For Families: Empathy Over Tough Love for Loved Ones With Opioid Addiction

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For Families: Empathy Over Tough Love for Loved Ones With Opioid Addiction

NPR recently ran an article debating the “tough love” approach when it comes to helping a loved one with opioid addiction. The piece begins by telling the story of parents whose son was kicked out of a sober home for using. Like many loved ones, they took the “tough love” road and told their son, Jeff, that he had to go back to rehab or leave home. “It was really, really difficult to actually just drop him off in a parking lot on our way home and say, ‘you made the decision — no rehab — so we made the decision, no home.’ It was exquisitely difficult,” Bea Duncan told NPR.

Two days later, their son returned home and ended up back in rehab. Still, the Duncan’s began to seek a different, softer approach for dealing with their son’s addiction through CRAFT or Community Reinforcement and Family Training. “There was more compassion and, ‘Wow, this is really difficult for you’; more open questions to him instead of dictating what he should and should not behave like,” Bea told NPR.

Some addiction experts say that the CRAFT model is too soft – but, according to NPR, studies show that “a compassionate approach and voluntary treatment are the more effective ways to engage drug users in recovery and keep them alive.”

It’s a critical consideration for families caught in the middle of today’s opioid and fentanyl crisis. “The concept of letting their children hit bottom is not the best strategy,” Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, told NPR. “Because in hitting bottom they may die.” Fentanyl can shut down breathing in mere seconds.

For the Duncan family, a more empathetic approach worked: Jeff has been sober for 9 years and Bea was able to walk side-by-side with him on his recovery journey. Doug is now using his experience to help others, working as a parent coach through the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.

Let us Help You Help Your Loved One
There is no better time than today to get help if someone you love is struggling with opiate addiction. Seabrook is proud to be part of the solution by giving our clients the right tools to overcome opioid addiction. To learn more about our programs and services, including opiate detoxification, call us today: 856-455-7575.