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I’m Trying to Let Go of the Last 15 Years

Pensive Woman 15 years trying to let go

Kirby01’s Loved One has been struggling with his substance use disorder for over 15 years. He was recently released from jail and is now living in a homeless shelter. Nevertheless, things are looking up as her son has been seeking her company. They might be at a turning point here but she fears she has done too much already.

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"My son was released from prison last Friday. I would not allow him to use my address, which threw him into being dropped off at the homeless shelter. We have talked and seen each other every day since. He has yet to see his probation officer. I let him have his truck (he owns it), along with essentials, underwear, socks, jeans, (one pair) and two tees. He was let out with nothing and everything was gone prior to incarceration. We have had some good and not good conversations. Still refuses any treatment with/without me. I'm not pushing it. Despite being in the shelter he has remained clean. I would like to reward the good which includes jobs he has done for me on the retired farm. I also found him in my garage organizing tools instead of us getting into a heated argument. I am trying my best to let go of the destructive damage done to my property in the past. He had never been physically violent, nor has he stolen anything from me. Drug of choice is meth and possibly acid. I am trying my best to move forward. I would appreciate the advice. He's 32 and this has gone on since he was 16. He doesn't seem to want to look for anything himself. Have I done too much already?"


Your son was released from jail and dropped off at a homeless shelter. Unless you were prepared to have your son home, this was the right move. The shelter will have some case management services and should help your son access treatment. Being homeless also opens special services and funding.

It’s hard to think of our Loved One living in a shelter, but he is staying abstinent and has been doing odd jobs on your farm. These are all signs that he is doing relatively well at the moment. You would like to reward him. You should absolutely do so!

The rewards can be your smile, a look in his eyes, your thanks. “Come on in the house, I put the kettle on.”

Rewards are given as soon as possible after noticing the behavior you want to reward. With CRAFT, you focus on the moment, on the day. We understand that after so many years battling your son’s disorder it is hard not to look back. Your family certainly got wounded in the process. With CRAFT, you can allow yourself to close the door on all these years and be present now. Things are looking up right now; center yourself and make the most of these new opportunities to enable non-use.

CRAFT teaches you to enjoy rewarding and spending time with your Loved One when they are not using, and to step back when they are using. This should provide you clarity and allow you to make time for yourself. You aren't "not caring" about your Loved One when they are experiencing difficulties with their use; you are regaining control of what you can do, which is be present when they allow you to be.

When does a family do too much or not enough? It’s hard to know. Now that you are with us, CRAFT is your new framework. It is providing you a fresh perspective, setting a new rhythm. You can put anything you do with your son into the CRAFT framework and come up with an answer.

Are you doing too much now? It doesn’t sound like it. At 32, your son is homeless. You are underlining this fact by not letting him home. He is motivated to do small jobs on your farm. Great. Reward this behavior. If you want to pay him, how about a gas card or something as simple as a meal?

Make your movements small, incremental. You want for these to feel natural and not overwhelm either one of you.

Methamphetamine is a harsh drug. Your son has been in jail, so theoretically abstinent for a while. He was released and is still abstinent. Recovery from methamphetamine is difficult. It will take time to gain back mind and spirit.

Your son’s moves are also likely to be small and incremental. Move at his pace. Hopefully, it is the pressure from the shelter which will provide the heavy lifting for additional treatment.

Perhaps you call the director of the shelter and ask what they are doing and if you can support the move towards treatment. You can work hand in hand with them.

Your son has lost everything, been incarcerated, and is now living in a homeless shelter. Yet, there is hope. Hope that he has had enough. Hope that he wants the future to look different than the past.

From what you wrote, it feels like communication is still flowing between you and your son. One of your priorities is to keep the family unit together; open dialogue — or at the very least conflict-free dialogue — is essential in achieving this. Should communication become strained or tense, CRAFT will provide you with a guideline. Remember you can go back to the Learning Modules as often as you want; Module 4 can shift your perspective on how to talk to your Loved One.


You are a partner with him in this and we are here to support you along the way. Welcome aboard.




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"...)