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Addiction: Living with an Addict Community
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Avatar universal

Any parents of heroin addicts here?

Hello,
   I am a mother of an 18 year old daughter who is addicted to heroin.
   She, like many others, started out on oxycontin. When she became immune to the higher doses of oxy., she started snorting heroin. Of course, I had no idea she was using until I found out by accident after she had been doing it for many months. We immediately put her into inpatient rehab. We could only get a total of 18 days inpatient and a total of 4 months outpatient covered by insurance and other available services.
   We thought she was doing well, and she of course, learned to hide it very well. If I hae learned anything from this whole horrible experience, addicts are devious, amazing liars. She managed to pull the wool over not only OUR eyes, but the outpatient counselors eyes as well! We just found out the other day that she relapsed and is now shooting heroin for 3 months.
   Finding this news out is both devistating, and hurtful to me and my husband. We feel we have given her all the love and support, counseling, and treatment we could. We even started trusting her again, which I thought I would never do! How could she do this to us???!!! I understand it's the drug that is more enticing than pleasing your family, but the hurt is overwhelming.
   We put her in detox and this is only day 3 for her right now.
   I wondered if there are any other parents out there who can share their feelings, frustrations, and stories with me.
Thanks.
369 Responses
890982 tn?1259094785
I can certainly share your feelings and frustrations.  It is hard to believe that a child, whom you probably remember as being honest and truthful pre-drug, is an accomplished liar.  You have to bear in mind that the drug (opiate of any description) actually changes the physical and mental makeup, as part of its takeover, and the drug will do anything necessary to replenish its supply, so it's the drug and not your daughter who is lying to you.  She has to want to quit very badly, or all the rehab in the world won't do any good, but at some point she probably will come to that point, maybe after seeing a friend go under.

