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Do You Need Guidance with Your Situation?


If you have a question about something you've read or seen on this site, here's your opportunity to ask!   Perhaps it's a question about something you experienced, read or heard elsewhere. That's fine, too.

Use the question/comment box below.



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. I’m sure this is old territory, but I get triggered when my 24 yo son takes a shower. He has OD’d twice in there, and used frequently. I tried to message him:
    “ I know that hovering is irritating. Since you’ve used in the bathroom before, I get anxious after a while. It’s reassuring when you shower and don’t use. It means a lot to your recovery, IMHO.”
    His shower was shorter, snd he’s out of the BR. He doesn’t seem triggered. I did some breathing to settle down.
    Any feedback?

  2. My son is 23 years old . He’s in treatment now I’ve been enabling him in different ways without knowing. Should we allow him to come home after treatment or he should be on his own right away thanks

  3. I am so happy to have been referred to this site. Our problem right now is that we have no idea if our son is using or not. He only contacts us by phone text if he needs money. He gives us no information. He also has BPD. We can only guess at this point.

    1. buckeyebunny,

      We’re so happy you got the referral and are here! Welcome!

      You are not alone in this situation of your Loved One being out of touch, or far away, and your only communication being when he needs something. Many families on this site are working to make CRAFT successful despite physical distance and limited communications.

      We have a couple of tags on the Discussion Blog that will bring you to posts you might want to peruse:

      – “loved one far away” (


      – “texting” (

      With a solid understanding of CRAFT, which you’re getting as you go through the Learning Modules, plus a touch of creativity, you should consider texts and the phone to be your new canvas, a new, wide-open place to express things CRAFTily and begin rebuilding the bridge between you and your son.

      You may also really get an excellent jump-start by listening to two recent podcast episodes we recorded:

      Learning how to apply CRAFT with a LO who’s far away: (

      and its sequel:

      Do’s & don’ts when you’re on the phone with an addicted Loved One:

      As you text, keep in mind the following:

      — don’t ask questions or put them on the spot,
      — don’t act needy, as if for you to feel OK, you need them to respond,
      — don’t talk about/allude to the use
      — avoid a ‘worried’ tone
      — do remind them that you’re there,
      — do remind them that you’re ready to help with treatment when they’re ready (use this one sparingly!!),
      — do remind them in different, clever ways of the warmth, connection and fuzzy feelings that they could have more of, IF they inched a little closer back into your world
      — do apologize if you overstepped a boundary recently,
      — do reward them with encouraging words if you can figure out anything at all that they’ve done that you see as positive, non-use, or a step towards recovery.

      A couple of ideas for neutral, supportive texts (keeping ) :

      “Hello son, thinking of you today and just wanted to send you a big warm hug!”

      “Was taking a walk and saw (xyz thing that reminds you of him in a good way) and thought I’d just send a quick message to say hi. OX”

      “Dearest, it’s been a few days and I wanted to send this little message to remind you we are here for you and love you deeply.”

      and on and on and on.

      Texts are actually awesome (even though when it’s all you’ve got it can of course feel quite limited, and frustrating when you want to apply CRAFT in all its splendor) … How are texts awesome for our objectives?

      – excellent, short and contained ways to practice neutral, positive communications

      — a good way to avoid conflict/arguments

      — perfect for getting sweet and loving (attach a picture that will make them smile, use emojis…)

      — think of your text as a postcard – you can truly make it a one-way communication sometimes, just share what you did today, or where you went, just drop a few morsels of your existence that might strike a chord with him and remind him of positive memories.

      Of course, we are not suggesting sending 10 texts a day. The idea is building the bridge gradually, leaving some pauses to reinforce the contrast between “with family” and “without family” or “with connection” and “without connection”. Pace them with what you know of him, and what feels natural for you.

      Of course, your goal is to get them to come towards you more often. Be ready for a phone call … listening to the ‘Reflective Listening’ podcast episode may help you with these calls in which a LO calls and has demands (

      We’re wishing you all the best. Please do keep us posted!

      1. Thank you for this response! My husband and I have started viewing the modules and learning CRAFT. I will listen and look at your suggestions. Our son has recently upped his requests for money to harassment levels. He wants us to cosign a $12,000 school loan. We are telling him no (via email). Not looking forward to what comes next.

  4. My LO is diagnosed with treatment resistant depression, anxiety disorders, adhd, and ocd. He gets weekly therapy with a therapist, and weekly check-ins with his psychiatrist. He is currently going through ECT for his depression. He has had 5 sessions so far and does not feel any different. I know that is still considered early in the treatment, but he gives up easily if he doesn’t get results quickly.

    He quit going to the gym regularly and getting together with friends, which are two red flags for him. He recently abused some sleeping meds by taking three pills during the day. We keep his prescriptions locked up, but he got his new meds from the pharmacy before we could lock them up. He’s struggled with drinking and abusing prescription drugs for years. His ruminating thoughts are his worst enemy. He told me that when he stops exercising and withdraws from friends and family that it’s a sign that he’s in a bad way.

    I’m looking at CRAFT and trying to figure out what my response is at this point. He’s not drinking or abusing right now, but his choices to withdraw from everyone and not get out and exercise leave him ample time to entertain toxic, negative thoughts in his head. He’s also participating in DBT right now. He just doesn’t apply what he’s learning to his personal situation. I don’t think he knows how to establish little goals for where he is this day.

  5. He out foxed us.

    We have been using CRAFT faithfully. Sadly – and shockingly – our son has entirely out maneuvered us.

    We provide a rented room in a shared house for our now 27-year old son. When we established a boundary of not giving him any more cash (money, in any form, triggered more substance use) and offered to take him grocery shopping or have groceries delivered, he up and left his room (after a short self-guided detox from opiates) and moved into a multi-million dollar condo and is fully sponsored by (and working for?) what we assume is a criminal organization. Gifts galore….restaurant bought out for his birthday (during lockdown), thousands of dollars of designer gear in a birthday shopping spree, and now a Rolex being sported on his wrist. He calls them family. He has no suspicion that they mean him any harm and no qualms about being treated as “family” by virtual strangers.

    The reason? He claims “we left him alone”. We told him to “work for it” (meaning money). We didn’t do either.

    Our only CRAFT option is to not reward this behavior by being in contact with him while he is engaged in criminal activity or associating with these individuals.

    We are stunned. And out foxed. WHAT IS OUR NEXT MOVE?

    1. The story you tell of your son’s move from a room in a shared house, to a quick self-guided detox from opiates, to participation in a criminal organization which is setting him up with a cushy, luxurious lifestyle, is indeed astonishing.

      It is unclear whether or not your son continues to use opiates or other substances, but in any case, he seems to be continuing to engage in unhealthy, dangerous and illegal activity.

