The midfielder is “living the dream” – and he does not want it to end.
Stephens is halfway through a four-year contract awarded when he helped the Seagulls to promotion.
He told The Argus: “I take it one season at a time regardless of how long I’ve got on my contract. I want to play at the highest level possible and hopefully I can do that for many years here.
“I’ve been here five-and-a-half years, I’ve enjoyed the success that we’ve achieved and I’m hoping to bring more.
“It was always a goal. I’m still living the dream, but it was always my ambition. I’m lucky to play at this club in this league, but I feel like I’ve deserved it.
“I’ve played at every level from Conference North through to the Premier League. I still want to improve at this football club, and with the manager’s ideas, I can carry on learning.”
Stephens, a regular since signing from Charlton, is now under his fourth different Albion boss after Graham Potter succeeded Chris Hughton and will embark next month on a third season in the Premier League.
“I’ve just turned 30 this year and I want to get better and don’t want to be comfortable,” Stephens said.
“If I know I’m going to play, I don’t want to rest on that, I want players to put me under pressure to improve my game as well.”
Stephens and the rest of the Albion squad in Austria get their first match minutes under Potter in tomorrow’s opening pre-season friendly against FC Liefering (1pm UK time).