Stages of Change

Do you ever have those moments when you notice that your life seems to be more difficult than those of your peers but you are not sure why? Or those moments when you know why, but you are not sure you want to change yet? We have ALL been there at some point, with some behavior or another.

Often times, knowing what stage of change we are on, can help us move forward in growth sooner than if we stayed unaware or in denial. When working to prevent relapse, evaluating a stage of change can help in reestablishing motivation and benefits of staying in recovery.

So what are the 5 stages of change?

  1. Precontemplation
    1. The costs of the problem behavior are not yet recognized. The individual is in denial and is not seriously considering changing their behavior. They may have made previous attempts to change, but have since given up.
  2. Contemplation
    1.  The individual is experiencing ambivalence about change. They can see reasons to change their behavior, but they are still hesitant. The problem behavior continues.
  3. Preparation
    1. The individual has decided to change their behavior, and they begin to think about how to do so. During this stage they will begin to make minor changes to support their goal, but they might not have completely ended the unwanted behavior.
  4. Action
    1. Significant steps are taken to end the problem behavior. The individual might be avoiding triggers, reaching out for help, or taking other steps to avoid temptation
  5. Maintenance
    1. The changes made during the action stage or maintained. The individual may continue to face challenges, but at this point they have successfully changed their behavior for a significant period of time. ­

Take some time to see where you are with your recovery story currently.

What stage do you think you are on right now? Why? Do you feel like you have been “stuck” on this stage for a while now, or have you seen growth recently? What has helped you get to this stage, and not be at a previous stage? What might it take for you to move forward to the next stage?

Find a downloadable version of this document on the “Worksheets”section of the site.

Ideal Self

As many of you know, I am huge fan of Brene Brown’s research into shame and vulnerability. One of things she talks about frequently is identifying “shame triggers.”

For those of you not familiar with her work, a “shame trigger” is any verbal, or non-verbal, event that may lead to feelings of shame. For example: telling a pregnant mom that she is going to be a horrible parent based on her choice of day-care vs. staying at home would be a shame trigger for the pregnant mom. 

One of the first steps in learning how to manage shame in your life, is to begin to identify areas in your life that may lead to shame. IE: what are my shame triggers? 

This is a pretty broad, difficult, and overwhelming question for most people. But yet when it can be answered promotes extraordinary growth.

I can almost imagine you all screaming at me, HOW DO I KNOW WHAT THOSE TRIGGERS ARE? 

Here is how I have gone about identifying some of those areas in my life: I ask myself, when I first meet someone, I want them to walk away thinking XYZ about me. So for instance I want someone to think that I am funny, kind, intelligent, grounded, secure, helpful, wise, smart, stable, independent, reliable.. this list could go on and on. Lets just pick one and run with it.

I want people to instantly think that I am intelligent. Yet after my first coffee date with my new co-worker I over hear him saying that I mispronounced that name of the drink I wanted to order (completely overlooking the fact that I was tired and stumbled over my words all day, not just at that moment). I then instantly turn that into shame telling myself I am so stupid, I know how to say X, I am just not good enough for this person… and what you have is an area of SHAME TRIGGER in your life. 


Feel free to comment with shame triggers that you or someone you know has dealt with. We all have them and there are pretty common themes among most people. 

I’m Enough

I recently decided to enter the e-course by Brene Brown ( For those of you who do not know of Brene’s work, I suggest looking her up on google, and reading her books. They are truly life changing.


Todays assignment was to embrace the fact that “I am imperfect and I am also enough” It is my imperfections that make me who I am!




Are you willing to take the challenge too?


I decided to make the most of my new work schedule and winter break to hop on a plane and hit up a vacation. The fun part: only a few people know where I am going.
Never have I ever not shared that information. It is refreshing to not have to check in with 100 people and it is also a bit of a power play because I have a secret no one knows. Yes, this is the first of many spontaneous trips to come. I have a travel bug that just won’t go away! Anyone out there relate?

I find it interesting how my trip, leaving without telling anyone, relates to the same feelings and desires as having an ED does. The since of control, mystery, danger, adventure yet weakness and vulnerability. What if traveling could be another tool to add to the toolbox of ways to avoid a binge or end a fast that you cannot find another way out of. Just food for thought.

I got to see some mountains!



             Hiked some trails



Found a pond.





**WordPress: 2012 in review**

*****Thanks everyone for joining in my blog. It has changed a lot over the last few months and I only see it getting better. 🙂 Love you guys so much! *****

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The London Olympic Stadium is 53 meters high. This blog had about 570 visitors in 2012. If every visitor were a meter, this blog would be 11 times taller than the Olympic Stadium – not too shabby.

Click here to see the complete report.