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9 CRAFTy Guidelines for When They’re Under Your Roof

house yellow

Tmas has her daughter living with her, which felt like a relief, at first. She had kicked her meth habit and completed detox and treatment. Now, they've slipped into a dance that doesn't feel so great. She's using less, but is substituting fentanyl for the meth. Mom sees that there's a cycle that needs to be broken, but she wants to keep building on the positive aspects of their relationship.

© K8 via unspalsh

"Thank you so much for all you’ve taught me. Prior to this, I told my 22yo daughter to leave my home. She lived in her car for a month, lost 30# and was out of control. Finally agreed to detox and treatment. Finished detox and she refused further help. I promised I’d never kick her out again and adopted CRAFT and work an alternate strategy. She has been home for 2 months now. Our communication and relationship are amazing; however we have a dance we do that I need to break cycle. She always comes home, or calls and uses so much less…however smoking meth originally and the past month switched back to smoking fentanyl.

She does it in her room while I’m asleep or at work. I find foil and other paraphernalia.
She holds a full time job, pays her own car so consequences are confusing for me. I speak to her, she apologizes or if she is triggered tells me I love searching her room and I’ve made a hobby of it and yes I do it daily and throw everything away but live it. No. What is the next step. I’m at such a loss … I can remove my hugs and positive support as a consequence; however what else.

I’m petrified about her OD'ing, I have Narcan handy but something has to move along here. Please help"

You pledged to never kick her out again: not particularly CRAFTy

Hi Tmas. We're glad you wrote in, and we see that you're asking yourself the right questions and are seeking to shift this new pattern you're part of. Your main goal is to support your daughter's recovery, yet the dance you've slipped into with her is clearly no longer helping.

I know you don't necessarily want to hear this, but you may have to consider reinstating to your arsenal the possibility of kicking her out again. I’m afraid this has to remain an option for any family member, when an adult child has set up in your house and is using fentanyl daily.

It would be great to review our writings on kicking them out. Here is a list of blog posts addressing this topic.

CRAFT is about rewarding non-use (Module 5) and discouraging use by removing those rewards (including yourself) and allowing natural consequences to occur (Module 6).

Your home is your sanctuary

You’ve invited your daughter into your sanctuary, hoping this would help her stop using methamphetamine. It has, but now she’s turned to smoking fentanyl as a substitute. When you call her on it, she pushes back. The dance continues.

Your home is no longer a healing, drug-free zone as you originally intended. It has become a haven for your daughter. She uses in her room, daily – a different drug, but one that is also very dangerous. She pushes you away when you raise the question.

Is living with you enabling their substance use?

I’m afraid that right now, your house would be seen – through a CRAFT lens –  as making it easier for her to use:

  • she's saving rent/food/utilities money, therefore can buy drugs more easily;

  • she's warm, dry and comfortable and doesn't have to do much in exchange for these comforts;

  • and then there are the inadvertent rewards of your company, and your presence.

Your house and you are huge rewards, thus having her stay (unconditionally) could be seen as encouraging/enabling your daughter’s use.

Now what? When you're stuck in a dance with your Loved One using at home, how do you get out of it?

We always come back to the tenets of CRAFT, which help us see through the smokescreens created by baked-in patterns and difficult and complex emotions. CRAFT would say, if your Loved One is using:

  • Remove rewards;

  • Remove yourself;

  • Allow natural consequences to occur.

I understand the hope and relief that comes from ANYTHING substituting for Methamphetamine. Dang though, fentanyl!

I worry that this situation requires you to be on high alert in your own home. Fentanyl is the leading cause of overdose deaths! Before your heart sinks at the thought of needing to ask your daughter to leave, which goes contrary to what you promised yourself you would never do, here are some basic points about cohabitating with someone experiencing addiction.

9 guidelines to follow when your Loved One is under your roof

No matter what your reasons may be for having them at home right now (Covid-19, etc) here are 9 guidelines that we encourage you to follow as closely as you're able.

Write these down somewhere private, talk to a friend about them, or even read them out loud — whatever helps you commit them to memory and really integrate them into your approach. 

1) Rewards are reversible

A reward has to be quickly reversible; "home" is no exception (learn about the day bed and locker setup). Within a couple days of being asked to leave, they leave.


2) Research alternative housing options

Make a list for your Loved One. If you ask them to leave, where will they go? Start today and think through the options. A backup plan for housing should include as many options as you come up with including:

     – all treatment options,
     – temporary housing options (I’ll help you pay rent for a month or two…), and finally,
     – shelters.

