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.

Podcast #88 — Control vs. Influence

Our Podcast: Coming Up For Air

When you want something, how do you request it? Hosts Laurie and Kayla talk about developing a communication style that aims to influence, not control. Influence comes from a softer, more open and compassionate position, and it can change the dynamic of the relationship over time.


Related Posts from "Our Podcast: Coming Up for Air"

What Are Natural Consequences? More on Modules 5 & 6

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.

What Do “Using” and “Not Using” Really Mean?

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.

How Laurie and Kayla Became Part of AIR

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.

Handling Confrontation the CRAFT Way

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.

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.

What About Family Members’ Trauma?

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.

Watching Families Progress

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.

Collaboration Vs. Ultimatum

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.

Denial? Or Ambivalence?

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.

How Do You Stop Catastrophizing?

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.

Guest Jaclyn Brown Returns: Part Two

In part 2 of 2, Jaclyn Brown talks about her personal journey in the wake of losing her brother. For her, advocacy and harm reduction work became a way to find her own voice and power after feeling guilty and helpless. To hear more of Jaclyn’s story, be sure to check out our earlier interviews with her.

Wishes & Dips

You’ve got tools — active listening, being curious and open. So, when your loved one expresses what they would like, or feels they can’t continue as they are, you’re ready. In those moments of “wishes and dips,” you can gently move forward, listening to them and having resources ready, for now or whenever they’re ready. It’s a main tenet of CRAFT — noticing the openings. It’s also a practice — something to stay with over time, so you have a chance to be received.

Stigma – Changing the Story

Stigma is a story someone makes up about a situation. CRAFT provides a framework, and helps you take the story apart and change it, Consciously addressing situations and moving forward with eyes open. Stigma takes power away, but making conscious choices brings your power back.

Here Come the Holidays – How Do You Deal?

Holidays. Winter. How do you deal? Start by shifting expectations about how things might go, and who might be there. Have conversations about “soft” expectations with your loved one in advance. Consider alternative plans, and take care of yourself. Stick with people who support you. How can you shift yourself, your belief system, and your behavior? Share duties, and consider an alcohol-free holiday, whether your loved one has any issue with it or not.

The Importance of Self-Care During Conflict

Times of crisis in conflict may seem like the worst times to practice self-care – yet in those moments, taking care of yourself is key to CRAFT. The more you learn to increase your awareness of your self and your reaction, the more you can successfully use CRAFT tools. If what you want to happen in those times involves your loved ones actions, it’s not likely to be successful.  Changing your actions and reactions, however, alters the environment and creates the possibility of change.

Speaking Up: The Compassionate Way

How do you communicate when you see problematic behavior? The key is intention: observing behavior, and pointing it out calmly and thoughtfully. The idea is to briefly and specifically tell your loved one how the behavior impacts you, then step back without expectation of an outcome, and give them the dignity of processing what you’ve said. Over time, this CRAFT tool can lead to long-term change.

Giving Your Loved One Trust and Agency

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.

Asking Effective Questions

Laurie and Kayla discuss asking questions that create space for your loved one rather than hemming them in. We may have brilliant ideas about what someone should do, and want to share. The skills we need, however, are openness and a willingness to hear the other person and provide space and opportunity for them to process. Back up, don’t interrupt, and let your loved one talk without offering your feedback.

Creating a Safe Space for Decision Making

You can help your loved one make decisions by creating a safe space — by listening, being genuinely interested in their perspective, being non-judgmental, and allowing them to slow things down to examine their own thinking. Avoid trying to fix things yourself, and assume that they’re wise enough to know what they need. Your role is to help them make their own choices.

How, Why and When to Put Yourself First

How do you take care of yourself when there’s a crisis with your Loved One? It’s a process of changing how you think about yourself and your role in the dynamic. If you can change how you think – even for small parts of the day – it changes the dynamic with your Loved One, allowing them the freedom to look at themselves, and not just worry about how they impact you. Hosts Laurie MacDougall and Kayla Solomon share tips on this episode of “Coming Up for Air”.

Answering Listener Questions

In interactions with our loved one, it’s important to be open to conversation and seek a way to be collaborative rather than making demands. In this episode of “Coming Up for Air”, our hosts discuss two listener questions: one about a partner who wants their debit card back and another about a friend who’s picking a loved one up from prison and wants to help them continue seeking recovery.

Motivation: What Drives Change?

Motivation drives change. How do you find motivation to change your part of the dynamic, and allow time and space for the process to unfold? It’s okay to sometimes feel like maybe things aren’t working, then get back on track. If you don’t know how to change, Allies in Recovery offers a toolbox. As long as you stay interested and use the tools, things can change.

What Is Radical Acceptance?

Radical acceptance involves understanding that much of what happens is out of your control, and using strategies to calm, distract, and soothe yourself. The goal is to avoid catastrophizing — envisioning and preparing for the worst outcomes. Radical acceptance means letting go of what you can’t control, experiencing feelings and pain, but without increasing agitation, reactivity, and suffering.

