One of the most common responses I get after explaining a plan of recovery is “I’ll think about it.”
This response is the person clearly stating that they are not ready to engage in recovery. This answer means that the person suffering from addiction is not ready to make a change. They are still contemplative, unaware that there is a problem that needs addressing or not understanding the entirety of the problem.
When considering making a change, there are 5 stages to the decision making process:
The pre-contemplative phase is very painful for all of those around the person of concern. In this phase, loved ones have tried everything, often for years, to induce a change in behavior. Pre-contemplative people react to confrontation by refusing help, either by outwardly pushing others away, yelling, or retreating into quiet isolation.
Thinking about recovery is about as effective as thinking about going to the gym. As thinking about working out doesn’t help someone get in shape, thinking about recovery does nothing to help the person actually recover. In fact, most everyone who suffers with substance abuse disorder has awoken many mornings determined to stop drinking or using. They may spend hours thinking about how they won’t drink again, only to drink later that same day.
In order for a person to recover from an addiction, they have to take action. They have to engage with a program of recovery. They have to do it every day and they have to do it over a period of time. The person has to move from being pre-contemplative to a person who takes action to truly recover from their addiction.
Taking action is how we accomplish anything in life. To graduate from college, we attend classes and take exams. To get married, we go on dates and plan a wedding. To buy a house, we save money consistently and visit different properties on the market. Recovering from an addiction is also an accomplishment and it requires a commitment to doing – not thinking.
There are many paths of recovery; 12-step meetings, non-12 step mutual aid meetings, therapy, rehabilitation, and recovery coaching, to name a few. I have seen people recover in many different ways, but in every instance they took consistent, dedicated action.
12-Step meetings suggest many small, daily actions that reinforce recovery. People that successfully recover though one of these programs commit to taking small service positions at meetings, like making coffee or setting up chairs. (In today’s circumstances, they may opt to help manage the chat in a zoom meeting.) They commit to attending 90 meetings in 90 days. Every day, they are committing to the action that get them to the meeting. Once in attendance, they learn many other small actions that put recovery top-of-mind, like calling other people in recovery throughout the day. Scheduling the meeting, driving to the meeting, talking to people after; all of these are important behaviors – or actions – towards recovery.
No one has recovered from an addiction by just simply thinking about it. Like the saying goes, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step; recovery is a long journey and it begins with simple, small actions.
Adam Banks is a certified interventionist and recovery coach at Suntra Modern Recovery. He
received an MBA from the University of Chicago and built a company, which
United Health Care acquired. He learned his rigor and attention to detail from
his career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.
Today Adam is dedicated to working with individuals that want to change
their relationship to drinking. Adam Banks is often called by families to
help untangle crisis situations through a loving and inclusive approach to
interventions. Adam often engages in coaching executives, pilots, and
physicians in recovery.
Modern Recovery provides medical treatment for alcohol and opiate
addictions via video visit with medical doctors. Suntra’s alcohol
and drug intervention services are available locally in New York, Long
Island, the Hamptons as well as nationally and internationally. Treatment for
alcohol, opiate and heroin addiction, including Suboxone treatment, can start