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how to tell if my friend is using heroin again and what to do?
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how to tell if my friend is using heroin again and what to do?

After 15 yrs I was reunited with my best friend. I was/ am so happy! He straight away told me that he was battling addiction to heroin and all the awful things he had done over the years during his addiction. He is in a methadone program and goes daily for his dosage. He also attends group meetings and individual meetings. He says he has been clean for 26 months from heroin and now he says he stepping down his methadone. (I have to admit that his scars were quite a shock as they are pretty disfiguring on his hands and arms but I tried not to let on how taken aback i was- he even asked me if I thought that was the first thing people notice about him.) anyway, i began to worry about his habit (not only as i have dealt with addicts in my life before-but not IV users- a crack addict sister and a brother who started on Vikes then moved to smoking heroin- then when he was living on the streets we think he did crack), because i noticed idiosyncrasies and new bruises on his arms/ slow healing injuries which looked like they coulda been ulcerations left after injections. I'm a medical assistant so i know what injection bruising in different stages of healing looks like but I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt- and its been only twice in six months ive noticed those. but i dont have experience with ulceration and abcesses from IV drug use soooo i dont know.
I know that after long term iv use injuries to the extremities are slow healing due to diminished circulation.. but can u still develop ulcers even if ur not using anymore?
I finally came out and aske him about it yesterday and he said the sore on the side of hi palm was a slow healing burn he got 2 weeks ago from the stove and that hes always picking it. I said I had noticed the bruising with a pin ***** in the middle and he said that he had got the most recent one when he was cutting down a tree int the back yard and got stabbed....
but and here's the big one... that he still occasionally shoots up water cuz he cant seem to shake his infatuation with needles and that he has shot up sleeping pills in the past but hasnt done that in a while.
I insisted that he tell his couselor about this infatuation so that he could kick this habit as well before he is weened of the the methadone! I thought that it would be a very easy leap from shooting up water back to shooting heroin and he needed to purge ALL habits relating to his addiction- and i said as much to him.
Is it common for recovering addicts to still be attached to the needle or is he still using and im just being stupid?
Then yesterday his neighbor (who, for no reason at all, i dont like) came by and when they shook hands I could see a folded up paper between their hands. they didnt know i saw anything i just happened to be at the right angle to see as the neighbor put his hand out. I wasnt able to see if my friend came away with it as they went around the corner.
I'm not his girlfriend, just a friend but i have a family of my own and a husband. And although my friend was my dearest friend for many years in school i know drugs can completely change a person into someone you cant trust at all. and i feel calling him out wont help cuz an addict will always lie. I wont get the truth only half truths. he says he doesnt use anymore and lists all the reasons he wouldnt again. yada yada.
He has never betrayed me or stole from me and often confides things in me and calls me when he feels weak. but I dont want to wait around for the inevitable..... and yet i dont want to walk away cuz he's my friend.
What would you do?  Where's the line?
.should i ask him what the neighbor handed him? does it really matter? should i just walk away from him now?
.what would u do?
after reading my own post it seems obvious hes still using, yes?

and i know that he is the only one who can abstain from his addiction. i just wonder if he truly wants to be clean and just fell off the wagon or if its just addict games. i dont need/ want to be pulled into that again. ive had my heart broken enough by my sibs. but they were never upfront about their addictions and he was but alas i know it can be a ploy to gain trust.. sigh......
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answer to your question, yes people can become obsesed with the needle, ive heard of this before, its up to you if you walk away but if your friend said they were giving up i believe they meant it, doing it though is a harder story, even if you desperately want it, the paper you saw handed to your friend could have been anything from a dealers number to a counsellors number, maybe even a new partners number,  its sad isnt it that you cant trust this person, although i understand as an addict why it takes a long time to trust.  All i know is if you nag this person to stop even if they want to you will push them away, even stress them into picking up, all you can do is be there and support them when they are ready, it wont be easy, and maybe you need to walk away and tell this person you care so much but cant bear to watch them self detruct but you will be there for them when they are ready, its called tough love, or you could take a back seat, please dont give up on them though if you care its a tough battle to go it alone, any addicts need genuine people and kind people like yourself, cause they are usually round users and low lifes, i bet they value your friendship more than you know... xxx
i agree. you are probably getting as much truth as he is capable of giving right now. trust your instincts. i have shot up booze before, but water?, i'm not so sure. booze just made my arm hot. i have a hard time believing some of the things i used to do, but yeah. that was me. perhaps you could say something like, if you are using again, you can tell me, and that you aren't trying to hassle him over it.
  please protect yourself and your family first and foremost. you sound like a good friend. i hope this turns out for the good. you can pm me if you want to know about abcesses etc. i spent a long time with needles. good luck to you. peace, sway
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