Support for Family & Friends

Posted on March 10, 2015

Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening
Reviewed by Henry Steinberger, Ph.D.

Get Your Loved One SoberTo help people seeking sobriety for their loved ones, Get Your Loved One Sober offers a revolutionary program: The Community Reinforcement And Family Training (CRAFT) intervention. The subtitle, “Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening” more aptly describes what this book is about. Getting a loved one into treatment is not the first goal. Arranging for one’s own safety and finding a happier life independent of the drinker’s situation, takes priority. Getting a loved one to moderate, choose sobriety, or go into treatment, are offered as roads to a better relationship.

Still, CRAFT can boast phenomenal success getting people into treatment. An alternative to Al-Anon’s 12-Step tradition and “detachment” recommendations and the Johnson Institute’s confrontational interventions, the CRAFT program is based on non-confrontational behavioral principles like reinforcement. It gives the reader tools and instructions for changing their interactions with their loved ones, which in turn changes the loved one’s behavior. In repeated clinical trials, CRAFT proved twice as likely as the Johnson Intervention and six times as likely as Al-Anon to get loved ones into treatment.

Get Your Loved One Sober, in an easy engaging presentation, offers an organized tool kit of helpful behavioral strategies and realistic encouragement to apply these tools while dropping the often overused and ineffective nagging, pleading and threatening. Using simple terms and metaphors, dramatic story examples and hands-on activities, the book teaches the skills professionals call: behavioral analysis, goal setting, reinforcement and extinction, problem solving and communication.

Though the key to change is planned reinforcement, behaviorism and its terminology are only mentioned when Meyers pointedly recommends looking for treatment programs congruent with CRAFT.  Such programs are described with phrases like “social skills training,” “behavioral marital therapy,” “cognitive-behavioral treatment,” “rational-emotive therapy” and “motivational treatment.” Though Meyers notes that some treatment groups “use a Twelve-Step format as their treatment,” he suggests the reader look for treatment that helps the drinker “figure out the triggers (stimulus cues) and reinforcers of his unhealthy behavior.”

SMART Recovery® offers the self help program for addictive behaviors that is perfectly congruent with CRAFT. Both are based on proven principles of behavior change, and both offer cognitive-behavioral strategies in a friendly, accessible, do-it-yourself format. Both are supportive and non-confrontational, and both offer alternatives to common ineffective strategies and other better known programs. SMART Recovery® Family & Friends offers a message board forum, weekly online meetings for Concerned Significant Others, and a growing number of new face-to-face local meetings.

Could a revolution be starting in the addictions field when Hazelden, a bulwark of twelve-step treatment, publishes a book touting cognitive and behavioral approaches above others, in which clinical trials recommend CRAFT over Al-Anon or Johnson interventions for getting people into treatment, and moderation is suggested as a worthy goal for some people? I find it very refreshing and encouraging that Hazelden press has chosen to publish a book that acknowledges the effectiveness of behavioral treatments.

Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening
by Robert J. Meyers, Ph.D., and Brenda L.Wolfe, Ph.D.

Helping Loved Ones Get Sober
A SMART Family & Friends Special Event

Saturday, March 21, 5:00 pm EDT

Dr. Robert Meyers, creator of CRAFT 
Dr. Jeffrey Foote, Director, Center for Motivation & Change 
hosted by Dr. Tom Horvath, President, SMART Recovery

Register for this even here!

SMART Recovery announces a new Special Event Webinar on how the Family & Friends of those with addiction can help those they love, while remaining sane and safe. The foremost experts in this field today, Robert J. Meyers, Ph.D.. and Jeffrey Foote, Ph.D. will join SMART Recovery President Tom Horvath, Ph.D. to discuss “the CRAFT approach”: How science, combined with compassion, can make a difference.

2 thoughts on “Support for Family & Friends

  1. Gulemo

    Hi ,

    Al-Anon’s book The Dilemma of The Alcoholic Marriage illustrates but a false dilemma. The true dilemma is marriage itself whoever to. It has little if anything to do with an alcoholic. That book is sexist and outmoded. It should have been discontinued a long time ago. It should have never been written in the first place. There is but 10-12% men in Al-Anon Family Groups, no wonder why. I owe my survival to Al-Anon; but I believe AFG will disappear before men are equal to women – at least in number – in that “wonderful” fellowship.

    Also much more is known today about mental illness (schizophrenia, depression, etc.) than at the time of the two cofounders. The pamphlet Do You Doubt Your Sanity says nothing about neither sanity, nor insanity and less yet about substance-induced psychosis – mental drunkenness. It is an empty pamphlet like many other useless Al-Anon pamphlets. Let’s keep it simple. There is much too much useless Al-Anon literature that speaks about anything but the real thing and that keeps members deluded about the real thing: their own mental illness.

    If Al-Anon literature does not reflect today’s reality, then what? If his/her/their alcohol or drug abuse is your obsession (schizophrenia-related obsessive-compulsive disorder), try AFG and hurry on to more important matters. See Schizophrenia and Related Disorders Alliance of America (

    In short, any littérature but Al-Anon’s.

  2. Karen_LV

    I am currently on my third time reading this book. I did all the exercises and practiced much of what I learned through the first reading. I went back to read it a 2nd time while having difficulty with my addictive loved one, but that time I just simply read as a refresher. I have just recently gone back, this time with journal in hand and am reading for a 3rd time. I have found this book invaluable in learning how to communicate and how to look at what I really want from my relationship with someone who struggles to find sobriety. I have noticed that if I truly work the CRAFT methods I do see positive results. I wish I could say that my Loved One has choosen to seek recovery but I think he is one of those tougher cases that will take more time than others.

    I love that this book offers some real, hands on methods that we can implement in our desire to communicate to our loved ones that sobriety is better for them. The title of this book is completely true. There is no need to plead, threaten, nag or anything else negative in order to get our message of love through to them. As a matter of fact, we learn that this can actually reinforce the very behavior that we are desiring to stop.

    I highly recommend this book for any and every who loves someone who struggles with addiction and sobriety.

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