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.

Now They’re Stealing and Disappearing…

relapse recovery boundaries Allies in Recovery addiction family intervention Dominique Simon-Levine, dominique simon levine, CRAFT, alcohol, stealing, behavior, withdrawal, stealing, emotions

This post originally appeared on our Member Site blog, where experts respond to members’ questions and concerns. To learn more about membership, see our Membership Benefits page.

relapse recovery boundaries Allies in Recovery addiction family intervention Dominique Simon-Levine, dominique simon levine, CRAFT, alcohol, stealing, behavior, withdrawal, stealing, emotions

Illustration © Eleanor Davis

A mom on Allies in Recovery’s member-only site wrote in about her son’s recent alarming behaviors. Dominique Simon-Levine, Allies in Recovery’s founder, responds below.

I’m in complete distress. Last week my loved one took some of my money and got high, out of his mind. After that, [he was] clean for a week. Once payday came, [he] took even more money and took off. Haven’t heard from [him] in 3 days. [He has] never just left, with no contact. I don’t know what to do

It is completely distressing when the progression of drug and alcohol use advances and terrible new behaviors emerge.  Your loved one stooped to a new low: stealing and disappearing.

There is a high probability that the situation will worsen. You are surprised and hurt and scared.  Take the time you need to get a hold of yourself. Try not to take it personally.

This, sadly, is the face of addiction.


Now, how are you going to respond? 

Your loved one is ratcheting up the danger and exhibiting daring behaviors, but this can be turned to your advantage. These are opportunities in a sense. How you greet him when he comes home is in your court and can make a huge difference.

Is the list of treatment options ready? (our member site offers treatment resources). Have you worked to get yourself calmed down?

Script it out.  Something like this.

“I was sick with worry. I have barely slept in three days. You took our money and left me without any. I’m glad you’re home safe. When you’re ready, I’d like to talk. I’m going back to my room now.”

Let him withdraw from the drugs/alcohol on his own (not: “it will be all right,” or “what the hell were you thinking?”…)


After the withdrawal..

“I can’t go through this again. My world is getting turned upside down. The problems with the (drug/alcohol) are now severe. I don’t know what else to say. I’ve researched and written down a list of places that can help. Would you be willing to look at this list with me and consider choosing something to try?  Perhaps you go even once to see if it might be helpful.”

If he says no, thank him for listening and back away. If he says yes, do everything to help him get there: transport, help with co-pays, etc.

What I’ve laid out here is the principle of how to respond. It is somewhat idealized but it can work. He may disappear again. You may need to repeat your response a couple more times. Please try everything in your power to get yourself calmed down (watch an excerpt from Module 7 on difficult emotions), remember this is not directed at you. This is the face of addiction.

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.

Loading

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 AlliesinRecovery.net.

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 AlliesinRecovery.net 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 AlliesinRecovery.net, 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 AlliesinRecovery.net 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 AlliesinRecovery.net 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.

“He Wants Us to Live Together, but He’s Drinking” – What to Say, and When?

Her boyfriend texted her about his desire to move in together; she suspects he did so under the influence. She is growing frustrated with his substance use and feels the need to step back. In retrospect, she fears she missed the opportunity to respond to what we, at Allies in Recovery, call a “wish” – an important moment of “change talk,” an opening for you to step in and suggest recovery options. It can be a key part of implementing the CRAFT skills we teach at Allies. So, what can she do now?

Now He’s Abusing His ADHD Medication. What to do?

Her long-time partner added a new drug to the usual mix of cannabis and alcohol: now he’s got a prescription for ADHD meds and is blowing through a month’s supply in 5 days. He blames all his negative behaviors on his underlying depression. How can she be helpful to her partner, without playing into his victim mentality? She feels like she might want to give up on his recovery and ask him to move out…but we have some great CRAFT-informed tips for strategies she can try first.

His Early Recovery Is Triggering Me

Her loved one has been abstinent from substance use for weeks. With steady recovery inputs, including a medication, he is doing better. However, he recently adopted a deeply confrontational stance and has shifted to some alternative addictive behaviors. Our AlliesinRecovery.net member, feeling hurt and lost, wonders how to address these new challenges. Laurie MacDougall uses some examples from her son’s recovery journey to help paint a picture of more successful interactions that can let some of the tension out of the situation. Read this blog post for some CRAFT-informed ways to handle triggers, boundaries, and power struggles.

She’s Using Again and Gone Missing.

A worried mom wrote in to share news of her daughter’s recurrence after 6 months of recovery from AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder). To complicate matters, the daughter had been off on a binge and out of touch for a week. Obviously, this kind of situation is never easy for a worried parent, family member, or significant other. The mom is using our eLearning Modules to remind herself of important CRAFT principles. We weigh in with some supportive reminders about resilience – hers and her daughter’s – and the reminder that recovery is never a straight line or an on-off switch; we call it the “spiral of recovery.”  

