Become a member of Allies in Recovery and we’ll teach you how to intervene, communicate and guide your loved one toward treatment.Become a member of Allies in Recovery today.

I Have no Patience Left

Fishing Boat and Lighthouse
Our Allies member laments a judge’s missed opportunity to get her loved one into treatment. Her first night out of jail, she stayed out all night drinking. This mother is at a loss, feeling she doesn’t have the patience to practice CRAFT right now.

This post originally appeared on our Member Site blog, where experts respond to members’ questions and concerns. To sign up for our special offer and benefit from the Allies in Recovery eLearning program, click here.

“My daughter was released on Friday and unfortunately the judge was extremely lenient with her. She does not need to fulfill the 2 week inpatient, nor do the 6 month outpatient. She is on administrative probation. If she breaks probation she goes back to Framingham for 6 months.

Her first night out, she went back to her apartment and went out with friends, stayed out all night and was drinking.

We had a deal with her that if she made appointments with intensive outpatient for her impulsive personality disorder etc. and made appointments with a new therapist for twice weekly etc. we would pay her Cobra and help with rent and food. She has not provided any of this, so we are not helping out financially. She is extremely overwhelmed and blaming everyone else for her problems. I am going to her psychiatry appt with her on Wed night. He will tell her she no longer needs the meds he had previously prescribed her (thank God) and that he may provide a mood stabilizer and recommendation for additional treatment.

I have no patience left and have told her she can not move home. Reading through the modules for guidance, but not in the mindset to accept them.”

Dominique Simon-Levine guides this mother through this difficult and chaotic time

The criminal justice system is not designed to help people into treatment and recovery, though there’s a sputter of effort coming from drug courts. I don’t blame you for being angry. The system missed an opportunity to put some clear limits around your daughter, limits that would have pushed her in the right direction.

All of what you describe can be considered consequences of her use. Step back for now. Let her feel the overwhelming mess her life is in. You are correct not to help out financially. You have managed to get the psychiatrist to understand the situation and he will be pulling back his prescribing of drugs of abuse. This is a significant shift that is in the works.

Practice Patience

Keep the list of treatments by your side. Doing nothing is an ACTION. Practice patience. Wait for her to ask for your help. Your daughter’s life is largely unmanageable and she doesn’t know where to turn right now. She will almost certainly ask you for help. The request will be for things other than treatment, but you have set up the leverage: Cobra, food and rent in exchange for attending therapy. Keep repeating this as a mantra. Reinforcing this mantra with calmness and compassion will provide meaningful direction when the time is right.

You’ve got the essence of the CRAFT approach. Even though you don’t feel the patience for it right now, you are doing CRAFT.

I know it doesn’t feel good but there is progress. Life is closing in on your daughter. Be as prepared as you can be for when she cries “uncle.”

As part of the treatment list, you may want to consider looking into the paperwork in your state for a civil commitment. This could be something else you have at the ready, if your daughter doesn’t choose help and it seems like the danger is growing. If you are unable to remain patient and/or you remain terrified, this is a resource for you to add to your list.

She is in free fall; let her feel it

This is a difficult part of the cycle we always refer to. She is in free fall of sorts, yet she has some understanding that abusing drugs and alcohol plays a huge role in the mess around her. Your daughter is probably using to forget the mess that is her life, and to take away the very bad feelings of anxiety and worry. Drugs do that. They put you in a little artificial bubble, they pull up the bottom, and make you feel okay, even great, for the moment. If only it could last – but it doesn’t. She is waking to hangovers, her life strewn all around. Let her feel it. Let it sink in (read more about natural consequences).

Jail is not rehab. You daughter was forced into abstinence by being locked up without any intensive support for that abstinence. AA would call this white knuckling or being a “dry drunk.” It makes sense she would run, not walk, to a bottle of booze upon being released. It’s what we like to call a pit stop. She was given a pit stop between the door of jail and that of treatment, and she went through it. It takes only days to return to the same level of drug and alcohol use, the same problems.

Take time for yourself to replenish

Let that whole situation sink in for her. Hang on and be patient right now. Know that you are doing the right things. You are wise to reflect on your own state of mind and name the frustration, anger and resistance you are feeling as you go through the modules. This makes it clear that you need to replenish your own energies, pull back from the chaos and negative thoughts, and recharge. Focus on your own well-being. Take a time out in whatever way you can. Make it a few minutes or an hour or whatever works for you. Try to do this every day. This will require patience too.