      Has he gone off the deep end … or is this just a highly dramatic way of rebelling against his family and/or punishing you? Or something else, or all of the above…? …

      Read my full response to stacynewmancilento here:

  6. My 27 year old son is actively using – not sure exactly what substances. He admitted to Meth and MJ and he is living with us (me and husband). He talks to us on very superficial and brief terms. He was arrested and sentenced to probation 2 years and community labor. I took him to the probation only once in March. He said he will take care of it himself but I observe no effort on his part.

    I started CRAFT and the 12 steps training around that time. I realized I had been enabling him by letting him return home plus being on him about his legal obligations. He certainly does not appreciate the “controlling” “hovering” “nagging” mother and I identify that as one of his triggers to use. Subsequently, with the knowledge I gained from your website, I have backed off.

    It has been three/ four weeks and he appears to be using less (risk reduced) but he is still very non verbal except when he uses. He stares into space, talking to himself when he uses, he talks excessively about space, God, Artificial Intelligence, and some other nonsense as well. I cannot get through to him when he is in that state.

    Any suggestions as to how I can improve our communication? or how can I create an environment where he feels comfy and we can actually chat.

    Thank you for any suggestions

    1. Hi motherincrisis,

      It is really wonderful to hear that you’ve started working on the Allies in Recovery (Allies) CRAFT-based modules. You report that this has helped you to identify some ways to change your approach with your son. Your goal is supporting a reduction in the stress he might experience that typically would have triggered him to use. It’s also very encouraging that he appears to have reduced his use.

      You’re reaching out for more support with learning more communication skills and creating an environment that might help your son to feel more comfortable with you and perhaps help him be more open to suggestions.

      Based on what you describe of your situation, the first modules I’d suggest you watch (or re-watch) are: …..

      Read Laurie MacDougall’s full response to motherincrisis here:

  7. My alcoholic and depressed brother has been living with me for over a year. Antidepressants are not helping. He says he does not want to live but does not have a suicide plan. His plan is basically keep drinking and wait to die. I can’t live with this any more..he has totally given up on even little ways he was engaging in life. He refuses to consider even drinking less. He refuses any kind of therapy or groups. He drinks 12-16 beers a day. I considered section 35 but I am concerned that they will just detox him and not deal with the underlying depression. Do you have any advice for me? I have watched all of your videos which are somewhat helpful but do not seem to apply to him.

    1. Thanks so much for writing in. We have just recently published a post for another sister, catair, who’s in a similar situation: she is deeply concerned about her brother who seems to be “drinking himself to death.” Please take a look at our answer to her, when you can. It will also address your questions about Section 35.

      While your fears are similar to those expressed by catair, I have the impression that your brother may actually be moderating his drinking (see this post in Resource Supplement). How sure are you that your brother drinks between 12-16 beers a day?

      At 65 years of age, serious active beer drinkers are drinking more like a case and a half a day of beer a day. Two six-packs spaced out over the day, doesn’t get a seasoned drinker high. It is a baseline, a strategy of sorts, the minimum that will get and keep you in a slightly uplifted mood.

      Read our full response to cdollard here:

  8. Hi I would like to get into support group for NAR- Anon.
    My son is hook up on opiods substances . It’s very hard for me to accept this. Seeing my son to refused received treatment. He had to be removed from my home due to his inappropriate behaviors toward me and my husband . Now I am suffered with panic attacks ,Anxiety and Depression , currently receiving treatment with a clinician and psychiatrist. Just need to be able to managed my feelings emotions when I see other young fellas out there when I only think that could be my son . I haven’t seeing him since 3 days before Christmas last year I mis him very much I would like to give him a hug my love.

    Thank you.

    1. Hello medalit, thanks for your comment. I have sent you a link via email to connect with a Nar-Anon group near you (or online).

      You write about having panic attacks, anxiety and depression. This is all very understandable given the trauma of having your child using dangerous substances, and disappearing from your world. I am so glad you are receiving professional treatment for this.

      One of the best resources on this website is our podcast – you can listen right here on the site, or you can click “download” and put the episode on your computer or phone to listen to another time.

      Laurie MacDougall is a mom who went through many of these exact issues, and she (and her son!) have come through to the other side. She has a giant heart, a lot of knowledge and has become an expert in the CRAFT method for families. Her co-host Kayla Solomon is a therapist with much experience with addiction in the family.

      All of the topics addressed on our show are aimed at helping the family feel better, and move forward, both for themselves, and to become a better support for their Loved One. I really recommend you tune in and listen to a few episodes!

      Here’s the link to the Podcast Menu:

      All our best.

  9. My loved one is an alcoholic and has been for about 12 years, being on and off with sobriety. He’s been secretly drinking (not to the point of being obviously drunk so it’s been hard for me to tell when he is drinking) for the last 6 months, although he has just entered rehab for 21 days (so grateful).

    He also has adult ADD and is not managing that with any medications. I’m curious if there is a link between ADD and alcoholism? I’ve read a few things that say there is and I’m wondering if suggesting to try out some non-addictive medication (for his ADD) to see how he feels on it might help with relapse.

    1. shunter1111, Dr. John Fitzgerald ( has provided the following response to your question:

      “There really is not much information here. Usually we treat ADD with stimulant medications, but people can use alcohol to self-medicate symptoms. If the person has diagnosable ADD then they should explore with a prescriber medication options. Hopefully in rehab the person will have a comprehensive evaluation to see what else is driving the drinking, perhaps other co-occurring disorders – depression, trauma, and attachment.”

      Hope this helpful. Best, Isabel

      1. shunter1111: Medications for treating other conditions like a learning or mood disorder, anything behavioral really, should be considered. Use CRAFT skills (module 8) to guide your LO towards a trained professional. So I agree with John. Look for psychiatrists or behavioral health/psychiatric nurse practitioners. Perhaps your Loved one would also consider something to help with the drinking, such as naltrexone.

        We don’t know how your LO will react to an ADD drug. There are multiple paths to recovery, medications for other behavioral health issues and for the drinking should be explored carefully. You can help by finding someone for your LO to see and shepherding your LO into an appointment with a prescriber for an explorative conversation. Thank you for your question.

  10. My loved one is sober for 4 months. He is in an intensive therapy group 3 days a week. He has double diagnosis. Our communication is sometimes good, sometimes not…we do our bests.
    For several weeks now, he plays a game on his telephone and laptop, it s about golf and produces some noises. So he sits and plays. I do not like it but I try to stay calm and relaxed, as I read that it was quite common recovering addicts taken on such an activity. I thought it was also best to avoid a sort of power struggle about it.
    But I think I hoped he would play less after a while, which is not the case. it s hard to make eye contact, to say a proper “see you next week’ or give him a spontaneous hug, as he is cought up in his play and often irritated to be disturbed.

    It leaves me depressed…What should I do?

    1. Hello lieveDo:

      Thanks so much for writing in and sharing the encouraging news that your Loved One has been abstinent from alcohol for several months now. Good for him! and Good for you, we know you have made plenty of efforts to help him using CRAFT.

