5. Protect Your Valuables

When signs of drug use and addiction start showing up, don’t be afraid to secure your valuables. A person who has given up control of his life to drugs, unfortunately, loses his good judgment as well. While there are exceptions, most heavy drug users will become desperate enough to steal and rob when it looks like there are no other alternatives. If he has keys to your home, you may notice valuables like televisions, computers or tools missing. He may come in at night and take cash from a purse or wallet. It’s not uncommon to hear of jewelry and even heirlooms being pawned off. One father sold all the children’s toys out from under the Christmas tree. Valuables are not safe in the hands of a person struggling with addiction.

You should not feel guilty about protecting what is yours. Store valuable items elsewhere or get a safe. Install an alarm, security doors or video surveillance. Change locks both at home and at any business locations. Change security codes, passwords and signature cards. Cancel credit or debit cards you have handed over to the drug user. Discuss protecting accounts with your banker.

This should not be a last resort when you are dealing with addiction, it should happen the moment you realize there is a problem. By protecting your property, you actually enable yourself to provide the right kind of help—effective rehab—when it is needed. An addicted family member can bankrupt a family before they have a chance to get him into treatment.

How to do it wrong: A woman is the manager of the family-owned restaurant. She begins using cocaine at the restaurant with a couple of the employees. Soon, the profitability of the restaurant falls off. Before long, it is not even breaking even. Her parents, the founders of the restaurant, try to find out what is happening. She claims employees are stealing things and fires a couple of people (the ones who do not use cocaine). The losses continue after the firings and she continues to offer excuses. The parents finally arrive at the restaurant, look at the books and realize they are bankrupt. The daughter takes off with the remaining cash. The parents do not have the money to find her and pay for her rehab.

How to do it right: The family realizes the restaurant is losing profitability. The daughter provides excuses. The father heads to the restaurant and talks to the employees. A long-time employee finally tells him that the daughter has been using cocaine at the restaurant. “She said you knew and didn’t care,” he adds. Dad immediately secures all accounts, changes the locks on the restaurant, changes signature cards. The losses add up to thousands of dollars but hundreds of thousands and the value of the restaurant are saved, meaning the family can afford rehab to save their daughter’s life.

NEXT: 6. Mysterious Problems? Consider Substance Abuse

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