My previous post on bribes, incentives and reinforcing positive behavior really stirred up discussion! It is great to see Allies members asking questions and working hard to practice CRAFT skills. In this post I want to delve deeper into how family members might use incentives strategically or combine incentives and reinforcing positive behavior to encourage their loved one to a path of a better life. This post originally appeared on our Member Site blog, where experts respond to members’ questions and concerns. To learn more about membership, see our Membership Benefits page.
Successful incentives outside the home
The legal system, including drug courts, probation and the department of motor registry, etc. often uses incentives to encourage individuals to modify their behavior. There are also phone applications being designed to utilize incentives and they show some promise with SUD. Why might incentives work better in these programs than in a family setting? There are no emotions or expectations attached to them. The incentive is offered and it’s up to the person to earn it or not. Basically, it’s “One and Done.” For example:
A loved one has their license suspended because of being an Immediate Threat. After a couple of months of working on sobriety they want to earn the ability to drive again. The incentive is to have the suspension revoked and earn the right to drive again. The motor registry might require them to attend meetings, test negative on a certain number of urine tests and complete an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP). In this case, it is all up to the loved one to do what is required to get his/her license back. No one is going to hunt them down, or dangle another incentive, or inquire if they are going to follow through. It’s a take it or leave it situation and the loved one’s motivation level is what drives the action (no pun intended!). Now again, our loved one might not be successful. Maybe they are not motivated at this time or maybe it is just too overwhelming and they will have to make an attempt again later. But no one from the motor registry is following them around reminding them of their lack of accomplishment.
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.
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