ADDICTION: LIVING WITH AN ADDICT
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Mom to a 23 year old heroin addict needs advice
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by sadmom999, Nov 20, 2011
I'm so glad I found this forum, I've been lurking for a couple weeks now and have learned a lot.  When my daughter was a senior in college, I caught her snorting pain pills.  We had a heart to heart and she said she was a casual user and could just plain stop.  Over the next few days I did notice she was nauseous, etc. but being niave I believed her when she said she was just sick.  How I wish I could redo that time period.  I should have known anyone who snorts anything is not a casual user and we should have gotten professional help.  She appeared to be fine for a couple more months, getting a great job and passing a licensing exam that took 7 hours to do, to show you how involved it was.  One day she came home and said her boyfriend moved to Colorado and she's moving too.  Within a week she had quit her job and was gone.  She drove cross country from the east coast in 2 days, only stopping for 5 hours sleep once.  To make a long story shorter, we have noticed weird things that she said that didn't make sense and couldn't figure out why.  Then, she started getting a new phone number every few days, saying she broke her phone, lost her phone, etc., etc.  Had 2 accidents in her car, totaling the first one.  We found out later, that the insurance money from the first car we had bought for her as a graduation present did not go toward the new car.  Only a small portion was used as a down payment and she financed the rest.  She disappeared and we could not get in touch with her for a couple days, so we hunted down her boyfriend whom she was supposedly living with.  He informed us she was doing heroin and not staying there right now because he and their roommates didn't want her in the apartment doing it.  Through all this she has held her job she got when she moved out there.  I don't know how she's managed to do it, but she's still working.  She won't give us her address and will only tell lies about what she's doing.

According to her, she's living in a house with her NA sponsor who takes her paychecks and only gives her enough for necessities and decreasing amounts to purchase heroin and she's supposedly weaning herself off.  She claims to be doing half of what she was previously.  My common sense tells me no NA sponsor will help her buy drugs, even to wean herself off but my heart wants to believe her.  This is how its been, constant lies and deceit.   She's a world class liar and I don't know where to turn.  I can't check on her in person often because she lives across the country from us.  My husband and I flew out there a month ago and sensed something wasn't right but couldn't figure it out.  If we fly out there again there's no guarantee she will be honest with me or even meet with us!  She said she would love another visit but...  We have constantly offered her rehab, therapy and a few days ago, I purchased all the supplements involved in doing the amino acid protocol for w/d and mailed them to her.  Normally she will only "speak" to me by text but this time I actually got to talk to her and I asked her if she wanted me to do that and she said yes.  She even asked me if taurine was part of the recipe because she had heard it really helps.  I took that as a positive sign, at least she's either talking or researching the possibilities but now I'm starting to believe again it was just a lie to put me off longer.

Through all this, we have been paying the rent on her apartment with her boyfriend, thinking if/when she cleans up she will at least have somewhere to go.  We have helped her pay for a few crisis situations that she has created for herself, like expired tags, etc.  She has been leading us along and putting us off, so we were trying to help her.  Now we've realized we are just freeing up her paycheck for her to go buy more drugs and I've texted her we are done providing money for her to buy drugs.  I also said we love her too much to be responsible for providing the drugs that are killing her.

I am at my wits end and can't stop crying.  Her dad and I want to help her so much but don't know if there's anything we can even do at this point.  Please help us think this out and provide us with some sort of direction we need to go in, if there's anything we can do at all.  Also sad is that we have 2 other grown children who are very well adjusted and are home for Thanksgiving and this is ruining our time with them too.  Thank you so much for listening, so much for making the story shorter :-(
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Member Comments (107)
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by london_man, Nov 20, 2011

I'm really sorry to hear your problem.

There are lost of people on this website who can provide useful advise.

Maybe you should try and find a local support group as it can help to talk to people who are/ have been the same situation.

