Intervene

A blog for parents concerned about their teens alcohol and drug use




Have a Family Member with an Addiction? Don’t Isolate Yourself During the Holidays

Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

Don’t Isolate Yourself During the HolidaysLet’s face it. The holidays can be a stressful time for families – especially if you have a loved one with an alcohol or drug addiction.

First, there’s the frenzy in the air and what seems like a million things to do.  Second, our feelings are often magnified around this time. We may feel exhausted, over-committed and extra sensitive. We often expect everything to be perfect, aspiring to some idealized version of how things should be. But the truth is that life, especially with an addicted family member, can be messy and chaotic. This can leave us feeling disappointed, frustrated or wistful.

You may feel alone – like you’re the only family in the whole world dealing with a substance abuse issue. Please know that you are not alone. And, while it may seem impossible to enjoy yourself when a love one’s life is out of control, there are things you can do to make yourself feel better.

This post from The Center for Motivation and Change offers guidance. We hope you enjoy reading it and that it inspires you to find some relief and happiness during this time of year and beyond.

***

By Cindy Brody, Director of Intensive Services at Center for Motivation & Change

Sometimes you might feel like you’re the only person in the world who loves someone with a substance problem.  The truth is that many millions of people are walking down this challenging and often painful road. As you’re dealing with all of this, you might notice that, on purpose or by accident, you start to pull away from other people and become more and more isolated, which then can make it even harder to decide to reach out.  We encourage you to watch out for this and do what you can to fight against urges to go “underground.”  We are wired to be social creatures, and there is a lot to be gained from spending time with people, including their support!

You may have concerns about privacy, gossip, and the “public” perception of your loved one/yourself/your family if you put yourself out there and socialize more.  While those are reasonable concerns to think about as you pick and choose who you do and don’t want to confide in, please do not underestimate the horrible toll that feeling isolated in a problem can have on you.  Isolation contributes to and can increase depression, anxiety, loneliness, and a whole host of other challenges that will not serve you well as you are dealing with all of this. Taking steps to add more social contact into your life can chip away just a little, or a lot, of the feeling that you are alone at sea.

Even if you don’t feel that isolation is a big part of your stress right now, you might still consider setting some goals around socializing to see if it helps anyway – isolation can creep up on you.  This can be especially true for people who are used to being very busy and having a hard time fitting social time on the calendar, solving all of their problems pretty effectively on their own, not in the habit of asking for help (or maybe even dead-set against it!), and feeling private or ashamed about this particular issue.  Remember this: you are not alone in this problem and fighting against isolation may well help you find solutions to your problems faster.

We encourage you to consider picking one way you can reach out to another person/people this week during the holidays and continue to do so in the coming weeks and months.

Remember that reaching out doesn’t have to mean that you share all your innermost thoughts and feelings with someone. It doesn’t have to be a confessional (though if that helps, then go for it), just a way to re-engage with the world in other than a “stressing out” way. You can get support in all kinds of ways, so think about not only who might be useful to confide in, but also who is good at making you laugh, distracting you, doing something fun with you, and who is good at helping you feel comfortable and relaxed so that you can enjoy the holidays.

***

The Center for Motivation & Change (CMC) is a unique, NYC-based private group practice of dedicated clinicians and researchers providing non-ideological, evidence-based, effective treatment of addictive disorders and other compulsive behaviors. CMC’s treatment approach is informed by a strong commitment to both the humanity and the science of change, providing a unique, compelling, and inspiring environment in which to begin the process of change. Staffed by a group of experienced psychologists, CMC takes pride in their collective record of clinical research and administrative experience but most of all are driven by an optimism about people’s capacity to change and a commitment to the science of change.

Learn more about Center for Motivation & Change and read about our unique and effective approach to treating addictive disorders, and meet CMC’s directorial staff and clinical staff. To find more resources for families, please see our Parent’s 20 Minute Guide, and our Family Blog.  And to learn more about CRAFT, see our CRAFT Family Services page. Find us on Facebook and Twitter for additional content and the latest updates.