If you’ve hit a wall and your receptivity to the modules, etc is at a low, you can’t force your way through. Rest, digest your feelings, find a way to make peace with them and let them go. Then come back to things fresh and know that you are doing a great job. Know that you can find your way back in with compassion for yourself and an open heart. Let the pressure off yourself. You are doing a great job.

Your description makes the situation you find yourself in palpable. We are here with you.

Since 2003, Allies in Recovery has addressed substance abuse in families by providing a method for the family to change the conversation about addiction. We use Community Reinforcement & Family Training (CRAFT), a proven approach that helps the family unblock and advance the relationship towards sobriety and recovery and to engage a loved one into treatment. Learn about member benefits by following this link.

image © Pixabay


Related Posts from "CRAFT"

Trusting A Loved One in Early Recovery

Her husband is in early recovery, but he doesn’t want to share details with her. She’s nervous and struggling with trust due to his history of SUD and lying. She’s reluctant to let him come home, and unsure how to talk to him about it. Dominique weighs in with an idea of what to say based on the CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) approach that we use at

How CRAFT Can Help: Supporting Your Partner to Successfully Moderate Opiate Use

His partner is trying to moderate her use of heroin and methamphetamine with no formal support. Her use consumes so much of his partner’s life that it’s hard to see her “moderation” as progress. But his loved one wants him to acknowledge how “well” she’s doing, and there hasn’t been room for more discussion. Read on for suggested strategies from to engage his partner into treatment, using the CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) approach.

How to Use the CRAFT Approach to Communicate with a Loved One Living with Substance Use Disorder

Substance Use Disorder can often involve volatile emotions on all sides. When family members use the CRAFT approach that we teach at, it can help disentangle emotions from practicalities, leading to greater calm and more effective outcomes. This mom recently had an exchange with her son who is struggling with Substance Use Disorder (SUD), but held back from responding in fear it would end in a heated argument. So, she to turned to Allies for guidance. Read on for some pointers on how best to communicate with a loved one in active addiction using the CRAFT approach.

He’s on Suboxone and Hiding Away for Most of the Day. We are Worried.

Her son was using heroin, and he just got out of jail. He reached out for mom’s help and asked to live at home as he starts recovery, and he is getting MAT (Medication Assisted Treatment), specifically Suboxone. But he’s secluding himself so much at home she can’t tell what he’s up to. He’s accessing counseling and groups remotely, but he stays holed up in his room all the time and rarely emerges. Mom worries about his isolating so much and whether he might be using. We weigh in with some thoughts about the varied aspects of early recovery, and with some reminders about practicing CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training.)

Real Allies in Recovery Success Stories: Families Share How CRAFT Helped Their Loved Ones with SUD

Read real success stories from families who used the CRAFT approach to help their loved ones with Substance Use Disorder (SUD). Learn how CRAFT helped them engage their loved ones into treatment, and how it improved their relationships and reduced stress levels. Discover how you can use the CRAFT method to help your loved ones find recovery, and visit for more stories and resources.

How Do I Prepare for My Daughter with SUD to Come Home? And What About Her Boyfriend?

Her daughter is involved with a man who may be sabotaging her efforts to stop using substances. But she’s expressed some readiness to get help, and mom wants to support her in any way that she can. Mom’s working on ignoring the bad-news boyfriend while setting up guidelines for her return home. She needs guidance on the details…Allies in Recovery weighs in with some CRAFT-based tips.

Her Partner is Not Improving from Substance Use Disorder. Is There an Underlying Mental Health Condition?

One of our members as been artfully following the CRAFT principles and yet her loved one is not showing signs of improvement. Engaging in extreme behavior, barely ever sleeping, misusing his ADHD medication, lying, and now, stealing… Is it all on the addiction or could her partner suffer from an underlying, undiagnosed and untreated mental health condition?

Shall We Dance?

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.

The Important Difference Between Bribes, Incentives, and Positive Reinforcement

A mom wrote in asking for guidance on whether she should offer to reward her son for attending addiction recovery group meetings. However, she is unsure if she’s implementing the CRAFT concept of “rewards” correctly. Laurie MacDougall, an Allies in Recovery virtual program trainer – who herself has a loved one with SUD – explains the important differences between bribes, incentives, and positive reinforcement. Laurie advises steering away from the first two and sticking with positive reinforcement instead.