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This Site Is Mostly for Parents, Right?

couple & dog walking towards sunset

girlie780's husband is in recovery from alcohol and pills. She wonders if there's a version of Allies in Recovery out there that is more oriented towards partners practicing CRAFT, vs. parents.

© Ricardo Moura via unsplash

"Hi. My husband is in recovery for Alcohol and mixing pills. He also attempted suicide. I have started to talk with a therapist (she gave me this website) but I am hoping that I can find something more geared towards my issues rather than a parent/child.
Wishing for a healthy tomorrow.  Thank you"

Dear girlie780,

Thank you so much for writing in with this important question. Wonderful to hear that your husband is currently in recovery! And I'm thrilled that your therapist told you about the Allies member site. I believe you will find much of value here.

The Allies in Recovery member site was designed to teach CRAFT to anyone who can use it: parents, partners, aunts & uncles, grandparents, adult children of, siblings of, as well as professionals working with families.

I hear you that you feel the material may be swayed a bit towards parent-child situations. I'll be perfectly honest with you and tell you that we did get a few comments to this effect, several years back.

One of our bigger projects on the horizon is redoing the learning modules, with several modifications in mind, including more concrete examples for the partner of a Loved One (as well as other types of relationships), and more specifics related to the opioid crisis and the risks of opiate use in today's world. There is also a cultural and linguistic translation underway, for Spanish speaking families. In an ideal world, we would have the perfect vehicle to deliver CRAFT to absolutely every family on the planet who is facing the addiction of a Loved One. And there are so many of us!

I must tell you, though, that while in the first years of this online platform we heard from parents almost exclusively, we have been seeing more and more activity on the Discussion Blog from wives, husbands, partners. Things are balancing out and we're thrilled about this.

Right off the bat I could name a few members you could look up via the Member Directory, and whose threads you might be interested in following (including the blog posts we've written for them):









I also wanted you to know that I, myself, have been learning CRAFT and applying it whenever possible with my ex-partner, the father of my elder children. The teachings on this site have overall been quite sufficient and applicable in terms of doing CRAFT with a partner, from my point of view.

I really encourage you to dive right into the Learning Modules (the core of our teachings) and begin to explore topics of particular interest on the Discussion Blog (right-hand sidebar). When/if you encounter a principle that you're unsure of how to apply, within the framework of your relationship, send in a question and we'll help you with the practical application.

I agree with you that applying CRAFT with a romantic/life partner has a sub-set of differences when compared with, say, a parent and an adult child. What comes to mind overall is the "unconditional love" that is a given for parents, and that usually translates to "I will never, ever give up on you"… whereas with us "partners," I find it takes some extra motivation to apply CRAFT in the long run. But I really believe it's worth it. There's simply nothing out there that even comes close to CRAFT's results, and its beautiful ability to make both parties feel better.

Having underlined one of the main differences between parent and partner CRAFT, let me take a few moments to point out some of the commonalities.

What parent and partner CRAFT have in common:

  • The system of rewards:  While the actual reward itself will depend on the person you're dealing with, the system of rewarding is one of the bases of CRAFT.

    When your Loved One is using (see our broadened definition of "using" in Module 6, segment 1) you come in closer, you reward them with your presence, a kind word, a gentle squeeze, an offer to do something special together (etc… use Key Observations Exercise #16 to brainstorm what is rewarding to your Loved One). When they are using, you back away, removing yourself, your attention, and your efforts on their behalf.


  • Care of Self. You, the family member, can be an enormous support for your Loved One, as long as you continue to put your own needs, feelings, and "work" (in the sense, "what do I need to look at?") first. Yes, first. Exactly like the oxygen mask instruction when you take the airplane: first make sure you can breathe, then help others.

    CRAFT's insistence on Self-Care is not a trendy, fuzzy facebook-photograph-with-a-mug-of-coffee-and-pink-hearts thing. To be successful at CRAFT (getting a Loved One into treatment, keeping them in treatment longer, or supporting their long-term recovery) you must be solid, you must be able to separate their problems from yours, you must cultivate deep resources for staying centered.

    Check out Module 7, which offers many refreshing perspectives on the difficult emotions that go hand in hand with having a Loved One that suffers from Substance Use Disorder (SUD). At Allies, we are well aware that just because your Loved One is in treatment or in recovery, the difficult emotions don't vanish, and your Loved One doesn't suddenly become 'prince charming'.


  • Communication is KEY. No matter who your Loved One is, or what your relationship is to them, the way you communicate says everything.

    Module 4 provides some really excellent ideas for "cleaning up your side of things" — one thing I've learned for myself is that even when we think we're a model of positive communication, there's always something more to "clean up." But it feels good to do so! You might enjoy listening to our latest podcast on Reflective Listening with Laurie MacDougall and Kayla Solomon, entitled: You're Gonna Be Lousy At It, At First: Reflective Listening, Intentional Dialogue and How to Vastly Improve Communications with Just About Everybody.

I want to salute you, and all the partners on this site, for the goodness I believe that you all have in your hearts. Not giving up on your partners, being willing to learn, change, adjust and cultivate the patience and understanding necessary to live in harmony with someone with SUD is, from my perspective, a truly beautiful thing. I truly hope you will find what you need on this site. Keep us posted, and welcome!



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 just saw this post and will say that this sight has had a significant impact on my husband and his reaching out for help with his SUD. I will also say that going to the online REST meetings has also been key. There have been a mix of parents as well as partners at the meetings. I was able to get more specific feedback on how to apply CRAFT with my husband specifically at these meetings.

  2. I want to say this site has been amazimg for me and for my husband’s recovery. The modules and the discussion blog have helped me greatly. My husband has been 100% sober – alcohol free since I last posted at the end of October with an OUI wake up call. I would not have known how to help him or myself without the learning provided here. I learned to think and act in ways that helped both of us. Most of which were opposite to what I had done before. I can say every bit of effort I have put in has been worth it. I’m am so thankful for the change in his life. And, if he hadn’t changed I was able to arrive at the place that I was confident in my actions and communication. And I knew I would be OK. I am beyond the anguish and shame I lived with for years. People can recover and you can be happy and balanced and peaceful.

    1. Thank you E320. I am filled with gratitude when I see folks using the modules and getting so much out of them. Hurray for your husband. Hurray times two for you!

      CRAFT was more designed with partners in mind than with parent/adult children diads.

      1. Thank you! I am proud of my husband. And really proud of myself too. I appreciate all the diligent work you do to help and teach. I give double bravos to all of you.

        1. Dear E320, I am beyond moved by your comment(s). Thank you SO much for taking the time to reach out and let us know about these giant successes. I just wish all of our members (especially the ones that don’t use the site so much) could get a telegram at home with the contents of your first message. It is so inspiring to see how well CRAFT works, when people really embrace it. Sending you big hugs and celebrating with you. xo

        2. Thank you so much. I will continue to believe with all of you for far reaching impact. This site and your care is so encouraging and helpful! Craft is very challenging but I think anything really good usually takes a lot of work. Having logical systematic advice, helped me to think accurately and continues to help me be confident and fearless.

        3. We have pages of testimonials from families like yourself, who have found that learning and practicing CRAFT can make a huge difference in your own life and the life of the person you love with addiction. CRAFT gives you a different viewpoint from which to see addiction in your family, and the framework and tools that work to influence your Loved One to seek help and recovery. Thank you E320.

  3. There are a few partner LOs at Kayla’s wednesday night support group, myself included! This website and the group have been a big help when I am thinking about my journey with my partner. There are also specifically themed group sessions at Center for Motivation and Change (online) that also have lots of partner themed stuff. Let me know if you ever want the link and good luck!