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by atthebeachBlank, Nov 20, 2011
i totally understand your fear,sadness,hurts,disappointments.
we want to "fix" the situation, yes we want to go back and try to prevent the spiral that occurs.
we try to reason with them, help them,support them,plead with them. we cant understand why it happened,
why we couldnt see it, or prevent it.
the truth is we didnt cause it, we cant fix it and we cant stop it.
they are the one who has to admit there is a problem and then take the steps to work on their recovery.
it is good that you have realized that providing her with money is not helping her. we easily become "enablers" we think we are "helping" them but we are just preventing them from dealing with the consquences of their use. if they use all their money for drugs then they cant pay their rent.
then they will be homeless. this would be a consquence. if they get a fine and we pay it. then all is well in that department for a time. until the next ticket. if we dont pay the fine, then they will lose their license or get arrested. this would be a consquence. we cant continue to bail them out of all their mistakes.
they do become such wonderful liars and deceives. yes they do tell us what we want to hear, just to get us off their back again for a time.
it is so hard not to live in their addiction, and try to fix, control and cure it.
we have to hope and pray that they will come to their senses sooner than later and realize that they need help and then ask for it.
i would suggest you go to alanon.i have been attending a couple meetings a week and i feel so much better. there is so much support there. we get so emotionally,mentally,spirtually and physically worn out and need to understand how to learn to continue to live through this.

http://www.al-anon.alateen.org/

please look on the website and check out some meetings. they recommend 6 meetings before you decide if you like it or not. i look forward to my meetings.
i will pray for you and your family
know that you are not alone
hugs
debbie
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by sadmom999, Nov 21, 2011
Thank you so much for the advice.  I've never felt so alone and helpless in my life.  I will look up the meetings you suggested.  Its just hard to believe that there's nothing I can do but I understand what you are saying and just need to try and get over the feeling of being responsible for the decisions she makes.  Easier said than done but I will try.
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by atthebeachBlank, Nov 21, 2011
easier said than done is an understatement. believe me i was probably the worst offender and enabler. i lived with and in my husbands addiction for almost 14 years. i didnt look for or find a website, i didnt know about alanon. he has now been in recovery for 22 months.
my two oldest children have used. i also enabled them and tried to fix them. when it is your children you think you can or are responsible for fixing them. it is very heartbreaking to watch them destroy themselves.
when we get so consumed by their addictions we cant think of anything but that. i could probably have a very high paying job in the CIA, i was the best investigator, finding the drugs, searching phone calls, looking in the clothes, through their rooms,cars,and even when i presented the "evidence" i was met with "thats not mine" end of story. so all my attempts at catching them, and hoping for a confession went in vain.
the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. i did become insane i continued to cry,beg,plead,threaten,argue,yell and the results were the same, me upset at my wits end and them continuing in their addiction.
tell your daughter you will support her recovery, but not her addiction.
dont give her any money. talk to her ask her how she is doing, tell her your desires that you hope and pray she will get clean. that you love her and miss her.
no an na sponsor would not hold her money and give it to her to wean off heroin. they lie so much they believe their own lies. if she is still with a boyfriend she was using with. she is still using. it is nearly impossible for one to stay clean while the other is using.
please suggest that she go to counseling. the addiction is just a symptom of something deeper that is going on in her, mind,heart,emotions and spirit.
it is very hard to let them continue in their path and not beable to stop them. i have to each day "let go and let GOD".
my son is 26 in 2 weeks, he is now in recovery for 2 1/2 years.
my daughter i believe is doing better. she has been working now for 3 months , but still has a bf who has also used. i have told her to leave him he will only drag her down, but she meets my suggestions with  so much resistance and then we argue and she wont talk to me. so i find it best to not even mention him. then she seems more open. i hope and pray she isnt using, she does seem much better. she wont go to meetings says she isnt using anymore so she doesnt need them. she does. she does counsel with our pastor and comes to church sometimes. i have to continue to trust,hope,pray and believe that she will not continue to make the very same mistakes that her dad did.
addiction is truly a family disease, it makes the family sick. emotionally, mentally,spiritually and physically.
you are in my thoughts and prayers
hugs
debbie
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by sadmom999, Nov 21, 2011
Debbie~

I wish nobody else had ever gone through this, but it does help to know you and others have been there too.  I will pray for your family too.  You have been through so much I couldn't even imagine the heartache of having multiple members of your family fighting this.

