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Wealth May Equal Death

I’ve worked in a few different types of treatment centres from non-profit to profit. As those of us who have recovered from addiction know (and those still suffering) addiction has no prejudice. It doesn’t care your socio-economic status, colour, creed, race or religion. Saying this, one thing I have noticed (and this is totally anecdotal evidence) is that wealthy people die from overdoses far more than poor people.

When I was out there drinking, using cocaine, etc. if and when I ran out of money I stopped using. Sure I’d beg, borrow and steal to go on, lack of funds was my dilemma, and I’d stop partying until the funds were raised for the next run. With wealthy people they do not have this problem. The wealthy addict can buy a huge supply or quickly afford to get more when he runs out. The result of this is they don’t have that forced break from use and therefore the tendency to overdose arises.

There are some other barriers to recovery I’ve noticed effect the wealthy. A lot of wealthy parents will send their children to treatment. Sometimes these children do well but often they do not. One of the reasons for this lack of recovery with the children of wealthy people is that the parents are great enablers. I had an experience with a client who came to a centre I was working at three or four times. The same thing happened each time. The parents would get upset at their son’s behaviour and send him to us for help. We would try to help him but the parents wouldn’t change anything they were doing. The parents continued to pay rent on a fancy condo and provide food and luxury toys (video games; entertainment systems; vehicles, etc.) to their son. As a result of this enabling behaviour the son had no reason to change. He didn’t change his drinking/drugging behaviours or any other toxic behaviour for that matter. He continued to be self-centred to the extreme and would blame everyone else for his problems. Needless to say he did not do well in his recovery.

I’m not trying to say that the wealthy have it harder than the poor so relax Karl. I’m just pointing out another take on the situation. People who don’t have much money have a lot of barriers including waiting lists from a few months to a year to get into treatment, child care issues, and having to return to a toxic living environment post-treatment plus much more.

The one thing most everyone in long-term recovery can agree on is that regardless one’s socio-economic status if one doesn’t’ do the Steps and make the changes necessary so that one has a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery there will be little hope for long-term success.