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Addicted Or Criminal -- How To Know The Difference And Help A Loved One

Jul 23, 2008
Drug addicts & alcoholics can commit crimes, even against their own family. How to know the difference between social and anti-social addiction and help your loved ones who truly deserve your help is vital. How do you monitor or test to see how to best help them?

Most addicts were and are good people. A drug addict or alcoholic can make some pretty major mistakes that cause great harm and upset to those who love them. Sometimes a drug addict will damage others property and commit crimes. Regardless of the motive, these acts are wrong.

When working with an addict who has been harming others, dealing drugs or being destructive of ones best laid plans, you have to consider several things.

A. Does this person want to get better?
B. Is this person a criminal, hiding behind addiction?

In Vancouver, BC where I live, drug addicts who commit crimes are treated like mentally challenged individuals who don't know right from wrong. Repeat criminal offenders are given parole they don't follow, time and time again by the judiciary who let them off from crimes against property.

In one case, a repeat criminal offender, had seen a court room over 50 times. He had been arrested over 50 times for criminal offenses and been paroled every time. He never even visited his parole officer (PO). As Vancouver hadn't any monitoring system for parolees, no one knew.

Vancouver Police claim the majority of property crime committed in Vancouver is committed by a rather small group of repeat offenders or career criminals. I've had my windows in my truck smashed in many times, so a drug addict could scrounge through for the $2 in change hidden in the cab. The repair bills cost me $300 / window. I estimate $1,000s of dollars of income has been lost to these criminal acts. It makes one bitter toward criminals. But should I lump all addicts within these career criminal type of actions?

Addicts come in basically two varieties, when it comes to criminal actions.

One: those caught up in addiction and wanting to get out of their self imposed trap.

Two: people seeing their destructive actions on others and themselves, desire to numb themselves with drugs or alcohol so as to continue to destroy. The majority of anti-social acts are committed by the second group.

I'll be dealing with the first group only. The second group actually wants your efforts to help them fail. They quietly smile when they relapse. Your success in helping drug addicts or alcoholics will be in distinguishing between these two types of people. Turn the second group over to the police.

Sometimes one can mistake those in group one with those in group two. This can cause considerable upsets in someone who is addicted. Ex. The addicted person now feels rejected by family, worthless, like garbage, etc. simply because they are addicted. These people need help, not further rejection.

Mistaking a person in group 2 with someone in group one will hurt you. They will steal from you again and again, put you through hell and make you feel like it is your entire fault.

People in group one hurt themselves and may make mistakes.

People in group two hurt everyone and will continue to hurt others. The people in group two are the career criminals, violent offenders and family destroyers. Help the police to get them out of society so they can't harm society any further.

How can a family member see the difference between the two? Let's focus on group one and leave group two to the police, shall we.

People caught up in addiction can commit criminal acts to pay for their addiction. The will feel considerable regret and usually cave in on themselves when they have to face you or their counter-survival actions. These small or large crimes may result in their developing a self-worthless attitude (despised).

If the people in this group are given an honest opportunity to recover from this hell they are trapped in, they will take that opportunity. Often they will need a professional interventionist to assist them to get to rehab. The addict can mistake themselves to be in that second group as well and therefore not want to place more burden on the family.

Their main objection to rehab will be because they feel worthless for the wrongs they have done. These people need your help to get them moving toward recovery.
while they are clear headed enough to understand. Simply, if they truly feel bad about their actions, there is some hope.

If their actions are cold and calculated, designed to hurt and harm, you're looking at anti-social motivations.

Differentiating these two types of individual motivations, social and anti-social, will greatly assist you in avoiding a big mistake and gaining a very satisfactory friend for life.
About the Author
Tibor A. Palatinus CCDC, Drug and Alcohol Rehab Advisor. Author of Drug Rehab Advisor & Rehab Questions Answered
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