My Son is Using Again. Should I Confront Him?

When you are trying your best to work with a family member in recovery from Substance Use Disorder (SUD), it can be frightening and disappointing to discover they are using again. What to do? One of our AlliesinRecovery.net members wrote in about her son having a recurrence of use, and she wonders whether she should confront him or not. She feels she can’t bear the emotional rollercoaster of her son’s recovery journey. We weigh in with some reminders from the CRAFT approach about how to manage her own thoughts, feelings, and reactions. We suggest she stay the course and not confront him – at least not yet.

How Can We Help our Daughter Find Residential Treatment?

What her daughter needs—a solid residential treatment program for women—should not be so hard to find. Unfortunately, such programs often are. We sorted through some of the options in the state where this Allies in Recovery member lives, so she can focus her search on a program most likely to help her daughter continue to improve. The family can also keep doing CRAFT to help support the relationship with their daughter in recovery, and to take care of themselves in the process. Staying in touch with Allies staff can also help support them.

“Heads Up” Tips for Those New to SUD

Have you ever looked back on a particularly stressful time in your life and wished you’d known a few things ahead of the struggle? Or maybe you were offered some “heads up” advice when enduring a hard time and found that the advice you received drastically empowered you through the situation. This blog shares some helpful tips for parents and other family members who are new to facing the crisis of addiction, alcoholism or Substance Use Disorder (referred to as “SUD”) with a loved one.

Did I Do CRAFT Wrong and Trigger Him to Drink?

She thought her husband was drinking, so she left. He called and said he wasn’t drinking, so she came home, but by then he’d gone out and he did drink. This wife feels she inadvertently triggered her husband to go drink. Did she? She also feels like she messed everything up with one episode of removing rewards. Did she really? The CRAFT approach has us “remove rewards,” including removing ourselves, when our loved one is using substances. CRAFT also asks you to make numerous split-second decisions every day. You’re going to get it wrong sometimes.  In the post below, we walk through this scenario with some CRAFT ABC’s.

3 Months into Recovery and He Doesn’t Show an Ounce of Gratitude

This mom has been able to successfully use CRAFT principles to shepherd her son into treatment and to support him during early recovery. However, her son’s lack of gratitude is beginning to feel unbearable. AlliesinRecovery.net Director Dominique Simon-Levine weighs in with a reminder to practice communications skills, and to take care of yourself – all part of the CRAFT curriculum at Allies.

He May Be Spending the Holidays in Jail. Should I Bail Him Out?

Anger and resentment towards her loved one has transformed – with one event – into love and fear. He was arrested out of state for dealing drugs and driving under the influence. The family has confirmation that he has indeed been using meth again. Now, the holiday together is in question, and she wonders how much to share with the family. The CRAFT approach suggests “removing rewards” and “allowing natural consequences.” Read on to see our view that the arrest might end up helping the situation and getting him to treatment.

In-Person & Virtual Recovery Resources for Your Loved One

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS (AA World Services, Inc.) Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other, that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. This is an informational website for anyone interested in learning more about their organization, 12-step program of recovery, and how to find local meetings. PHONE: 212.870.3400 Click here for Online AA Meetings What is AA? What to Expect in an AA Meeting  What is Anonymity in AA?  AA INTERGROUP ONLINE MEETING FINDER IN THE ROOMS In The Rooms offers over 150+ weekly live online meetings, a variety 12-Step and Non-12- Step Fellowships, and Specialty meetings. Some of our most popular meetings are AA, NA, ACA, Al-Anon, and Nar-Anon meetings, and much more. In The Rooms has 69 live online AA meetings weekly, so there’s bound to be one that fits your schedule! We have specialty AA meetings too, like AA Pride (LGBTQ). We also have an Agnostic AA meeting, if you’re seeking a meeting without a secular approach to recovery. We have 30 NA meetings on ITR weekly. Like AA, there’s also an NA Pride meeting (LGBTQ) and an Agnostic NA meeting. For support for the family, friends, and allies of those in recovery, In The Rooms has both Al-Anon and Nar-Anon meetings, which each meeting, 1-3 times a week. We also have many other 12-step fellowship groups, like Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, and Sex Addicts Anonymous, CODA, Dual Diagnosis, and much more. If you can think of a Recovery fellowship, we probably have it.  FULL LISTING of LIVE VIRTUAL/ONLINE MEETINGS  12Step.Org We strive to provide information, tools, and resources for working a 12 Step program (or any program using 12 step principles for recovery) in as simple and effective way as possible. Online Meeting Calendar Online Video Meetings Phone Meetings Forums, Text Chats, and Email Meetings List RECOVERY DHARMA Recovery Dharma is a peer-led movement and community that is unified by our trust in the potential of each of us to recover and find freedom from the suffering of addiction. We believe that the traditional Buddhist teachings, often referred to as…