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Celebrating Positive Steps

Dandelion - Hope

An Allies member shares a report of some recent wins after a few months of laying the groundwork, CRAFT-style. Read on for an inspiring account of positive steps in the right direction…

"I wanted to share some updates. Though my son is still using, we had some unexpected wins in the last week or so, which all happened after meeting with his psychiatrist for a med check. Not missing the appointment was a win. His doctor knows about my concerns with his use and how it keeps him from functioning. He asked my son great questions, and for the most part my son was honest, but he wouldn't admit the connection between his drug use and the struggles he's having. When his doctor asked him about his relationship with us, my son told him, "It's good when I'm not using, but they're hostile when I do use". I guess he is feeling the effects of CRAFT (even though our hostility emerges very seldom now).

Eventually, his doctor told him that only he, my son, can determine if he's using too much, but that he needs to be vigilant to make sure it's not affecting his relationship with his family and getting in the way of his goals to graduate, etc. Later that day, my son missed his drum lessons for the second week in a row because he was hanging out with his friends. He loves his drum teacher and I know he felt bad about it.

THEN, later that week he stayed in twice after being asked to go hang out, and he went to school for the first time in a couple of weeks. Once, I actually heard him tell his friend that it was too late to go out and he had school in the morning. He even submitted is university application (now we just need to get him to graduate).

Last Saturday, he was home all day. This was a huge chunk of time that he spend at home and given the other wins earlier in the week, I offered to take him driving as a reward. I haven't done this before. I enjoyed our time so much and told him I hope we can do it more often, but that I need to feel safe when he's behind the wheel, and he knows what he needs to do. I think he enjoyed our time together, too.

Saturday evening didn't turn out so good. He came home very stoned, a few minutes before his midnight curfew, when he gets a call from his other using friend inviting him to go over. He asked me if he could go, I said no, he's said he's going to go, I said don't erase the positive things you've built up this week, he says he's going to go, and I said then don't come home until you are sober tomorrow. He leaves, I lock the door, and about 20 minutes later I hear him trying to get in the house, but he was locked out. I haven't had a chance to tell him we don't want him to come home stoned anymore, like you suggested, and I could tell he was surprised when I told him not to come home – even though he was pretty stoned.

He ended up back at his friends (I tracked him), so I was able to sleep that night. We didn't see him until the next day. When he came home, he said he tried to get in the night before. I just said maybe you shouldn't have left. Then he said he was going to call his cousin to see about going to a Super Bowl party later that day. I was hoping all week he would do this because this party would have great kids there and no alcohol or drugs. I stepped away from him for the day thinking this was all talk, but to my surprise, he did go to this party, with his cousin. When he came home, he said he had a good time, but he seemed melancholy. I suspect it's got to feel awkward reconnecting with kids he's blown off for his using friends, but I know these kids always ask about him. I expected him to leave to go use, but he stayed home.

He went to school on Monday, and after not hearing from him all day, he came home pretty stoned. On Tuesday, he didn't go to school. We asked him if we could talk to him about some boundaries (the not coming home stoned thing), but he didn't want to. That day, he stayed home, spent about 3 hours teaching himself a song on the piano, then left for his drum lesson, which he'd missed the two weeks before, and stayed for dinner before going out with his using friend. He came home on time – not sure if he used or not. We had a huge snow storm on Wednesday and he even cleaned the driveway with the snow blower after I asked him to. What???

I've written so many times about my frustrations with him, that I wanted to share some very unexpected wins we've had. These are behaviors we haven't seen for a very, very long time. We aren't in the clear, and I know patience is key, but it's so nice to finally see a glimmer of hope. Thank you AIR, CRAFT, and this entire community. I've read so many of the blog postings and recognize so many of the challenges of living with an LO who uses. I'm hesitant to be too optimistic, but I do continue to be hopeful. Approaching my LO's use with CRAFT has had such an impact on me. It's lightened the burden of living with my son's SUD and is helping me rebuild my life and my relationship with my son.

But I must say, I couldn't do CRAFT effectively without the support of AIR. AIR is what's helped me see how to apply CRAFT in my situation. AIR has provided me clarity, strength and encouragement. AIR has kept me from reacting and helps me to think strategically about how to best support my son. AIR is making a HUGE DIFFERENCE and I can't thank you enough."




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. Awesome! I’m so happy for you! Keep up the good work and stay positive. It sounds like he is really trying and wants to please himself, which will please you. Thank you so much for sharing this story with CRAFT!

  2. This is so helpful to read. Thank you for sharing in such detail. I appreciate hearing about the flow of happenings and choices and the acceptance and patience it requires. Your information is both practical and inspiring for applying CRAFT methods. Thank you!