Addiction: Living with an Addict Community
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1809070 tn?1402577679

Catching up about my heroin addict son

I first posted here almost four years ago when i was at the beginning of what's turned into a long and heartbreaking journey with my heroin addicted son. I only posted the one time but i get back here for "silent support" quite often. My son relapsed again after spending two years (wow) in prison and about six months clean after he got home. I remember at first i just wanted to know why. I guess i thought if there was a reason i could understand, maybe i could fix it. I've never gotten my "why" and i certainly never did or could have fixed it.  Eric is in an inpatient program and i'm hoping he'll take the vivitrol shot when he comes home. I wonder if anyone has experience with this medication?? I wanted to ask that question, and i also want to thank you all so much for having this discussion. I know i don't post or even lend comfort, i guess because i don't feel i've succeeded so what can i contribute, but just knowing i'm not alone has helped me so very much. I pray for every new poster who's come on here with there heart broken, scared and helpless in the face of something beyond our control. I haven't given up and again thank you all for sharing.
17 Responses
7284346 tn?1402242325
Hi there~
My heart goes out to you alex... I know this journey well. My son too is a heroin addict. He's been an addict for about ten years... started on other and moved to heroin several years ago... it has been heartbreaking for sure.  

I am so sorry to hear that your son relapsed... I can only imagine the sadness in that... I too experienced this sort of roller coaster with my own son's recovery journey... several years back he was in a low dose methadone program/court mandated and was doing really well... going to counseling... staying clean from heroin and other street drugs... working fulltime... he had almost two years... and then he "graduated" from the court's program and within 8 months he was back out using.  I have to say from my observations... it was primarily because he did not continue in a recovery program... the low dose methadone had been tapered off which was great... but the counseling he stopped going... and he wasn't going to meetings... he just stopped working HIS program.

sigh... so, currently, my son was recently back in jail off and on the streets... and is now in rehab... so, we'll see. it's his recovery journey with God.  

When I read your post, you mentioned that YOU did not feel you had succeeded... I get that... I do... but I just want to encourage you that YOU are not responsible for your son's addiction nor or you responsible for his recovery... you didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it... WE are not in control... as MUCH as we SOOOO want to heal our children and our hearts want to SAVE them... we simply cannot do it for them...

I am happy to hear your son is in a treatment program now!! That's fantastic... a very good first step :)... I wish I had information about vivitrol... but I don't... I will have to look that one up.  Definitely.  I am always a bit leery of any drugs taking the place of another... but I am open for sure to learning!!

Loving an addict especially our child is one of the most difficult things to go through... it can makes us as sick as they are... maybe sicker because they are somehow shielded/fogged by the drugs they are on... we can become mentally, physically and spiritually ill... it is so important for us to reach out and connect with others for support and to learn how to create healthy boundaries with our addict child.
I want to encourage you to seek out support alex... nar-anon or al-anon... keep posting questions here, perhaps counseling... Celebrate Recovery in the church... there are many options.  I go to counseling and on and off go to al-anon... I have a daily reading program in al-anon... it's fabulous!! It's an app on my phone... free :)  Highly recommend it!  Geared language for "alcohol" but addiction is addiction... 12 step - codependency - creating healthy boundaries... all the same... I highly recommend it.

I DAILY have to give over to God my grieving heart and know that HE loves my boy even more than I can imagine and that this journey Ryne is on is between Ryne and God.... and I just have to step out of the way.  IF God ALLOWS me to contribute... then right on... I pray continually... and let God do the rest now... when I was trying to control it all, all I did was get sick... and get in the way.

