1.1.3 Contemplation (Increasing Awareness of Your Addiction Issues)

Topic Progress:

People who are addicted eventually start to experience consequences. Initially these consequences may not be that serious and a direct link to the addiction may not be that obvious, but as the consequences get more painful it becomes more difficult to ignore. Addicted people eventually start to weigh up the costs and benefits (pros and cons) of their addiction. This is known as decisional balance. Decisional balance is the balance that exists between the costs and benefits of your addiction. The decisions you are prepared to make about stopping will change as this balance between the costs and benefits of your addiction changes.

When you are in the pre-contemplation stage, the benefits of your addiction are outweighing the costs. In the contemplation stage (starting to think about it), the costs and benefits are much more equal because your awareness is on the rise and you are realizing that the consequences you are experiencing are related to your addictive behavior. You may still be experiencing ambivalence (which means ‘not being sure’) and this will cause you to procrastinate (fail to act), but eventually the benefits of being healthier and happier will start to appear more attractive than the costs of being in active addiction. Then you will be moving towards the preparation and action stages of change.

Exercise 1: Please turn to your workbook and complete the Costs and Benefit Analysis