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.

My Loved One Comes Home After Binging on Methamphetamines. I Feel Like I’ve Hit a Brick Wall.

Image Credit: hope by

Hi Allies. I feel a bit at a loss for what to do. My partner went to a 90-day rehab last year, and when he finished, he stayed on track with crystal meth IOP meetings, in person and online. He stayed sober for nine months. It was amazing. Then he had a relapse, and we set clear boundaries for what we agreed he would need to do to stay in the apartment. He started to take an antidepressant as well. Then he had another relapse, and as the relapses occurred more frequently, I stepped back and let him decide what would work best to keep himself sober.

He started a new job 90 days ago, and I thought that having a purpose & a paycheck would inspire him. Unfortunately, he kept getting very depressed and the relapses went from every 90 days to every 60 days to every 30. Now he is back home and isn’t willing to engage in rehab or meetings again, and my CRAFT skills to try to get him to answer open-ended questions are not having much success any longer. What to do when you feel like you have hit a brick wall?

Hello msmnyc1. Your situation sounds really difficult. Your home is not calm. Your Loved One is coming home only long enough to sleep it off and otherwise recover before heading back out for the next binge. The timeline you relate concerning your partner’s movement back to regular use is instructive: one relapse can, by a slow progression, lead back to regular use.

It sounds as though your partner is now caught in a more frequent cycle of use, whereas before there could be months in between. When you add up the time right before he uses (perhaps he is pacing and on the phone lining up access to the drug), the time he’s high, and the time he’s withdrawing, your partner’s use may appear almost constant to you.

But is there still some point—perhaps just a small period of time between binges—when he is awake, eating, and not using meth? It is this small but significant period that you learn to identify and distinguish from the rest of the time in which he is using.

After you contacted Allies in January 2022, you and I communicated about rewarding non-use—and also, vitally, about how to define non-use. You might want to take a look back at that post, as it illustrates the point quite well. It’s very important to be clear about what counts as use and non-use. Often the period of non-use is sandwiched between periods of use:

Can you find this point of non-use and lean in? This is when you can try being interested, encouraging, and rewarding. Can you better delineate by observing where the line is for your Loved One?

Module 8 (How Do I Get My Loved One Into Treatment?) lays out how to have a brief but formal talk with your Loved One. Again, the moment to talk with your partner is during a period of nonuse.

The good news is that your partner has been able to live drug-free for months. He is not new to recovery or to treatment. He knows what to do and what works for him. He may be embarrassed to go back to these supports, but he can overcome this feeling and step back into the drug-free lifestyle he maintained for those many months.

Perhaps you decide to set a tight boundary, asking your partner to go elsewhere and sleep it off each time he finishes binging. You’d be telling him that this place can no longer be your home. You may need to consider helping him to finance his place: if so, aim for something temporary like a motel.

You may also want to consider phasing in this change gradually, over several weeks. Perhaps in that first brief talk, you warn your partner that this is coming. You explain that you will help him find and pay for some place he can safely sleep it off.

As much as you possible can, keep the messaging positive: You can come home whenever you aren’t using. And I’ll be here hoping for your return. Perhaps you hold out the possibility that he can come home permanently when he stops.

You are on the right track with your question. You’ve been using CRAFT and supporting your partner for some time now. The message I’m sending with this reply is not to despair. These behavioral strategies are a key component of CRAFT work. When you put down a new boundary, know that there will be a reaction from your Loved One. Expect it. He’ll likely get angry or really hurt. Hold your ground, and I believe you will see your partner start bending to the boundary. You probably won’t get 100% what you’re asking for the first time, but keep it up.

Your perimeter is what you can control. Setting a firm boundary also makes clear whose responsibility it is when that boundary is crossed.

Boundaries produce change. Thank you for your writing in.


Related Posts from "Discussion Blog"

What Is Our Role? Underlying Feelings and Beliefs We Have About Our Loved Ones

Like many of us who have Loved Ones struggling with SUD, Allies member Binnie knows that trust is a delicate matter. Can we trust our Loved Ones to take care of themselves? Do we believe they have the capacity? Or do we think they’re so damaged that they can’t function without our stepping in? Isabel Cooney reflects on how trust is explored in a recent Allies podcast, and offers her own insightful take on this vital subject.

Evidence From Oregon: Decriminalizing Drugs Can’t Solve Every Problem, but It’s an Important Step All the Same

Oregon has just rescinded Measure 110, the historic law that decriminalized possession of small amounts of hard drugs. But the reasoning behind the rollback is muddled. As guest author Christina Dent reveals, M110 took the blame for spikes in lethal overdoses, homelessness, and public drug use, none of which it likely caused. Rather, she argues that the law represented a small but important step forward. In the effort to end the drug crisis, its repeal is a loss.

Getting the Most Out of This Site

Personal trainers and the like are terrific—when they’re accessible. Unfortunately, individual counseling is still a rarity with CRAFT, despite its proven effectiveness. Allies in Recovery was created to bridge that gap. In this post, founder and CEO Dominique Simon-Levine outlines the many forms of training, education, and guidance that we offer on this website. We hope it helps you find the support you need.

What We Can and Can’t Control: It’s Good to Know the Difference

Erica2727 has a husband who’s working hard on his recovery, but his place of work concerns her. She would like him to consider various options, but isn’t sure about how to talk over such matters with him. Allies’ writer Laurie MacDougall offers a guide to a vital distinction: on the one hand, what we can and should seek to control; and on the other, what we cannot, and don’t need to burden ourselves with attempting.

How I Boiled Down CRAFT for My Teenage Kids

What can our children make of CRAFT? Allies’ writer Isabel Cooney has a powerful story to share—and some great thoughts for our community about opening a little window on the practice. As her experience suggests, CRAFT may have more to offer than a child or teen can truly take on. But young people may still benefit from an introduction to what the adults in their lives are trying to do.

Progress and Appreciation: A Letter From Holland

Danielle and her son have gone through a lot, individually and together. At Allies, we remember their years of struggle relating to his SUD. What joy, then, to receive this letter updating us on their situation. It’s the best news imaginable: Danielle’s son is clean and stable, and Danielle herself has widened the circle of support to others in need. Have a look at Danielle’s letter for yourself:

She Wants Another Round of Rehab. Should I Open My Wallet Yet Again?

Member Klmaiuri’s daughter struggles with alcohol and cocaine use. She’s also been through rehab seven times. The cycle—use, treatment, partial recovery, return to use—can feel like a cycle that never ends. Is there a way to be supportive while put a (loving) wrench in the gears? Allies’ writer Laurie MacDougall says absolutely yes. But it takes a commitment to learning new skills, trying a new approach, and lots of practice.