Praying for you Alex and your son!  May God give him the eyes to see and the ears to HEAR His voice! May HE give Eric a WILLING heart and COURAGE and strength to stay on his recovery path ONE day at a time.
Peace to you friend.
Hi Alex's mom, I see that your post is a few years old but I am brand new to this site. I hope your son is doing well. I have been in recovery from alcoholism for over a year now thanks to vivitrol. Long story short I grew up pretty blessed, then had my first drink, and couldn't stop for 20+ years. But while I was out of control I had a father, a parent like you who loved me and never gave up hope. And It warms my heart that your son has you. Addiction is heartbreaking. I'm praying that you both have peace.
1809070 tn?1402577679
Thank you for your encouragement. I've read many of your replies to so many, offering wisdom, encouragement, kindness and spirituality. You always have a lot of good words to share and i i hope you know that what you're here is important and valued. I will keep your son in my prayers I'll give it Psalm 32
One of my favorite meditations for my own son. I really want to get my old self back, it's just difficult sometimes to move past the pain. I know everyone here and everyone dealing with this probably says "My child was so sweet, so good so kind" I just hurt for him, for what he's done to himself. I love him. Right now, though i NEED to work on me. I was a successful business woman, happy, confident, out going, i've become the opposite of all those adjectives, isolated myself from friends and family, moping around like a martyr and with this relapse it's like i'm waking up. I can't five more precious years to self destructive behavior and thoughts, to shame and guilt, i have to live, and be happy again.
Thank you for responding, talking helps and i will try nar anon again and keep posting about his progress. If you do find anyone who's actually used vivitrol i would LOVE to hear how it went, i know what it is and what it does, but addicts seem to want to stay away from it and i have only heard about it from the doctors perspective.
3060903 tn?1398568723
Naltrexone, the active ingredient in VIVITROL, can cause liver damage or hepatitis. Tell your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms of liver problems during VIVITROL treatment:

This is all i would need to read if i was researching meds for my son. Liver damage and hepatitis is a very real danger to an addict,

When I was agreeable to rehab, i was floored when doctors were making the suggesting to those coming out of detox and into residential rehab that we had a choice as to whether we continued to take drugs, or get clean and sober. It was craziness to me that i was not expected to get over the addiction, by stopping using all drugs. Well, i refused any meds that were offered to me, after a long career of using heroin, oxy's crack cocaine, alcohol, and too many to mention prescription drugs. so please believe me it can be done. Your children must be made to see that they have played Russian roulette enough already. Do not test fate and enter into any more agreements to continue prescribed meds or otheriwise. Detox and living clean and sober can be handled with the program. I started a full time 12 hour a day 70 hour a week job as an automotive assembly person, and drug tested every second day with blood and urine samples. I should have taken a college course, to keep my mind occupied. Addicts are capable of rallying to their own defense if offered the chance. My advice is to get it into our children's heads, that they should always question taking any medication to the fullest limit. If there are natural paths to go down, then go that route always. I was told by my doctor that i needed bp meds, cholesterol meds, and maybe more for diabetes. I said no, I learned the lesson from rehab to JUST SAY NO. I lost enough weight so that I no longer needed the meds.  We need to get back to basics with our kids, whatever their age. and teach them how to eat as they did before cancers became so prevalent in our society. Maybe us , as mothers , that fell into "the easier softer way" to feed our families regardless of the negative effects of ingredients in today's foods, has set up our kids to believe in what they are now being prescribed for an owwy. Oxy's used to be prescribed for end stage cancer, and now is being prescribed like candy. We have to teach our children to question everything. To be discerning as h ell . I'm glad that you ladies are here now, in spirit to find answers for your boys. I have one son myself, whose 26. Thankfully he didn't catch the drug cooties from his mom, or not yet anyway. I think it is in part to his learning to question single thing that he ingests, prescription, food, everything. That's the attitude that i think  you ladies should put forth to your boys. Not just no easier softer way with drugs, but with everything.  Promote college to them, boredom is an addicts worst enemy. I'm so glad you ladies have chosen to use this forum. and i hope you find friends that will last a lifetime here. I'm always here if you need to talk. Liz
1809070 tn?1402577679
Hi Liz,
Thank you for your response. I appreciate where your coming from about using the program, meetings and keeping a steady focus on daily recovery. I am only interested in the vivitrol as an aid to all of those things, not to replace them by any means. I will definitely discuss the side effects with the doctor. Eric is a chronic relapser who's been steadily declining emotionally and physically over the course of his addiction. When he gets clean it's usually not his choice, but when he gets clean he is always very excited about staying clean and moving forward. We believe he wants to be clean because he says he does and he goes to meetings and does out patient, but any bump in the road, friends, girlfriends, job ect and he relapses immediately. We're just hoping to give him the best chance. It may not work, he may not be ready, he may never be ready, but i have to offer every option for my own hearts sake. I wish you knew him, he's so handsome, sweet, big hearted, he loves so much and he feels everything so deeply. When he was five years old he was diagnosed with very severe OCD and as we went through the day of the brain scan and were given the results and all of the information for going forward, i remember the tears in my eyes and i remember Eric grabbing my hand and saying "mom, you remember the man we saw who had no legs? his booboo is on the outside mine is on the inside and God wouldn't give me more than i can carry" He was always so kind, he always wants to help people, i want to help him, if i can, any way i can. It's hard remembering him before, it hurts.
1235186 tn?1339127464
I know two young girls who are in their twenties who are friends of my daughters. They both use vivitrol. One has been on it for 2 years, one just started 6 months ago. At some point, just like suboxone or methadone they need to also come off of them and learn how to stay clean on their own. Their desire to be clean has to outweigh their desire to use.
He needs to learn to not use drugs as his go to when there is a bump in the road called life.
My daughter used cocaine, pot, xanax, roxys, snored heroin for 5 years. She was arrested on grand larcency charges and possession with intent to distribute. All felony charges.
We had kicked her out of our house, never gave her a penny.
We told her we loved and would support her recovery. We told her she needed to go away to a long term Christian  at least one year program.

