the addictive behavior becomes greater than the pain of giving up the behavior. In other words, it’s considered the rock bottom and I. Want to repeat that because it’s really important and that’s. The recovery comes when the pain of the addictive behavior becomes greater than the pain of giving up the behavior. And of course, again, that’s rock bottom. I also mentioned that if you survive this rock bottom that’s where grace is found. Grace is found at that point of rock bottom, where someone just says I’m so sick and tired of being sick and tired of being addicted. And then finally I mentioned the five stages for motivation to change and in this episode, I’ll explain what each one is and how they relate to relapse and recovery or sobriety in more detail. Before I explain these five stages for motivation to change. Let me emphasize that when I describe these five stages. That a lot of times they don’t take place in that exact order because people vacillate between, the first stage and the second or the third or the fourth. And they go back to the first. Through relapse, unfortunately. But there is a process and when these changes do take place, these are typically the changes that take place when people make that change and want to be motivated. As I say, motivated is the key word for change and for sobriety. Sometimes people who are experiencing out of control addictions a lot of times, try to make these changes drastically. They try to make these changes in the shortest amount of time. And a lot of times what ends up happening is they end up back to where they started. The key thing to keep in mind about successful recovery and sobriety is, and it’s in one word and that is. The word patience, and unfortunately anyone who has gone through or is even going through. secular based programs you’re required to do it on your own it’s self dependency or willpower. Or a lot times, in addition to that, you’re depending on your psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, sponser, and that becomes an addiction; when you become dependent on a human being a person and what happens is your chances of succeeding in these programs are diminished because you’re depending on self and willpower and you’re depending on another individual. And I’ve mentioned this in many podcast episodes in the past that you have to depend on God, it’s God. It’s all about God. It’s not about you. When I say that, I don’t mean that it’s not about you and your addiction is not about you. But what I try to emphasize is that. You have to take responsibility for your addiction and you have to step away and I know it’s hard to do sometimes, especially if you’re in the middle of a out of control addiction and I mentioned, of course in previous episodes about addiction being sin and depending on God and biblical principles throughout the recovery process requires applying God’s word to your recovery and sobriety and when you learn the principles, the Godly principles, biblical principles when you’re going through your addiction you’re taught the virtue of patience and that’s the key thing to keep in mind, it’s patience and you learn that. And it makes me chuckle sometimes when I see a lot of these secular programs where they use this what I call in your face approach to defeat addiction with, loud music and this self-reliance warrior approach to overcome addiction and that gets back to what I had talked about in episodes, 20 through 23, about the brain and the limbic system, that overactive limbic system, where. It’s overloaded stimuli. It’s all based on emotion and the thing to remember, is you cannot drown out your addiction with high emotions and an overactive limbic system going into recovery and. sobriety with that mindset. You can’t do it with your own strength and willpower or even just depending on One particular source, support structure. You have to make these changes by depending on the Lord, which reminds me of a Bible verse that comes from Proverbs 3:5-6, where it reads. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, do not depend on your own understanding, seek his will in all you do. And he will show you which path to take.

When you think about it getting through an addiction and depending on self is what got you into that addiction from the very beginning and you can only overcome addiction and understanding who God is in the power that he has to make you whole again. Remember, these addictions come from the brain with stored memories from past hurts, habits, hangups as I mentioned in episodes, 20-23, about the brain, in the neocortex of the brain, these memories, and then they’re acted upon by current events in the limbic system and in the following episodes I’ll discuss in great detail. Some of these triggers, for relapse through what is called the F.A.S.T.E.R. Scale and what it stands for, but for now, I just want to talk about the stages for change and what we go through when we are making these changes and we make these decisions that we make.

The thing to keep in mind though, is the key to successful recovery and sobriety is to take the calm approach by cooling off the overactive limbic system and leaning into the Bible meditating on the word by fanning in the presence of God and Jesus Christ and to what I call your sobriety space and that’s the time that you take in the morning to just read the word read some scripture meditate on the Lord realize that the only way you’re going to get through that is through Jesus Christ through the power of God and again, The key thing is to have patience.. I can’t emphasize that enough in order to get through these addictions and two Bible verses that mention patience comes from

Colossians 1:11 which says we also pray that you will be strengthened with all his glorious power. So you will have all the endurance and patience you need. May you be filled with joy, always thanking the father.

