How To Handle The Addict You Love Who Steals From You: There’s Hope

Stereotype Stomping

Everyone with an addiction is not a thief. There are addicts that do not steal. There are thieves that are not addicts. There are even people who develop a compulsion to steal. Remember the word “kleptomaniac”? This word has fallen into disuse but in the 1970’s it was commonly used for people who could not exit a room without stealthily taking something without payment or permission. The power of having money and not spending it because they were sly turned theft into an irresistible, private show of dominance.

There’s often a grain of truth in stereotypes

Many addicts do steal. Anything that a person has to have all the time to the exclusion of everything else is going to get expensive. The more a person needs the substance the more time he devotes to it’s acquisition and he spends less time generating revenue, as in, working. How do you get money? People give it to you willingly or you take it against their will. One reason I was not opposed to prostitution is summed up by Flo Rida

Little mama took my cash, and I ain’t want it back

A line from the song “Low” referring to delightful strippers, not sex workers, but you get the idea

What is “active addiction”?

Active addiction is a state if being during which an addict is using drugs and is not following any of the moral precepts espoused by recovery programs that promote honesty with oneself first, and then others. Addicts in active addiction never think of themselves as thieves or con artists. They often use deflection as a way if dealing with honest confrontations by shifting focus off of what they did and onto something else. If they can put others on the defensive that’s the best way to avoid discussing their theft. If they cannot accuse, they will try to evoke pity.

For the sake of clarity I have real words by people who inexcusably deprived another of money but when you read what’s said there’s no humility or apology. See for yourself:

The thief is confronted about stealing money out of a persons wallet while the person was too sick to be on guard. The thief explained he could not ask bc the sick person was too drowsy. Note the minimizing, it is only $20, just part of what you had. The victim resorts to playing on superstition, partly because although the thief may say it is only $20, the victim knows more will be revealed.

This message is very typical of several manipulative tactics rolled into one. We have 1. deflection, or changing the subject. 2. Attempting to make the victim feel sorry for the thief. Attempting to 3. make the victim feel guilty for hurting the thief and of course, the ever present justification. The action was not really theft but a 4. well-deserved reprisal for alleged sins against the thief.

As An Addict Who Knows Addiction

I can literally (yes, I use this overused word intentionally) I can predict how the mental illness of addiction will warp the addict’s mind. The thought patterns are almost standard. The addict truly believes in what a/he is saying. The person does not know s/he is lying, first to herself and then to others. This is why it takes people who have been there to recognize the thought processes. If you are dealing with an addict I promise you I can explain what he is likely to tell himself and you about why he is doing what he is doing.

The most important thing to remember when an addict steals from you or otherwise mistreats you is that you are dealing with someone who does not believe he is lying. You have to know the truth and not fall for the manipulation. As destructive as addiction is to others, know that the addict is primarily self destructing and cannot understand why. Don’t take it personally. Have sympathy but protect yourself. Hide your wallet well.

%d bloggers like this: