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An Online Program That Works for Addicts' Families

Depending on their typical parenting style, most have already tried the standard continuum of approaches from lecturing, nagging, and punishing to some version of tough love best described as "my way or the highway."
09/25/2015 03:38pm ET | Updated September 25, 2016
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As a post-parent coach, I've counseled many parents who've had to cope with a young adult's substance abuse. I've followed them through the bewildering array of options for addicts, ranging from in-patient rehab to day treatment, 12-step programs to professional interventionists and individualized or family therapy.

Depending on their typical parenting style, most have already tried the standard continuum of approaches from lecturing, nagging, and punishing to some version of tough love best described as "my way or the highway." When none of those worked, they Googled the appropriate key words -- teenagers, addiction, drug and alcohol treatment, recovery centers - and found glowing testimonials by parents (presumably) identified only by their initials or beautiful images of healthy young people tossing a volleyball on the beach. Neither the price tag or the outcome statistics appear on most of those web sites because they're extremely expensive and difficult to substantiate.

Since much of what passes for expertise in the addiction community lacks strong, evidence-based proof that it works, finding your way to something affordable that does is often largely a matter of luck. While family therapy can be successful with teenagers who live at home, it's difficult to engage with an autonomy-seeking young adult who doesn't, and although " family day" is common at most residential treatment centers, it tends to be light on skills training for parents and heavy on confessions, amends and apologies. Yet teaching parents how, when and what to do when an "adultolescent" has an issue with drinking or drugging is the first and often most effective way to address it.

CRAFT (Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training) http://motivationandchange.com is a program with exceptionally strong outcome statistics on getting young adults into treatment;; studies on the science of change bear out the fact that that parents and/or immediate family members are the best influencers of addicts. The tools and techniques of CRAFT are based on a behavior modification approach that focuses on communication skills, reinforcement strategies, self-care and problem-solving, all of which are taught and illustrated in an engaging, professionally produced, interactive and self-paced on-line course that makes it both affordable and more widely available than finding a therapist, provider or practitioner trained in the method. Now CadenceOnLine http://cadenceonline.com has partnered with a leading provider of mental health care to children and adolescents and translated CRAFT into the first if not the last step in getting young adults to recognize and take steps toward solving their problems by teaching their families how to support them in doing so.