We often enjoy the sense of control. A difficult situation might deeply challenge us, but if we have a sense of what to do, we’re comforted. But what can we do when we feel powerless?
A loved one’s opioid addiction often makes us feel powerless. If he or she suffers opioids’ control of their lives, you’ll likely feel a loss of control in your own. But there are resources to help both you and your loved one in spite of opioid addiction.
What does CRAFT mean? In short: “community Reinforcement And Family Training.” Now let’s explain it more in depth.
CRAFT is a group of counseling-based skills which help those suffering from substance addiction by assisting their loved ones. Dr. Robert J. Meyers and Dr. Jane Ellen Smith developed the CRAFT approach as a different family support than the ones offered in 12-Step programs (like Al-Anon).
Dr. Meyers writes that “the [concerned significant other] can play a powerful role in helping to engage the substance user who is in denial to submit to treatment.” In short: CRAFT teaches family members and friends how they can support their addicted loved one with the goal of helping them receive treatment.
The CRAFT program uses two main acronyms: concerned significant others (CSOs) and identified patients (IPs), which we’ll use from here for consistency.
DrugAbuse.com outlines CRAFT’s four main purposes for CSOs:
If you like the sound of CRAFT, you might like to receive its training. The program includes seven group-support meetings, where each meeting lasts an hour. If it sounds intensive, that’s because it is: for your loved one’s sake, you need to learn CRAFT skills as well as possible.
These meetings cover plenty of interpersonal strategies to help you support yourself and your loved one. We’ve pulled out two key principles that anchor much of what you’ll learn. Remember: underneath these actions, you’ll generally have to learn (and re-learn) greater patience and greater preparation.
Think of how you and your loved one have spoken with each other since their opioid addiction. What do you say to one another? When do you speak? Which tone do you use with them? Which tone do they use with you?
It’s likely that your communications have become strained. That’s why CRAFT teaches you to return to clear, respectful communication with your loved one. Resetting whatever helpful conversations you and your loved one used to have doesn’t happen overnight. You’ll learn to begin and sustain that communication. Often, you’ll have to.
If you’re trying to support a loved one who suffers opioid addiction, how you interact becomes dicey. Do you help them? What if they’ve lied to you, or stolen from you? You can’t simply cut them out of your life. But you also can’t just let them harm themselves or others. How do you go forward?
CRAFT teaches a balanced mixture of giving and taking behavior. You can give “positive reinforcement” for your loved one’s opioid-free behaviors (kind words or some reward for recovery-focused choices). But you can also take away your help, so that your loved one may suffer the natural consequences of their choices. It’s difficult, but trouble with health, relationships, or the law might deter your loved one from continuing opioid-focused activity.
Actually, both the giving and taking behaviors can influence future behavior. You have your crucial part to play. But your loved one receives either the encouraging or discouraging effects.
Decide if CRAFT can help you and your loved one. Weigh it carefully, and make sure to learn more. It might be just what you and your loved one need to break the cycle of opioid addiction and personal strain.
Here at Buprenorphine Doctors, we list the opioid rehab clinics and the opioid doctors which might help begin your journey. Look through the medical options for opioid addiction treatment, and learn as much as you need to about what’s available. Whatever you do, make sure to get the help you and your loved one need!