      We touched upon this issue in our last podcast. Laurie and Kayla talked about the usefulness of these video/online games in early recovery as a coping tool to avoid relapse. It is, of course, possible to slide towards too much use of video games, something to think about later, but for now your Loved One sounds like he’s doing very well with sobriety, and the games help keep his mind occupied.

      As for his hurtful lack of goodbye, give it time. Say your goodbye when you see a pause in his use, after a bathroom break? Abstinence doesn’t equal emotional maturity, nor even politeness.

      And our timeframe and expectations are not the same as their timeframe and expectations. Deep breath.

      1. Dear Dominique, thank you. It’s good to remind me to give it time and to focus on the sober part. That is an accomplishment! And to be aware that so much is going on. I will continue to learn…

  11. Hi
    I have a brother who is very sick with his alcohol addiction. It is so bad he has become unable to walk and at times is incontinent. He was recently in a well-known hospital for 12 days then taken to a rehab/nursing home. At this time he is still considered able to communicate and take care of himself supposedly and he signed himself out. Within two days he was back to hard-core drinking, he did call and make an appointment at a treatment center for two weeks. My question is if he is so sick that his body is shutting down how can he live. He can’t stand by himself he can’t shower himself he does not eat, he only drinks. In the past two years he has gone into a treatment center four times and as soon as he leaves he comes home and drinks. He refuses to leave his house and go into a sober house. He has family and friends who care he had a job but was let go due to his drinking last year, he was a working alcoholic his boss told us. He is 62 years old and still in denial about his drinking . I am afraid that he will probably die either from falling or alcohol withdrawals. Are there any suggestions that family can help him? We did consider a section 35 which last year he probably would have been able to survive but right now I don’t think he could survive. As the person who lives closest to him are you should get the calls I try to be kind but it’s not always possible especially when it’s been going on for so long and he has very little respect for me or himself at this time.

    1. You are writing in with a difficult question: where to draw the line in influencing your 62-year-old brother who is seriously drinking and has “given up…engaging in life.”

      Is there a moment when the family heeds the Loved One’s apparent desire and lets the person drink themselves to death?

      You might do it out of frustration as you describe it, or despair, since it looks like there are no good choices. Your brother is not able to stop drinking at home.

      Your brother, though, is not completely resistant to seeking help. He books himself in for short-term detoxification but refuses the longer stays in less intensive care. He comes home and starts to drink again.

      Your brother isn’t totally resistant to care, or he wouldn’t have gone to rehab, and wouldn’t have reserved a spot in treatment two weeks out.

      Read my full response to catair here:

  12. My Husband is approx. 2 months post-inpatient rehab (30 day stay) for alcohol use and I found out he missed one of his appointments for random testing (that was set up by him and his employer through a drug/alcohol monitoring program) as well as I found an empty wine bottle in his car. He admitted he has occasionally had a couple drinks here and there, but claims he is doing “really good” overall.

    I am very upset and concerned; as this is pretty much how the pattern started back over the last couple episodes of hospitalizations for pancreatitis.

    This is the first time that he went to in-patient rehab though. I want to be encouraging, but am again upset and back to square one with feeling resentful and betrayed.

    I have read that many alcoholics have relapses and sometimes learn from it and can do better at trying to prevent it from happening again after a relapse, but if he is already slipping and falling back into the need/desire to drink, should I be very concerned? Does this mean he should possibly go back to rehab? He is also not consistently going to the AA Meetings (only if I ask or say are you going to a meeting this week) Also does not have a sponsor.

    I just don’t want to feel like I have to start being the spy and searching for the bottles again, but how do I know what is really going on? He is not the “drunk” that drinks all day and comes in drunk; it is very difficult to detect when he has had a drink. He has always been more of the high functioning alcoholic.

    I just don’t want to set myself up for unrealistic expectations; I just have a bad feeling that we are going backwards. I am worried that he still doesn’t acknowledge that he ever had a problem to begin with.

    1. lbell, so glad you found us and so glad you wrote in about this issue. How old is your Loved One? Pancreatitis suggests a severe level of alcohol use, perhaps even chronic. We suggest you step in quickly if there is another hiccup. Chronic pancreatitis can be deadly.

      Begin scripting and practicing the talk now (Key Observations #15 and #21 help you practice making basic requests & requests that they seek help):

      “Love, I believe you when you say that overall you are really doing good. I can see it. You look good. I can tell you feel better. I also know we’re not kids. We have been together XX years, and I’m more hopeful than I’ve been in a long time.

      I love you. I know that even a drop of alcohol is too much for you. You cannot afford to chip.

      Would you be willing to spend a minute here now, talking with me about what we should do if you have another bottle of wine? Would you be willing to go immediately back to X (inpatient program) should something else happen?”

      Module 8 guides you through doing a low-key intervention and making a request that your Loved One seek more treatment.

      Read my full response to lbell here:

    1. Thanks for your question. Yes, this is a more and more common phenomenon and there are indeed networks and groups in place.

      See Laurie MacDougall’s recent post that responds to a grandparent looking for support. She includes several good links to services out there:

      Also, here are all of the posts that come up when you go to the “topic/tag” on the Discussion Blog called “grandparents” :

      Please let us know what you try/what works for you.

  13. My girlfriend has been through detox 6 times this year. 2 Detox facilities, and 4 ER visits. She just left one after refusing to transfer to a long term rehab center and now is adamant that she will never drink again. I need a break from worrying about her and her drinking 24/7. I’ve asked for space, but she says I’m punishing her for finally getting help. I know we’re encouraged to reward sobriety. How do I take care of myself and not have this framed as me “kicking her out” just when she’s getting sober?

    1. Hi Jamp, thanks so much for your question. Your Loved One (LO) has been in and out of detox and ERs over the last 6 months. She has now opted out of treatment at a long-term rehab center and is talking about going her recovery on her own.

      You are exhausted, and aware that you need more time and space to take care of you, yet you desire to do things as gently as possible, so as not to discourage her or throw her off track.

      We commend you for both of these objectives, and we think it is feasible to accomplish both.

      Rather than “asking for space,” we suggest you gently “take some space.” Here’s what the microcosm of this might look like in a typical, day-to-day application of CRAFT:

      Family member and Loved One are in the living room together. Loved One is cracks a beer, or is hungover, or otherwise pushing their family member away with aggressive behavior, blaming talk, etc. Family member (rather than saying “please leave, you’re drinking and you know I don’t like that”) quietly says, “I’m going to read in my room. See you tomorrow.”

      The family member has taken her own needs into her own hands — who better to do so than oneself? — while making a point about the use/behavior, and letting her absence be felt… all this without saying more than 10 words. No conflict, no requests, no time for tension to mount.

      In your situation, you seek to both support her sobriety, and support yourself. Riding her rollercoaster over the months and years is taking a toll on you and you must replenish your energy.

      We suggest that _you_ be the one to take a leave, if only a temporary one. Again, this way you are telling, not requesting. Taking what you need and not expecting anyone else (especially someone who has just a few days’ or weeks’ sobriety) to be looking out for you.