I too have entered training to work for the CIA.  I've cracked her credit card statements and searched every establishment she's made purchases at in the last 2 months, googled the businesses, printed maps and looked at the satellite views.  They are all within a 3-4 block radius of each other.  I have a feeling if I wanted to track her down I could probably assume she is staying somewhere in the middle of that area.  She does have a car so I would be able to spot it if she's there if I go out there and try to meet with her.  What is that all going to get me?  It makes me feel a little more in control, but the information is close to useless.  Especially now, she is $5 from her credit limit and after that she won't even have money to eat for another week and a half.  Its killing me to know that.

Her boyfriend is clean and has always been.  He asked her to leave the apartment because he didn't want drugs there and that's when things get fuzzy.  She's hanging out with obviously other drug addicts I don't know where.  Most of her things (mostly things not able to be sold for drug money) are still at the apartment with her boyfriend and the past couple weeks she's been going over there and spending lunch time with him.  Not every day, sometimes she doesn't show and sometimes she cancels ahead of time but about 3 times per week she's been going there.  If she doesn't pay her rent this month i'm afraid he will probably tell her to move her stuff.  He can't come up with double rent, not to mention it isn't fair.  We have paid the past 2 months so if she got herself under control she would have somewhere to get away from the people she's staying with.  Should we pay the rent there still?  I know I said we weren't going to pay for anything else, but that is a clean place with clean people and she might be pressured into getting better if she gets kicked out of the drug house and goes back there out of necessity.  I just feel like if she had nowhere better to go she would just get deeper.  What do you think?

There is a therapist we have approached to try and help her.  She offered to meet our daughter for coffee and talk, free of charge, and try to figure out some way to help.  We gave her the number and our daughter texted her once and never followed up.  I'm sure that was designed to buy a little more time from us.  I told her the therapist can't and won't reveal anything she says to her but will keep us informed if they meet or not.

Thanks so much for everything.  It really helps to talk.  The family is so tired and stressed we are all constantly on edge, so its hard to talk things through.

Hugs to you too,
Jane

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by Deb179, Nov 22, 2011
Hi Jane
I am so sorry for your heartache...I know it well.  Most important right now, is take care of you.  This has a way of wearing a parent down and quickly. I first posted here almost a year ago.  I came here in total desperation.  My 22 year old son, also a heroin addict, I Very ignorant.  This forum was my life line, the members here, eased my tattered soul....they still do ( I read often)  This Is a tough heartbreaking road.  I have become very close to one member, who still walks my road with me, without him, I'm not sure I would beable to be where I am today.
Last week, was the week I resorted to tough love, the hardest thing I believe I have had to do in my life time.  We as parents, I guess we think we can fix our kids, that's what I thought.  I was told from the very first post, it was something only He could do.  They were right.  My son and I have had a very long hard year.  "I"...have tried everything, including suboxone, to fix his life. He did make progress several times, but each time he fell, he fell a bit harder.  It's now a year later, he is where he started...living for heroin.  Enable him, absolutely I did.  I couldn't bear the thought of him not having a bed to sleep in or food to eat, after all...he is my son.  The last 2 months I have once again watched my son...replaced by a stranger.  The last few weeks, I rarely saw him...spent most of his days/nights in his room.  It came down to me watching the clock...knowing I should check on him but terrified, because of what I might find.  That's when it became clear to me there was only 1 choice left.  I once again offered rehab other wise he would have to  leave the house.  He told me he wasn't ready and wouldn't go to rehab.  It was with a very heavy heart, that he was walked out the door.  Is it the right choice...I don't know.  What I do know is...it was a process for me, that I needed to go through with him.  I needed to know in my heart, that I had done everything in My power, to help my son.  
I was also told, in one of those first post, he needs to hit rock bottom....possibly now he can.  
My love for him...oh so deep, and I  hope one day, he will understand, why I did what I had to do.
Addiction goes alot deeper than we as non addicts will ever understand. I've had Great teachers.
My son and I talked hours and hours and hours on end.  Everytime I asked him what I could for him...I got the same answer.  Nothing mom, it can only come from me.
My Prayers Go To You and Your Family
Stick Close...Your not alone
Debbie #2
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by sadmom999, Nov 23, 2011
Thank you so much for sharing your story with me.  My heart breaks for you.  I had been wishing my daughter lived close to me so I could check on her or she could live with us but now I see it wouldn't have helped, looks like it just makes things harder to watch them self destruct in person.  It sounds like you have a good relationship with your son, hopefully this will lead him back to you when he's ready.

