Category Archives: Family & Friends

Power of Positive Reinforcement

Posted on March 24, 2015

A note on “enabling” vs. positive reinforcement
~Jeffrey Foote, PsyD, Center for Motivation and Change

“Caring about and staying connected in a helping way with someone dealing
with substances is not only helpful, it’s one of the most powerful motivators for change.”

Positive ReinforcementIf you are a partner, parent, or child of someone struggling with substance problems, and you live in America, you’ve probably heard this word “enabling” (possibly many, many times). And you’ve probably heard this described as central to your interactions in helping your loved one. Mostly, you have heard “DON’T DO IT”!, and if you are like most concerned family members, you feel vaguely guilty for doing something you’re not even sure you are doing (but you must be, right?). By way of quick review, “enabling” actually means doing positive things that will end up supporting continued negative behavior, such as providing your child with money so they won’t “go hungry” during the day, knowing they use it to buy pot, or going to talk to the teacher to make sure they don’t get a bad grade, even though their bad test score was due to drinking, or calling your husband’s work to explain he’s sick today, when he’s actually hung over. These are examples of doing something “nice” for your loved one that actually (from a behavioral reinforcement standpoint) might increase the frequency of the negative behavior, not decrease it. The logic: if they act badly, and nothing happens, or something good happens, this behavior is encouraged, even if what you are doing is “nice”. This IS enabling, and this is not helpful in changing behavior in a positive direction.

But everything nice is not enabling! And that’s the quicksand we have developed in our culture. Staying connected, rewarding positive behaviors with positivity, being caring and loving; these things are critical to positive change. So what’s the difference? Continue reading

Webinar: Helping Loved Ones Get Sober

Posted on March 17, 2015

Dr. Robert Meyers, and Dr. Jeffrey Foote discuss the “CRAFT approach”
Hosted by Dr. Tom Horvath, President, SMART Recovery
Saturday, March 21, 5:00 pm edt
Registration:
www.smartrecovery.org/events

SMART Recovery announces a new 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., creator of CRAFT and Jeffrey Foote, Ph.D., Director, Center for Motivation & Change  will join Tom Horvath, Ph.D., President of SMART Recovery to discuss “The CRAFT approach: How science, combined with compassion, can make a difference”.

As family members or friends, our intimate connection should make us natural allies. However, we often don’t know how to talk with each other or work together when it comes to the emotionally intense issue of addiction.

SMART believes that Family & Friends deserve high-quality, compassionate and optimistic support of their own. We know it is possible to get sober. We believe families are not powerless, that they can help, without becoming codependent, resorting to tough love or enabling. The tools of SMART and CRAFT work beautifully to encourage healthy, productive efforts towards an improved quality of life for all. SMART has been working to create a rich Family & Friends program that includes a vibrant online community, its own Handbook, and both online and face-to-face meetings. We invite you to learn more at http://www.smartrecovery.org/family

Meet the Presenters: Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Celebrate the Holidays Safely, Comfortably, Joyously

Posted on November 25, 2014

Celebrating the Holidays with Recovering Family Members and Friends
Peter Gaumond, Chief, ONDCP Recovery Branch

Holidays in RecoveryThis time each year can be stressful for anyone, but the holidays present a special challenge for people recovering from a substance use disorder. Those in long-term recovery typically are adept at navigating the minefield of temptation at holiday social gatherings. But many of those in their first year of recovery, their friends, and family members wonder how best to celebrate the holidays safely, comfortably, and joyously.

If your festivities will include someone with a year or more in recovery, you may simply want to ask if there is anything you can do to make the holiday better for them. They may want to bring a friend who’s also in recovery. They may have beverage preferences or want the flexibility to step out for a short while, either to attend a mutual aid meeting (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, or SMART Recovery), make a call, or Continue reading

Supporting Recovery Without Enabling

Posted on October 28, 2014

In Epidemics, Hippocrates said, “Make a habit of two things–to help, or at least to do no harm.” How can we apply that idea to helping family and friends with addictions?

When we care about individuals who are trying to overcome addictions, we often face dilemmas in how best to help them. For instance, if I help someone by providing money for some critical need, am I supporting recovery by preventing some degree of “disaster”? Or am I just shielding the person from negative consequences that might motivate lasting behavior change? The latter, of course, is AKA the E word: Enabling.  This article will identify some things to consider when you face that kind of decision.

What is support? I suggest that support, at its root, consists of two things: paying attention and active helping. I could pay attention to a friend who wants to quit smoking by listening to her talk about her cravings to smoke and how she copes with these cravings. I could actively help her by informing her of new tobacco cessation products (if she was unfamiliar with them). I could take her to a SMART Recovery® meeting (especially if she felt awkward going alone), or spend a non-smoking evening with her  (when her other options were to be alone or be with smokers).

Continue reading

How to Help a Loved One Find Addiction Recovery

Posted on August 12, 2014

Alternatives for Family & Friends
-Roxanne A., SMART Recovery® Facilitator

depression Chances are you were never taught how to manage a relationship with someone who is struggling with a substance abuse problem. You may find that without the necessary skills, your role as a family member or friend of someone with addiction becomes increasingly stressful as the addiction progresses.

Ignoring the problem or attempting to change it with harsh confrontation often makes the emotional, financial and physiological problems that accompany the substance abuse even worse.

CRAFT: An approach that gets people into treatment

There is an alternate, non-confrontational, scientifically-validated approach to managing the problem. This approach is outlined in the books Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening  and Beyond Addiction, How Science & Kindness Help People Change. Using Community Reinforcement And Family Training (CRAFT) these books teach family members and friends how to improve their own lives while at the same time providing skills for improving their relationship with their loved one. In repeated clinical trials, CRAFT’s approach proved twice as likely Continue reading