If your family member is misusing drugs or alcohol, you know the pain of watching your loved one make choices that don't make sense to you.
Why would she drink or use drugs when they know these things are hurting her and our family?
People uses substances for very important reasons. For some, drugs and alcohol are an escape from painful emotions or circumstances, for others maybe they want to have fun or feel better in some way (happier, more social, etc.). Loved ones see the suffering that the substances cause such as health problems, difficulties at work, and relationship problems and wonder:
He must not really care about the problems his drinking causes because if he did, wouldn't he just stop?
It may surprise you to learn that he does care a lot about the problems that drugs or alcohol cause. People who misuse drugs and alcohol don't like suffering anymore than anyone else does. But giving up a substance that has certain important advantages can be very scary. Consider what they are up against. They would be giving up whatever positive benefit they are getting and also trying to make a very big change in their lives all at the same time. As we all know ... making changes can be hard. Have you ever had trouble sticking to a goal to diet, exercise more, or get through that book you've been meaning to read? So then, it is not surprising that your loved one is hesitant to make changes even if they feel it would it would be a good idea to do so.
So what am I supposed to do? Should I keep nagging him or just let him hit "rock bottom" like some people say?
Of course you can't make anyone do anything, but we now know through research that you can do things that positively influence your loved one and there are things that you can do that would keep things the same or even make them worse. Using the principles of an evidenced-based program called Community Reinforcement and Family Training (C.R.A.F.T.), I help my clients learn tools that can help them feel better, improve their relationship with their loved one who is using, and positively influence their loved one to make helpful changes before they hit rock bottom.
To hear how parents have benefited from CRAFT watch this video from the Center for Motivation and Change.
Let's begin to change how we talk about addiction and about the people who are struggling with addictions.
Watch the video and check out the great resources that are offered at the end.
If the link to resources in the video does not work <<Click Here>>