Committing Illegal Activities To Support Addiction

woman stealing money from man's back pocket

There are many individuals who have committed illegal activities to support their drug or alcohol use.  In 12-step recovery, the checklist of whether one is an addict includes mention of illegal activity to finance the addiction.  The degree of illegal activity will range by the person and the addiction.  There is a picture that one conjures up of a drug deal in a dark alley or a person robbing a convenience store to get money to buy drugs.  These types of situations usually get media attention.  There are others who commit white collar crimes and get no media attention.  The issue at hand is more one of why addicts commit illegal activities in the first place and what can be done during recovery to overcome these problems.

The addict can sometimes face problems obtaining money to finance their addiction.  Many resort to illegal activity because of desperation.  The addiction is very powerful and can play a role in one’s ability to know right from wrong.  There is a physical and psychological need to drink or take drugs and this need overshadows doing what is right.  Illegal activity becomes an option when the addict or alcoholic has run out of choices.  There are no friends or family members left to ask and your employer will not advance you any further money.  Credit cards are non-existent or maxed out.  At this point, the addict might consider illegal activity to get money.

The type of illegal activity chosen is a personal matter or could be a group effort.  It might be easier and less threatening to take money out of your spouse’s wallet then to steal a wallet from a stranger.  It might be easier to embezzle money from your employer than to rob a store.  The point of these examples is to illustrate the desperation associated with an addict’s need to use drugs or drink.  There is also an increase of those who commit white collar crimes to finance a drug or alcohol problem.

During recovery, if illegal activities were committed, they will need to be addressed.  Some problems will need to be addressed through the justice system and some can be addressed through 12-step meetings or through therapy.  There is a point when the addict needs to review these illegal activities in a safe space and learn to live with the negative things done to fuel the addiction.


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