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Loved One Using in the House


Hopefulin2018 reaches out about her Loved One now using in their home. She’s concerned about his apathy and lack of respect for the family and home. With other family members now becoming more aware of the use, how do we support them as well? Is it appropriate to share information about CRAFT with younger family members?

Our son’s crossed a line and is using in our home. I suspect my son has been vaping pot in the bathroom for sometime now. I’ve noticed he coughs each time before he gets in the shower. On the way to taking him to work I said it seems like he coughs a lot when he’s in the bathroom and that I hope he’s not vaping in the house. While he was at work, I found more pot, this time as THC oil cartridges, but he doesn’t know. I left it where I found it – using it as information. Read Hopefulin2018’s full comment here.

Dear Hopefulin2018 (and 2019 if I can add!)… Having other children in the house is hard for families who are focusing on the addiction of a Loved One. Parents or partners often focus more on the person with the addiction issue: the squeaky wheel, the one causing worry. Other children can end up feeling short-changed.

Your daughter is too young for CRAFT at this point. It hasn’t been tested with family members under 18. It shouldn’t be a young person’s responsibility to address the addiction of an older sibling or a parent who is in trouble. You, can, however, continue to be honest and open with her. Explain how her brother is struggling with drugs and alcohol, how you and your partner are getting expert help to support him.

Your daughter needs time and a safe place to say how she feels. It may be that she would benefit from a family meeting with a therapist (getting a family therapist who meets with the entire family, including your son when he’s ready, may be very useful). Being a sibling of someone struggling with substances or a mental health issue is very confusing. Others have written about it, as in this article from 2015.

Hang in there. Keep doing what you’re doing. Yes, it may be that your son has always smoked in the house. The vaping makes it so discreet now. Remember, as you said, it’s information… now you know better when he’s stoned, because you hear him cough in the bathroom before showering. Shower = high = chill

Try not to address the use for now. Talking about using and treatment needs to be done only at the right moment, when you see an appropriate opening to talk treatment.

You can be more effective right now by shifting your behavior and communication as described in Learning Modules 5 and 6: is he using right now or not?

CRAFT works. It takes a while. It is the best way to clean up the immediate environment around the person who is using drugs. It is what you can do. So give it another 4-6 weeks. Hang in there. You’re doing well and I so appreciate hearing the details of how it’s going and what you are thinking. Here’s to hope in 2019.


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Our Loved Ones Need Us to Listen. Even (Or Especially) When Their Behavior Is at Its Worst.

When Sweets1997 and his family allowed their adult son access to their home while they were away, it was a simple act of love. They returned to a trashed home and missing belongings. It’s just the latest difficult chapter in an 11-year journey with their son’s addiction. But not all the signs are discouraging. Laurie MacDougall remarks on the points in this family’s favor, and explores in detail how focused listening and other communication skills can build a relationship of trust with our Loved Ones.

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Introduction CRAFT teaches us to be thoughtful, caring, and deliberate in the messages we send to our Loved Ones. But sometimes the message is best conveyed without words. When we set boundaries, we also have to help our Loved Ones understand that they’re for real. As Allies writer Laurie MacDougall discusses with Adrexpert, managing our own thoughts and feelings is a necessary precursor to this sort of work, and so much else.

If My Loved One Commits To Treatment, Should I Ease Up on CRAFT?

Disengaging from a Loved One isn’t anyone’s idea of a good time. But doing so when they’re using is a basic (and proven) part of CRAFT—as is the opposite action, rewarding non-use. When a Loved One takes on the challenges that often attend the start of treatment, sticking to CRAFT techniques and principles is as vital as at any other moment. As Laurie MacDougall explains, the effort will likely be difficult, but it’s a key part of supporting them.

She Wants Me to Watch the Baby While She Gets High. Should I Refuse?

Hopewood03 worries about both her daughter and her infant grandson. Her daughter smokes marijuana and believes it’s part of her identity. Her grandson needs care—even when the daughter feels like going out to get high. The dilemma for Megan arises when her daughter asks Megan to babysit on those occasions. She wants to keep her grandson safe, but doesn’t want to encourage her daughter to use. Allies’ writer Laurie MacDougall assures her she’s doing nothing of the kind—and reviews some CRAFT strategies to influence her daughter to move away from pot.


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. As always, you provide such great insight and support. With each response I understand more clearly. Thank you.

    My daughter is hesitant to talk with a therapist, but it’s something I mention once in a while to keep the possibility open. It’s not fair that she has to grow up with this situation. However, our relationship with our daughter is very good and I find the effect CRAFT has on me also helps me be a better parent for her, particularly since I’ve learned to chill and make my self care more of a priority.