Previous CMC Collaboration Posts:

Help Someone Make a Change

A Note On “Enabling” vs. Positive Reinforcement

Caring for Yourself in Order to Care for Someone Else

The CRAFT Approach: Encouraging Healthy, Constructive, Positive Changes for Your Family

Announcing a New Collaboration: Exploring Alternative Approaches to Dealing with a Loved

Posted by  |  2 Comments
Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Family members, parenting, Stigma, Substance Abuse, Taking Care of Yourself




How to Help Someone Make A Change

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

By Carrie Wilkens, Ph.D. Co-founder and Clinical Director Center for Motivation & Change

Motivation for a given action (like, for instance, stopping smoking pot) is different at different times, and changes over time. Because of this, if we are trying to help motivate someone to make a change, we do best to try to understand a person’s stage of “readiness” for the change we are discussing, and start there. And “starting there” means adopting different helping strategies depending on where they are. In order to do that, we need a model of change to guide us, which we already have!

The 5 stages of change: Pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and maintenanceJames Prochaska and Carlo DiClemente’s “stages of change” model was developed to help describe how people change. With this model, we can describe the person’s readiness as being in 1 of 5 stages: pre-contemplation (not even thinking about the issue as an “issue”), contemplation (just starting to think something might be off), preparation (starting to think through actual changes and how to accomplish them, action (taking action/changing), and maintenance (the work of maintaining and consolidating the changes made for the longer haul).

In a motivational treatment approach, we are taking these stages of readiness into account. How? By first understanding, acknowledging and accepting the person’s level of readiness (a huge deal for most people), and then tailoring our collaborative goals to fit in with this level of readiness.

For example, compare:

#1: A 20-year-old college student suspended for intoxication by his college who thinks they are “way overreacting”

#2: A 20-year-old who just finished rehab after a 7-month run of heavy cocaine use and is incredibly grateful to still be alive.

We can think the first guy should be grateful to not have died of alcohol poisoning too, but he’s not. Jumping in with him to work on skills for “saying ‘no’ to drinking with his buddies” is NOT what he wants to do, almost not something he can even conceive of doing. As a result, this would be a really ineffective way to approach him. Is that what he “should” be learning? Well, it would help him navigate college more safely. But because he is in a different “stage of change,” there is little point in having that discussion, because he is not ready to learn and use those skills. In fact, insisting on teaching him those skills could easily result in him shutting down and leaving, with no change/movement accomplished at all!

His 20-year-old counterpart from rehab? He’s ready to eat up those skills and be safer for it. We would like to make the first 20 year-old-safer, but force-feeding is not the answer.

Teen boy facing roadAnd this is what we mean by readiness. 20-year-old #1 is in the pre-contemplation or contemplation stage (if we’re lucky and not too pushy); 20-year-old #2 is in the action stage, and wants those skills.

So do we cut #1 loose? Of course not, and with a motivational treatment approach, we can start where he is and develop a tailored plan. It might be a one-time consultation where we validate how hard it is to be suspended and away from school and try to help him understand what led to that evening of intoxication past a certain point. We could also help him think through what matters to him (not being suspended, parental upset, how to prevent that again, how to talk to girls without being so drunk), and do a “pros and cons” of drinking with him to understand if he perceives any downside at all to drinking (“don’t like being hungover, don’t like missing class, don’t like being sloppy in front of girls.”) We could also help him start to think through some ways to achieve the “pros” of drinking without overdoing it. Multiple paths forward could come from this, but the point is this: in a motivational approach, you start with their level and type of motivation, not yours, and let the paths forward make sense to them.

This is an enormously powerful tool in helping people move forward at all, which would be the goal. This understanding also ties directly in with point #1 from above: Our actions as treatment professionals (and yours as family members) have a direct impact on your loved one’s motivation; when we can start with them, they are more likely to come along.

When we are thinking about how to help someone make change, it is best to take a motivational approach and think about where they are in the process of change. If you can meet someone where they are, and provide them the support that they want/need in that moment, it can help move them along through the stages of change.

***

The Center for Motivation & Change (CMC) is a unique, NYC-based private group practice of dedicated clinicians and researchers providing non-ideological, evidence-based, effective treatment of addictive disorders and other compulsive behaviors. CMC’s treatment approach is informed by a strong commitment to both the humanity and the science of change, providing a unique, compelling, and inspiring environment in which to begin the process of change. Staffed by a group of experienced psychologists, CMC takes pride in their collective record of clinical research and administrative experience but most of all are driven by an optimism about people’s capacity to change and a commitment to the science of change.