      Figure out where you can go, where you’ll still be close enough to see your LO regularly, and where you’ll truly be able to disconnect from the dynamics and drama of home. A place that feels peaceful, where no one will be asking you a million questions… where you are free to process and recuperate as needed.

      Once arrangements have been made, find a moment that feels peaceful between you, and let your LO know in a gentle way what your plans are. Here is a sample of language you might use:

      “Dearest, I love you. I am so proud of you for wanting to take your recovery by the horns. I believe in you and I want to be a great support to you.

      I’ve decided to allow myself a short break away from home, for 1 week (2 weeks? 4? fill in the blank here) — please know this is by no means a punishment. It’s more about me. I care about you so much, and these past 6 months have been emotionally exhausting for me.

      I can feel that my levels of fatigue and stress are high, and I know I won’t be much help to anyone like this. I hope you’ll understand that I’m giving myself this time to rest and recuperate.

      I would love it if we could keep seeing each other while I’m gone. (Brainstorm some crafty covid-friendly date/outing options beforehand and mention some ideas). And if you agree, I’d like it if we could check in daily by phone?

      I am so looking forward to knowing you sober, for our relationship to grow and evolve. Thanks for understanding my needs right now.”

      In case it wasn’t obvious, the idea of dates/informal outings, and phone calls, is *rewards*. As long as she’s not using, you really want to keep rewarding her, even if you just can’t be that “rock” at home right now. She needs to feel your presence, your encouragement, and know that you’re appreciating her sobriety. But of course, your.oxygen.mask.first !!!

      The other thing we would really encourage you to do (and maybe your hiatus will give you the space and time you’ll need, but feel free to start now, too) is immerse yourself in Module 4, “How Do I Talk to My Loved One?” (Here’s the link: — this will help you vastly improve your communications, better manage difficult moments, and practice making requests that get you a “Yes” in response.

      Keep us posted, we are rooting for you both. xo

      1. Thank you so much for this response. I wish I had found this place earlier. The situation is complicated by us being at my mothers house, while my mom is out of town. All year we were in her house in Vermont, where I felt unable to leave because she would follow (drunk). I’ve been enabler in chief all year thinking I couldn’t leave because she would die. She slept all day only woke up to drink and she would be miserable. So was I of course. Aside from the few days after each detox. But I basically waited for her to pass out so I could do my work and pretended I was fine. We came here for work that was happening in the area (we’re actors). She was sober for 5 days before we came here I was hopeful, But she went out to mail something and got drunk, and everything exploded again and I realized how bad the situation has gotten for both of us. It was obvious to all my family. That was at my limit or my bottom I guess. I didn’t want her to die so while she was in a hotel room for her movie shoot in various states of drunkenness and being passed out I reached out to a substance abuse counselor who got her to go to detox. I communicated that I wasn’t comfortable with her plan to rehab on her own and wouldn’t go to Vermont or our NYC apartment with her because I don’t trust myself to not fall back into the enabling pattern. Does this info change any suggestions? I will do my best to apply your advice. Thank you so much.

        1. Hi Jamp, thanks so much for your question. Your Loved One (LO) has been in and out of detox and ERs over the last 6 months. She has now opted out of treatment at a long-term rehab center and is talking about going her recovery on her own.

          You’re exhausted, and aware that you need more time and space to take care of you, yet you desire to do things as gently as possible, so as not to discourage her or throw her off track.

          We commend you for both of these objectives, and we think it is feasible to accomplish both.

          Rather than “asking for space,” we suggest you gently “take some space.” Here’s what the microcosm of this might look like in a typical, day-to-day application of CRAFT:

          Read our full response to Jamp here:

  14. My partner has had a problem with anxiety for over 20 years and has treated it with alcohol. He also has a prescription for klonopin which he would use for his anxiety/hangovers, which eventually fueled this terrible cycle. He is currently sober of alcohol and benzo but now suffering from severe anxiety and panic attacks regularly which is affecting his daily life and ability to do things and even leave the house. He enrolled himself in a “dual diagnosis” IOP, but due to his anxiety can’t even leave the house let alone sit in a classroom for 6 hours. Luckily they are offering it through zoom, but his mental health is not being addressed and it is basically 6 hours of group AA. He is actively seeking help but does not know where to start, or what is the best option. What is the next best step for him? An inpatient program? Stick with dual diagnosis? IOP for mental health? Focus first on mental health? He thinks his anxiety is being dismissed and is only viewed as an alcoholic/addict of klonopin, and can’t seem to get his anxiety issues addressed appropriately. I can see him feeling hopeless and frustrated because he wants HELP to address both issues, but right now the anxiety and panic attacks are really taking over. I am trying my hardest to practice reflective listening, and be supportive but it’s hard to do that when I am lost myself in trying to help my loved one find appropriate treatment. Thank you for your guidance!!

    1. Anxiety comes in many flavors – generalized, PTSD, social, OCD, and panic – but at the core, it’s about emotional regulation, or lack thereof.

      Addiction, in part, is an adaptive response to not having the developmental capacities to self-regulate emotions, or to anxiety born from attachment, trauma and adverse childhood experiences.

      Of course, he would benefit from effective treatment which first evaluates his anxiety (assuming sobriety time) in more detail, and then addresses it with the right interventions.

      Some steps he can take now to address his own anxiety symptoms
      There are a number of things that he can do on his own to address anxiety symptoms, including panic.

      Here are five interventions to consider …..

      Read John Fitzgerald’s full response to danie here:

  15. What do you do when you are asking him to leave for he has been drinking and he refuses to leave? We just sweep it under the rug and walk away from him!

    1. Glad you wrote in with this seemingly basic question! I feel as though you’re really on the right track here. With a few tweaks, I think we can get you even more clear and effective.

      From my point of view, your question touches both on the specifics of ‘removing rewards’ à la CRAFT, and on boundaries – how to stick to a boundary you’ve laid down.

      Reading your comment, I’m thinking, let’s figure out how to avoid this situation becoming habitual. You are trying to enforce a boundary and your Loved One is ignoring you. This is not great for anyone if it keeps happening: your Loved One will have less and less respect for your boundaries if you’re unable to really follow through with them, and you will end up feeling helpless, standing behind a boundary that’s not being respected.

      Before we dig more into boundaries, allow me a moment to highlight the major points to keep in mind when considering how you use rewards.

      Read my full response to Layla here:

      1. Hi again Layla, here’s Part 2:

        Boundaries are only useful if you can follow through and stand behind them!

        Our ‘Boundaries Queen’ at Allies is Laurie MacDougall, and if you haven’t read them already, we recommend that everyone check out her 2-part series on boundaries: here’s Part 1, and here’s Part 2. Laurie started out just like you — a family member on this site, looking for an approach to her Loved One’s SUD that resonated with her. Throughout the years of her applying CRAFT, shepherding her Loved One into recovery, and taking her own self-care and well-being by the horns, she has acquired a deep understanding of the importance of boundaries.

