Hope, Resilience, and Readiness to Change

hands raised in prayer at sunset

By Cristina Utti MFA, MA

Many people who struggle with addiction go in and out of recovery programs. No one can or will change until they are ready. According to an article in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, readiness to change is made up of three components: motivation, willingness, and ability to change. Change has to be a priority in the life of someone in recovery. Even if they have the desire and the ability to change, it will not occur if they are not serious about recovery and put that first in their life.

Readiness to change (RTC) has five stages:

  1. Pre-contemplation – In this stage, the person with the addiction does not recognize that they have a problem. They may “wish to change” but have no serious intention of changing.
  2. Contemplation – The person is aware that there is a problem, and they are contemplating change but not yet taking action.
  3. Preparation – The person makes a decision to change.
  4. Action – The person takes the necessary steps to begin addressing their substance use disorder.
  5. Maintenance – Having done the necessary work to build a foundation in recovery, the person takes steps to prevent relapse and maintain positive behaviors.

While most research focuses on treatment as a mechanism used to help someone suffering from addiction, a study done by DiClemente in 2007 examined the role of individual characteristics of hope, resiliency, family functioning, and craving in recovery.

Hope – Hope was measured using the 12 item Herth Hope Index, a series of questions/answers by the participant. The higher the hope factor, the stronger the motivation for change.

Resilience – Resilience was measured using the 4-item Brief Coping Scale that assesses a person’s coping mechanisms. Participants responded to questions such as, “Regardless of what happens to me, I believe I can control my reaction to it.” The higher the scores, the higher the level of resiliency in the individual. Resiliency is the core of recovery, as it relates to how the individual copes with stressors.

Family Functioning – This was measured by a 12-item General Functioning subscale of Epstein, Baldwin, and Bishop’s Family Assessment Device. A pre- to post-assessment family functioning score was calculated in this study. Family systems are affected by addiction; as the person with the substance use disorder goes through treatment, the family system changes as well.

Craving – The Obsessive-Compulsive Drinking Scale was used to measure craving. There is much debate as to whether a person suffering from addiction can control compulsive behavior. This scale was used to measure the brain’s propensity for craving the substance of addiction.

Taking all of the variables into consideration while measuring readiness to change can help individuals to maintain sobriety. But, ultimately, if the individual is not ready to change, they will not. They will keep repeating the same patterns until they put forth an honest effort to change the patterns that led their lives into destruction.

Do you have the hope, resilience, and readiness to change? Contact the Ranch at Dove Tree today to get started on the road to recovery. 800.218.6727.

Bradshaw, Spencer. “Predictive Factors of Readiness for Change During Inpatient Treatment.” Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly. ISSN: 0734-7324.

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