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.

Just Out of Rehab and Drinking

Spiral of Recovery - inspired by Stephanie Covington

How should this Allies in Recovery member respond to her husband? He just came out of a two week residential program for depression and substance abuse and his wife suspects he’s been drinking. She went to look in his truck and found an empty bottle. Though he denies drinking, she suspects otherwise…

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 begin the Allies in Recovery eLearning program for families, click here.


Dominique Simon-Levine explains that recovery is a process; relapse is frequently a part of that process

It’s really hard to put 30 days of abstinence together. It may not be any easier to get 60 days. The world is starkly different without alcohol or drugs on board. The urge can be deafening, even when one is getting a daily message of sobriety from a treatment program.

There are different kinds of relapse. There are relapses (some would call them lapses) that are short. The person scares themselves after one or several episodes of use and then climbs quickly back onto the beam of early recovery. There are also relapses where the episode of use (re)opens the floodgates to further use and the desire for sobriety ends for the time being.

In the graphic below, the recovery process is represented as elliptical. With each successive effort at recovery, the relapse hopefully gets less frequent and is shorter in duration.

Allies in Recovery, AiR, Dominique Simon-Levine, dominique simon levine, addiction, addiction recovery, recovery, Craft, treatment, sobriety, family, treatment, sober, early sobriety, alcohol, drinking, husband, abstinence,

Recovery is a process. It’s not an ON-OFF switch.

Learning Module 6, available to our members on, talks about what to do when you see use. You saw use. You suspected it and you were right. The fact that your husband used is by no means the end of things. He is on a path to recovery, and therefore can no longer claim to be naïve about his addiction or naïve about the way out. The programs he is attending are educating him and providing him skills for recovery.

It’s a bumpy process. You probably felt quite a relief to see your husband get the help he so desperately needed and were shocked to find him slipping.

You know him best and your suspicions were correct. Learning Module 6 says step away, be cool and calm as best you can be. Disengage yourself perhaps by saying something like:

“Something doesn’t feel right, I’m going to skip making dinner and go to bed early and read. Perhaps we talk in the morning.”

Start by removing rewards

You don’t ask him about his drinking, so just go with what your gut is telling you. This way you avoid conflict, and you avoid putting him in the position of having to defend or deny his use – which gets both of you nowhere.

The natural consequence of his drinking may be little to none, but you created one by neutrally freezing him out. He is now alone for the rest of the evening, unsure of what is up with you. There isn’t the usual fight that occurs when he drinks. You’re leading him onto new territory and setting the stage for a different kind of communication around his using.

You’ve taken away any rewards of the evening: your company, your warmth, dinner, hanging out on the couch watching your favorite show…

It all sounds little, and it is. No explosion, no ultimatum. He drank, and as a result you withdrew. He can think about it.

Knowing what to expect and moving forward

Drinking after treatment is not uncommon, so don’t let it destroy you. You, too, need to get back on the beam and be strategic about how you react and perceive what has happened.

I am thrilled to hear your husband went to treatment and continues an intensive outpatient program. It takes time and he is in the right place. I am rooting for your husband and for you.

Yes, the family DOES have a role to play and your stance, behavior, and choices DO make a difference. Science has confirmed this. The Allies in Recovery program is based on this understanding. “Tough love” is not a successful technique. Our learning platform is set up to help family members learn the techniques that will reduce conflict, build that bridge of communication, and be effective in guiding your loved one into treatment. Together we will move your loved one towards recovery. Learn more here.


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.