When she decided on her own that she was going to die she went.
She went to a Christian recovery home and is now 22 months clean.
Never used suboxone, methadone or vivitrol.
It is very possible to get and stay clean without another drug.
He needs to fill his life with lots of support, stay away from the people and drugs, have counseling, attend support groups, church, school, work.
Idle time is the devils workshop.
A strict routine, lots of support, strong desire to stay clean and he can.

We have to step back and let them figure it out themselves.
We can't get them clean and we can't keep them clean.
The more we do for them, the less they do for themselves.
I am sure you would have to pay for the shots as far as I know very expensive, it is something else you are doing for him.

Do you have support for yourself? Al-anon, celebrate recovery,
Counseling, church?
We get just as sick as they are. We live in their addiction.
I would advise against the shots.
Take care of you,
Keep the faith,
Sending prayers for peace and strength,
1235186 tn?1339127464
"When he gets clean it's usually not his choice"
This line right here is key to his recovery and sustained sobriety.
He has to want to be clean. Not forced into by you or the courts.
If a two year prison stay didnt shake him to the core he wasn't ready to stay clean.
When he gets sick and tired of being sick and tired.
When he knows he will die if he continues.
When he has come to the end of his rope, his bottom,
Then and only then will he do what he needs to do to stay cllean.
3197167 tn?1348972206
Debbie.....SO much of what you shared was "spot on"....great post as usual, Debbie!  For me, at least on this particular morning, the sentence that stood out above ALL the others....the hardest most painful lesson for us to learn...the one that goes against all our natural instincts....was this one:

"The more we do for them, the less they do for themselves."

7284346 tn?1402242325
Hi Alex...
I hear your heart momma... i get it... the fear that he won't be able to stay clean on his own. That tremendous desperation - the grasping at straws to find for Godsakes SOMETHING in this CRAZINESS that just might make the difference for our sons... that magic bullet to HELP him get through to the 'other' side and have his victory... I so so hear you honey. I DO... I truly do.

In fact, I am right now this very moment looking up vivitrol because until you posted I knew nothing about it. I visited my son yesterday at inpatient rehab, and Praise God!! He looks great and it was a TREMENDOUS blessing!  However, apparently... there are huge number of young people there at the camp who are heroin addicts. (its an epidemic... my opinion) So, I guess in a couple of classes, they have been "educating" the kids about this new medication out there - vivitrol.  Ryne asked me to research it... he knows how I feel about quitting one drug with another.  I told him I would do the research, but "yeah, you know how I feel about that Ry."  

Ryne tried the methadone route... two years - he did great while on it... then relapsed immediately when he got off.  He tried suboxone... (off the streets... not prescribed... no dice)  So... I'm reading.  I'm researching.  Have you read about the vivitrol Alex?  I'm not sure I would give it to a dog much less my son... I mean honey I AM TERRIFIED that my son will leave rehab and have a weak moment - turn away from his progress... because that's ALL IT TAKES... but girl - HE HAS TO WANT THIS. It is between him and God. Believe me EVEN as I write this I AM struggling with this!! My heart is saying "BUT WHAT IF..."  I am in tears fighting myself... lol.  I just know that I know that I KNOW - with ALL that I've learned.. ALL that I've been THROUGH in the past 10 years... this freaking roller coaster and THESE WISE loving people sharing their journey... I KNOW vivitrol is NOT a magic bullet. It's not.

http://www.rxlist.com/vivitrol-drug.htm  It is not recommended for those who have hep c or any sort of liver damage... as it can CAUSE liver damage potentially...  My son has late stage hep C... he already has liver damage so he can't take vivitrol... OR it says, "Naltrexone is contraindicated in acute hepatitis" which is what vivitrol is...

