Five Things to Know About Coping With Unhealthy Family Behaviors
FIVE THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT COPING WITH UNHEALTHY FAMILY BEHAVIORS
- 1. Your love has power. Research has shown that family members can successfully learn techniques to get their substance-abusing loved ones into treatment. The CRAFT program teaches you how.
- 2. You are not alone. As isolated as you may feel as you cope with your loved one's substance use, the fact is that you are not alone. Millions of families are at this very moment suffering from problems just like yours. Although knowing that others suffer certainly doesn't lessen your pain, you may take hope from knowing that many have "solved" their problems and learned to live more satisfying lives. You can too.
- 3. You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar. It is easier to get your loved one to listen to loving words than to criticism. Choose the honey alternative to nagging and threatening and help your loved one move toward sobriety by talking about what you do like about him or her and what positive changes please you.
- 4. You have as many tries as you want. Relationships are a process. They exist over time. One event or discussion rarely defines an entire relationship, so the truth is that you have as many tries at improving your relationship as you wish to take. As you develop better ways to interact with your loved one, take heart when things go well, but do not be overly discouraged when they go poorly. The next word, the next day, the next interaction gives you another chance to make a positive change.
- 5. You can live a happier life whether or not your loved one recovers. In a perfect world, you will successfully encourage your loved one to sober up. Whether or not his or her lifestyle improves, you can enhance yours. An important part of CRAFT is learning to take care of yourself, regardless of your loved one's behavior. Get Your Loved One Sober: Alternatives to Nagging, Pleading, and Threatening (Meyers & Wolfe, 2004) teaches you how to do that and feel good about it.