When Your Loved One Uses Several Substances

If your loved one uses multiple substances, our CRAFT experts suggest completing the “functional analysis” exercise to understand which substance to focus on first. On this episode of our podcast “Coming Up for Air”, hosts Laurie MacDougall, Dominique Simon-Levine and Kayla Solomon offer guidance for when your loved one uses not just one, but several substances. Start small, by changing your own behavior in response to your loved one’s use. Aim to shift over time. Study CRAFT modules 3, 5, and 6 closely to help make your plans. Listen in to this informative episode for further insight.

Coming Home

After any treatment, when someone is in early recovery, check your expectations. Your loved one is likely in a fragile state, uncomfortable, edgy, body wrecked after dependency, and dis-regulated physically and emotionally. On this episode of our podcast “Coming Up for Air”,  hosts Laurie MacDougall, Dominique Simon-Levine and Kayla Solomon talk about how this is a time of transition for your loved one and emphasize the value of maintaining realistic expectations. Be gentle, caring, and connected, not an inquisitor. Connection is key.

Unsolicited Advice: Helpful or Hurtful?

On this episode of our podcast “Coming Up for Air”,  hosts Laurie MacDougall,  Dominique Simon-Levine and Kayla Solomon talk about unsolicited advice. It’s smart to avoid giving unsolicited advice. If you receive it, hold your ground, knowing that you’re dedicated to upholding the CRAFT model. Consider telling the advice-giver to look into CRAFT to understand what you’re doing.

An Interview with Meme English

Guest Meme English, a former family therapist and consultant in the legal system, discusses family dynamics with hosts Kayla and Laurie. When it comes to substance use, family dynamics are complicated. There are many layers of trauma, from generational to personal, and competing needs among family members. Balancing all these factors and personal situations means deciding whose needs get most clearly met.

The Antidote to Shame: Part 2

Our hosts look at shame and negative thinking and discuss ways to slow down, gain awareness, and soothe your system. They focus on the essential tool of empathy — especially for yourself — as a way to understand what story you’re making up, and change that story by looking for the positive even in difficult moments.

When Do You Work on Use of Less-Dangerous Substances?

On this episode of “Coming Up for Air”,  Dominique shares a family’s question about a Loved One who has addressed their most pressing substance of use: opioids. Should the family now focus on their Loved One’s cannabis use? Our hosts discuss harm reduction and the role of the “functional analysis” in CRAFT to address such questions.

Facing the Obstacles: Part 1

On this episode of Allies in Recovery’s “Coming Up for Air” Podcast, Laurie and Kayla discuss the obstacles between knowing what to do and putting that knowledge into real practice. In Part 1, they focus on avoiding a “crisis” response, and slowing events down to avoid being reactive.

Podcast #85 – Always Have a Plan

It’s important to have a plan for expectations and consequences when your loved one is at home, and for when they can’t stay. Dominique, Laurie, and Kayla discuss the specifics of having a list of treatment and living options ready and waiting for moments of “softening” when your loved one is open to those options.

Podcast: “Good Time Charlies : A Conversation with Award-Winning Journalist Rob Koebel”

Special guest Rob Koebel, actor, writer and award-winning journalist joins Annie and Laurie to talk about about his descent into alcoholism starting at an early age, and the decades that went by without anyone noticing there was a serious problem. His journey to recovery has been a long struggle but one which he is putting to good use by helping others understand the reality behind the “Good-time Charlie” drinker.

Podcast: “Interview with Activist Alicia Cook”

In our next podcast, Annie and Laurie welcome special guest Alicia Cook, an established writer and award-winning activist on addiction issues. Their discussion covers a range of topics from the very personal, Alicia Cook’s own experience with her cousin’s death from overdose 10 years ago, to her work today as an activist helping families affected by addiction. This very open discussion about the opioid epidemic reveals some harsh truths but also shows a way forward.

Podcast: “Interview with Annie’s Son Elliot”

On this week’s Coming Up for Air podcast, Annie and Laurie talk with Annie’s son Elliot, whose opiate dependency and recovery is detailed in Annie’s book “Unhooked.” Elliot opens up with an honest, raw perspective of where a son or daughter’s mind might be while in active addiction, what would have helped from his point of view, what to not take personally as the parent of someone struggling deep in substance use disorder. He also tells us what life looks like for someone in their 20’s pursuing sobriety yet wanting a fun, active lifestyle.

Podcast: “A House Divided Stands No Chance”

This week Annie and Laurie invite Laurie’s husband Trevor and Annie’s ex-husband Elliot Sr. to discuss what it means to “be on the same page” during a crisis and when making decisions. The conversation touches on blended families, exposing siblings to potentially dangerous behaviors, intrusions from others, being in agreement even though divorced.

Podcast: “Annie and Laurie Tell Their Own Stories”

Laurie and Annie tell their own stories as mothers facing an addicted loved one. They discuss their backgrounds and family dynamics, speak about their lives leading up to and through their personal experiences with the national opiate crisis. Their compelling stories confirm that addiction is a disease and it’s a family disease that can happen to any family in any community.

Podcast: “CRAFT! Where Have You Been All My Life?”

In today’s podcast, Annie and Laurie welcome Allies in Recovery founder, Dominique Simon-Levine, to explain the CRAFT method for helping families support an addicted loved one into treatment and through recovery. They share their personal experiences in implementing the CRAFT methodology and why it became their ‘strategy of choice’ not only in helping their addicted loved one, but also in looking after their own well-being.