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.

Whatever You Put in Front of Your Sobriety You Will Lose

Allies in Recovery, AiR, Dominique Simon Levine, dsl, addiction, addiction recovery, alcohol, alcoholism, sober, sobriety, detox, treatment

There is an AA saying, one that I think also applies to families navigating the addiction of a loved one. Simply put, your loved one’s sobriety must come first. Yet, for families, there is so much else going on.

*This post originally appeared on our Member Site blog, where experts respond to members’ questions and concerns. To take advantage of our current special offer and get full access to the Allies in Recovery eLearning program for families, click here.

 

sobriety family intervention addiction allies in recovery
Illustration © Eleanor Davis

Sobriety is the priority

I recently spoke to the mom of a 26-year-old woman; she was in the thick of this dilemma. Finally, after much time had passed, her daughter had just admitted to having a problem with alcohol and needing help. Mom helped her enter a detoxification unit, a necessary first step for a safe withdrawal from alcohol.

And here is where the problems start. The daughter wanted out, claiming she wasn’t getting any treatment. Meanwhile, the boyfriend felt the whole thing was way overblown; he thought his girlfriend was fine, and should come home and get to work. In fact, the daughter didn’t want the boyfriend to know the true extent of her problem. They shared a house together, and she was afraid of losing it and him.

Mom is caught in the middle

She was worried that the boyfriend, with his “you’re fine” attitude, would send the wrong message to her daughter. Her daughter’s new job, and the home she had partly paid for also worried her. Lastly, she didn’t want to upset her daughter by talking to the boyfriend about her daughter’s alcohol use which she did in fact do. She showed him garbage bags filled with empty pint containers of white rum, squirreled away by the daughter in her old room.

And I felt bad that I was sounding like a broken record: “Figure out the next step after detox and have that ready for your daughter.” Stay away from the rest of it (even though it is so hard). Don’t take the repeated calls from your daughter who is begging to be brought home. Don’t concern yourself with whether the boyfriend and house may be lost, they may be.

This was a good turn of events, I told her: her daughter was finally addressing a severe alcohol problem. It might not lead to much sobriety this first time, but it was the necessary and critical first step. The mom’s role was simple: figure out her daughter’s next treatment step and “enable the treatment” (transport, payment, childcare, etc.).

How hard it is to see clearly through all the noise

On the one hand mom wants her daughter to get sober, and knows it’s the most important. On the other hand, it’s difficult to see your loved one possibly losing house, job, boyfriend. Focus on the treatment and leave the rest as best you can. Helping your loved one get to the next right place is the quickest way to a peaceful life for them. Perhaps they lose what they have, that is just not important when compared to their sobriety.

Are there instances like this in your life? Have you been torn by your loved one’s material things, their job, or their continued relationships — as opposed to their sobriety? Consider becoming a member of alliesinrecovery.net and taking concrete steps towards helping yourself and your loved one.

Loading

Related Posts from "Communication"

“What We All Require Is To Be Heard”: Kayla Solomon On Effective Communication and Connection

In March 2023, Allies in Recovery’s very own Kayla Solomon led a 90-minute ZOOM conversation with leaders of the East Bay chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) based in Sacramento, California. The result was a dynamic primer on the use of CRAFT, the Allies approach to building trust and connection with Loved Ones, and the vital role of listening and affirming when supporting a Loved One with mental health and/or substance use challenges. Click above to watch the recording.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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’s Drinking and Trying To Hide It. What Should I Be Doing?

Rengal’s son is struggling with alcohol use, and this has led to some difficult encounters. She naturally wants to act in hopes of making things better. But as Allies writer Laurie MacDougall explains, sometimes the first challenge we face with our Loved Ones is not to make things worse. Not reacting, not confronting: these can be positive, powerful early steps. CRAFT skills can help us take them.

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.

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.

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.

I Meant Well. Did My Words Make Him Start Drinking Again?

A recurrence never occurs for one reason alone. It’s rare that words of love are to blame. Yet as linsachacko31 recently discovered, even words meant to celebrate a Loved One’s accomplishments can be taken in a way we don’t intend. Laurie MacDougall reflects how easily this can happen, and some simple ways we can change our approach to those vital, if challenging, moments of connection.

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.