        Substance Use Disorder (SUD) aside, as human beings, in contact and communication with other human beings, I figure knowing how to set a boundary and stick to it, is simply essential.

        Here’s the cheat sheet I’ve put together after re-reading Laurie’s pieces on boundaries.

        Read the full post here:

      2. Hi again Layla, here’s Part 2:

        Boundaries are only useful if you can follow through and stand behind them!

        Our ‘Boundaries Queen’ at Allies is Laurie MacDougall, and if you haven’t read them already, we recommend that everyone check out her 2-part series on boundaries: here’s Part 1, and here’s Part 2. Laurie started out just like you — a family member on this site, looking for an approach to her Loved One’s SUD that resonated with her. Throughout the years of her applying CRAFT, shepherding her Loved One into recovery, and taking her own self-care and well-being by the horns, she has acquired a deep understanding of the importance of boundaries.

        Substance Use Disorder (SUD) aside, as human beings, in contact and communication with other human beings, I figure knowing how to set a boundary and stick to it, is simply essential.

        Here’s the cheat sheet I’ve put together after re-reading Laurie’s pieces on boundaries.

        Read the full post here:

  16. Hi there, I have done all the module and they are great. There is only problem, my friend who has a meth addiction, lives alone. I can’t tell when he is using versus sober in order to reinforce or not. He’s also really good at ‘acting’ normal even when high. He refuses to meet in person and doesn’t always answer his phone so I’m really stuck. Our only communication is the odd text and ever rarer, if he answers his phone. I’m so worried about him overdosing alone at home. Please help! Thanks, Kay.

    1. kerina3000, welcome to the site and thank you for being such a concerned and supportive friend. We’ve recently recorded a podcast that may address some of your concerns. Here’s the link:
      We’d suggest you listen to it and see if it may spark any ideas on moving things forward with your friend. Once you’ve listened and had time to consider, please write back in and let us know if you have further questions. All our best!

  17. Hello, thank you for your assistance. Your CRAFT modules provide guidance and support, thank you.
    I am not sure what to do. My son (20s) struggling with substance use (meth). He has been in the hospital but not treatment. Two years ago he went through court ordered treatment for marijuana. So now he says he’s against treatment. He started seeing a psych. therapist for depression. He did not use for about 3 weeks after released from the hospital. But now he is again. He doesn’t realize that I know. I am using the techniques from CRAFT with him for any conversations we do have. I am keeping positive with him. But he IS using. He sometimes doesn’t come home for a few days, then maybe just for a few hours for laundry. He has dropped out of college, but works full time at a restaurant. The counseling is just starting, two sessions in, so do I give it more time before changing anything? Do I continue to give positive reinforcement to foster lower use? I am confused if I should keep the living arrangement as it is and look for wishes or dips, or push for something else. Also, is there hope for a recovery for him since it is meth? Thank you in advance for your guidance.

    1. People absolutely do recover from meth!

      Methamphetamine is a challenging drug to recover from but people absolutely do recover and go on to live healthy lives. You have but to look at David Sheff’s son to see the influence one former “meth head” can have, and to be in awe by how far Nick has come. Nick and his father’s writings have touched so many people in similar circumstances.

      Depression with meth withdrawal is achingly slow to lift.

      Your son is struggling and is being treated for depression. This isn’t surprising because depressed feelings accompany most (all?) drug withdrawals. The difference with meth is that the depression lifts so achingly slowly that it’s barely noticeable.

      And the thing with depression is that it carries with it a unique, dominant belief: that is, the strong belief that things are hopeless.

      William Styron, who wrote Sophie’s Choice, suffered from debilitating depression that came on when he quit alcohol in his 50’s. The New York Times calls the author of Darkness Visible “the Great God of Depression.” In his “memoir of madness”, he describes something unique to depression, in that with depression, the mind sees no end. Styron talks about being in Paris to accept a prize and seriously considering stepping off the curb into the traffic on the way to the ceremony.

      In his now-famous NYT Op-Ed, where he outs himself as mentally ill, he describes one particular bout of depression with these words: “my nights were without sleep and my days were pervaded with a gray drizzle of unrelenting horror. This horror is virtually indescribable since it bears no relation to normal experience.”

      Read my full response to jl5549 here:

  18. I have worked through the lectures and exercises, this has been so useful. I have also had a consultation with Pam Lanhart. There are a couple of things I think I KNOW I need to change but struggle with right now as I have got into a rut with my 16 yr old son who uses cannabis (illegal in this country, UK).
    My sitution: During the first lockdown last May-June my son was in transition between secondary school and college. Exams got cancelled. He had not had a great time in secondary school – no friends. He had focused on his learning to distract him from those painful feelings, then exams got cancelled – he was very angry and sad. During the lockdown young people were mixing on the streets that were not mixing before, it could have been great and well it WAS for my son and still IS – or so he says. He discovered weed and a new circle of friends. His use soon escalated (at first I was not too worried) to him using it every day, I expressed my concern and suggested he speaks to drugs counsellor and GP. Reluctantly he did both. He interpreted the response as there not being a problem. I knew I had to accept he does not want to give up, but smoking in the flat was my boundary. When he kept violating it I said ‘one more time and I will call the police’, which eventually I did. This was the lowest point in our relationship. After that he – in his own words – had as little to do with me as he possibly could and also continued to smoke in our flat. He sustained not speaking to me at all for three weeks, despite just having started at a new school and ordinarily there would be a lot to talk about. I planned a holiday for us in Greece and I was glad he did not refuse to come. We argued one whole night but then we were okay, it seemed he could connect with the part of me that wasn’t all bad.
    As I am a social worker I can lose my professional registration with illegal activity in my flat, it is also against my tenancy agreement. The smoking in the flat became such a focus for me, I lost sight of almost everything else. My son felt unwelcome at home and told me so, because we had constant arguments about weed. sometimes I would be calm reminding him of the house rule, sometimes not so calm, but I made it a rule for myself to never just let it go. Until … I came up with the idea to allow it once a week, recently, as a compromise, and asked him if he could live with that and keep to it. He said yes, but he hasn’t. Now I feel compromised He is not keeping to it and I carry the big risk of getting a conviction and losing my professional registration. I have told him all this but he can’t imagine that would ever happen, so in his mind I am overreacting and so he does not respect me saying those things. In light of the teachings here I can see that am actually rewarding his use at the moment. One big argument we had recently was when he said I was treating him differently when he is high, looking down on him, ridiculing him. That is never my intention. In light of the teachings here I notice that now I am SOOO intent on making sure I am NO different to him when he is high …. instead of withdrawing, removing rewards and connection. Another way I reward his use is that because I know that after he is high he wants sweet things, so I have a lot of sweet things in the house. Sometimes I even bring things to eat to him when he is in that state of constant hunger after having used cannabis. I have already been really annoyed about him keeping asking for food and THOUGHT of refusing to get him food when he is high, but I have not done it yet. So what am I afraid of? I am so conflicted because I have also learned that the opposite of addiction is connection. I fear (and this has happened for example after I called the police) that HE will disconnect from me if I reinstate my old rule of no weed in the flat (which I know is right), he will be around the corner at his friend’s the whole time (who is also his dealer, just a teen middle person) whose mother allows all the teens from our neighbourhood congregate in her house and smoke weed. With the best intentions as I also understand some other parents’ perspective: they would rather their child uses weed at home than out on the streets, some even say: I would rather you don’t use weed but if you do, ONLY do it at home. And I really think the opposite is right for me, but I worry so much about enforcing it. I am scared my son will disconnect from me altogether. Since we have had the new rule at least he is more open about this use, but the downside is that he thinks it is okay. For example he makes a joint, shows me how well it is made and wants me to praise him. It must be hard for him as so far I have always praised him a lot for everything that he does, but I haven’t praised him for THIS. He’s desperate that I do, he wants to show me cannabis related things all the time, tell me how wonderful it is.
    Academically he is still doing well. I think it is because he was so far ahead before he started on the weed. His participation and homework has suffered, but it sadly seems that only the grades count, and his school haven’t noticed anyhting yet. Another thing I struggle with: speaking to school or not. I understand my son feels information about his weed use is ‘private’ but I want him to get some support through school though there is also a risk he could get expelled once they are more tuned into his use. I do talk about it all to those friends closest to me although he does not like it at all especially when it is other parents who he also knows. But he has had to accept this.
    So in summary I know that the removing of rewards when he is using is the right thing to do but I struggle with it as I have been so intent on proving to him that I will treat him no different when he is high! Is there a way I can reinstate my boundary that will not be too much of a shock to him, that won’t result in him completely disengageing from me?

