Family members and friends have, by far, the most powerful influence on their addicted loved ones, much more than counsellors or psychiatrists. Helping family members and friends work with their addicted loved ones in positive ways is a huge, but do-able, challenge. Enter CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training). CRAFT is easily the most powerful of all known therapeutic approaches for helping family members and friends get their loved ones the help they need. It’s way more effective than Al-anon or the confrontation/intervention approach (You can read the stats in the resource links below). As an addiction recovery coach and guide, one of the most important goals I have is to educate people about the existence of CRAFT–For various dumb reasons, it’s not well known (though it is growing).
CRAFT is highly motivational, compassionate and strongly backed by evidence. Research shows that seven out of ten people who learn and use CRAFT are able to get their loved one into treatment.
My goal in this post isn’t to spend much time explaining it (besides the above). My goal is simply to say it exists, say it’s powerful, and provide a collection of resources that my clients and readers can follow-up with. So, without further delay, here we go:
Where to start with CRAFT
There are a few places to start when learning CRAFT. If you like to read, there’s The 20 Minute Guide or the two books (all linked below). If you’re more visual, check out the two video’s put up by HBO (YouTube, which I am not linking to, has several videos on CRAFT). Finally, if you decide it’s important enough to make CRAFT a part of your life, be sure to work with a CRAFT counsellor or get involved in the Smart Recovery online groups. Without peer or professional support, changing engrained patterns at this level, in the face of such intense emotions and situations, is hard.
- The 20 Minute Guide is a thorough introduction to CRAFT. It actually takes longer than 20 minutes to read, but it’s well written and free.
- SMART Recovery Family and Friends heavily relies on CRAFT and they have local and online meetings. Since peer support is hugely important, they are definitely worth checking out.
- Then, there are a couple other options for learning and practicing CRAFT via paid online services. They are worth checking out, just to know what’s possible:
- Dr. Robert Meyers originated CRAFT. He has a list of CRAFT therapists he’s trained (not very many yet), some of which may work over the phone.
- HBO, as part of their documentary about addiction, put up an information page about CRAFT. On it are two videos featuring Dr. Meyers and and a “concerned significant other” using CRAFT.
- Brian Serna was trained by the Robert Meyers and provides CRAFT counselling over the phone. He also trains CRAFT counsellors.
- There are two books about CRAFT. The first is the most current. I’ve linked to them on Amazon.
Let us know about your experience with CRAFT
If you’ve used CRAFT or you utilise some of the above resources, please share some of your experience in the comments below. Thanks!