Magazine article Addiction Professional

Money: The Vehicle, Not the Problem

Magazine article Addiction Professional

Money: The Vehicle, Not the Problem

Article excerpt

"Sometimes money costs too much."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson

It follows in a typical progression. The addict needs to get high. In order to get high, he/she needs drugs, and in order to get drugs, he/she needs money. Once the addict has exhausted personal resources, the next step involves stealing from the family, and then from outsiders.

I have heard plenty of stories that involve pawning wedding rings and engaging in a host of creative scams. But the point here is not about the money; it's about the drugs--about getting high. For any seasoned addict, that is the real issue. The money only constitutes a means to an end.

Not a personality trait

That's why it is important in working with addicts' families to help them understand that their loved one is probably not a thieving sociopath but rather an addict who engages in sociopath-like activities in order to get money for drugs. One way to help everyone understand this is to help the family and the client examine the individual's pre-addiction history. If the question is, "Was the son or daughter always a thief and a cheat?", the answer is almost always no.

In fact, many parents recount how wonderfully studious and athletically gifted their children were before their addiction. It is often helpful to have loved ones look back at how accomplished the addict was before becoming involved with drugs. This kind of process helps family members understand that many if not most of the delinquent behaviors they have seen were motivated by the disease of addiction and not some deep-rooted flaw in their loved one's behavior. …

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