Have you had an alcoholic stealing things from you? Perhaps there’s more going on here than what you know about. I am not trying to make anyone think the worst. In situations where a problem drinker begins to turn to stealing, there may be some other substance abuse involved that you aren’t aware of.
It’s possible to get rid of the anger you are feeling, but you will have to forgive them for the recent instance, confront the situation and set boundaries with them. If they have stolen something from you, you may have to accept the possibility of it being gone forever.
Like lying, stealing is just another character defect that many alcoholics struggle with. It’s not that they are bad people. What happens is once they get a few drinks in them, the sky is really the limit for what they may do. Afterward, they personally have to deal with the shame and guilt that are associated with the act of theft they committed. That’s easy enough to understand.
What should you do with an alcoholic family member or friend who continues to rip you off?
One of the main things that you must learn is that you do not have to accept unacceptable behavior. This applies to getting ripped off. I would definitely say that steeling is unacceptable behavior, wouldn’t you?
If you noticed that something is missing and are certain that the alcoholic stole it, then you’re going to have to talk to them about it. Don’t expect them to own up to the theft though. After all, they are living in a world of denial. Set your boundary by letting them know if it happens again that they have to either move out of the house or they will be fired, whichever applies to your situation. If they are just an occasional visitor in your home, it may be necessary to not allow them to come over anymore.
Coping with an alcoholic who is stealing can be like night and day as far as their personality is concerned. That’s what is so baffling about alcoholism; it will take the most honest person and turn them into a lying thief. One of the biggest problems we have is we hold onto the person they used to be in hopes that they will return. This type of false reality gets us into trouble. If they are stealing from you, confront the matter and set some boundaries before you end up missing something extremely valuable, perhaps you already are.
One of the steps the AA program teaches is that once you have made a list of all the persons who you have harmed, you should become willing to make amends to them all. The next steps says that you make the amend wherever possible as long as it will not injure someone when this is done.
Many of the alcoholics that I have interacted with within the Alcoholics Anonymous program have admitted to stealing from friends, family members and employees.
Having been involved in the Al-anon program for several years, I have also heard many of the family members of alcoholics express how they are trying to cope with their loved one who is ripping them off all the time. In some situations the active alcoholic/addict is booted out of the house because so many things are disappearing. It’s tough love.
Dealing with a problem drinker who steals is tough. When they are in the inebriated state, all they are thinking about is what they can buy with the things they are stealing. If it makes you feel any better, no one in their right mind would steal from a friend or relative.