Kayla and Laurie discuss short-term vs. long-term change — start by working on one change in yourself rather than in your loved one, like focusing on your thought process, choosing to trust and step back, giving your loved one the chance to make decisions. This gives both of you the tools for slower, but more effective long-term change — think of erosion, not a tsunami.
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Related Posts from "Our Podcast: Coming Up for Air"
CRAFT is like a menu. The better your awareness of patterns from watching yourself and your loved one – over time – and experimenting to see what works, the better you understand what to choose. Laurie talks about her learning process with her son, and how it led her to understand what she could and couldn’t live with. You can learn to open your eyes, to check with yourself in a very deep way, and notice what you may not have before. The more you know about what you’re looking for, the more effective CRAFT becomes, the better your decisions in the the moment. Eventually you can say, “This isn’t working, so here are your options,” and your loved one can choose.
In this closer look at Module 5, you’ll learn a tenet of CRAFT – rewarding positive behavior and removing rewards for negative behavior. When it comes to “using,” the moment-by-moment details become important. Your job is increasing your awareness by witnessing and noticing your loved one’s behavior. “Using” is really a larger term including before, during, and after interacting with a substance. Everything else is “not using.” When there are periods, maybe tiny ones, of not using, move in with gentle, quiet rewards of connection. It’s important, too, to learn how to calm your system enough to do this process. It’s all trial and error, so don’t judge yourself for not doing it right. But do notice how what you’re doing makes an impact. Check out Module 5 for more.
Learn about Allies in Recovery’s (AIR) groups – the CRAFT Educational groups facilitated by Laurie and the CRAFT Support group facilitated by Kayla – and how they became part of AIR. CRAFT isn’t easy, and you can’t do it alone. These groups provide essential information, feedback and support. You are not alone during this painful, overwhelming process.
How do you shift from conflict to a more open conversation with your loved one whose struggling with addiction? Using CRAFT, you can improve the relationship by engaging in a way that is both effective and supportive. You become part of the treatment process instead of something else your loved one is battling.
CRAFT as choreography? Our hosts step into the metaphor of a dance with your loved one. This isn’t a traditional dance – it’s a look at the steps to see what works and what doesn’t, to CRAFT a new dance and change your role. The idea is to learn new tools, practice them, and see where they fit in. Be patient. It’s a process.
It can be easy, particularly when those outside a situation offer advice, to overlook the history of trauma that may exist for a family member. CRAFT takes the idea of healing out of a therapy model, to a community-based model. It’s a long-term process of learning new tools and ways to interact. It begins with family members understanding themselves, their patterns and reactivity, so they’re equipped for long-term work of healing — with the support of Allies in Recovery all along the way.
Our hosts discuss their joy in witnessing the progress of families in their groups. If you’re helping your loved one, start with yourself and your own healing. Healing is, Kayla says, not best done alone. And with Allies in Recovery, you don’t have to do it alone. You get to be part of a group of people doing the work, and get support not just for concepts, but for implementing the powerful tools of CRAFT. This is the work that can help your loved one.
When your loved one is returning, communicate and collaborate about your expectations, concerns, and plans. Keep on collaborating over time, so if concerns arise your loved one can take responsibility, have agency, and you’re not running the show on your own. Without their “skin in the game,” little can change. Model engagement, which is also part of the treatment process.
Don’t assume someone is lying or “in denial.” At Allies, we believe family members and loved ones are aware of what’s happening – even when they don’t really want to know. Ambivalence is defined as “the state of having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone”. We can see things as complicated – or ambivalent, a struggle between two orientations – and know it takes time to move through a process.
If you find yourself swept away in the undertow of negative thinking about what might happen and how you might prevent it, the number-one tool to use is stepping back, noticing that you’re doing it. Number two is deciding to shift it, starting with “no negative talk.” And third is hitting the metaphorical “reset” button, finding something to soothe yourself. At first, it may not go well, but over time, you can get good at it.