While CRAFT was developed to help our Loved Ones into treatment, the approach and the skills it teaches are vital at every stage in the recovery process. Member Ellie asks about a challenge so many people face: the moment when a Loved One comes home. Laurie MacDougall walks us through the many ways CRAFT, and Allies in Recovery overall, can prepare you for this challenge.
I am glad to have discovered Allies in Recovery, but the main aim of it from watching the modules seems to be helping to get Loved Ones into recovery. My situation is a bit different. My daughter is in a rehab program. She went on her own. My husband and I have been very supportive. However, I’ve been looking for information on how best to support her when she leaves rehab. We have received some phone calls and letters and it seems like she wants to make changes, but they are huge changes. She is a professional, but has always struggled. She is 36. My husband is retired, 75, and I continue working. I am also 75. I like the basic premise and tone of Allies in Recovery. I am new to it. Do your counselor and zoom meetings include folks like me who need help in the transitional phase when their loved one returns home? Thanks, Ellie
The short answer to your question is YES! In counseling, Zoom meetings, and other ways, we certainly do work with people like you who are looking for help when your Loved Ones come home. This is such a great question, and an opportune moment to remind the Allies community as a whole that the CRAFT-based skills taught on this website and in Zoom meetings are universal to all parts of the recovery process.
CRAFT skills are useful no matter what you face
It is true that CRAFT was designed to help guide and encourage a resistant Loved One (LO) into treatment. CRAFT skills and strategies are founded in social and psychological principals. Learning and implementing them as early as possible, and practicing them until they become a part of who you are and how you interact with everyone in your life, can improve your relationships and connections to others. CRAFT is all about building and creating an environment where you are a trusted person that others can confide in and talk to without judgment, while still maintaining clear and healthy boundaries. I am pretty sure everyone can benefit from this.
Learning strong communication and interactive skills will help with prevention efforts, risky behavior, active substance use, supporting recovery, constructive responses if recurrences happen, and so much more.
Let’s get specific
Let me just share a couple of ideas on how to use what you learn here to support your daughter’s transition:
1. In Module 3, you are tasked with trying to identify patterns of use. It is important to know when your LO is using or not using: that should fundamentally determine your response and behavior (see Module 5 -My Loved One Isn’t Using Right Now, Now What? and Module 6 – My Loved One IS Using Right Now, Now What?). For example, maybe when your LO is asking for something and you say no, the conversation goes off the rails, and they start blaming you or trying to make you feel guilty. In the example below, maybe your LO is planning to use the money to purchase a substance, and you are intent on setting a healthy boundary and not giving out cash. Finding a way out of this conversation would be removing an immediate reward. It might sound something like this:
Daughter: “Hey mom, I need some money to put gas in my car. Could I get $40?”
Mom: “Dad and I had a conversation and we decided we are not giving out cash.”
Daughter: “Really? C’mon, you know I’m good for it. How do you expect me to get to work?”
Mom: “Sounds like you’re in a bind right now. Want me to go with you to the gas station and fill your tank for you?”
Daughter: “You know, you and dad are the ones making me live here and do this. I can’t believe you are SO SELFISH you won’t give me forty bucks!”
Mom: “Oh shoot, I am late for an appointment. I have to go. Text me if you want me to meet you at the gas station. Love you, bye.”
2. Another CRAFT-based approach would be to focus heavily on the first video and activity (stopping the negative talk) combined with the videos on reflective listening in Module 4. After watching and practicing these particular parts of Module 4, I have learned that a major point when communicating is to KEEP YOUR AGENDA OUT OF THE CONVERSATION. Your daughter is coming home from treatment. Reentry into the world and life can be overwhelming. For years her drinking has been an easy go-to in coping with life’s stressors. It is important to support her in early recovery by reducing the amount of stressors we add, often without awareness, to this heady mix. It is critical to learn how to listen, listen, listen!
These are just two examples of how to use CRAFT when a LO is transitioning from one part of their journey to another. There are an infinite number of ways to utilize these strategies and skills. The Zoom meetings offered here on the website are designed to support this.
Explore all we’ve got to offer. Find what suits your needs.
You have some other support options through this website as well. REST educational meetings use the Allies website as curriculum, engaging in training activities and often brainstorming together to deepen understanding of the skills offered here. And Kayla Solomon is a licensed therapist and offers meetings on Wednesday nights. You can access both through Allies. Try them out. Use what works best for you. They are both supportive and positive.
I hope this helps. It is really nice to hear that your daughter has started working on her recovery. It is also wonderful that her mom and dad are so loving and supportive. If there is more that you need help with, please reach out again. We would love to hear how things go!