I'm hoping to speak to her today, we emailed yesterday (she sold her brand new laptop and pawned her iphone but still works so I can at least get her there although her email is monitored so we can't say much).  She bought the laptop for herself and now its gone but the charge is still on her credit card that's maxed out.  I'm going to pass on the advice I got here yesterday and the day before.  Saying we love her and are praying she can find the strength to make herself better.  

I just keep thinking about the fact that we have 2 other well adjusted grown children.  How did this happen, why her/us?  I guess at this point it doesn't matter but I never imagined in my wildest nightmare that we would wind up in this situation.  

Prayers and hugs,
Jane
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by Deb179, Nov 23, 2011
How did this happen...can't tell you How many times I have beat myself silly with the same question.  I Was a stay at home mom...how could I Not see it ???  Guilt...OH MY.  
It wasn't us Jane...we did nothing wrong...unfortunatly it took a year for me to figure that out.  
My ONLY comfort, came from here.  They ALL know what they're talking about.  I honestly came here with no hope, lost beyond return, no one in my circle, could help me, they knew nothing more than I.  While I now look back over the year, I wish I had taken the advice from here much sooner.  But realized...as I said before...it was the process I had to go through, to make some sort of sense of it all in my own mind. Not one person here, lead me astray.  
Everything you say, I completely understand.  My son too sold or "traded" everything he owned.  Everything we gave him.  He has Nothing left...where will the money now come from.  We both know the answer.  Maybe soon...he will be back in jail ?? I can honestly right now, say...I hope so.  
There are still alot of what if's...What if I had listened a year ago, would we be at a different place with this addiction??   This is a VERY SAD disease, and unfortunaly all we can do is be there for them, when they are ready.  
I have No Doubt in my mind, when and if my son is ever ready....I will be the one he comes to.  We are Very close...he has been my rock for many years.  I feel I have let him down...why can't I be his ??  I know you know the feeling.  Yesterday was his birthday...I did send him a text to tell him only HappyBirthday , but due to having a new phone number...he didn't know it was me.  He asked who I was...I didn't respond.
Our Bonds with our kids...will never be broken.  
Unspoken love...is always between us...the heart to heart will never leave.  I know your daughter thinks of you, I'm sure more often than you believe she does.  My son told me, still to this day...it is I that crosses his mind while he puts the needle in his arm.
Your not alone Jane, just know that.  Hold on tight to any of us that you connect with.  It Will give you strength, until your own returns, and it will.  
My Very Best to You
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by atthebeachBlank, Nov 23, 2011
once they start to use their brain chemistry changes. they are no longer in control, the drugs are.
i always took their addictions so personal.why are doing this to me? what did i do wrong?  i internalized it and was consumed by it.i had become so sick with worry and anxiety that i was in bed many times for days with debilitating migranes, i had to be hospitalized for severe panic attacks that presented as strokes or heart attacks. i had to come to the realization they werent doing it to hurt me,it wasnt them, the drugs were in control.i had younger children to take care of and i was hurting them letting the disease of addiction consume me.

once my son was clean. he told me mom, i know only because of your prayers,love and for not giving up on me,and GOD i am not dead or in jail for a long time, or in the gutter and homeless.  he was in jail for a short time and in rehab.
they have to find their own way and yes many times have to hit rock bottom.
my son who is 25 has had 4 or 5 friends he grew up with die of overdose and a few that are in jail long term and many who still use.
my daughter who is 20 also has had 4 or 5 friends die within the last 2 years.
addiction doesnt discriminate. it spans every race,creed,socio-economic status.  it is rampant.
we have to admit we are powerless over it.  
once i did i began to heal. i continued to hope,believe,pray,trust that they would come to their breaking point.when they did i would be there to support their recovery.
when i spoke to them, i stopped the pleading,begging and asking why. as i did this they were more open to talk to me.
i also wished i would have listened to others years ago about not enabling and about going to alanon.
i attend meetings a couple of days a week, i am in recovery. it is a process, but i am working my recovery.
hugs and prayers
debbie