Learn more about Center for Motivation & Change and read about our unique and effective approach to treating addictive disorders, and meet CMC’s directorial staff and clinical staff. To find more resources for families, please see our Parent’s 20 Minute Guide, and our Family Blog.  And to learn more about CRAFT, see our CRAFT Family Services page. Find us on Facebook and Twitter for additional content and the latest updates.

Previous CMC Collaboration Posts:

“Catch ‘Em Being Good” — The Magic of Positive Reinforcement  

A Note On “Enabling” vs. Positive Reinforcement

Caring for Yourself in Order to Care for Someone Else

The CRAFT Approach: Encouraging Healthy, Constructive, Positive Changes for Your Family

Announcing a New Collaboration: Exploring Alternative Approaches to Dealing with a Loved

Posted by  |  Submit Comment
Filed under Confronting Teens, CRAFT, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Family members, getting help, Marijuana, Motivational Interviewing, parenting




“Catch ‘Em Being Good” — The Magic of Positive Reinforcement

Thursday, October 24th, 2013

By Jeffrey Foote, PhD, Co-founder and Clinical Director at Center for Motivation & Change

We are all very aware of how emotionally draining it can be dealing with a child involved in substance abuse. We’re all also aware of how much conflict this leads to in families. Today’s focus? Positive reinforcement as an antidote. As our colleague (and father of CRAFT, or Community Reinforcement and Family Training) Bob Meyers likes to say, “Catch ‘em being good.”

Positive reinforcement is so important, and it encapsulates so well the spirit and strategy of CRAFT, with people of all ages, but particularly with adolescents. Why? Because in dealing with our substance using adolescent, it helps remind us to pull in the opposite direction of what we often feel. We feel angry, disappointed, hurt etc., and we carry that around, letting it spill over from situation to situation, we are often not really “starting fresh” each time we see our child, but rather, we are bringing the garbage back in from the garbage can to start the discussion. And that history then dictates the next interaction, through our facial expression, body language, tone of voice, and most importantly, our expectation of what we are going to hear. This is the epitome of “catching ‘em being bad” thinking!

What CRAFT asks us to do is to reverse this and start a pattern of expectation and interaction that is the opposite: Let’s work hard at creating an environment in which your child can succeed — for example: getting home from school on time, cleaning (somewhat) their room one day on the weekend. And then let’s notice when they get it right.

This is the closest thing to magic we can present you with in helping effect behavior change, because the impact can be pretty dramatic. In effect, you are going against well-worn expectations and patterns of interaction, and the difference jumps off the page to those around you. People (including your adolescent!) respond well to being noticed, being told they have done well, being validated. This IS positive reinforcement: giving them positive strokes when they have performed well.

One of the tricky parts about this is that emotional hangover problem again: as parents, you can feel so beaten up by the situation (his third suspension from school, his second DUI, the 100th yelling fight late at night) that you not only don’t notice the positive actions they may take, you don’t feel they have done enough to deserve praise. It’s sort of like an emotional math equation: “They are so far in the red, one little positive act doesn’t get them back in the black, and it certainly doesn’t get them praise.”

While that makes emotional math sense, it doesn’t help so much in inching toward change. We are not by any means suggesting that “all is forgotten” for any small act of change, but each small act in and of itself does merit attention; each small change actually is a step in the right direction, and the extent to which you can promote those steps (while not overdoing it) will be helpful. And we are particularly fond of the “catch’ em being good” concept because it not only conveys a different way of looking at things, it reminds us to do something that we may have largely forgotten: notice the positive, before it slips back underwater.

***

The Center for Motivation & Change (CMC) is a unique, NYC-based private group practice of dedicated clinicians and researchers providing non-ideological, evidence-based, effective treatment of addictive disorders and other compulsive behaviors. CMC’s treatment approach is informed by a strong commitment to both the humanity and the science of change, providing a unique, compelling, and inspiring environment in which to begin the process of change. Staffed by a group of experienced psychologists, CMC takes pride in their collective record of clinical research and administrative experience but most of all are driven by an optimism about people’s capacity to change and a commitment to the science of change.

Learn more about Center for Motivation & Change and read about our unique and effective approach to treating addictive disorders, and meet CMC’s directorial staff and clinical staff. To find more resources for families, please see our Parent’s 20 Minute Guide, and our Family Blog.  And to learn more about CRAFT, see our CRAFT Family Services page. Find us on Facebook and Twitter for additional content and the latest updates.

