How to deal with an addict or alcoholic
A SMART Way To Deal With Addiction
By Roxanne Allen, SMART Recovery® Online Facilitator
Chances are you were never taught how to manage a relationship with someone who is struggling with a substance abuse problem (even sober relationships with an alcoholic are difficult). 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
But there is an alternate, non-confrontational, scientifically validated approach. This approach is outlined in the book Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening by Robert J. Meyers, Ph.D. and Brenda L. Wolfe, Ph.D. Using Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training (CRAFT) this book teaches family members and friends how to improve their own lives while at the same time providing skills for improving the relationship with the loved one. In repeated clinical trials, CRAFT’s approach proved twice as likely as the Johnson intervention and six times as likely as Al-Anon to get a loved one into treatment.
Although CRAFT support groups are not currently available in the U.S., SMART Recovery offers online resources and support to Family & Friends that use a combination of SMART Tools and CRAFT strategies. SMART Family & Friends learn:
- how to build social support and peer support networks
- how to communicate with loved ones in an assertive but non-confrontational way
- how to establish healthy boundaries in a relationship
- how to manage emotional upsets
- how to use proven behavioral principles like finding and rewarding positive behaviors to support addiction recovery
- the importance of self-care and its value in the relationship
SMART Recovery provides a weekly online meeting for Family & Friends for tool training and peer support. A Message Board Forum, all SMART online meetings and other web-site resources are open and available to provide peer support for Family & Friends. For more information, please visit SMART Recovery Family & Friends.