My friend, our sons are on a journey with an amazingly loving God who loves our boys so much more than we can even imagine. He truly is in control. WE cannot control any of it honey no matter how we would like to try... what i have learned is those things i often did in the past thinking I was helping ... thinking I was giving my son the best shot at recovery... were simply getting in the way of what God was trying to do in Ryne's life. Allowing Ryne to FEEL the consequences of his choices and get real with his life...

Our boys have to work a program. Plain and simple. That's it. Go to meetings, get a sponsor, stay connected.  I'm a recovering addict... my husband is... we work a program. Have FAITH my friend and do not lose HOPE. God IS on our side. I will NOT give up this fight.  Today is a good day. Our boys are still fighting. Today is a good day.

The Promises of the Program:
If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.
We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we
will see how our experience can benefit others.
That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
Self-seeking will slip away.
Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.
Fear of people and economic insecurity will leave us.
We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could
not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

Continued prayer for you and your son.
1809070 tn?1402577679
Hi Debbie,
I know how very very right you are!!!! Knowing that he only gets clean by force of the legal system says to his dad and I that he's not being honest with us or himself. I thought the vivitrol would be an assist in the process, it's just the last thing we haven't tried.I tried alanon but i couldnt keep it together when i went, maybe it was to soon for me, i just found myself sobbing through it and i came home just as sad and exhausted as i was before a meeting. It's been a few years and i'm not the wreck i was, still sad, but more like tired than exhausted :) I go to church every week, i pray every day, i read my bible several times a week, and my faith is my anchor. I have a very supportive husband and some close family to get me through. I don't think anything can ever really be the same but I accept that it's out of my hands, I wish that made the hurting stop, but for me the dull ache is always there.
I really appreciate your response about the vivitrol and my husband and I are still willing to try it if Eric wants it, but that's a big IF.
I've followed your posts over the years and I know that you've been through alot and been very strong for your own family as well as supportive for this group. I'm glad to have the chance to tell you that some things you have shared have helped me many times over!!
1809070 tn?1402577679
Wow, you brought me to tears with your passion and support!! Thank you, thank you for understanding me even though you've never met me, thank you for wanting to help and console a stranger and thank you for your prayers!!!
I get what you're saying and i agree he needs to work his program and keep focus on his recovery. We've (my husband and i) are going to give Eric the shot if he wants it. It is his decision and we wont make it for him or try to pressure him, but he's still eligible for it and if he says he wants to try it then we will support that.
Your right on target about wishing for some magic!! I don't think there will be any magic but God willing there will be progress.
I am praying for your son and believing that both our sons will over come this horrible addiction. It truly is an epidemic, my son is also in inpatient and the majority of the other young men and women are heroin addicts.I will keep posting and if he takes it i'll post about that two. He may not, he's never wanted to before, he says he wants it and always at the last minute he changes his mind, so we'll see.
3060903 tn?1398568723
I wonder if your boys have access to a computer, and whether either know about medhelp. It might be a truly inspirational tool for them to talk to other addicts who have long term sobriety from the drugs that they themselves have become addicted to., especially if they have not yet found any sponsorship, it might help to lead the way to it. I know absolutely, that I would have felt like I found a gold mine had I known of medhelp''s Addiction Substance Abuse forum, when i was going through the first hours days and months of sobriety. Being able to choose other addicts to get to know, and make friends that I could support and gain support from would have been an incredible gift.  

Medhelp is all about putting all opinions out there, When you look at the big picture of addiction and see the same things being said by the same group of addicts still in recovery, it' can be very powerful. In treatment we learn to open up to people, our families, and any one who triggers our using and sabotaging our recovery. The Substance Abuse forum is exactly that. A communication tool that get's us out of our heads, and out of our mouths, so that others can relate to us and offer love and support when we are feeling our lowest, at whatever the time of day or night. Using a journal is a tool we use in treatment, and there is a journal here that works wonderfully for addicts. I hope you consider supporting our boys to open up here and by doing so, give them another tool to fight the devil.