Previous CMC Collaboration Posts:

A Note On “Enabling” vs. Positive Reinforcement

Caring for Yourself in Order to Care for Someone Else

The CRAFT Approach: Encouraging Healthy, Constructive, Positive Changes for Your Family

Announcing a New Collaboration: Exploring Alternative Approaches to Dealing with a Loved

Posted by  |  1 Comment
Filed under Addiction, CRAFT, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Family members, Family Therapy, parenting, Patience, Positive Reinforcement, Substance Abuse, Uncategorized




Collaboration Helps You, Your Partner and Your Child

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

By Jeffrey Foote, PhD, Co-founder and Clinical Director at Center for Motivation & Change

Collaboration matters a lot.  You may think we’re talking about collaboration with your child (which is important); but no, we’re talking first about collaboration with your spouse/partner/co-parent. When your child is struggling with substances or other behavior problems, there is often a communication breakdown between the adults, and tension builds about how to manage the problems on a day-to-day basis. That makes sense — we are all more likely to get tense, not be at our best, struggle to not get defensive, when we are most emotionally distressed, and when we are in situations that we don’t know how to control or navigate.

It’s natural, then, that when parents are trying to help their child change risky behaviors, they sometimes become what we call “misaligned,” or out of synch with each other. Think about what can happen even under the best of circumstances: your partner (in your humble opinion) is too much of a softie when it comes to making sure the kids get to bed at a reasonable hour, do their homework, eat their vegetables; your partner (sooo unfairly!) wishes you would relax a little and have some fun with the kids, and step out of being rigid with them about things such as curfew, homework, chores. Given that it’s pretty normal for couples to be on different pages when it comes to “easier” parenting issues such as homework and TV watching, it’s really easy to get polarized around how to handle your child when he or she is abusing alcohol or drugs!

Why does collaboration and “getting aligned” matter? A couple of reasons.

First, it is important to give clear directions and consequences (positive and negative) to your child in helping him or her get refocused in a more positive direction. The changes you will be asking your child to make are not easy, and he or she will be ambivalent (or even angry) about making them. It’s hard for a teenager or young adult to change some of their friends, or not be high at parties, or leave evening events earlier than others, or not have pot to give out when it made you really popular. The more ambivalent your child is, the more important it is to have your expectations be totally clear. When each parent has different expectations it is the opposite of a clear message.

Second, the more agreement you can reach with your partner about expectations, the less stressed you will each feel, the happier you will be, and the more likely you both are to be able to be consistent as well as positive with your child. Both of those are important.

By the way, collaboration and alignment with your partner doesn’t mean across-the-board agreement at all times. It depends on the age of your child, but can be quite flexible. For younger children (ages 12-14), a more “unified” front is probably less confusing. For a 17 year old, who lives somewhat in the adult world and knows that uniform agreement is not reality, your apporach can be different. Here alignment can can mean that you and your partner understand what you agree on and what you don’t – but you have an agreed upon “policy” none-the-less. For example, you might say: “Your father and I have a slightly different feeling about this, but we’ve decided it’s important for you to be home by midnight in any case.” Here you can acknowlede differences, but still be in “alignment” on your expectations.

There are many ways to start the process of becoming more of a team with your partner.  To get the ball rolling here is a list of 5 options that we know parents have tried and found helpful.  None of these are a quick fix for everlasting harmony, however, each option can be useful in terms of getting less polarized, feeling more connected with your partner and getting practice working as a team:

1. Spend an hour with your partner this week coming up with a plan for how to handle it when/if your child comes home under the influence (thinking about it and planning in advance can help you avoid common pitfalls).

2. Spend an hour with your partner this week NOT talking about your child or any problems (especially useful if you are finding that this is all you talk about anymore.)

3. Let your partner’s idea for a consequence for your child’s behavior be the one you try this week (especially useful if you are finding yourself stuck in role of “bad cop.”)

4. Let your partner know that you will be the one to dole out consequences this week if needed (useful if you are the “softie.”)

5. Make an effort to let your partner know one thing he does each day that you appreciate (useful when you are misaligned to do things to rebuild a sense of good will and togetherness…this will help you get through the more challenging times.)

***

The Center for Motivation & Change (CMC) is a unique, NYC-based private group practice of dedicated clinicians and researchers providing non-ideological, evidence-based, effective treatment of addictive disorders and other compulsive behaviors. CMC’s treatment approach is informed by a strong commitment to both the humanity and the science of change, providing a unique, compelling, and inspiring environment in which to begin the process of change. Staffed by a group of experienced psychologists, CMC takes pride in their collective record of clinical research and administrative experience but most of all are driven by an optimism about people’s capacity to change and a commitment to the science of change.

Learn more about Center for Motivation & Change and read about our unique and effective approach to treating addictive disorders, and meet CMC’s directorial staff and clinical staff. To find more resources for families, please see our Parent’s 20 Minute Guide, and our Family Blog.  And to learn more about CRAFT, see our CRAFT Family Services page. Find us on Facebook and Twitter for additional content and the latest updates.

Previous CMC Collaboration Posts:

A Note On “Enabling” vs. Positive Reinforcement

Caring for Yourself in Order to Care for Someone Else

The CRAFT Approach: Encouraging Healthy, Constructive, Positive Changes for Your Family

Announcing a New Collaboration: Exploring Alternative Approaches to Dealing with a Loved

Posted by  |  1 Comment
Filed under CRAFT, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Family members, parenting, Substance Abuse




What I Wish I Had Done Differently with My Addicted Son

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

A while back, I received an e-mail from a concerned mother. In it, she described her son’s addiction. She spoke about several experiences that were similar to my own. She told me about how she had done this and that trying to help. She was scared she was going to lose her son.

She then asked me a simple question: “What do you wish you had done differently?”

It was a tricky question. Some may even say it was a trick question. Looking for the silver bullet has been the quest of every parent who I’ve spoken to. In fact, it was even my quest for several years.

For a while after she wrote, the woman’s question remained in the back of my mind. It caused me great anxiety. I simply didn’t have an adequate answer.

What do I wish I had done differently? At first, I thought of all of the little mistakes I made. Perhaps, if added up, they would have made a difference. Maybe some of the small changes might even have prevented this nightmare…or maybe not. Yet, this response did not satisfy me. After a few weeks of deliberation, I finally discovered a better answer.

I would have learned to listen.

First, I would have learned to listen to my son. What does an addicted person really have to say worth listening too? All along through his words and actions he told me there was nothing I could do to fix him. But as a parent, I knew that it was my job to fix my son. That’s what parents do, we fix things. I spent years of trying to fix him, despite the fact that he was telling me not to.

I would have also learned to listen to counselors and parents. Listening is very different than searching for answers. Getting answers to questions or “what to do” solutions assume that there is a single answer or methodology that will awaken not just you but also your addicted loved one from this nightmare.

I would have learned to listen to my own internal struggles about what I am told. What have I heard, what do I feel and why am I scared? My emotional reactions were a result of unresolved internal struggles.
A man listening
Finally, I would have learned to listen to my heart and my head. Most of the time one or the other wins. My heart reminds me that where there is life, there is hope. It allows me to love someone that by all accounts seems to be unlovable. Yet my head reminds me of the reality of addiction. Heart verses head is not a win/lose struggle. Your heart and your head should work together. It is possible for your heart to accept that your son may die. It is also possible for your head to understand that there may not be an answer for addiction and loving for just today is all you get.

Listening is hard. After all, nobody will ever love your child the way you do. You fed him, changed him, raised him and provided for his every need. Listening to your child is hard when loving and caring for him has always been instinct.

What do I wish I had done differently? I wish I had learned how to listen sooner.

Posted by  |  33 Comments
Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Drugs, Family members, Family Therapy, Hope, parenting




A Note On “Enabling” vs. Positive Reinforcement

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

By Jeffrey Foote, PhD, Co-founder and Clinical Director at Center for Motivation & Change

If you are a partner, parent or child of someone struggling with substance problems, and you live in America, you’ve probably heard this word “enabling” (possibly many, many times). And you’ve probably heard this described as central to your interactions in helping your loved one. Mostly, you have heard “DON’T DO IT”!, and if you are like most concerned family members, you feel vaguely guilty for doing something you’re not even sure you are doing (but you must be, right?).

By way of quick review, “enabling” actually means doing positive things that will end up supporting continued negative behavior, such as providing your child with money so they won’t “go hungry” during the day, knowing they use it to buy pot. Another example is going to talk to your child’s teacher to make sure she doesn’t get a bad grade, even though her bad test score was due to drinking. Or calling your husband’s work to explain he’s sick today, when he’s actually hung over.

