Allies in Recovery member HeatherSt wonders whether she should provoke a discussion, given that her Loved One hasn't showed signs of a wish or dip in over a month.
"My loved one hasn't had a dip or a wish in well over a month (before I found this program, so I was not prepared at the time). His drug use seems to be escalating; more frequently and his behavior is more erratic and self destructive as a result. I am concerned for his safety.
In times like this, is it still best to wait for that wish or dip, or is this a situation where a planned discussion is needed?"
A dip or a wish signals a degree of motivation for change in your Loved One. It gives you an opening and improves the chances your Loved One will consider entering treatment. If you haven’t seen a wish or a dip and you are concerned, then we suggest moving to the planned conversation. This is described in Module 8.
A Planned Conversation
In a planned conversation you choose the time, the place, and who will do the talking. It’s quiet, it's small. It’s got all the elements of a request:
We give you the elements of a request in Exercise 21 (My AiR -> My Learning center). Here’s what you need to think about:
- Who's doing the talking to your Loved One?
- Restate the wish or dip you just heard your Loved One say
- Show compassion…praise or somehow recognize the attempts your Loved One has been making to improve their life. Start with an "I" statement… (I know you've been struggling; I'm so proud of you for cutting back on weekdays, etc.)
- Own your part… (I know I'm the one who has been pushing for you to do something about your drinking/drug use/anxiety/depression)
- Say how it makes you feel… (I feel so overwhelmed by what is going on with you; I am so scared for you…)
- Offer to help… (I have this list, I have the name of a counselor, I have a few options… Can we look at them together?)
We suggest you think through and practice what you will say beforehand. It will help keep you calm as you say it to your Loved One. With a planned conversation, you have a little more leeway in choosing who will make the request. Sometimes a beloved aunt or adult sister is best. If you’ve been the one pushing for treatment, think about having someone else present the idea.
Like a wish or a dip, the timing of a planned conversation is important. Your Loved One should be in an okay mood, not completely high or in withdrawals. You, too, need to be in good shape. Remember, quiet….loving….and accepting of whatever answer you get from your Loved One. If it doesn’t work this time, you are prepared to set up again.
In the studies of CRAFT, 2/3rds of Loved Ones eventually agree to enter treatment with this method, that’s almost 3 times more than a formal, professionally-led intervention. The CRAFT intervention works because you (the family) have worked beforehand to soften and repair things between you. Your communication is more loving, more neutral. You’ve learned to step in when you don’t see use, and to allow natural consequences, remove rewards, and step away when you do see use. The bridge between you is stronger.
If it doesn’t work the first time, it costs nothing to try again in the next right moment. So prepare the talk, look for the moment,, a wish or a dip, or a planned conversation and keep it in your back pocket.