Doctor's office
Enter your doctor's name to get office information.
Find labs in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find labs in your network.
Find urgent care centers in your network
Enter your primary care doctor's name to find urgent care centers in your network.
Verify your medical group

Refer to your insurance card or call your insurance provider to determine your medical group.

You can also search for your primary care doctor to find the medical group you and your doctor belong to.

Driving Directions
Update Information
Forgot Password

Please enter your e-mail address.

Sharp Health News

From addiction to recovery

Sept. 5, 2022

From addiction to recovery

There are dozens of reasons why someone makes a conscious decision to treat their addiction. It might be due to a legal issue, a threat from a loved one, a medical problem or a variety of other reasons. Whatever the cause is, the stages of change are an important part of addiction recovery.

The stages of change were first introduced by addiction experts in the early 1980s. They realized that there was not a precise, single moment when recovery happens – rather, addiction recovery is more like a journey.

“Oftentimes, many people engage in substance abuse as a coping skill,” says Shelby Espiritu, LMFT, a lead therapist of the dual intensive outpatient program at Sharp Mesa Vista. “Typically, they are unable to effectively cope with something going on in their life, so they turn to substance abuse.”

Espiritu says that unfortunately, substance use ends up worsening the initial problem that an individual has and creates additional issues. However, mental health providers can help when someone desires to make changes. Espiritu explains the six stages of change as a part of the recovery process:

  1. Precontemplation — Individuals are not yet thinking about changing their behavior and are not seeing their behavior (drinking or using) as a problem.
  2. Contemplation — Individuals are willing to consider the possibility that they may have a problem and are ambivalent about changing. Ambivalence is a painful state of feeling two ways about an issue.
  3. Preparation/Determination — Individuals have made a decision to change and are engaging in exploration of their options. They will devise a plan for making a change through researching rehabilitation programs, outpatient and inpatient programs, self-help meetings (such as Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery) and other avenues for treatment.
  4. Action — Individuals have made a decision to execute the plan that they prepared. People in this stage are in treatment and will typically make a public commitment to stop their unhelpful behavior, such as sharing their choice to stop using substances or drinking with their support system.
  5. Maintenance — Individuals develop a new pattern of behavior and coping skills. They adapt to this behavior over many days, months and years. Individuals have a variety of relapse prevention techniques and have more confidence about not partaking in substance abuse.

Espiritu adds that within the stages of change, there is also the termination stage, which entails individuals maintaining their changes through their daily behaviors. Also, individuals go in and out of the stages in no particular order, and relapse can be a part of the recovery process.

“When a patient relapses, that does not mean they are back in the precontemplation stage,” says Espiritu. “Rather, it means that they fell back into an old coping skill, and they can make the choice to do something different now and get back into their recovery.”

Relapses are an opportunity to learn what was missing from someone’s initial plan.

“We see relapses as a hole in your jeans,” says Espiritu. “Now that we know the hole is there, we can work to create a plan to patch that hole with additional coping skills. For many, this can lead to increased confidence in their recovery and ability to remain sober.”

Espiritu says that patients are most successful in the recovery process when they have a support system, including support groups and professional support. Support groups consisting of sober individuals allow for support and belonging, and professional support can provide both support and constructive challenges.

“In treatment, including care partners such as the patient’s loved ones is immensely helpful as we know addiction impacts more than just the person who is addicted,” says Espiritu.

Espiritu also says that for patients in recovery, spending time with sober individuals while developing new hobbies can be helpful.

“It’s important for family members and friends supporting a loved one with an addiction to practice self-care by attending their own support groups such as Al Anon and setting healthy boundaries within the relationship,” she says.

If you are concerned about your or a loved one’s use of alcohol or other substances. Sharp McDonald Center, Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital and Sharp Grossmont Hospital all provide substance abuse programs to help define a recovery path that works best for you.

For the news media: To talk with Shelby Espiritu about addiction and recovery for an upcoming story, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

You might also like:

Choose the doctor who's right for you.

At Sharp, we make it easy to find an exceptional doctor — right where you live and work.

All Categories
Contact Sharp HealthCare
Call us

Call 1-800-827-4277 or view our detailed phone directory.

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room.

Email us

Please do not use this form to convey personal or medical information.

How would you like to be contacted?
Date of birth

What's This?

These important numbers are located on your billing statement.

Find your Sharp Rees-Stealy account number

Find your SharpCare account number

Find your SharpCare account number
What's GDPR?

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) governs the processing of personal information gathered from individuals while they are in the European Union (EU) and parts of the EEA (European Economic Area, which currently includes Iceland, Lichtenstein and Norway).

We are sorry, but we are unable to process your price estimate if you live or are travelling within the EU or affiliated nations.

What's This?

Many surgery and procedure names sound similar. If possible, please provide the current procedure terminology (CPT) code, which can be found on the order from your doctor.

If you cannot provide the CPT code, please contact your doctor's office for the CPT or a detailed description of services.