These are examples of doing something “nice” for your loved one that actually (from a behavioral reinforcement standpoint) might increase the frequency of the negative behavior, not decrease it. The logic: if they act badly and nothing happens, or something good happens, this behavior is encouraged, even if what you are doing is “nice”. This IS enabling, and this is not helpful in changing behavior in a positive direction.

But everything nice is not enabling! And that’s the quicksand we have developed in our culture. Staying connected, rewarding positive behaviors with positivity, being caring and loving; these things are critical to positive change.

So what’s the difference? Positive reinforcement is doing “nice” things in response to positive behavior. Simple as that. When your loved one wakes up on time in the morning, when he takes his sister to school, when she texts you tell you she’ll be late, when he doesn’t smoke pot on Friday night, when he helps you make dinner instead of going for a quick drink with the boys on the way home. These are positive actions, and acknowledging them, rewarding them, being happy about them, is a GOOD thing, not enabling.

Enabling is a meaningful concept. It’s just overused to the point that families often feel their loving and caring is the problem. IT’S NOT! Caring about and staying connected in a helping way with someone dealing with substances is not only helpful, it’s one of the most powerful motivators for change.

To restate the slogan: Attach with love — just love the positive actions and step away from the negative.

***

The Center for Motivation & Change (CMC) is a unique, NYC-based private group practice of dedicated clinicians and researchers providing non-ideological, evidence-based, effective treatment of addictive disorders and other compulsive behaviors. CMC’s treatment approach is informed by a strong commitment to both the humanity and the science of change, providing a unique, compelling, and inspiring environment in which to begin the process of change. Staffed by a group of experienced psychologists, CMC takes pride in their collective record of clinical research and administrative experience but most of all are driven by an optimism about people’s capacity to change and a commitment to the science of change.

Learn more about Center for Motivation & Change and read about our unique and effective approach to treating addictive disorders, and meet CMC’s directorial staff and clinical staff. To find more resources for families, please see our Parent’s 20 Minute Guide, and our Family Blog.  And to learn more about CRAFT, see our CRAFT Family Services page. Find us on Facebook and Twitter for additional content and the latest updates.

Previous CMC Collaboration Posts:

Caring for Yourself in Order to Care for Someone Else

The CRAFT Approach: Encouraging Healthy, Constructive, Positive Changes for Your Family

Announcing a New Collaboration: Exploring Alternative Approaches to Dealing with a Loved One’s Addiction

Posted by  |  2 Comments
Filed under Addiction, CRAFT, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Enabling, Family members, parenting, Positive Reinforcement, Substance Abuse




Caring for Yourself in Order to Care for Someone Else

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

By Cindy Brody, Director of Intensive Services at Center for Motivation & Change

Many parents who have a child struggling with substance abuse notice that these concerns start to consume huge amounts of time and energy.  As you’ve probably experienced, under the best of circumstances with kids, it’s hard to carve out space to focus on yourself. When your child and your family is dealing with something as complicated and anxiety-provoking as substance abuse, it can feel impossible to have room for anything other than trying to help, reacting to the latest crisis, and dealing with  all the “have tos” minute to minute, day to day.

In this environment, taking care of yourself falls to the bottom of the list, if it makes the list at all! However, even though it might be the furthest thing from your mind (e.g. how can I go to the movies when I’m worried my child might be out getting high again?), finding some room to focus on self-care is really vital if you are going to be and remain helpful to your child and the rest of your family. This is about resisting your instincts to put your life aside by going into emergency/panic mode.

This is a long-term project; a marathon, not a sprint. Similar to running a marathon, you need to keep your energy reserves up and pace yourself for the long and sometimes bumpy road ahead. We are not being touchy-feely psychologists when we say this. We are trying to help you be tactical in the midst of a difficult struggle, and it matters. Try to keep in mind what they say on planes before takeoff: if the oxygen masks are needed, resist the urge to put it on others before you put it on yourself. Many people have the impulse to help their loved ones BEFORE they help themselves. But the oxygen recommendation is not that you alone use it; it’s to make sure you are getting at least some oxygen, and don’t entirely ignore yourself. Without attention to this, the “helpers” (that’s you) get lost along the way (”lack of oxygen”), and can’t guide, direct, think, and help anymore.