And then in Colossians 3:12 reads since God chose you to be holy people, he loves. You must clothe yourselves with tender hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

I’m going to take a short commercial break. And when I come back, I’ll finish up this podcast episode by going through the five stages of motivation for change.

Okay, welcome back to the 99 relapses podcast. Before I took the short commercial break. I spoke about having patience and going through this process of addiction and recovery. And that the important thing is to cool of the limbic system from overreacting and making drastic moves. And of course, having patience is the key thing to that. I like to finish up this last half of this podcast with the five stages of motivation for change. And they are in this order. And as I was mentioning before I took the commercial break that.

The five stages you vacillate between different stages of the. Change, but the first one is pre-contemplation and this is the stage where. I personally encounter a lot of clients who were still actively engaging in their addictions or addictive behaviors. And this is a stage where, of course there’s a lot of denial because they’re still actively involved in the middle of their addiction and it’s a stage of being stuck and not feeling the need to make a change, and a lot of times, as I said, there’s a lot of denial going on and in previous episodes on the brain. Episodes 20-23. I mentioned the limbic system of the brain and. We get into this self preservation mode of this, fight, flight or freeze response and one of the responses to pre-contemplation and not making any decisions at all, is that freeze response it. Freeze response prevents these addicted individuals from moving forward and I also mentioned in the previous episodes on the brain that the freeze response is also responsible for procrastination and not moving forward and not facing your fears. And we get our courage to face our fears through faith through our faith in God and our faith in Jesus Christ. Because you have to remember the adversary the enemy Satan instills fear, doubt and worry in us. And that’s where that comes from. As you’re going through the process of addiction and recovery and especially faith-based recovery in Jesus Christ. You’re going to be bold in your faith. You’re going to have that confidence. You’re gonna have that God confidence, the confidence that God gives you to move forward and that freeze response will diminish. The second stage of recovery or stage change is contemplation. And this is a stage of mixed feelings whereby the addicted individual contradict themselves by negotiating with their addiction. So they’ll negotiate with someone saying something like,” well I don’t drink on the weekdays”, but they will binge drink on the weekend, and they’ll make up for what they didn’t drink on the weekday. Or someone who drinks but calls themselves a functional alcoholic. So this is the contemplation stage.

The third stage is preparation. Now this is a stage where bargaining about your sobriety is off the table and there’s an actual inquiry into your addiction. So you’ll take some serious steps towards sobriety in this stage for help. In other words, you’ll actually ask questions to people who are in the field of recovery. You might seek the help of a pastor or go online and look into some programs and get contacts in the area of addiction and recovery. The fourth stage is action. At this stage, the addicted individual takes real steps by setting goals. They may move into full sobriety. With support structures, meetings, mentors, sponsors. They’ll actually have a full on support, but there’ll be plugged in not only to the support structures, but they’ll actually go back to work, school, church and be productive members of society again. And then finally maintenance. Now this is a stage, at which time the individual is sustaining the change. And of course preventing the relapse and they’re feeling some serenity and peace with their recovery. And this is a stage that progresses usually about 90 to 180 days into sobriety. Because, until then, the chances for relapse are greater. So these are the five stages of change. When it comes to making the decision towards a life of sobriety. But whatever stage you may be in, the important thing to remember is move in the direction towards God for successful recovery from your addiction. Because if you start to depend on people or your self, willpower, a lot of times, you’re going to find yourself in the same place that you started. And the only thing I could say. Out of all, this is, if you haven’t accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and savior now is the time to do it. Thank you for listening to this episode of the 99relapses podcast. For current and past podcast episodes, show notes, episode memory, versus as well as episode recovery lessons and tools go to 99relapses.org. That’s the number 99 relapses.org. Also, if you’d like to make a prayer request for yourself, family or a friend. Please do not hesitate to email me your prayer requests at 99relapses.org and do not forget to like me on Facebook. If you have an interesting story to share, about how God has changed your life through addiction and recovery. Are an expert in the field of Christian addiction and recovery have published a Christian book, podcast, website, or do you have a ministry you’d like to feature and be a guest on the 99relapses podcast please email me anytime at James@99relapses.org. And that’s the number 99. And I will respond within 24 to 48 hours. Thank you so much for listening and God Bless.