Carers & Supporters, Addiction, Services

14 December, 2018

Introduction to CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training)

Do you live with someone who drinks/uses too much? Do you feel stuck in a hopeless, substance fuelled life? Have you ever called, or wanted to call, a crisis line, clinic, or hospital and said "Help! The person I care about is drinking themselves to death"?

 If you answered yes to one or all of the above questions then CRAFT can help you. Simply the CRAFT programme can benefit you whether you are the wife, husband, partner, parent, son, daughter or friend of an alcoholic or drug user, this programme offers you the tools  both to help You help your loved one find the path to sobriety and to improve Your own life.

You will notice that I have underlined and put in bold the word You throughout the top paragraph, that is because every family member/ concerned other I have been privileged to meet tells me the intricate details of their Loved one’s drinking or using, their day to day habits, the way they close a door, the way they speak or don’t speak the minute details of another human being that most of us would not even notice. That is unless you LIVE with addiction. Family members living with Addiction know the behaviour and demeanour of their loved one better than the substance abuser knows themselves. After all, they are living it through sober eyes. Seeing, hearing and feeling all the addiction and the consequences that inevitably ensue.

It is therefore not unusual that family members become enmeshed in always trying to ‘fix and guard’ what is their family life. They go to extraordinary lengths to keep the equilibrium or ‘fabric’ intact as they never quite know what ‘event’ could occur to bring it all crashing around. Family members rarely seek help for themselves despite the significant impact their loved one’s drinking/using has had on their lives. 

That’s exactly why I highlighted the word you; CRAFT acknowledges the impact of Living with Addiction on the family member, / CSO (concerned significant other) and teaches how to change their own behaviour toward the substance abuser with the objective of getting the person with the alcohol or drug problem to enter treatment regardless of resistance. Importantly, CRAFT never makes you feel responsible for the substance abuse problem; rather it offers alternatives to developing a solution. CRAFT also has two other goals:  Reduce their loved one’s harmful drinking/using and most importantly improve the CSO’s own life by learning or re-learning how to take care of themselves and reconnect with their own values, so that regardless of their loved one’s use, they can still lead a life that is centred on their values and not on their loved one’s drug/ alcohol use, irrespective......    Win Win!

CRAFT is a programme that is based on behavioural principles and cognitive- behavioural techniques. The earliest version of CRAFT was developed by Robert Meyers and tested by Sisson and Azrin in the 1980s. They soon learned that it was the highly motivated family member that often influenced the substance user to seek treatment in the first instance. And so CRAFT was designed to capitalize on this critical role so that therapists could teach family members relevant skills.

Here in St Patricks Mental Health Services we offer an 8 Week CRAFT programme for any family member, concerned other Living with Addiction.  Each week is a two-hour session with a charge of €50 per session. The programme is run by trained and accredited Addiction therapists.  This programme will provide you with a safe, supportive environment where you can learn skills to ensure that your life improves regardless of the substance abuse of the person you love. There is no complicated assessment or interviews, simply contact one of the listed therapists who will be happy to provide you with any queries you may have.


Tags:   CRAFT   Addiction  

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