Substance Abuse and Family Law (1 of 4)

In the series that follows, Charlotte Divorce Lawyer Blog will explore twenty signs from an article on which may indicate that a person has a substance abuse problem. Substance abuse is a very common issue in divorce and other family law matters, so we think it is useful to be aware of common signs.

1. Quality Control
Over time, a substance abuser is very likely to build a tolerance to whatever substance they are abusing. Over time, you may notice that the person fills his glass more often than others. Similarly, prescription drug users will start going through their prescription faster and faster. Prescription drug abusers will often complain that they “ran out” or that “the doctor forgot to renew my prescription.” Sometimes the person won’t remember taking all of their pills and will acuse others of stealing them.

2. Hide and Seek Around the House
Often times a substance abuser will hide bottles around the house. They may hide a six pack in the garage or a bottle of liquor hidden behind the cleaning products. These might be signs that someone’s drinking has gotten out of control. Over time, they will develop a network of hiding places. They may become particularly protective of certain rooms or areas of the house or garage, insisting that they be kept private. There may a sense that they are guarding the alcohol itself.

3. The Disappearing Act
When it comes to drug addiction, it is often that items around the house start disappearing. Like checks are missing from the checkbook, sometimes taken from the middle of the checkbook rather than the back of it. The need for money and the desire for the substance make anything fair game. They might start pawning family items like cameras and jewelry or family heirlooms.

4. A Head Start
“Priming the pump,” “pre-drinking” or drinking alone before going out with friends is another red flag. Alcoholics will often drink before meeting up with friends or family so that it appears that they are simply keeping pace with everyone else in the group when, in fact, they are way ahead of everyone else. Since their tolerance is much higher, they have to drink more to get the same feeling.

5. Tricks and Manipulations
Addicts become very skilled at hiding their addiction from others. Alcoholics will often drink heavily before or after a social event while drinking relatively little while other people are around. Sometimes young people will try to throw parents and teachers off track by admitting to the use of a “lesser drug” like marijuana when they are actually using harder drugs. Frequently, addicts will use the “divide and conquer” strategy where they manipulate family members by providing misinformation. The person may admit one thing to one family member while admitting something else to another. All the while, nobody knows the true extent of the problem.

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