Living with a disease like addiction is tough. However, it’s not just the afflicted who are affected by chronic drug abuse. Drug addiction can negatively impact the entire family dynamic in a number of ways, some of them subtle, some not so much. Despite all the red flags we encounter, our instincts usually tell us to shelter the addicted person and hope for their eventual recovery. But as anyone who’s ever lived with a person addicted to drugs knows, this often backfires to become a dysfunctional relationship of enabling or worse.
When To Kick A Drug Addict Out
In many cases, the safest thing to do for both you and the addicted person might be to remove them from your home. They might become belligerent or verbally abusive when high, consort with shady people and engage in criminal acts (and bring those people around your home), or put dangerous substances within reach of children by storing drugs around the house. However, romantic feelings, denial, guilt, or a host of other sentiments might prevent you from recognizing when things have gone too far. Here are 4 signs that you should remove an addict from your home, plus, how to do so properly.
1. Violent behavior
Any kind of abuse is an immediate deal-breaker, but physical abuse is particularly unacceptable. Whether the addicted person has threatened, intentionally intimidated, or has physically laid hands on you or another resident in the household, it’s imperative that you take action quickly. It’s rarely a “one-time thing” as many domestic abusers claim.
2. There are children around
Children are extremely impressionable and the negative influence of an addicted person can be traumatizing. A child who’s around this type of environment can be almost twice as likely to abuse drugs themselves when they get older. These children also tend to have heightened or chronic stress and impaired social development.
3. You gave them an ultimatum
You’ve cried. You’ve pleaded. You’ve had the intervention trying to convince them that they have an addiction but still, they refuse to change or go to rehab. If you gave an ultimatum, it’s imperative that you follow through with your threats the first time. Otherwise, they’re very likely to overstep your kindness and take advantage of you. The sad truth is that sometimes, being kicked out is the kind of wake-up call an addict needs to realize that they’ve burned all their bridges, their drug habit is out of control, and that they need professional help.
4. Committed a crime
Drug addiction is a slippery slope, and we don’t just mean the health risks. Small things like stealing can quickly snowball into other, more serious, crimes. If your loved one is engaging in criminal activity, it could bring a lot of unwanted attention from authorities that disrupt the peace at home for everyone else. There is the possibility of you facing legal consequences for being associated with them, however, the most likely risk is that their crimes will escalate, getting you involved in a dangerous crowd.
How To Legally Evict An Addict You Live With
If you think you’re doing your loved ones a favor while giving them a place to stay, you’d be wrong. This kind of living arrangement is one that’s harmful to all parties involved, especially if children are involved. Living with an addict can risk the emotional, physical, and even financial well-being of others in the household as well as themselves. However, the process of removing someone from your home can be tricky.
Evicting someone isn’t as simple as physically removing them and their belongings from your home, even if you own the residence and you’ve only been allowing them to stay under an informal agreement. Eviction is a legal process that requires a formal procedure involving attorneys, motions, and courtrooms. There are several different avenues to do this depending on your relationship with the addicted person:
- A formal hearing: An attorney can file a legal motion on your behalf to have the addicted person removed from your residence. These hearings are short and fast. If successful, a court order or temporary court order for the offender to vacate the premises.
- Law enforcement: In the face of an immediate threat to you or others in the household, local law enforcement can forcibly remove the addicted person. This will then be followed by an arraignment hearing where a judge will determine if they should be allowed back in your home.
- Contract violation: If you are renting, your lease may provide the legal grounds to remove a fellow tenant from the premises. If the agreement mentions breaking of laws or illicit drug use, their right to tenancy can be revoked. Unfortunately, this can be difficult if the rental complex is in the name of the addicted person.
- Breaking up with your spouse: If you dissolve your romantic relationship with the addicted person, you will have the opportunity to file for exclusive use and occupancy order. In addition to removing the addicted person from having the right to reside with you, it applies to child custody as well.
Prior to making a big announcement or changing the locks, you’ll want to have the aid of a legal or addiction treatment professional and gather evidence to support your claim for eviction.
Take photos and videos of their behavior, get testimonials from friends and families who can attest to the severity of their alcohol or drug use. Some of the best proof you can have is a signed agreement or another form of acknowledgment from the addicted person attesting to awareness of their drug use issue.
Addiction Affects The Entire Family
Whether it’s your spouse, parent, sibling, or child, making the decision to evict an addicted loved one is a difficult decision to make. No one ever even imagines their loved one could be capable of being a danger to themselves or others, but this is the heartbreaking reality of drug addiction. The experience of living with a drug addict can carry immense stress, emotionally, physically, and even financially.
Al-Anon is a fantastic resource for the family and friends of an addicted person. These peer-based support groups offer suffering loved ones a chance to both learn how to deal with their own feelings as well as how to better support the addicts in their lives. Find an Al-Anon meeting near you, today.