Protecting Against Financial Abuse

For protection we often rely on banks, locks, password codes, credit cards, hiding places and even fighting skills. Yet, like the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, we often deny ourselves the biggest threat to our own or organization’s wealth (and sanity).

I am talking about the addictive personality.

Here are some examples that I have personally witnessed:

A relative losing her house due to her son’s drug addictions.

(My mother’s house near break-in from harboring the mentioned drug addict.)

An associate losing money from trying to support their drug and video game addict children.

A gym owner whose gambling-addicted girlfriend put his business heavily in debt.

A military party fund that went missing to an alcoholic who had volunteered to look after it.

Rent and investments that have disappeared by trusting a drug addict.

And the list goes on.

I mention this because good health includes financial health.

Now, many people argue that the stigma of addiction is what is driving addicts towards suicide and more destructive behavior. (You will see public signs all over Vancouver stating that drug addicts are also co-workers, relatives, friends and generally nice people.) Well, the point here is to protect YOU and not intellectualize why THEY hurt your financial health. It makes as about as much sense as trying to reason with a grizzly bear or a mad dog. Forget it.

Instead, take note of the following behaviors of the addicted personalities:

1. Moody.

They often fluctuated between being sweet and charming and surly and angry.

2. Bursts over-achievement

Some addictive personalities actually perform high in academics, sales and athletics. I personally knew several high-performing martial artists and soldiers who drank heavily and fell into heavy drug use. Addictive types will so great bursts of work or productivity for short periods, giving the impression that they are high performers.

They often make a big display of any minor achievement such as doing volunteering or exercising.

3. Often sick.

4. Frequently take/request time off.

5. Frequent money problems.

They frequently borrow money or ask for pay advances from work.

6. Unethical behavior

They often lie, steal, cheat and degrade others, while co-workers and family will constantly cover up for them.

7. Often smoke

Not always, but most addicts smoke.

8. Tendency towards swearing and violence

9. Gulping alcohol

This is something that I witnessed in the military. The heavy drinkers could never just sip and enjoy a drink. They had to gulp it down. One co-worker would buy six beers at a time and down them one after another before “Happy Hour” was over.

10. Blaming others

If you ever talk to an addictive person, you will hear all about how things are “everyone else’s fault” and all of the psychological and family reasons why they excessively drink, gamble or play video games.

This list is not complete and it might even make the reader squirm a bit if it sounds too personal or “close to home.” The truth is, you are often aware that something is “not quite right” about a co-worker, employee, boss or associate and that you should keep them away from your money, home or business. Sometimes you cannot if you are a co-worker, business partner or spouse. Like martial arts, fighting and military skills, you have to be able to maintain a strong defense and preparation against such people.

It all boils down to trusting your instincts in the first place.

Stay healthy.

Stay safe.

The Dangers Of Gambling Abuse And Addiction

So, how do you know if you or someone you love have a gambling problem?

First of all it’s important to note that compulsive gambling is a psychological condition that makes people unable to control their desire to gamble. Many crave the feeling they have when they gamble and seek this experience on a daily basis, no matter whether they’re on a winning or losing streak.

Compulsive gamblers may start betting small amounts, but sooner or later start to wager higher bets in order to get the same feelings of excitement they had when they first started playing. Compulsive gamblers often feel agitated and restless if they are unable to gamble and can feel a strong desire to gamble when other aspects of their lives are weighing them down. Compulsive gamblers may also believe that gambling is the only way to pay off debts and keep believing that it’s only a matter of time before they hit the elusive jackpot. Some compulsive gamblers may find themselves lying to friends and families and in some cases stealing money or goods to pay for their gambling habit.

Not all compulsive gamblers will exhibit each of these qualities, but if you recognise just a few of these in yourself or someone close to you then it could be time to seek help.

Compulsive gambling is treatable and there are a number of wonderful organisations set up to deal specifically with this problem.

Gamblers Anonymous is probably the most well-known and widespread and is based on a 12-step program similar to that of Alcoholics Anonymous. Members meet on a regular basis to share experiences and listen to each others stories and you will find that there are literally hundreds of Gamblers Anonymous groups situated all over the world. Go to the Gamblers Anonymous website for more information (www.gamblersanonymous.com) or check your local newspaper.

Gam-Anon is another well-respected self-help organization whose motto is “serenity, courage, wisdom. “Their website provides a solid resource into the issues surrounding compulsive gambling and meetings are held regularly. (www.gam-anon.org).

The National Council on Problem Gambling is a government sponsored organization with branches across the USA. The website also has a lot of information which you may find useful. (www.ncpgambling.org).

Other countries will also have their own groups and organizations which may be publicly or privately run. Again check your local newspaper or phone book for more information.

Remember, compulsive gambling is a mental health issue for which there is help and support. If you feel that gambling is dominating your life in a way that is harmful or unhealthy, then perhaps its time to talk to someone about it.