Alcohol in the family
This week is Alcohol Awareness Week, with a focus on Alcohol and Families. We have picked a theme for each day to share facts and information about the impact and harm alcohol can have on relationships and families.
Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is a programme we offer across our services that teaches family and friends effective strategies for helping their loved one to change and for feeling better themselves. CRAFT works to affect the loved one’s behaviour by changing the way the family interacts with them. It is designed to accomplish three goals:
1. When a loved one is abusing substances and refusing to get help, CRAFT helps families move their loved one toward treatment.
2. CRAFT helps reduce the loved one’s alcohol and drug use, whether or not the loved one has engaged in treatment yet.
3. CRAFT improves the lives of the concerned family and friends.
CRAFT is a skills-based program that impacts families in multiple areas of their lives, including self-care, pleasurable activities, problem solving, and goal setting. At the same time, CRAFT addresses their loved one’s resistance to change. CRAFT teaches families behavioural and motivational strategies for interacting with their loved one. Participants learn, for example, the power of positive reinforcement for positive behaviour (and of withdrawing it for unwanted behaviour), and how to use positive communication skills to improve interactions and maximise their influence.
Specifically, CRAFT teaches several skills, including:
- Understanding a loved one’s triggers to use substances
- Positive communication strategies
- Positive reinforcement strategies – rewarding non-using behavior
- Domestic violence precautions
- Getting a loved one to accept help
Many of these skills are valuable for the family even if their loved one does not enter treatment or has already begun the treatment process. Additionally, the skills remain essential over the long run for families in navigating and maintaining a positive trajectory for all family members. CRAFT is not a quick fix, but rather an approach that can benefit both the substance user and the family in the short and long terms with a holistic plan of action and a more optimistic view.
CRAFT has been widely evaluated and accepted as a key intervention in substance misuse services.
If you or someone you care about is concerned about their alcohol or drug use, contact one of our services to get help and advice today.