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, change 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 2013 study examined the role of individual characteristics of hope, resilience, family functioning, and craving in recovery.

Hope – The study revealed that the higher the hope factor, the stronger the motivation for change.

Resilience – Resilience, measured in part by the ability to control one’s reactions to life’s challenges, is the core of recovery. If the individual can cope with stressors in a healthy way, they have a better chance at thriving in sobriety.

Family Functioning – Family systems are affected by addiction; as the person with the substance use disorder goes through treatment, the family system changes as well. A family with a high level of functioning is better able to support their loved one and each other through the recovery process.

Craving – There is much debate as to whether a person suffering from addiction can control compulsive behavior. The study measured the 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 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.