We also realize that no one wants to hear that the problem they are facing is likely to be a long haul as opposed to a short crisis. We do know, however, that taking care of YOU will help YOU ALL stay healthy as you navigate this, and will also help you be as effective as possible in working on all the challenges involved in trying to help your child.

We recommend that you spend some time each week doing something that makes you feel good, relaxed, content, soothed…something that’s a WANT, not a SHOULD. We recommend that each week, you take a few minutes to review how your self-care is going and to set reasonable, SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) for taking care of yourself in the week ahead.  You might find yourself wondering how in the world you can make this a priority when you have so many other, more urgent demands to attend to.  We ask you to try, because the oxygen mask metaphor is true: you won’t be any good to anyone else if you are not taking care of you.

What’s your SMART self-care goal for this week?

***

The Center for Motivation & Change (CMC) is a unique, NYC-based private group practice of dedicated clinicians and researchers providing non-ideological, evidence-based, effective treatment of addictive disorders and other compulsive behaviors. CMC’s treatment approach is informed by a strong commitment to both the humanity and the science of change, providing a unique, compelling, and inspiring environment in which to begin the process of change. Staffed by a group of experienced psychologists, CMC takes pride in their collective record of clinical research and administrative experience but most of all are driven by an optimism about people’s capacity to change and a commitment to the science of change.

Learn more about Center for Motivation & Change and read about our unique and effective approach to treating addictive disorders, and meet CMC’s directorial staff and clinical staff. To find more resources for families, please see our Parent’s 20 Minute Guide, and our Family Blog.  And to learn more about CRAFT, see our CRAFT Family Services page. Find us on Facebook and Twitter for additional content and the latest updates.

The Partnership at Drugfree.org’s Time To Get Help website offers a Taking Care of Yourself checklist (pdf) — how many items can you check off the list?

Posted by  |  3 Comments
Filed under Addiction, Coping, CRAFT, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Family members, Hope, parenting, Patience, Taking Care of Yourself




Dr. Jane Greer Emphasizes The Importance Of Support Systems

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Dr. Jane Greer is a marriage and family therapist and is frequently featured on various television shows and in publications, providing expert relationship and family advice. In addition, Dr. Jane shares her knowledge on her own radio shows, including “Doctor On Call,” and her books, the most recent titled, “What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship.”

In this video, Dr. Jane emphasizes the importance of support systems when dealing with a child who is abusing alcohol and other drugs. “You want to build as much support around you with family and friends as you can,” she explains. “And everybody who knows you and loves you …is going to work to keep you on the straight and narrow path.”

Have you reached out to friends and family about your child’s drug or alcohol addiction? Or did you choose not to share? We’d love to hear about your experiences — please add your comment below.

For further support, visit Time To Get Help, download our free Intervene e-book and Treatment e-book or call our toll-free Helpline at 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373) to speak to a parent specialist.

Posted by  |  2 Comments
Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Family members, Family Therapy, parenting, Recovery, Stigma, Substance Abuse




Author David Sheff Shares His Views On Drug Addiction And Early Intervention

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

We are delighted to have had the chance to sit down and speak with David Sheff, author, investigative journalist and father of Nic, a young man who is now committed to recovery. Author of New York Times best-selling memoir “Beautiful Boy,” Sheff has engaged millions of Americans in an ongoing conversation about the trials of addiction and the role of parents in prevention. His newest book, “Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy,” takes a more scientific approach, discussing drug abuse and treatment.

In this video, Sheff uses his personal experiences and the knowledge he has gained from his work in investigative journalism to advocate early intervention.  “If you think something’s wrong, something’s wrong,” he says. “Don’t wait.”

Learn more about the steps you can take if you think or know your child is drinking or using drugs. For guidance, call our Toll-Free Parent Helpline at 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373) or visit Time To Get Help.

Want to hear more from David Sheff? Watch his story on The Hope Share.

Posted by  |  2 Comments
Filed under Addiction, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Finding Treatment, getting help, parenting, Substance Abuse, Uncategorized, Writing About Addiction




The CRAFT Approach: Encouraging Healthy, Constructive, Positive Changes for Your Family

Monday, June 17th, 2013

By Jeff Foote, Carrie Wilkens and Nicole Kosanke

“My son is using drugs and it’s wrecking our family. I’ve tried to talk to him, but he just gets mad and then we just stop talking. What should I do?”

