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Relapse or No Relapse? How Can I Proceed CRAFTily?

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Allies member Milliemouse is keeping a close watch on her son's finances as he navigates early recovery. There seem to have been some slip-ups of late, and she wants to address things in a CRAFTy way…

I have not written on the blog for sometime. My son who has been a year out of rehab for cocaine has been doing fairly well. He moved out into his own place in September and at his request he asked me to continue to help him manage his money – rent etc – which I have been doing. He has a weekly amount put into his account from his salary and any extra he requires the agreement is he has to tell me what it is for. I can see the transactions in his bank account and for the most part everything has been ok. However in the last few weeks he broke up with his girlfriend and his best friend who he hangs out with is overseas so he has been a lot on his own – staying in and playing video games and not much social interaction. The spending has increased and I am worried he has had a slip and I don't know how to approach him with this. I do not want to be accusatory and Alanon teaches me to detach with love but there is a fine line between detaching and looking the other way and burying your head in the sand. I doubt very much he will admit if he has had a slip – addicts lie and manipulate – and I know he will. Because if he has had a slip he is ashamed and wont want his dad and I to know. How can I handle this the right way using CRAFT???


Your son has been doing well for a year but the breakup with his girlfriend may have caused a relapse.

Can you live without knowing whether he relapsed? The first bit of a relapse can be quiet and small, but the level of consumption quickly rises, some say to the point where it left off before becoming abstinent. Your son may have relapsed. He could be heading for real trouble or it could be a short run where he quickly gets back up on the beam.

You follow your son’s daily life and track his money. You suspect a problem. CRAFT asks that you set up as though he is relapsing. Get a list of treatment options on paper. Was the rehab your son attended a good experience, could he go there again? Put together the treatment options, let him know if he gets into trouble you will help.

CRAFT asks you to partner with your son.

“You’ve worked so hard this year to get your life back on track. I want you to know I am proud of you and love you very much. If you get into trouble with drugs, I want you to know I am here and will do what I can to get you the help you need. Here is list of options I have been researching. Addiction is a lifelong traveler. If you get into trouble, I am here to help."

The idea here with CRAFT is that you don’t confront your son, but rather set up around him.  The truth is in your gut. Trust what you think is going on. You have been keeping a careful eye on him, but he is not required to speak the truth to you. Rather, put in place anew the treatment options to address the drug use. Tell him you are there. Let him wrestle with the use.



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"...)