Write down all the details – where, when, who to contact, etc.

3) Additional recovery supports are a non-negotiable from the get-go

The decision to let them stay (again, define the probationary period) can only happen if they design and start showing up for a recovery plan. Have your Loved One design the plan from the community treatments you have listed in #2. Perhaps they come up with additional ideas on their own.

4) Your home is drug-free

It's your home, you get to decide what you want, or don't want, going on under your roof. Your home is drug-free (with moderation or harm reduction strategies the line between "use" and "non-use" can shift).

5) Come home once you've come down

If they're high, they wait until they've come down before returning home.

6) Establish basic rules

Establish basic house rules as adults sharing a communal space. This includes showing respect for family members by checking in (for example by phone or text) when you are due home, etc.


7) A Family member administers MAT

If your Loved One is taking a medication, consider moving towards a family member doing the dosing each morning (as per the Behavioral Couples Therapy model[1])

8) Remove all substances that could be problematic or tempting

Even if this isn't currently a problem, be proactive and go the preventative route. Your house is free of alcohol and any substances that can be misused. This includes cold medicine, computer cleaner, yes — things you can’t imagine ever wanting to swallow. See this list to help you find them all.

9) A loose social contract: a verbal or written agreement

There is an agreement as to what will happen if your providing housing (following the above framework) flips to become enabling of your Loved One's substance use. The goal of "providing housing in order to support recovery" is made clear, but you both acknowledge that situations can flip (often a 180° about face), and you will have a plan in place in case your housing your LO starts to look like "enabling their use".

You are careful to be looking carefully for these signs. Practicing CRAFT daily will help you be clued into signs and symptoms. If there's a "flip," you're the one who'll need to see it and move to plan B (ref: see #1 and #2 on this list). Plan B is about other housing options. Treatment, shelters, some other place than your home. You're fine with providing room & board as long as they're holding up their part of the deal.

Remember, this is a "loose social contract" – it's not binding, it's not a legal agreement. It's about communicating with each other openly and laying down your plan in case the tide shifts. You can give them a heads up with a simple statement like this:

"If I see that being here has become a problem, will you at that point agree to accept further/more intensive treatment?"

And if this does become reality, you may say something like this: 

You are always welcome here when you aren’t using drugs. This is not the case right now, and I can’t continue to help you use, which I am doing by allowing you to live here. I am enabling your use. I must stop. I’m sorry. This is my part in all this."



As far as your specific situation, Tmas, here are some thoughts for your daughter:

  • Daily self help meeting – ideally before going to work (see our extensive list of online meetings)

  • SUD therapist, look for training in trauma

  • Psychiatrist for mental health assessment

  • Medication Assisted Treatment – buprenorphine (Suboxone) or methadone; perhaps start with Suboxone and let the psychiatrist assess if methadone is needed.

  • Nutritionist, exercise, mindfulness supports, yoga…

  • House of worship??


And for you (let's not forget that you will need to be super centered and solid if you're going to be her rock in recovery):


If your Loved One says "no" or gets upset, say “thanks for listening” and give them a few days to think it over. Then, bring it back up and try again. Come back soon and tell us how it’s going.


[1]  or



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)

  1. Dominique,
    Thank you so much for reiterating the fact that a loved one may need to move out of the family home and it is indeed in keeping with the practice of CRAFT. Our son came back into the family home and continued to use Heroin despite the agreed upon boundaries we had set. Thankfully, he had a smooth transition from our home into his own apartment and is currently in outpatient treatment. He works full time, pays his own debts, and appears to be working on his recovery. Granted, he wasn’t transitioning into homelessness, but we were prepared for that choice if it happened. This is always a tough choice and comes down to what is best in the long run for the person with SUD. Our sanity and ultimately physical health was at stake. I believe sometimes CRAFT can be seen as all touchy-feely with no hard consequences, when in fact, natural consequences are a major component. That may include separating your loved one from the home. Thank you again.

  2. You are too kind.

    Oh boy – do I have a lot to digest. Thank you sooo kindly for the amazing, well thought out response with amazing insight. I really need to mull over this and adopt a different outlook on this situation. Yes I am on high alert. I was even setting my alarm every 90 minutes to check on her for breathing. I have ceased that after a month and went back to self care.. I will read this over with a fine tooth comb and move on it.
    THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH – I don’t know what I would do without you…Much love and respect. oxoxox