Are you making changes but feeling stuck in your recovery journey? It could be because you’re focusing on first-order changes. These are the surface-level adjustments we make – quitting a substance, changing routines – but they don’t address the root of the problem.

That’s where second-order change comes in. This is about digging deeper into your anxieties, past traumas, and the underlying beliefs that drive addictive behaviors. It’s a transformation, not just a tweak.

Think of it like this: first-order change is running on a treadmill – you’re moving, but not getting anywhere. Second-order change is taking the exit ramp and finding a new path.  

Second-order change is the key to lasting recovery. So how do you get there? This episode breaks it down and helps you figure out where you might need extra support along the way.  


Key Topics


  • What first-order change is and why it’s important early on
  • Second-order change and how it leads to lasting recovery
  • Examples of each type of change
  • How to start that deeper, second-order work
  • The value of therapy or coaching for this transformation

Key Moments

  • [00:01:00] – The treadmill trap: Why some changes feel pointless
  • [00:03:00] – Beyond willpower: What if just stopping isn’t enough?
  • [00:05:00] – Real-world examples to help you identify your type of change
  • [00:08:00] –  When is enough, enough? How to recognize you need deeper work
  • [00:10:00] –  The scary (but worthwhile) path to second-order change
  • [00:14:00] –  “I can see it in them”: Signs you’ve done the deeper work
  • [00:17:00] –  Your action plan: Next steps for leveling up your recovery


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    If you live in California and are looking for counseling or therapy please check out Novus Mindful Life Counseling and Recovery Center

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