1. Do I have a problem?
This question might at first glance seem obvious, but it really is the key. If a person does not believe that they have a problem, then certainly, there is no need for treatment and life will continue on as always. An attitude like this involves that often used word 'denial'. The problems are evident to everyone around the person, but it is not clear to them at all. The hidden landmine in answering yes to this question, is that while you may be aware of a problem, have you defined it correctly? Hint: it is not the substance or behavior, but your reaction to, and continuation of it. As an example do your actions trigger compulsion and obsession?
2. Do I want to do something about the problem?
Once again, this is not a simple question. Lots of people are aware that they have a problems with addiction yet continue to not do anything about them. A common attitude is that I can stop any time I want to, I am just not ready to stop, maybe tomorrow, or next year, or after the holidays.
3. Do I want to stop now?
If you can answer yes to the questions do I have a problem, and do I want to do something about it, the next question begging to be asked is... now? Is the time right? What is it that has now moved you to action? The vast majority of people are motivated by a crisis occurring that is up close and personal. This crisis usually cuts through barriers of procrastination and denial. Examples may be divorce, jail time, or the imminent threat of losing a job. There are some people however, who simply get sick and tired of being sick and tired.
4. Am I my willing to establish a plan that will maximize my chances for success?
Once we know there is an addiction problem, we want to stop using and our time has come, we need to follow a plan that will maximize our chances for success? Here is where many people go astray. It is essential to get qualified help and input in developing a personal plan that will give you the best chance for success. The plan I hear most often, that is almost a sure-fire method for failure is 'I know what to do let me go do it.' Another plan that has a near zero success rate is 'I have made up my mind to quit so that's a done deal,' (using willpower alone). A difficult thing about constructing a solid addiction recovery plan is that there is no standard. Everyone's plan is unique. Professional input will really help.
5. Having established a workable plan, will I put that plan into action on a daily basis?
You can have the most wonderful recovery plan in the world, but it does you absolutely no good unless you implement it. This usually means stepping ahead and making the next right decision. It is essential to build accountability into the execution of your program. A critical piece of information is that addiction recovery is a process not event. Just because you have completed a course of treatment, does not mean that recovery is finished. The changes that suggested need to be implemented throughout your life on a continual basis. Addiction recovery is a life long process of change.
Although these stages are a simplification of the movement through addiction recovery, positive answers and moving forward will ensure you are on the right track.