It all starts with pre-contemplation. Pre-contemplation is a state of not thinking or not being ready. For people with addiction issues this usually means that they are in a cycle of active addiction, and are either unaware, or in active denial about how bad it is. Active addiction is characterized by craving the drug – planning how to get it – actively seeking it out – and using it. These are all universal features of addiction regardless of the drug (or behavior).
The cycle of active addiction also has a stage where use of the drug (or behavior) is interrupted. Interruption refers to anything which stops the high. This could be running out of the drug, running out of money, coming down from the drug, or simply deciding to stop. This interruption then leads to cravings, psychological discomfort and agitation, and makes the whole cycle start over.
However, sometimes during this interruption stage addicted people manage to reflect on their addictive behavior (often with regret). When an addicted person is experiencing regret it signals a move into contemplating (thinking about) change.