When I look back to when we first discovered that drug addiction had entered our family we were dumbfounded and practically frozen in fear.
"What's the big deal, it's just a little pot. Boys will be boys", whispered by naive parents.
Suddenly a wake up call louder than any alarm clock on your nightstand. The phone rings, a strangers voice, someone from a local hospital, "Your son is in the emergency room, he was delivered to us unconsciousness and not breathing. You should come as soon as possible."
This was over 10 years ago but for me it seems like yesterday. Even writing this causes a tightness in my chest.
Back then we didn't know what to do. We got him into a rehab and we got ourselves into meetings. That's what you did, you searched out a NA meeting and you made sure your child went to meetings and we counted days. Terms like "enabling" "rock bottom" and "tough love" became common phrases in our vocabulary. We lived the life but nothing changes. That's another one, "nothing changes if nothing changes."
Life got worse and worse no matter the number of meetings, rehabs, jail stints or anything else. And the meetings were not working for mom and dad either. At that time that was the only prescribed treatment by counselors, therapists and rehabs.
Mom and dad took a vacation. Before leaving dad bought another 4 books to read while laying on the beach while our son was at home shooting heroin into his veins. On the flight home I opened the fourth book to read. "Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading and Threatening" by Robert Meyers and Brenda Wolfe. On a 2.5 hour flight I did nothing but devour that book as if I was a starving man at a banquet.
Eureka, light bulbs began coming on for me. Addiction began to make sense. It was my problem, I am not saying NA and 12 steps were bad. I'm saying they didn't work for me. But, at the time that was the prevailing methodology and alternatives were not accepted. NA and AA had helped millions of people but it wasn't helping me or my family including my son.
After reading that book I began to try using the CRAFT (community re-inforcement and family training) methodology. My life got better but my son continued to remain an active addict.
Since that time so long ago CRAFT has become an accepted and in many areas a preferred methodology for the treatment of addiction particularly with young adults.
Dr. Jeff Foote and Carrie Wilkens further studied and scientifically tested the CRAFT methodologies. From their studies they wrote a book entitled, "Beyond Addiction."
I highly recommend both of these books for parents or loved ones of addicts.
The Partnership for Drugfree Kids endorses the CRAFT methodology. A few years ago I was ask along with 10 other parents from across the nation to come to New York and work with Jeff Foote to begin a charter program of parents helping other parents with CRAFT, the Parent Support Network. Due to the success of this program The Partnership has expanded the program and there are now parents trained in these methods located all over the nation. To contact someone about this call the Parent Helpline at The Partnership, 1-855-DRUGFREE.
As we all grow in our knowledge of addiction and treatments we grow in our own life. Just like in other areas of our life, if it works keep working it. If it's not working for you find something different that works for you. We are not all the same. The same thing will not work for every one of us.