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10 strategies based on the CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) model of Family Recovery to support you on this journey.

  1. Embrace Resilience and Self-Care: In the journey of addressing addiction, it's crucial for every family member to prioritize self-care. Embrace your inherent strengths and remember, you possess 70% of the tools needed for supporting your loved one. The remaining 30% is gained through understanding substance use and finding the most effective family approach. Balance focusing on your loved one with caring for your own well-being. Resilience is your ally, aiding you to endure and recover during these trying times.

  2. Master Emotional Balance: Navigating the emotional labyrinth of addiction can be daunting. Recognizing and managing your emotions is key. Self-care practices can bring emotional balance, helping you to support your loved one more effectively. Remember to take personal time-outs and set boundaries to stay in control.

  3. Engage with Open-Ended Questions: Foster a dialogue with your family member struggling with addiction by using open-ended questions. Avoid 'yes' or 'no' queries, which may feel interrogative. Questions starting with "What" or "How" encourage conversation, whereas "Why" might trigger defensiveness. This shift from 'why' to 'how' and 'what' can be transformative.

  4. Acknowledge Progress: Recognizing even small steps your family member makes towards recovery can be pivotal. Positive reinforcement of their efforts and strengths fosters an environment conducive to change. Remember, it's crucial to 'catch them being good', regardless of their age.

  5. Implement the "Information Sandwich" Technique: Avoid lectures. Use the "Information Sandwich" method for a more receptive dialogue. This involves asking permission to speak, sharing your thoughts or questions, and then seeking feedback. This approach fosters mutual respect and cooperation.

  6. Reflect for Deeper Understanding: Reflection is an empathy tool. Echo or rephrase your loved one's words to show you're listening and to gain deeper insights into their feelings and perspectives. This practice enhances communication and understanding.

  7. Employ the 7 Elements of Positive Communication: Use these guidelines for more effective conversations: be brief, specific, positive, express your feelings calmly, offer understanding, acknowledge your part in the problem, and be ready to assist. This approach facilitates healthier communication.

  8. Understand the Reward System in Behavior: Recognize that substance use might be a coping mechanism for your loved one. Increased empathy and understanding their perspective can pave the way for more collaborative solutions.

  9. Use Positive Reinforcement to Motivate Change: Encourage healthy behaviors through positive reinforcement, a key element in CRAFT. This is more effective than punitive measures or enabling. Rewards should be meaningful, consistent, and follow the desired behavior.

  10. Allow Natural Consequences: Letting natural consequences unfold can be a powerful learning tool. Use discretion to ensure safety, but consider allowing experiences like dealing with the aftermath of a hangover or facing academic responsibilities. This approach can help your loved one learn and grow.

Overcoming Early Life Trauma, Three Decades of Substance-Use-Disorder of Family Members, and Creating a New and Fulfilling Life - Unknown Artist

Please find insight, inspiration and compassion for yourself and loved one as you listen to my family story, my personal journey as a family member who went through 3 decades of struggling with Substance-Use-Disorder, having two of three daughters addicted to heroin and other drugs, lost my brother to IV drug use, was married and divorced to men who suffered from addiction and now find so much joy in recovery and helping other parents and family members become their loved ones best chance at recovery and find their joy again!

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