Recovery can present problems, apart from the withdrawals.  If you stay clean for a while, your tolerance goes down, and a relapse can result in an overdose.  It's important for the person to have some kind of support system other than parents, in NA or AA or whatever is available, people who know what she is going through and who she can be honest with, to help insure against a relapse and/or an overdose.  
511524 tn?1266353534
I truly feel for your pain, my father, mother, and step-father are all in the same exact boat as you and it kills me day in day out to think of that. Knowing that you are betraying everything you told your parents, doing things you never imagined you would ever do for a stupid little bag of powder. It is completely and utterly pathetic and dont think we dont feel it 24/7. As hard as it is especially after realizing being lied to time and time again, the best thing you can do for is be there for her and support her, but only in positive ways. Obviously you won't stand for her using in your home, hanging around users that may be friends, or you wouldn't let her have a phone to set up deals and meetings, so its a little hard to explain exactly, but the best thing you can do for her is tough love with honest undying love and support. If she is detox support her in her sobriety and recovery as much as possible, think of positive and remind her of the negatives of relapsing. Not that she isn't thinking of these things at all times it cant hurt to show that you not only understand but that you will stand by her as long as she is doing the right thing headed in the correct path, staying sober.
Opiate addiction is the most destructive force on earth. No one person is capable of beating this disease with willpower or from only support from others. It takes alot of work and an honest effort from not just her, but everyone in her life. Meetings are crucial, it doesn't matter whether she is religious, having a sponsor to talk to 24/7 is crucial, having a therapist that specializes in addiction treatment and of course Narcotics Anonymous meetings. And on top of her doing the work staying clean you as a family have to get help as well. Believe me when I tried to explain that one to my parents that didn't exactly go over to well. And its hard to explain it to someone that will not understand and has no intentions of doing so. The problem with doing that is that it only makes the recovery process that much harder for her/him. The parents and close siblings to the person addicted needs to go to meetings and therapy as well to get unaddicted to their child. It ***** to believe that something (and often in a parents eyes-something your child did that was so selfish and stupid) now YOU of all people need to get treatment. You feel like your losing your mind and just giving up all hope, but that is the last thing you can do as parents, friends, as anyone. The therapy and meetings offered to parents of addicted children are completely created for your exact situation, it will give you the ability to vent out your frustrations, to explain what you think could make her better or make her believe in herself that she can and will stay clean. The best part about that is that you have someone who specializes or other family members that have been in the exact same shoes as you guys and they are there to help you guys through it. They will tell you if what you are thinking of doing or what you think is the causes of your daughters addiction is plain crazy or on the right path. Your child has an addiction to opiates, you as parents have the addiction to her and to how she is. It is unfair, but dwelling on that only hurts the situation and turns it negative. I have never seen parents or family members go into therapy for this exact reason and not say afterwards that it hurt them in anyway, in fact I have only heard the opposite that without going to this weekly therapy and a few Al-Anon meetings per week they wouldn't even begin to understand how to properly handle situations that may arise. With having your child being truly addicted to opiates there leaves plenty of room for the unexpected and problems to arise out of nowhere, so its absolutely priceless to already know the best way to handle the exact situation with a calm and knowing plan.
Just by you guys being members of this forum shows that you not only love and care endlessly for your daughter, but that you are willing to do whatever it takes on your side to get her better and to beat this addiction. Unfortunately there is no exact way to beat this disease, but they are capable of being clean and sober and able to live normal lives in sobriety with the right help and motivation. Sometimes someone addicted will take 30 times, go to detox 30 times before something clicks in their head, some go once and they stay sober for the rest of their lives. It depends on the person, their personality, and honestly what treatment,care, and how the people surrounding her and in her life handle the situations. Its so absolutely crucial.
Not only after going to al-anon meetings and seeing an addiction therapist did my father and mom get a completely different approach on how to deal with my addiction, but they were actually able to help me stay sober. You guys are not expected to just know exactly what to do for a child that gets addicted to one of the most destructive drugs known to man, but educated yourselves and working towards her sobriety will help in so many ways its unexplainable. She will have to give it her all to beat the daily struggle that is addiction, but with the right support and treatment she will have less work and problems encountered making it an easier path to sobriety and keeping on the path.
My father is a regular member of this forum and I will elt him know your guys situation, he may have some great input on helping. Honestly use this forum to gain knowledge about addiction, about the drug she was addicted too, and ways to be helpful to her. This forum has been a family to me and everyone I have met has been absolutely nothing but great and helpful. I really honestly hope so so much that your daughter gets that click in the head after detox, but her and yourselves may realize if she still continues to relapse that a different treatment such as suboxone or methadone is necessary. I went to detox and after 3 days started suboxone treatment. I was on suboxone for 9 months, never relapsing,  but after an accident I was taken off and put back on opiates, so that right there was a turning point because I could see the same addictive patterns return when taking my daily meds, so I stopped seeing the doctor, and started going to a methadone clinic. I only recommend a methadone clinic as a last resort because of the severity of dependence involved, its something that will be long term and is not easy to just up and get off of. Suboxone is alot more reasonable and has a very record for really helping addicts that have a hard time quitting after detox.
I wish you both the best and your daughter as well, please message me anytime ever if you have any questions about anything anything at all, I would be proud to help you guys out in any way. One of the best things you can do is stay members on this forum and not be afraid to ask questions all the time, the more you learn and know the more you can help her and yourselves. And it cannot hurt to go to meetings of your own and get therapy, it will only be a great benefit to you all. I do believe your daughter can beat this disease, she must take it one day at a time, but it is doable, and with your support in the right way and her dedication to staying free from opiates it will honestly happen. Best wishes, Christos
452063 tn?1324078516
So sorry that you are going through this along with your daughter. I have a son who's story began the same as your daughters. He was shooting heroin for 3 years and has just been clean a little over 4 years. In the beginning I tried everything. I tried reasoning, threatening, making arrangements for him to get better, arranging rehab.  None of that worked and we had many frustrating failed attempts at rehab, NA, sponcer, addiction specialist. the thing is he had to want to get clean. Saying he did and really meaning it were definitly not the same thing. I eventually just had to let go of my son and wait until he was ready. He pretty much had to hit rock bottom before he got clean for good. I learned not to enable him but also let him know that I loved him and would do anything for him if it was involved with getting clean. I learned to trust that gut feeling where you know that they're lying through their teeth but you want so desperatly to believe them that you say you do. I learned to tell him I don't believe you. I know your still using and this got him really angry but you have to hold your ground. It's what they need. Heroin addicts can make a dog believe he's a cat. It's a very long and difficult road. Do not let yourself get caught up in how could she do this. This addiction is powerful and there is no logic to it. She has to want this...she will need alot of support then as it is still very difficult to stay clean. Feel free to send a message if you ever need to talk. God bless, Corey
Avatar universal
My son is also a heroin addict. He has recently relapsed and the devastation is almost unbearable.   I have a blog and hope it is helpful.  I attend Al-anon and try to take the focus off of him and back on me.  I work on being grateful for what I do have. And although this journey with my son is so hard I try to believe that there is a higher purpose to it all and I try to stay in the here and now.

