When an Addict Says, “I’ll think about it”

What it really means when an addict says “I’ll think about it”

When an Addict Says, “I’ll think about it”

When an addict says, “I’ll think about it” they really mean “I am not ready to engage in recovery.” This answer means that the person suffering from addiction is not ready to make a change. They are still contemplative, unaware that there is a problem that needs addressing or not understanding the entirety of the problem.

The 5 stages to the decision making process:

  1. Pre-contemplative 
  2. Contemplative
  3. Preparation 
  4. Action 
  5. Maintenance

The pre-contemplative phase

The pre-contemplative phase is very painful for all of those around the person of concern. In this phase, loved ones have tried everything, often for years, to induce a change in behavior. Pre-contemplative people react to confrontation by refusing help, either by outwardly pushing others away, yelling, or retreating into quiet isolation.

Thinking about recovery is about as effective as thinking about going to the gym. As thinking about working out doesn’t help someone get in shape, thinking about recovery does nothing to help the person actually recover. In fact, most everyone who suffers with substance abuse disorder has awoken many mornings determined to stop drinking or using.  When an addict says, “I’ll think about it” they most likely already have. 

When an Addict Says, “I’ll think about it”

In order for a person to recover from an addiction, they have to take action. They have to engage with a program of recovery. They have to do it every day and they have to do it over a period of time. The person has to move from being pre-contemplative to a person who takes action to truly recover from their addiction.

Taking action is how we accomplish anything in life

To graduate from college, we attend classes and take exams. Before we get married, we plan a wedding. When we want to buy a house, we save money and visit different properties. Recovering from an addiction is also an accomplishment and it requires a commitment to doing, not thinking.

There are many paths of recovery. 12-step meetings, non-12 step mutual aid meetings, therapy, rehabilitation, and recovery coaching, to name a few. I have seen people recover in many different ways, but in every instance they took consistent, dedicated action.

Small daily actions can have huge repercussions 

12-Step meetings suggest many small, daily actions that reinforce recovery. People that successfully recover though one of these programs commit to taking small service positions at meetings, like making coffee or setting up chairs (In today’s circumstances, they may opt to help manage the chat in a zoom meeting). They commit to attending 90 meetings in 90 days.

No one has recovered from an addiction by just simply thinking about it. Like the saying goes, the journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step; recovery is a long journey and it begins with simple, small actions. When an addict says, “I’ll think about it,” we have more work to do.


About Adam Banks

Adam Banks is a certified interventionist and the owner of Adam Banks Recovery. After receiving an MBA from the University of Chicago, Adam built a company acquired by United Health Care. His discipline and attention to detail comes from his former career as an airline pilot, holding an ATP, the FAA’s highest license.

Today, Adam is dedicated to helping others achieve long-term sobriety. His work has guided executives, pilots, and physicians on paths to recovery. Adam brings families together through a loving and inclusive approach.

Adam has authored four books on addiction. His recent work, Navigating Recovery Ground School: 12 Lessons to Help Families Navigate Recovery, educates families on the entire intervention process. He also offers a free video course for families considering an intervention for a loved one. 

Adam is available for alcohol and drug intervention services in New York, Long Island, the Hamptons as well as nationally and internationally. 




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