This comprehensive CRAFT method accomplishes three goals:
- Helps family members learn ways to encourage their loved one to enter addiction treatment
- Reduces their loved ones alcohol and drug use whether they’ve entered treatment or not
- Helps families learn ways to improve their home life
“With CRAFT, family members learn ways to lower loved ones’ defenses and encourage them to speak candidly. The advice essentially boils down to simple steps like asking open-ended questions, complimenting positive behaviors, and echoing the person’s concerns in a nonjudgmental way. Next, they learn to devise ways to improve their home life (without fixing or minimizing the ill effects of the drinking or drug use). When the struggling loved one feels understood and safe, the reasoning goes, he or she will be more willing to be vulnerable, to seek help.” Burt Helm, Boston Globe The End of Hitting Rock Bottom
Research has shown that almost 7 out of 10 people who use the CRAFT program get their substance user to attend treatment and avoids the common notion that you must detach and let your loved one hit rock bottom. It also demonstrates a non-confrontational approach to intervention that’s effective and reduces relationship conflict.
For parents who are new to dealing with their child’s drug and alcohol abuse,
they may be wondering if it’s just part of something that many adolescents experiment with or if they have a larger issue with use. Many parents feel helpless and question whether their child’s being honest and feel like the harder they try to understand the angrier and more distant their child becomes. Parents don’t believe substance abuse can go on for a decade, they believe they can send their kid away for 28 days in traditional treatment and everything will be fixed. CRAFT gives parents the tools they need to have empowering conversations. “Communication is key to sending your child a clear message while maintaining a positive relationship. By trying new strategies, you can tackle tough topics in an effective, loving manner,”
says Dr. Meyers, creator of CRAFT.
For parents who’ve been in this for a long time, they’re wondering, will my child make it through another day? Do I send them money for cigarettes in jail? CRAFT techniques are helpful for families who have gone through drug and alcohol abuse for years. It teaches you how to set boundaries, “Yes, I will put money in your account but I won’t send you Western Union.” And it gives parents who have tried many methods an opportunity to re-center.
Al-Anon vs. CRAFT (detach with love vs. stronger together)
In Al-Anon, parents are taught they must detach from their child in order to let them hit rock bottom — it’s a disempowering approach that’s been heavily criticized. “Detach felt like crap – even the most successful parent had a daughter in danger and freezing out on the streets.” Former Al-Anon parent. Contrary to that, CRAFT empowers parents to play an active role in helping their child.
CRAFT is part of the future of substance abuse treatment — it’s been proven as a potent method to change your loved ones’ behaviors. Depending on the severity of the misuse, CRAFT may or may not be the only tool a family needs but Family Therapy will certainly be integrated into the new way the world looks at substance abuse and CRAFT is a readily available program to help millions of families in need.