Avatar universal
Two sons are addicts.  Have been for about 3 years.  One on suboxone now, other isn't.  One on suboxone takes ? and gets ****** up a little, the other takes ? and is the same.  Right now, God only knows, both have jobs, but both have lost jobs before due to this.  Both live with husband and I.  I want to kill myself and husband wants to run away.  Have done therapy, meetings etc.  Same ole, same ole.  Before WE act on our feelings, any suggestions?
Avatar universal
Wow! It's incredible that I found this forum and read your stories. My son is a herion addict and has been for quite awhile now. He's 28 and has a 10 years history of drug addiction with herion being his lastest craze. About a year ago he went to jail which was the same time I found out about his addiction. When he went to jail his wife left him and he was incarcerated for 5 months. I keep him there so he could get clean and think straight no getting out from me. Of course, when he did get out of jail with 2 years probation he had nothing and nowhere to go so I brought him home to live a "new" life with my husband and me. 5 months in jail brought my son back to me in a condition that I hadn't see in 10 years. He was clean and thinking straight thankful to have his family and regretful in his past doings. He was soooo on the right track part of the "rules" were random home testing, court ordered counseling and of course facing his probation officer once a month w/the possibility of a urine test. Life was good ..... he was happy working steady with my husband and I felt like I had my family back again. We were all working so hard for him. Then whhhaaaaooommmoooo his behavior started to change about 3 weeks ago. Needless to say I had my suspicions then he faked an ER trip for pain pills (been there before quite a few times) for what he said was a horrible stomach pain. After 10 years of his addiction I was not blindsided this time. When he came home with his pain meds I hid them to see what reaction I would get planning on putting them back if I was wrong. I wasn't wrong I never am and I hate being right. My husband took the liberty of "helping him look for them" by going through his room only to find his needles and spoons. This was Tuesday before Thanksgiving. I refuse to have this in my home. He broke a huge cardinal rule and I went bananas and made him leave. I have put away all the spoons in my home as they now have a totally different meaning to me and I'm finding it sooo very difficult to deal with this this time. I have been through it for sooo many years and for once in my life I had my child back, happy, healthy & loving. He took that away from me again. I can't see him right now as I'm still extremely hurt by all this. I try not to talk too much to my husband because he has to work with my son and you can only imagine how it is in his position. Having to deal with my fallout at home amd then go to work and have to deal with my son on a work basis. My question is when is it supposed to end. When is enough enough. Am I supposed to continue to go through this pain for the rest of my life. I'm not a quitter but I have to be realistic my son had the perfect support situation we actually were getting to know each other again, doing family things and laughing and loving each other and we're back to square 1. My son needs to WANT to get better I can't do it for him I have tried for the last 10 years. I feel horrible about throwing him out it wasn't the relapse that I reacted to it was using in my house. I can't have that especially after the wonderful 6 months I had with him. This drug scares me to death. I'm soo afraid for the future and sooo want him to take the steps necessary to get clean but this time he has to take those steps on his own before I will trust and believe in him again. It's sooo much harder for me this time since I had my wonderful 6 months. Before he was an addict who never became unaddicted so it was just life. But to have gone through what I went through this time after having him clean for the first time in 10 years and have him snatch the rug right out from under me. It's killing me more than it ever did. How does a parent handle it, when is a parent supposed to say I've had enough?
Avatar universal
I must recommend that everybody here research a gentleman by the name DR. TOM CHALKO who resides in austrailia.  He is about the only person on this planet that will be able to get rid of this horrible addiction for good.  Please do not rely on western medicine for such cures!  
Good luck,
the concerned
Avatar universal
I have a 23 year old son on herion.  He just completed a 28 day rehab program, but has not started out patient therapy yet.  I just want someone to talk with -- I don't know what to believe and not -- he says he's not using anymore, but the first night home he took my debit card and took $120!  How do I help him and myself -- I don't want to be addicted to drugs!  I've never entered a chat room before -- heck this is my first laptop!  I hope someone out there hears me.  Mom Hart
Avatar universal
My husband just found out his 19 yr old son is addicted to heroin. I don't know what to do. His son lives out of state so it's hard to be a strong support network for him and I worry that we won't be able to help him.  I don't think he has the strength to leave the state and seek treatment where we are, although I think that might be the best thing for him...  And though it pains and shames me to admit, part of me doesn't want him to come up here b/c I know how difficult and complicated it's going to make our lives.  Is that wrong?  
I'm worried about my husband because he doesn't seem equipped to handle this.  He's been in the military for over 20 years, if that gives you a general idea on how his personality is, and it is nearly impossible for him to express his feelings.  I worry because I know that it's important that he reach out for help too. I know it's going to be  a long uphill battle, and I fear what this will do to him, because I know we have to wait until his son is ready to get clean and I am scared because I'm aware that it might take a very long, if ever... I feel helpless.  My heart aches for the pain I know he's not expressing but I can't force him to do anything to help himself.  Any suggestions?  
Any suggestions for us, as this is the beginning of our battle?
Avatar universal
To Concerned~ Welcome to the forum.  This post is a bit old so if you scroll back to forum then post, you'll get a lot more responses.

I will say this if I may:  I don't have a child in this situation but I do have 19 yr old daughter.  I consider her still as a child although she's,of course,a young woman.
My point is,this is so very young. Kids this age are ill equipped and need intervention. He's young and that's in his favor. Sometimes a geographical change is a good thing for an addict.  I understand about your husband. I know a lot of this will fall on you. It's part of life,sadly.
My opinion is that you should get that boy and help him.
All the best~
Vicki
Avatar universal
Thanks, will do! I'm not so good with this computer stuff...
And thank you for your advice, and non-judgment.  
902989 tn?1262964176
This is my experience with a son that was doing heroin. His mother and I were doing every thing we could to try to get him off this stuff taking him to treatment centers and paying for cars and trips to get him out of town well he finally overdosed and as they were putting him in ambulance.
I remember thinking I might be burying this kid and just said a prayer and let go.
The amazing part of this story is he started going to NA meetings on his own and cleaned up his act on his own with the help of Narcotics Anonymous.
That was 10 years ago.  He has graduated from 2 different universities and now is getting his doctors degree at UCLA. We have to do it our selves I found my self down that path and believe me its not an easy path back to recovery just don’t buy into the games addicts play, we get clean and sober when were ready nobody can do for us.  
Mikchez
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