We often receive this kind of call here at Center for Motivation & Change (CMC). It’s a terrible call because of the anguish involved. It’s also a wonderful call, because we have the tools needed to help. A call like this provides our CMC clinicians the opportunity to invite the family member to learn about CRAFT.

Community Reinforcement and Family Training, or CRAFT, is an approach for families who have a loved one struggling with substances but who is not really interested in making changes or getting help. CRAFT is about learning a different method to communicate with and support your loved one. It’s about taking care of yourself, while also learning how to interact with your loved one in a way that increases the likelihood of making a real change.

The old method – either help them, or help yourself by distancing yourself from them – was never a choice you should have to make. CRAFT teaches you a series of strategies such as:

• Understanding how to communicate positively (even when things aren’t going so well)
• Using positive reinforcement to focus on what is working, while allowing for the bad stuff they are doing to impact them
• Taking real steps and developing real awareness of what it means to take care of yourself, not as an afterthought, but as a priority for the whole family

Parents have been told a number of things that are neither helpful nor practical: “Let them hit bottom, they have to figure it out for themselves”; “There’s nothing you can do, helping them is enabling their use and means you are ‘co-dependent.’” These “tough love” messages are often excruciating for many parents.

The good news? You can help your loved one without taking those steps. CRAFT works to change your interactions with your loved one so that sober behavior is more rewarding to them than continued alcohol and drug use.

CRAFT is “menu-driven.” This means that different components and procedures are selected from the CRAFT “menu” based on the family’s particular needs. Where the treatment starts depends on the substance user’s behavior, severity and openness to change. It also depends on your emotional state, experience and history as a family.

CRAFT research (and our clinical experience) has demonstrated that by learning skills and understanding what motivates your child, positive change can occur. Evidence shows that positive outcomes occur at a much higher rate with the CRAFT approach than with other, more well-known approaches, such as either the 12-Step Anon programs or Intervention approaches.

Why? Probably because CRAFT is positive, aimed at encouraging healthy, constructive changes, and is focused on helping your child develop or re-develop a life. In addition, CRAFT is a behavioral approach, interested in changing behaviors (theirs and yours), not just talking about them. And as we mentioned, it is geared toward improving your life as well. Research studies repeatedly find that family members feel much better throughout the CRAFT process, whether or not their loved one ultimately gets into treatment. Best of all, using the CRAFT approach, the substance user in the family seeks treatment at a rate of about 65-75%, 2-3 times higher than interventions or Anon approaches.

CRAFT works. It may require work, practice, stumbles, practice and more practice. But CRAFT also teaches you that “you can help.”

Perhaps most importantly, the skills, strategies and insight you gain through CRAFT are built for the long haul: what you will learn now will remain applicable beyond your current situation; it’s not just useful when “trying to get him to say yes to treatment.” Saying yes matters, but what matters more are the changes you can make in your family, because these changes are the ones that provide the fuel for lasting change, not just for putting out the immediate fire.

***

The Center for Motivation & Change is a unique, NYC-based private group practice of dedicated clinicians and researchers providing non-ideological, evidence-based, effective treatment of addictive disorders and other compulsive behaviors. CMC’s treatment approach is informed by a strong commitment to both the humanity and the science of change, providing a unique, compelling, and inspiring environment in which to begin the process of change. Staffed by a group of experienced psychologists, CMC takes pride in their collective record of clinical research and administrative experience but most of all are driven by an optimism about people’s capacity to change and a commitment to the science of change.

 Learn more about CMC and read about our unique and effective approach to treating addictive disorders, and meet CMC’s directorial staff and clinical staff. To find more resources for families, please see our Parent’s 20 Minute Guide, and our Family Blog.  And to learn more about CRAFT, see our CRAFT Family Services page. Find us on Facebook  and Twitter for additional content and the latest updates.

 

Posted by  |  4 Comments
Filed under Addiction, Alcohol, CRAFT, Dealing with an Addicted Child, Drugs, Family members, Finding Treatment, getting help, parenting







Search





About this blog
Welcome to Intervene. We are a community of experts, parents and caring adults concerned about our teens’ alcohol and drug use and have come together to share our insights, inspiration, guidance and help.













A free service to help you determine if alcohol may be harming your health or putting you at risk.


Previous Posts


Categories


Archives


Tags




Donate Today




Drugfree.orgTime To Act!© 2014 The Partnership at Drugfree.orgThe Partnership at Drugfree.org does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. More.