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A glimpse inside the perceptive addict's brain

Old 01-30-2017, 08:41 AM
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A glimpse inside the perceptive addict's brain

For those of you who do not already know, my daughter, K, is a heroin addict currently in good recovery for about 9-1/2 months. She lives in southern Florida and works in a drug & alcohol rehab facility.

A few weeks ago, the phone rang at 3:15 am which is never a good sign. K was furious and on a rant.

She had been at a friend's house with a bunch of other young people (most probably NA friends plus some others). K had dropped her purse in the living room without a second thought since the folks at the house were her friends. Apparently the house has a trampoline in the back yard and at some point almost everyone had gone outside to have a cigarette and do a little trampoline jumping.

I am not positive of the exact timing, but the bottom line was that after returning from outside, K discovered that her wallet had been stolen from her purse. The amount of cash stolen was inconsequential but, her driver's license, bank debit card, health insurance card, etc. were also gone.

She has never dealt with this sort of thing before and was looking for advice, and someone to listen to her rant and vent. She had already filed a police report. We offered the normal advice - it's not the end of the world - call the bank and report the card stolen, DMV can provide a new license, etc.

A recurring theme in her rant revolved around "why would you steal from your friends" and a statement that "most of us don't have that many friends and if you steal from your friends they will desert you."

We pointed out that when she was in active addiction, she stole from us repeatedly - she replied that we were her parents and she knew that we would never abandon her!

She had our pre-Nar-Anon selves dead to rights!

Keep coming back,

Jim

PS: So as to not leave anyone curious - the aftermath went about as you would expect - bank card, license and health insurance cards replaced. A PITA for her, but handled in a reasonable amount of time.

Interestingly enough the bank does not have a 24 hour phone line to alert the bank of theft / loss of debit cards (Bank of America). As she was walking into a bank branch the following morning, her phone rang - it was the bank security & fraud department calling to tell her that her account had been frozen very early that morning due to "suspicious activity" - an attempted gasoline purchase for $ 1.00 - just testing the card I guess. Zero dollar loss for the bank and DD.
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:39 AM
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So sorry that your DD had to go through all that but, in the end it is a learning experience.

One thing that I will say is that our AS never stole from us. Even before we knew what status he was in or how bad the addiction was.

We could leave money laying around here at the house in plain view and it was never touched.

Stayed here when he was in active addiction and nothing was ever touched. One thing to be thankful for I guess....
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Old 01-30-2017, 09:44 AM
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Old 01-30-2017, 10:38 AM
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Jim, I always get a lot out of your shares and once again I am glad you brought this here.

My son stole from us many times (I should have charged him the first time...) and yet if anyone cheated him or stole from him, he was absolutely livid.

I'm not sure what makes your daughter or my son or other active addicts just not SEE how destructive their behaviour is, even when it happens to them. God bless them all.

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Old 01-30-2017, 11:04 AM
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Plink,
"...... our AS never stole from us......... in active addiction and nothing was ever touched. One thing to be thankful for I guess...."

Wow! Based just on what I hear in various meetings - you are definitely the lucky exception! Generally when newcomers arrive at our meeting their stories of theft are always met with what I call "the Nar-Anon nod" - they thought they were unique but quickly discover they are not.

My homegroup has one member couple - their son made off with all of the "normal" stuff from their home - cash, jewelry, electronics -- it was not until he was in jail for non-theft offenses that they discovered he had sold their snow blower!

Keep coming back,

Jim
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Old 01-30-2017, 11:47 AM
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Ann,

"....My son stole from us many times ....... and yet if anyone cheated him or stole from him, he was absolutely livid.

I'm not sure what makes your daughter or my son or other active addicts just not SEE how destructive their behavior is, even when it happens to them. God bless them all."

With 20/20 hindsight, I like to think that when my daughter was in active addiction -- her behavior was not really MY daughter, instead her behavoir was dictated by her disease. This belief gives rise to the expression, widely shared in Nar-Anon groups........

Love the addict, but hate the disease.

I also entertain the optimistic, or perhaps foolish, hope that some day she WILL see how destructive her behavior was -- this day may never come but it is nice to live and hope! Of course, the trick will be to avoid being disappointed if it never happens.

