Our Allies member laments a judge’s missed opportunity to get her loved one into treatment. Her first night out of jail, she stayed out all night drinking. This mother is at a loss, feeling she doesn’t have the patience to practice CRAFT right now.

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, Dominique Simon Levine, dsl, addiction, addiction recovery, SUD, CRAFT, drinking, alcohol, patience, patient, treatment, psychiatry, therapy, natural consequences, abstinence, dry drunk, well-being

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“My daughter was released on Friday and unfortunately the judge was extremely lenient with her. She does not need to fulfill the 2 week inpatient, nor do the 6 month outpatient. She is on administrative probation. If she breaks probation she goes back to Framingham for 6 months.

Her first night out, she went back to her apartment and went out with friends, stayed out all night and was drinking.

We had a deal with her that if she made appointments with intensive outpatient for her impulsive personality disorder etc. and made appointments with a new therapist for twice weekly etc. we would pay her Cobra and help with rent and food. She has not provided any of this, so we are not helping out financially. She is extremely overwhelmed and blaming everyone else for her problems. I am going to her psychiatry appt with her on Wed night. He will tell her she no longer needs the meds he had previously prescribed her (thank God) and that he may provide a mood stabilizer and recommendation for additional treatment.

I have no patience left and have told her she can not move home. Reading through the modules for guidance, but not in the mindset to accept them.”

Dominique Simon-Levine guides this mother through this difficult and chaotic time

The criminal justice system is not designed to help people into treatment and recovery, though there’s a sputter of effort coming from drug courts. I don’t blame you for being angry. The system missed an opportunity to put some clear limits around your daughter, limits that would have pushed her in the right direction.

All of what you describe can be considered consequences of her use. Step back for now. Let her feel the overwhelming mess her life is in. You are correct not to help out financially. You have managed to get the psychiatrist to understand the situation and he will be pulling back his prescribing of drugs of abuse. This is a significant shift that is in the works.

Practice Patience

Keep the list of treatments by your side. Doing nothing is an ACTION. Practice patience. Wait for her to ask for your help. Your daughter’s life is largely unmanageable and she doesn’t know where to turn right now. She will almost certainly ask you for help. The request will be for things other than treatment, but you have set up the leverage: Cobra, food and rent in exchange for attending therapy. Keep repeating this as a mantra. Reinforcing this mantra with calmness and compassion will provide meaningful direction when the time is right.

You’ve got the essence of the CRAFT approach. Even though you don’t feel the patience for it right now, you are doing CRAFT.

I know it doesn’t feel good but there is progress. Life is closing in on your daughter. Be as prepared as you can be for when she cries “uncle.”

As part of the treatment list, you may want to consider looking into the paperwork in your state for a civil commitment. This could be something else you have at the ready, if your daughter doesn’t choose help and it seems like the danger is growing. If you are unable to remain patient and/or you remain terrified, this is a resource for you to add to your list.

She is in free fall; let her feel it

This is a difficult part of the cycle we always refer to. She is in free fall of sorts, yet she has some understanding that abusing drugs and alcohol plays a huge role in the mess around her. Your daughter is probably using to forget the mess that is her life, and to take away the very bad feelings of anxiety and worry. Drugs do that. They put you in a little artificial bubble, they pull up the bottom, and make you feel okay, even great, for the moment. If only it could last – but it doesn’t. She is waking to hangovers, her life strewn all around. Let her feel it. Let it sink in (read more about natural consequences).

Jail is not rehab. You daughter was forced into abstinence by being locked up without any intensive support for that abstinence. AA would call this white knuckling or being a “dry drunk.” It makes sense she would run, not walk, to a bottle of booze upon being released. It’s what we like to call a pit stop. She was given a pit stop between the door of jail and that of treatment, and she went through it. It takes only days to return to the same level of drug and alcohol use, the same problems.

Take time for yourself to replenish

Let that whole situation sink in for her. Hang on and be patient right now. Know that you are doing the right things. You are wise to reflect on your own state of mind and name the frustration, anger and resistance you are feeling as you go through the modules. This makes it clear that you need to replenish your own energies, pull back from the chaos and negative thoughts, and recharge. Focus on your own well-being. Take a time out in whatever way you can. Make it a few minutes or an hour or whatever works for you. Try to do this every day. This will require patience too.

If you’ve hit a wall and your receptivity to the modules, etc is at a low, you can’t force your way through. Rest, digest your feelings, find a way to make peace with them and let them go. Then come back to things fresh and know that you are doing a great job. Know that you can find your way back in with compassion for yourself and an open heart. Let the pressure off yourself. You are doing a great job.

Your description makes the situation you find yourself in palpable. We are here with you.

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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