CRAFT: Substance Abuse Support for Families

Family members or friends often come to us before their loved ones do. However, if someone is looking to “force” another person to change, it can’t be done (at least not for long). Fortunately, there are ways to increase the odds that an individual will begin to change and enter treatment. At Practical Recovery, we offer substance abuse support for families and friends who have a loved one’s best interest at heart.

You might also be interested in: CRAFT – An Alternative to Addiction Intervention

Most clients ambivalently enter addiction treatment. Even though addiction has caused major problems, it’s also a major source of pleasure. Ultimately, someone overcomes addiction because the costs of using outweigh the benefits. For instance, the hangovers, health problems and fights associated with drinking are no longer worth the pleasure derived from the behavior. The toll taken on family and friends is a crucial cost of addiction and often weighs into a person’s decision to change.

Change usually occurs in small steps. Treatment works best when treatment professionals accept the client’s perspective. We’re not opposed to rapid change, but it can’t be forced. We also want to assure that it is authentic. Substance abuse support for families may be the first step an individual or group takes to point their loved one in the right direction. Once a client allows Practical Recovery to partner with them, the load is lifted and the process of healing and recovery can begin.


How To Get Startednon 12 step addiction treatment

We propose that, instead of attempting to force a loved one to make big changes, family members and/or friends begin by seeking counseling on how to react to the addicted individual. By working with those who care about an afflicted individual, we aim to increase the chances of having their loved ones seek treatment, while offering substance abuse support for families and friends so that they can maintain a caring and supportive relationship with the person. Our focus is on helping those who care find opportunities to reward their loved ones when positive change occurs. We discourage the practice of shielding the person from the consequences of the addiction, and encourage the withdrawal of support when the person engages in addictive behavior. Once treatment has begun, we also coach friends and family on how to enhance the likelihood of maintaining progress.

The strategies used with this approach not only greatly increase the odds that loved ones with addictions will enter treatment; they can improve a supporting family member or friend’s life as well. The changes may take some time to occur, but tend to be lasting.

Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT)

The effective strategies practiced when substance abuse support for families takes place stem from the Community Reinforcement and Family Training approach (CRAFT), which was developed at the University of New Mexico by Robert Meyers, Ph.D. and colleagues. Practical Recovery’s therapists often work individually with couples and families, rather than offering “psycho-educational” groups and lectures typical of many other addiction facilities. Instead, we teach CRAFT strategies. CRAFT has been shown to be highly successful in getting addicted individuals to enter treatment, and is proven to be more successful than other approaches. We are one of the only addiction treatment centers in the country to offer this life-changing option.  Our staff member Dr. Thaddeus Camlin is a certified CRAFT Therapist and available for individual and couples work.

CRAFT Compared to “Intervention”

Many rehab facilities still espouse traditional interventions like the ones you see in movies and on popular TV shows. These stories often appear to have a “happy ending.” However, research shows that our less confrontational CRAFT approach offers about a 70% chance that their loved one will enter treatment. Traditional interventions carry a success rate of only 25 to 30%, in part because families often decide not to carry through on the intensely confrontational meeting that is the “intervention” itself.

CRAFT Compared to Al-Anon

Many rehab programs suggest Al-Anon and similar support groups for loved ones. These groups are based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and on the idea that others cannot change the behavior of the person with an addiction; only the person with the addiction can change. This runs counter to the well-documented findings of the research on CRAFT, which shows that family members can indeed take steps to increase the odds of their loved one entering treatment. Al-Anon is not designed to encourage anyone to enter treatment and focuses instead on acceptance of the problem and support for the well-being of the concerned family member or friend. It does accomplish this goal for many. CRAFT, however, provides support for family members while increasing the likelihood that your loved one will seek treatment and recover.

CRAFT Outcomes:

  • New skills are taught to cope with old problems
  • Finding out how to increase a loved one’s sobriety
  • Learning how to be safe
  • Life improvement skills are taught
  • An increase in the odds that a loved one will seek help

Other Available Options

In addition to our own CRAFT-based program offering substance abuse support for families, we sometimes refer clients to a range of non-traditional interventionists, depending on the needs of a situation. Not all situations are suitable for CRAFT, and a non-confrontational intervention may be the next best option.

Call us to discuss your options: 800-977-6110

See also: CRAFT – An Alternative to Addiction Intervention

Dr. Robert J. Meyers, founder of CRAFT, released in September, 2015, an online application of CRAFT for the parents of teens. We are pleased to help him publicize it.

As Dr. Meyers states: “Parent CRAFT is a research-supported online course that teaches parents how to effectively interact with their children in order to change drug and alcohol behavior. Parents CAN make a difference!

To access this online course, visit