    1. Thank you so much for all of the background information in your story. It helps me to direct you to some skills and strategies that I believe will contribute to the most immediate, positive progress with your situation.

      I would first like to point to some of the very strong positives I noticed about your situation:

      1) Clearly, you have a strong connection and good communication with your son. I know there have been times when you might not feel that’s the case, but the fact that your son consulted a counselor and general practitioner after you suggested it means that he does trust you and is open to your suggestions. The results may not have been what you wished for, but he still engaged with you, nonetheless.

      2) He consulted a counselor and general practitioner and these professionals are now aware that there may be some struggles going on with him. (Oh and did I say, HE CONSULTED A COUNSELOR AND GENERAL PRACTITIONER?)

      3) You’re focused on working on yourself to improve the situation. I know it may be very chaotic, but continuing to learn about, and practice all that you can, of the CRAFT method and the Allies eLearning modules, is going to help you have a positive impact and outcome.

      4) You are already working on setting down healthy boundaries — kudos!

      It makes sense to me that you would focus on boundaries around his smoking pot in your flat. The worries and concerns around losing your residence and your professional license are perfectly valid, as this is directly related to your ability to provide for both your son and yourself. This would drive any reasonable person to set down a similar boundary…..

      Read Laurie MacDougall’s full response to WakingDance here:

  19. My 29 year old son has been sober since December 30th, 2020, and lives at home with me. Received 3 vivitrol shots, and just started taking antidepressants for his MDD with anxiety. It does not seem to be helping. His has totally withdrawn and is barely engaging with me (we live alone together) and I am not allowed to ask questions, or when I do, I get snippy answers. We have had several arguments and he recently accused me of texting about him to his sister, which wasn’t true. He will not get into talk therapy, or do IOP, so I had to give him a deadline of March 20th to get some help, or I will have to get some support to take my next steps and hold him accountable for his behaviors. We were very good friends before all of this, so part of me feels like I am being punished because he is uncomfortable, and part of me wants to believe he is doing this to be independent of me which he hasn’t been able to do for 10 years, secondary to his addiction. He has No job, no money, and no friends, so he sits at home everyday doing nothing but watching TV and looking at his computer. He will help me out if I asked, but usually forgets. HELP!! I want to scream at him to WAKE UP! His father (my x-husband) was very much like this as well, NO motivation at all, and we are estranged from him because I set boundaries when we found out he was cheating and no longer cared for the family, after 30 years of marriage. Any advice?

    1. Your son has started working on his recovery, has been abstinent for 3 months, and is struggling terribly with motivation for anything in life. You’ve been setting out expectations for his behavior but he isn’t responding well, and this is not resulting in any improvement — in fact, communication problems are starting to deteriorate the relationship. You have the added experience of similar behavior with your ex (his father), which compounds problems and creates confusion around what is driving this current situation.

      I hated when people told me to step back but now I see the gifts of taking a break from the chaos…

      There are so many feelings, emotions and thoughts present, and I would encourage you to take a pause and work towards untangling the chaos, piece by piece. Taking a break to think about each separate part of the situation can give you a more logical, deliberate and directed plan to improve the situation.
      What I’ve found on my journey with my son is that it’s very important to find all the positives I can in each situation. However, it can be extremely difficult to identify them with all of the mayhem created by my thoughts.

      Read Laurie MacDougall’s full response to klsochocki here:

  20. I am feeling a bit stuck. I have changed my behavior toward my young son who has been using for quite some time. I fear that he is now into other things other than marijuana. I just want to be clear on how and when to approach his use? He is still in a stage where he is hiding it. He is not home often and I don’t see him very often. Sometimes I can tell when he is high and sometimes not. My question is do I wait until he’s ready for change or gives me the hint that he is? He seems like he is responding well to my neutral demeanour but there is still no signs that he wants to talk with me. Do I wait for this and just keep building the relationship? How long does this stage typically take? I have seen him in the past in active with withdrawal, money seeking, but it’s not all of the time. I feel like I am in the middle and watching him get worse yet there are more “red lights” than “green lights” right now and some days it’s hard to tell if he is sober. Thank you!

    1. Hi. I’m really having problems knowing when my loved one is high. I’ve gone through module 3 and I’ve listened to the podcast about module 3. It’s all very helpful but I’m stumped. I feel like I’m doing things wrong in terms of the rewards. Sometimes it’s clear cut… he’s high, his eyes are red and he’s happy. Other times, he’s in a good mood and his eyes are not red. There is the time before he goes out to use that I’ve seen him happy and elated ( going to use), time when he appears to be craving (i.e. when he wakes up and is eager to leave), and then the time when he comes home after a day of being out with friends… he’s tired, wants to eat sweets, and doesn’t talk or make eye contact. This happened tonight. He came home with his girlfriend. Prepared himself some sweet snacks and didn’t talk to any of his family. His eyes were not red but my feeing is that he used earlier on today. He used to smoke weed but my feeling is that it is more now.

