Our Allies mother is emerging from an enormous scare. Her loved one ended up in the ER with complications from diabetes on top of severe withdrawals. Thankfully, the doctors saw that the addiction was the real threat to his health, and spoke with the family candidly about this. Shaken but relieved, she’s looking at starting a new chapter with her son.

This post originally appeared on our Member Site blog, where experts respond to members’ questions and concerns. To sign up for our special offer and benefit from the Allies in Recovery eLearning program, click here.

Allies in Recovery, AiR, Dominique Simon-Levine, dsl, addiction, addiction recovery, SUD, CRAFT, Diabetes, withdrawals, ER, coma, doctors, mental illness, multiple diagnoses, mental health

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Dominique Simon-Levine reassures this mother that the doctor was right

What a hard hard couple of days. Your son fell ill from diabetes and drug withdrawals. You called the ambulance and he went to the hospital. An amazing doctor explained to your son and the entire family assembled beside him that drug addiction was first and much more likely to kill him than the diabetes. So it was a hard day but also an exceptional day in your family’s life. A professional (always better than an amateur) explained the problem. Everyone heard the doctor.

This information can really help your family see the addiction as the first priority. And fortunately, there is CRAFT, a set of responses your family can take in unison to help your son with the addiction.

The diabetes is frightening, but the addiction is where to start

When a loved one has multiple conditions at once: mental illness, Asperger’s, or a medical condition AND addiction, the family can be pulled in several directions. This can easily muddy the waters when it comes to sending a clear message to the loved one about addiction. But in the end, the other conditions will not have much of a chance to improve without first healing the active addiction. You can’t even really know how bad the other conditions are when you pile an active addiction on top of it.

So yes, seize on the clarity that you all experienced when that doctor highlighted the addiction as the number one concern. Follow the Learning  Modules, available on our member site, and ask others in your family to do the same. Make that list of treatment options. See Learning Module 8 to learn how and when to pull out the list and to give it your son.

That doctor gave you a gift. The diabetes has been confusing and frightening, but the addiction is where everyone should start.

So it was a hard day (week!) but a good one… Both your sons helped you with your kitty. Everyone got a jolt from this experience, and with it a clearer picture of what is going on in your family. You have all survived something traumatic. It is a blessing that things turned out the way they did.

Time for CRAFT

This is an opportune time to wipe the slate clean, so to speak, and dive into the modules – the practical, nitty-gritty day-to-day application of CRAFT. Make sure to pay special attention to Learning Module 8 for help with timing. You want to be ready with the list when the window for discussing treatment opens.

In the meantime, keep yourself anchored by using CRAFT. You have done so much hard work already in implementing this method. Keep it up. Use your journal to pour out whatever you need to get off your chest. This moment was terrifying but it crystalized things in a very real way. Give yourself some time to regain your own strength and well-being after that week. And keep using all of us for support. This is what we are here for.

Since 2003, Allies in Recovery has addressed substance abuse in families by providing a method for the family to change the conversation about addiction. We use Community Reinforcement & Family Training (CRAFT), a proven approach that helps the family unblock and advance the relationship towards sobriety and recovery and to engage a loved one into treatment. Learn about member benefits by following this link.

 About the Author:
Dominique launched Allies in Recovery in 2003. Her work has been featured on HBO and NPR. She is a facilitator and a trained speaker on issues of addiction and the family. She has worked extensively developing and evaluating federally-funded substance abuse programs for organizations and clinics throughout Massachusetts and New York. With an interest in recovery and substance abuse that spans 20 years, she sees a huge need to help families develop the skills that will help a loved one recover fully in a supportive, whole, and lasting way in their families and in their communities. Her mission is to have Allies in Recovery fill that gap.

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