Keep coming back,

Jim
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Old 01-30-2017, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by JimC60 View Post

With 20/20 hindsight, I like to think that when my daughter was in active addiction -- her behavior was not really MY daughter, instead her behavoir was dictated by her disease.

Jim
This is a tricky one. My soon-to-be-ex-MIL (praise G_d!) put her kids through hell while they were young. She had a serious meth addiction and would forget to pick them up from school, had several affairs right under their father's nose, and even dragged my then-10 year old ex along on a high speed chase after her dealer!

One time my SIL was telling me how her mom just couldn't understand why my ex couldn't let all this go even though she's "recovered" (read: learned to manage/hide her meth problem a little better).

I offered the suggestion that maybe she could sit down and talk with my ex about all that had happened. Perhaps even apologize.

"But she can't really," SIL said, "because that wasn't HER, you know what I mean?"

That may be so, but the damage was done, nonetheless!

Who knows? Maybe her modeling accountability could have been a good lesson for her son?

So, yes. Hate the disease, not the addict. But not holding oneself accountable may just be a contagious disease in and of itself.
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Old 01-30-2017, 06:07 PM
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My husband has said so many things about other people's actions not recognizing that he was in fact describing himself to a T. It took every ounce of control inside my being to bite my tongue during those times... Pure insanity.
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Old 01-31-2017, 01:50 AM
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Son didn't steal from us, but I think he would have if we had given him the opportunity (he hasn't lived at home for long before moving away when we kept pressing about rehab).

No, it's not them. But at the same time, even if active addiction stops, this type of mindset often doesn't.... the inability to reflect on one's behavior, the lack of accountability... it scares me. I keep praying that when my son leaves rehab, it'll be a different story.
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Old 01-31-2017, 04:32 AM
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Back in the day...

...there was a defense that could be used during a trial "Innocent by reason of insanity". The defendant was so mentally ill, that 'they couldn't help themselves', that 'they didn't know any better'. Therefore, they were innocent.

The new term these days, if memory serves, is "Guilty and Insane". The defendant is culpable of the crime, but still needs treatment for the illness.

I think many an active and early recovering addict/alcoholic wishes to have all culpability removed for their past behaviors. I think the guilty and in need of treatment mindset is, perhaps, a better way to look at things when it comes to addiction.

However, the active and early recovering addict will probably not see it that way.
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Old 01-31-2017, 05:44 AM
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I like the way you put that, Seren. Thinking has changed over time, but the need to face our/their demons and recover is still very important.

I don't believe it is healthy for anyone in recovery to beat themselves up with shame and blame, it serves no good purpose.

I like the way Steps 8 and 9 in all 12 step programs puts it...

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.


In a recovery program or not, I think it helps everyone, including me, to make some kind of peace with anyone we may have harmed in any way in life. It doesn't mean they have to accept the olive branch, or like the way we do it. If we apologize from our hearts and let go of OUR resentments, that's enough and the best amend we can make, to ourselves and others, is to LIVE our lives better and wiser for the journey. As Step 9 says, we don't have to be hurtful or allow hurtful behaviour toward us, in the process. If we do it sincerely, we can then let go of the outcome and continue with our recovery.

Just my thoughts on a brisk Canadian winter morning.
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Old 01-31-2017, 12:44 PM
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Seren :
" I think many an active and early recovering addict/alcoholic wishes to have all culpability removed for their past behaviors. I think the guilty and in need of treatment mindset is, perhaps, a better way to look at things when it comes to addiction.

However, the active and early recovering addict will probably not see it that way."

Ann:
"I don't believe it is healthy for anyone in recovery to beat themselves up with shame and blame, it serves no good purpose.

I like the way Steps 8 and 9 in all 12 step programs puts it...

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. "

Seren & Ann,
Very nicely done!

As for how the addict /alcoholic see this, I think it takes a long time for them, especially the opiate addicts, to come to grips with exactly what they have done in the past and how it impacted those around them.

This why I believe a good sponsor will have the recovering person revisit the steps repeatedly and as their brain heals and the more "normal wiring" gradually returns, they will have more ah-ha moments which will need to be addressed. Bill W. and Dr. Bob had it figured out.....

Keep coming back,

Jim
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