      One more issue that I have is that my son rarely comes home at night without his girlfriend. She’s a nice girl and she never appears high but I believe that she is enabling him in terms of doing things for him and just plain mothers him. I’ve seen him in his craving stage verbally lash out at her and have melt downs. She leaves, they text and argue via phone, he uses, and then they are back together the same night. It’s so twisted. I feel it difficult to remove myself and rewards from him when he is high because she ends up rewarding him anyway. This is not intentional on her part but it’s defeating the purpose. Do I tell her about craft? She’s 17 and loyal to him too! I don’t even know if she realizes how much he uses.

      I’m feeling very lost and his use is increasing.

      1. A teenaged son who’s almost never home is very challenging. Your question is, when can you discuss his drug use?

        You are correct to be focusing on your communication and improving your connection. The patterns between you are likely well established. You’re changing up your demeanor to be more neutral, and this is creating a noticeable change.

        The more you use the communication skills from Module 4, the more sparks of positive talk/feelings you’ll experience between you. Perhaps your more neutral stance can include eliminating those pesky negative talking habits that slip out of our mouths, an easy place to start (Module 4, video 1 and Key Observations Exercise #14).

        For instance, you may think that arguing with good logic and evidence, or pointing out where your Loved One’s future is headed should they continue down this “tragic road,” are important points that bear repeating, meanwhile…your Loved One has seen and heard this so many times before that the shut-off valve was kicked on at your first breath … he’s seen it all before: your stance, the timing, the look on your face …“That’s just mom hitting the ceiling…estimated time of completion: 1.5 min…hmm, I wonder what’s for dinner.”

        Read my full response to Terrilyn here:

  21. Your son has started working on his recovery, has been abstinent for 3 months, and is struggling terribly with motivation for anything in life. You’ve been setting out expectations for his behavior but he isn’t responding well, and this is not resulting in any improvement — in fact, communication problems are starting to deteriorate the relationship. You have the added experience of similar behavior with your ex (his father), which compounds problems and creates confusion around what is driving this current situation.

    I hated when people told me to step back but now I see the gifts of taking a break from the chaos…

    There are so many feelings, emotions and thoughts present, and I would encourage you to take a pause and work towards untangling the chaos, piece by piece. Taking a break to think about each separate part of the situation can give you a more logical, deliberate and directed plan to improve the situation.

    What I’ve found on my journey with my son is that it’s very important to find all the positives I can in each situation. However, it can be extremely difficult to identify them with all of the mayhem created by my thoughts.

    Read Laurie MacDougall’s full response to klsochocki here:

  22. My husband who has a high functioning addiction to alcohol is now drinking with our 20-year-old daughter. I don’t know how to talk with him anymore. I don’t know what to say to her. I feel sick. Help, please.

    1. Welcome to the site. The only thing harder than having a Loved One with addiction is having two Loved Ones with addiction. We have our share of members on this site for whom this is the case. Some of us have adult children with SUD, who are themselves involved with someone who is also active in addiction. Please see our posts tagged “partner also uses.” In your case, it’s your husband and daughter.

      At 20 years of age, your daughter may well be on her way to an alcohol addiction. She may already fit the diagnosis of SUD. Or neither. Perhaps she just enjoys your husband’s friendlier mood when he’s drinking and, well, having a drink in your home is something that’s normalized, so she has one or two with him.

      Step 1: Slow down the spinning in your head. Practice breathing, and back away from feeling overwhelmed. Watch Module 7 for an insight or two into what’s happening when our minds spin out of control, toward negative feelings/patterns.

      Step 2: …

      Read our full response to rae here:

  23. My husband has an alcohol use disorder. We are both members of Smart Recovery. He goes to recovery meetings and I attend Family and Friends. He recently had almost 5 months sobriety and he lapsed. Then he lapsed again last night. He attends 1 meeting a week and sees a therapist. He finally acknowledged that he needs more help. He has decided to go to two meetings a week. I think all of this is good, but I wonder if there isn’t an outpatient program that might not give some more help. That being said what are some steps I can take to give him support. Also, what things might he do to develop more coping strategies.

    1. Thanks for writing in, loisgh. I’m sure this most recent relapse (and series of relapses) is hard for you, and for your husband. It is really encouraging that he’s already at a level of acknowledgement of his struggles that he is doing regular therapy and support groups. It is beautiful that you are on this site, and seeking to give him more support.

      Our program is based on the teachings of CRAFT, developed for just that: guiding the family member/spouse/etc to be an ally to their Loved One with substance issues. You will find all of the basic tenets, with excellent examples, in the eLearning Center. We have created 8 video modules (also available in ebook format) with 21 accompanying exercises. The answers to your question are in the modules. Each family must adapt CRAFT to their particulars, and to the relationship you have with your Loved One.

      Getting CRAFT under your belt is a process and does take a bit of time, but the modules themselves take but a couple of hours to watch through once. Once you have begun practicing the basics of CRAFT (natural consequences, adding rewards or removing rewards, and using some of the communication techniques…) please write in again as needed.

      This Discussion Blog is available to you at any time for help with what you’re putting in place. Module 8 will also give you some guidance on the best way to propose additional treatment supports (when, how…).

      Wishing you all the best.

  24. HI – we’ve found Allies in Recovery very helpful. We are based in the UK and our son (now 34) lives in supported housing a few hours drive away from us. He has had major anxiety problems all his life and has dealt with it initially with cannabis but over the past 14 years now with drinking, typically a binge pattern. He shows no interest in recovery although he spent several months in rehab in South Africa about 9 years ago and did well. Within a couple of months of his return he was drinking again.

    My question is about AlAnon which I’ve attended now for about 5 years and the difference between this and Allies in Recovery. We have a very caring AlAnon group with fantastic support and a great level of honesty. I work with the principles of loving detachment etc but it would seem to be the case that Allies in Recovery takes a more proactive approach. We certainly try to maintain contact with our son and reward when he is in a good place with more contact and withdraw if he is clearly drinking (although this is harder to know from a distance). He knows we would support him with a rehab place etc but only when he is choosing to do this.

    But AlA seems to take a slightly more ‘tough love’ approach which I struggle with, despite knowing that the only person who can make the decision to embrace recovery is our son.

    I’d welcome any thoughts on this. Thank you Miriam

    1. Hello Jones: We will address your more specific concerns in a blog post, but for now may I suggest a few existing posts about this very topic under the tag to the right called “Alanon.”

      Please give us 5-7 days to answer your question.

      BTW: Alanon was created by wives. CRAFT was created by a son for his mother who struggled with her husband’s alcoholism, so CRAFT was also initially designed for wives.

      Parents sometimes struggle with the message of Alanon, with its lack of action steps that might advance the situation in the right direction. CRAFT has definitely taken off with parents, who want and need the situation to change for everyone, not just the “wife.” CRAFT considers your influence to affect change in your loved one with addiction. CRAFT is all about action steps and a sound psychological theory that goes far in knowing what you’re seeing and what to do about it.

      1. Very helpful, thank you and I have now listened to the recommended podcast which clarifies some of the differences. Do you know whether there are CRAFT groups available in the UK as I hadn’t come across these when we were looking for support>
        Thanks again

        1. Hello Jones in the UK. Our support meetings are now online, though you’d have to be keeping late hours to participate from the UK. We’d love to help start a REST meeting or two for your time zone. Together with our REST partner, we train facilitators in CRAFT and facilitation. THere is a free training for anyone interested in starting a REST group next week.

          CRAFT done with fidelity to the model continues to be a little known jewel. AiR “kicks Arse.” cheers Dominique

        2. Hi and thank you Jones for your comments. Please let us know if you still have questions about the differences between the CRAFT approach and that of Al-anon. I’m glad that you took the time to listen to the podcast and read the article we published on this topic. All our best.

  25. Hello. First I would like to say thank you for this wonderful resource. Your site has been a great help and comfort to me already.

    My question is this: Is drug court considered treatment? My daughter is 34 years old and has been using illegal opioids for the past 12-13 years. She is currently on probation for the third time, having already served time in prison for drug related crimes. She was recently sentenced to drug court for the first time and, from what I understand, will meet regularly with her counselor, probation officer, public defender and the judge. I’m hopeful that this team will be able to help her make some positive changes.

    My daughter has been very co-operative and, dare I say, even enthusiastic about some of the opportunities this program offers.

    I’m not sure whether I should still try to encourage her to get into a residential treatment program or just be content that she’s responding well to drug court.

    1. Wow! It sounds like your daughter has a renewed sense of determination to work on her substance use. That she is focused, and seems to have a positive attitude towards any programs or requirements that the courts expect her to fulfill, is very encouraging.

      I would encourage you to 1) continue providing support for any/all of her attempts at compliance, while at the same time 2) give her some space to still struggle and learn what is going to work for her. This can help direct her and help her acquire a strong foundation in her recovery.

      To answer your question, “Is drug court treatment?”, no it does not replace actual treatment. But drug court can provide invaluable encouragement, incentives and motivation to support her towards a better life path. It provides her a structure where she has to meet with counselors, her probation officer, the public defender and the judge — which can keep her working on accountability and encourage her to carefully consider future decisions.

      Read Laurie MacDougall’s full response to LauraW here:

  26. We have a daughter who has severe general and social anxiety. She has been using marijuana and alcohol for four years now so that she can be “normal” with her friends. But, the anxiety is so bad that she doesn’t work and doesn’t go to college. She has started to realize that the world around her is changing, her friends are moving on and she doesn’t know how to deal with it. She lives with us and we have learned to accept that we can’t change her but we do try to lovingly tell her that she needs to recognize that the pot and alcohol are making matters worse. We try to encourage her to get help, but the problem is that she is therapy resistant. She can’t/won’t talk to anyone about what’s going on in her head. She says that she doesn’t know how to tell them and that nobody is listening to her.

    Her car was her one connection to her social life. Months ago we told her that it needed service work and that if she didn’t take care of it soon that it would at some point stop working. Well, that day has arrived and she is despondent. She would not even go with me to get it towed to a shop. She has no coping skills to handle anything difficult so she turns to pot and alcohol to numb the feelings.

    She earns money by selling pot and some other way that we are privy to the details, but I’m guessing that it’s not something that we would support because she will not tell us about it. I can tell that money goes into her bank account, but it’s not regular. Any money that goes in ends up going right out to drugs and alcohol. We tried to encourage her to save some of that money, put it aside to pay for the car. She could not even save up $100 to pay for car repairs. It’s as though she is afraid to not have enough to pay for the things that keep her happy. She puts on a happy, brave face for the friends and then tortures herself at home when she is alone with her thoughts.

    So, I’m writing because we are scared that she is so desperate and so beyond lost that she doesn’t know where to start. But, she doesn’t want to talk to anyone who can offer her help. She tried a therapist yesterday and lasted only 7 minutes on the phone because she didn’t like the questions he asked, she told him that she didn’t know what was wrong with her and he said that she has “no coping skills”. That didn’t help her already stressful situation.

    We know that she needs help, but she will not respond to gentle suggestions, threats or interventions. Every time someone tries to break through she takes it as a personal affront and reels back and lashes out. We just don’t know what to do or where to go from here. Any insight would be so much appreciated. We are lost and feeling so helpless.

    1. What is excruciating about anxiety is the more it stops you from doing things, the greater the number of things that stop you, until even the smallest minutia of daily life become insurmountable, panic-producing challenges.

      Your daughter is seeing her friends go out into the world while she stays behind. Her social anxiety makes it impossible to handle school or working, though jobs exist that demand little social interaction and online college has become a viable option, especially with the pandemic. Your daughter “copes” with her anxiety by smoking cannabis and drinking and hiding out in your family home.

      For those who may not know, SAD (for once an acronym that lines up), Social Anxiety Disorder, is more common among those who drink or use drugs.

      Read my full response to pchalmers here:

  27. Our son is struggling with opioids, even though he has giving up his stash willingly and says he wants to detox, he wants to do it at home with a follow up plan of using low dose magic mushrooms to get his mind straight. We have advised we don’t support this plan and would prefer he go to a detox clinic with a follow up to rehab. So far we have been unable to find placement in a detox and he has started the process here at home, how on earth do we help him through this and how long will it last.

    1. Thank you for this question, Xray. You have been put in a difficult, but potentially hopeful, position of helping your son withdraw from opioids at home.

      His chosen course of action is to micro-dose (low dose) on psilocibin mushrooms. If you search on using mushrooms or other “plant-based” drugs for opioid withdrawal, you’ll see that Ibogaine is another natural substance that is being used for opioid withdrawals.

      We have written other posts on the topic of detoxing at home, which could be helpful to you (see topic: detoxing). One thing that stands out from my learnings working in a jail environment is that young people may look better and feel less awful while withdrawing from opioids than their older counterparts. This leads to the danger of serious life-threatening dehydration. One jail medical director I heard speak at a conference supplies Gatorade on demand throughout his jail.

      Read my full response to Xray here:

  28. I’ve been living with my s.o. X2 years. To me alcohol has become a problem. While dating we both drank alcohol. But, on more than one occasion when I called her to talk she was too drunk to hold a meaningful conversation. She was living alone. This was a red flag for me. She denied having alcohol problems at the time. She did not start drinking until she was in her 40’s being raised in a strict Christian environment where alcohol was forbidden. Now, while she does not drink everyday and can go a month without it, she has been sneaking her drinks alone or when I’m not ‘paying attention’’. She has been drunk while cooking – she likes her wine while cooking. Her personality changes, slurs her words so it’s obvious. She has become deceptive with it and blames me because I get mad/disappointed. There’s no abuse or violence but disappointment and hurt. I was raised around alcohol and know what a problem it can be down the road and if this is not nipped in the bud. While not a daily occurrence it’s enough to create a problem. I do not want to control her or her feel she is being controlled. She is still in some denial because she doesn’t do it ‘all the time’. When does a person drinking alcohol become an “ alcoholic” or have AUD? Thanks.