What Really Happens During the Change Cycle's Maintenance Stage
The maintenance stage is the last and typically longest phase of the transtheoretical model of change. During this phase, you work to support your new, healthy lifestyle and continue to make positive choices.
What Happens During the Maintenance Phase?
The main goal during this phase is to maintain the progress you’ve made so far in the change cycle. It’s normal to celebrate how far you've come and set boundaries that keep you on track.
The maintenance phase also involves identifying potential triggers and creating solutions that help you avoid them. Triggers can lead to cravings, so look for patterns that might make you want to use drugs again. For example, hanging out with a friend that you used to get high with can trigger a craving.
How to Make the Maintenance Phase Easy
During the maintenance phase, most of your efforts should focus on adopting a healthy lifestyle.
Join a Support Group
Support groups help you connect with individuals who are dealing with similar issues, who can sympathize with your experience, and who can offer precious advice. A strong support system also allows you to talk about difficult situations with people who have hands-on experience coping with the same thing.
Make Relaxation Part of Your Maintenance
Vigilance is a vital part of the maintenance process, but it can also make you tense. Some people go on walks or exercise to help them relax, others meditate -- find an activity that relaxes you, and make it part of your daily schedule.
It's important to realize that drugs do not define you. You can still be crazy, daring, cool, or thoughtful, even when you're sober. Your life can and should still be fun and enjoyable.