Thank you Alexandria and Ashellofme for caring so much about your boys. I truly had a tear as you described you son Alex, my own sounds so similar. We are truly blessed.:) Liz
1809070 tn?1402577679
Hi Liz, i don't think Eric has access to a computer. He's in an in inpatient his parole officer put him into. It's an experience geared towards teaching them the tools for recovery and showing them that the next step is back to prison. But i agree this online forum might be a good place for them to get support. Today i'm a little more tired than usual on the subject of my son, some days are just like that. I haven't heard from him since our visit two weeks ago and not at least hearing from him always brings me down. Today i got up took care of the morning routine, ran errands with my seven year old and then picked up his friends for lunch and a movie, home, dinner and that's all I have in me today. I thought of "at the beach" today, about her many times saying "sometimes we get as sick as the addict" and i pushed through :) before i sleep tonight i will give it all over to God and pray for my son to awaken to Gods love and tomorrow will be a new day. You're all in my prayers as well as all your children and loved ones struggling with whatever they struggle with.
3060903 tn?1398568723
I hope that your boy calls home. You can let him know that you would like him to call you , you know?  There's nothing wrong with giving him a sense of responsibility toward the feelings of his family, on top of whatever pressures are happening for him now, or in the future. It will help to let him know that what he does (in more than one way, keeping clean and sober) matters. IMO.

Thank you so much for your prayers. It is such a blessing to have your seven year old by your side through this, to bring you love light and laughter. Peace to you all.
Avatar universal
You could've been writing for me.  My son started this horrible journey in high school, first with pills then heroin.  The heroin started in 2009.  He was functioning well, great grades, varsity athlete, honor society, accepted into Ivy League schools for premed.  His dad and I are married and have a good marriage.  We own a few businesses that do well, and our son has never wanted for attention, love, affection or things.  He worked hard in school and then BAM this happened.  I found out in January of his senior year.  He detoxed at home, left for college out of state and was clean for about 8 months.  He came home for the Christmas holidays, ran into a few people and was using.  Stopped again when he went back to school, did well until May.  You guessed it!  Came home, met up with the same people and was back at it.  These friends are people he has known his whole life.  We are in a fairly small town, very rural, and his friends are split in two; half are addicts or recovering (or trying to) and half never were and drink.  They were all in sports together and all grew up the same way.  We sent him to rehab for 3 weeks, he did well.  Relapsed again at Christmas.  Used until we figured it out months later (he is 1000 miles away at school).  Sent him to rehab for 30 days.  Stayed clean 4 days.  It's been a roller coaster, to say the least.  I don't concentrate on my business, my husband fluctuates being burying his head in the sand, removing himself and wanting to kick him out.  In March of this year, he was doing well but got very, very sick from an old abscess in his arm and almost died.  He started the shot 5 months ago.  Things have been really, really, good and he seems to be getting back to himself but this morning, I found a spoon, foils and needles in his bathroom.  I would love to say that it was old and from before, but the reality is probably that he's using.  I've had a few warning bells going off in my head, but ignored them because he's on the shot.  It's been 3 weeks since his last one, and he is scheduled to go next Friday.  Is it possible that the shot didn't work for him?  Am I being paranoid?  He's obviously turned into a great liar (nice, isn't it?) and can lie to my face, I was feeling more confident with him on the shot.  Ideas?  Thoughts?  Support?  I can't live like this anymore, but I don't want to give up on him.  He's still a great person but I'm starting to realize that he's also a great actor.  Help.  All I've done today is cry, right back where I've been for 5 years.  In know it's not my fault,  but I feel responsible - brought him in this world.  I can't give up on him but can't keep living like this.  What's worse - hiding that I'm scared or confronting him and if he is not using, possibly setting him back?  
1809070 tn?1402577679
Update on my heroine addicted son,
The last post from me Eric was in inpatient promising the moon,sun and stars. He came home one week ago today and it isn't going as well as I hoped. He refuses the vitriol, he isn't attending meetings he's been out for drinks at least a couple of times and he seems to be avoiding me........ I'm just so sad and tired. He did get his job back and I don't have any proof of a heroine relapse but the signs don't seem promising. When he's in trouble it's "mom you're my rock, I'll do whatever it takes, I want to stay clean, I'll use my tools" but then he gets home and he doesn't answer the phone, he gets defensive if I ask about meetings and he seems angry
We'll I made myself a promise, and that was that if things became in any way more disruptive for me I would step back this time, five years ago you couldn't have convinced me I would ever be able to do this, but today after countless rehabs, 2years in prison, financial and emotional depletion here I am stepping back, my heart hurts and I'm scared but I have to do this, for my younger son, my husband and myself, I have to let go. :((( I love Eric, I wish I could save him but I can't and it's time for me to except it. Pray for us and my love and prayers go out to all of you.
Avatar universal
Drug addiction treatment helps thousands of addicts across the United States achieve lasting sobriety every year. Due to recent advances in neuroscience and psychology, rehab clinics are able to use a variety of proven methods in their drug addiction treatment
495284 tn?1333897642
This thread came back up so am hoping you will see it and give us an update.
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