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Posted by on in Alcoholism


Working at an outpatient treatment center I am always interested by new methods for helping people get sober. There are constantly new theories evolving from psychology in the field of substance abuse. Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training (CRAFT) is an unconventional means of getting an addict or alcoholic to seek help and enter treatment. Remarkably, the creators of CRAFT claim a 64% success rate compared to conventional interventions (25%) and Al-Anon (14%). This statistic is based on the percentage of people staying sober after attending outpatient under the directive of each respective system. When I looked into CRAFT I could only find a handful of sites and articles on the subject. If it is so effective, then why is this method not more widespread and more importantly what is it?

What is CRAFT?

The basis of CRAFT is quite simple. Instead of using threats and confrontation to convince an addict or alcoholic to get help, the family or therapist of the person uses what they call a “motivational model of help”. Unlike many other ways of dealing with substance abuse CRAFT is based on reward-based positive reinforcement. Instead of punishing or condemning a person when they abuse drugs, CRAFT rewards the person for abstinence and good behavior. When someone is abusing drugs CRAFT suggests that the family distance themselves emotional and physically until the person sobers up. The core idea behind CRAFT is in the interaction between family and the alcoholic when they are sober. CRAFT aims to make sobriety seem desirable and appealing, so that someone with a substance abuse problem realizes what their addiction is making them miss out on.

CRAFT shows you how to develop your loved one’s motivation to change by helping you figure out how to appropriately reward healthy behavior. You learn how to make sober activities more attractive to your loved one, and drug- or alcohol-using activities less inviting. In this way, you minimize conflict and maximize cooperative relationship-enhancing interactions with your loved one.

According to the creators of the program an addict will enter treatment only when the reasons not to use outweigh the reasons to continue using.  By making sobriety seem more attractive they claim to be “raising the bottom” of the person so that they do not have to experience dire consequences before seeking help. CRAFT makes sobriety more attractive by showing the addict or alcoholic the fun activities possible only when sober. When sober the family gives affection, kindness, and attention to the person and ceases this if the person begins using again.  CRAFT also puts an emphasis on improving communication of the family members and instituting non-violent communication into dialogue.


Posted by on in Drug Addiction ----> Originally Posted by me

In early sobriety using dreams are fairly common occurrences. This phenomenon affects certain people differently. Some people in recovery report never having using dreams, while others have them almost nightly in early sobriety. Read about what a using dream is and how to deal with them if you are experiencing them.

What Are They?

Before I jump into the description of using dreams I’ll explain why they are so common in early recovery. When people are actively abusing alcohol or drugs, the brain hardly ever goes into deep sleep, specifically the important REM sleep. Dreams happen in between Deep Sleep and the REM stage of sleep, when our brain is resting deeply. As a result many people in active addiction report not having dreams frequently, and rarely remember them in the morning. Now when the same person gets sober their brain starts to go into REM overdrive to ‘catch up’ on the lost REM sleep. This process allows for a large number of dreams, and may seem even more frequent because the person is not used to having dreams. So what is a using dream exactly? I loosely define a using dream as “a dream about using drugs or alcohol, often very vivid and easily remembered upon waking”. Many people report dreaming about old memories of drinking or using with old friends or imaginary people. Others report using dreams involving substances they have never even used in real life. The content of the dreams can vary but they all have the same behavior of using substances in common.


How Do I Handle Them?

People responded very differently to using dreams. Many people say they feel guilty and shameful when they wake up from their dreams. Others report feeling fearful and anxious when they awake. The most dangerous reaction is when the person wakes up from a using dream with a desire to drink or use in real life. Using dreams can be a trigger; they can tempt some people into relapse. Despite what your reaction is, there are a few things you can do to get over the dreams and protect your sobriety. The most important thing to do is to share your dream with somebody. This can be a friend, family, or someone from any fellowship you are in. Telling somebody has a powerful effect on the dream; sharing it takes away its strength and can relieve the guilt or anxiety. This is especially important if the dream triggers you to drink or drug and can save you from a relapse. Another thing you can do is to write down the dreams in a dream journal. Recording the dreams can help you to see the progression of your using dreams. Most people start having less frequent using dreams after 30 days of sobriety. The last tip to deal with these dreams is to read some recovery or spiritual literature before bed. This helps reinforce your sobriety can keep away using dreams.

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Posted by on in Other Addictions

This guide was written by the parent of an addict, who hoped that as a by-product, the exercise would prove to be cathartic.

Its primary purpose however, is to help other parents who are faced with the pain and anguish of this all too common problem.

I fully realise that every case of addiction is different, but without doubt, common patterns frequently emerge.

Every parent wants to proactively help their child recover from this condition, but often find it difficult to find clear advice as to how they can help. This publication is intended to act as a sort of road map which will help them to navigate some of the problems they may encounter.

If knew then what I know now, I am convinced that my son’s recovery would have begun much sooner, and would have probably been more successful. I freely admit to my long lasting ignorance of addiction, and to my slow learning curve that would have better equipped me to be of greater help.


Posted by on in Drug Addiction

The Retreat: Not Just for Weekends Anymore, by Daniel D. Maurer



b2ap3_thumbnail_retreat_bullshit.jpgWhen I first got married, my wife and I moved to a tiny hamlet in eastern Montana. It was her hometown and she had a job at a local community college teaching public speaking. My job was at a rinky-dink bank playing customer service rep and twiddling my thumbs in the back room pretending to work with the computers. It wasn’t bad, but definitely not a dream job. At least I had plenty of time after work to drink when wifey was off teaching in the evenings.

We belonged to a church where my wife had been baptized as a baby and where the two of us were married. I had aspirations to one day become a pastor in the denomination we belonged to, so I endeavored to act as if any and all church-related activities were compulsory.


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