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How to help/deal with a loved one with a drug problem

I feel like I'm at the end of my rope! Having a heart condition (open heart surgery) recently, the stress of dealing with a unhappy child on drugs and knowing what to do for them,the right way to handle the situation, and not cause them more trouble is
becoming more difficult each day. Question, do I keep calm and agree with them, listen to there problems,or get angry and shout and say "you have to help yourself first"? Please give me any advice so I will do the right thing.  Thank You!
117 Responses
Avatar universal
As an recovering addict myself, I can tell you with experience that until your loved one wants to get help for themselves, no amount of input (yelling, listening, agreeing or disagreeing) will change them at all.  The only thing you can do is find some support for yourself -- groups such as Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are two of the primary resources available to help people whose lives are touched by those abusing drugs and/or alcohol.  My prayers and best wishes are with you, and please feel free to use this forum as a resource in your own journey towards recovery.

Peace,
Pelle
Avatar universal
I am going to give you some more rope on this and I do not want you hanging yourself with it either.
I do not think anger helps you or the child,but it seems to be a natural response.
Now realize that one should attempt to gain control over their emotions by their intellect and using your will to do so and if you are lucky enough drawing upon your God to do so.
So I think the best way to approach the problem is with more thought and less of this emotion,"anger".
One must have intent in mind, to survive this situation, otherwise one may unintentionally do more harm than good, to both child and yourself.
but how do you fix both problems?, well you use your will to dipense with the anger,get rid of it,no good.
The Drug problem is difficult as you have given no specifics, but did the anger preceed it?, where you always angry?, has the anger any relationship to the drug problem other than that it occured as a response to it?.
This is a start at least.



Avatar universal
well, Pelle and Spook are both so right,  Brighty is a good one for this subject as she struggled with her own child and I know that is no secret to this forum...My own mom God rest her soul struggled with me and I remember the anger in her voice,,the first time she confronted me, which so quicky turned to fear...and then right into denial   her anger did nothing to stop me, as a matter of fact her anger led to my anger etc...it was a mess...we were all angry...anger is bad....is eats at you,,,it festers...then it all comes crashing down.....take what spook and pelle says to heart.....alanon, etc....they can help...love to all cindi
Avatar universal
Everyone offered excellent advice filled with the truths that you may not fully understand if you are not an addict. I am not an addict and I will tell you that you need to get Thomas post and print it out and read it like it was your bible... right now is the time to begin.
His commentary is the Kick Ass truth right on down to the business of the will. Addiction is the most self centered condition on earth and will see you into your grave... until an addict suffers enough they are lost in a world of darkness and self destruction... and there is tremendous hope because my child was on heroin using a needle 8-10 times a day and now she is like an angel from heaven..... she had to suffer enough and try desperately to die before she was able to make an attempt at healing. If you do exactly, all that Thomas says. you will save yourself and create a situation where your child may eventually choose the healing that he/she deserves. But don't think you can do it your way... you were just given a treasure map... now please follow it. I have been there and Thomas is right.
Love, Brighty
Avatar universal
(Susanlea) Does anyone know what is a lethal dose for oxycotin and methadone?  I'm concerned with my ex, I found out he's using 4 to 7 pills of methadone aday. I was reading the reply about how it can stay in your liver, anyone know....Love you guys, Susanlea.......where are you Spook?
Avatar universal
Dear Leah,
  Hi. I came to this forum several weeks ago as you have. I was looking for advice on how to help my daughter ,age 22,that is an addict. The people on this forum are great help to each other and also to me. I too have a serious health problem.My daughter lived with me along with her husband and a four year old and a baby.I tried talking to her. Begging her.Telling her all the dangers and being there for her. All I got back was ,"tend to your own life,not mine."  I came to this forum and was told what to look for and what to exspect. I was given advice and lifted up when I was down.
   My daughter had it made here. They paid no rent. Didn't help with groceries.Didn't help with the chores and I took care of the four year old when she went out,which was often.Then I remembered this is my home! So I told her,respect me and your father,help where you can and I'll always be here for you.GET HELP! She didn't have a problem. She really didn't. She took her pain meds in a couple of days and then hit mine and I would end up doing without.I didn't think things could get worse but they did. She became not only disrespectful but started cussing her father and me out whenever she felt like it. Final straw. I realized I was being the co-dependant. I was making it possible for her to get her drugs. She could buy then when her prescriptions ran out because she didn't have to pay for anything.With strength from God and words of wisdom from the people on this forum, the next time she cussed us out, I through her out. Yes ,kids and husband too. I knew they had the money to get an apartment.If they didn't they could sleep in the car. I knew she loved the kids too much to let them be hurt.So they did get an apartment and she promised she would never speak to me again.Within in 2 days she was talking. It's been 2 weeks now and they are making it.She approached me for the first time last week about rehab . She's on probation and afraid she'll go to jail if she doesn't get help. She's right.Now she has to do it or spend 3 years in jail if she breaks her probation. Whatever happens,she's in controll of it.I have a book called tough love. I knew what I should do but couldn't for fear of what would happen to her. That's why it's called tough love.Don't let her destroy you like I almost let my daughter do to me and my husband. If she is a minor,get her put on probation.Here we have a program that helps minors and parents.Sorry this is so long but do talk to the people on this forum.They care.Don't get scared off when the conversation gets strange. I nearly did but was patient and realized they know each other well enough to speak their mind and still care about each other.
    God Bless,
        Kerrie
Avatar universal
thanks for the support. Hope all is well with you.
Avatar universal
Frankly, Leah, considering you're having (or have had) open heart surgery, your child should be asking you what he can do for YOU. I'm not saying addiction can be shrugged off simply because you have more acute care needs. I would give them the option of going to detox and rehab so that they can return home to help YOU, or leaving home for good so they can pursue their career as a full-time drug addict. Logic says that these courses of action are mutually exclusive. Your child cannot continue to practice his addiction -- which will only grow more and become more severe (i.e., all-encompassing and astronomically expensive) -- and even pretend to give you the help you need and deserve because of your heart problems. If you try to combat his addiction yourself, you will not only fail as virtually all parents fail, but will bring about your own death in the process. Just make sure that your addicted child is not sole beneficiary in your will, unless you want to see your life savings go up his nose or into his arm. You're in no position to be software-hearted or forgiving right now. My advice is, he either goes to rehab for the purpose of returning home to help you, or he moves out and makes it on his own, not bothering you with his endless need for drugs and all the financial and legal problems that that need will generate.

I am a 30-year-long prescription narcotic addict. Thank god and AA, I have enjoyed a period going-on three months free of narcotics. It doesn't sound like much in some ways, but it's opened my heart to others suffering from my same disease, while also hardening my heart toward addicts that are so caught up in their habits that they ignore the needs of a family member in dire need, such as in your case. Give your child hard choices. No wiggle room. No excuses. And you don't need to do it in anything but a calm, firm voice. For that matter, for moral support and understanding when you do it, first contact AA and ask for some members to come over and help you say what you need to say to this child. Believe me, call AA and you'll get a friendly, welcoming voice on the other end of the phone, with several fellow members ready to come over to your house right away. Needless to say, it's all-free and, believe me, very effective. Good luck with your heart problems, Leah. Take care of yourself.
P.S. Just remember, coming from the voice of experience: when an addict's addiction is "in full bloom," there is no room in their hearts for anything but their own needs. It's not that they're evil - they can start out being church-going, charity-giving pillars of the community. However, hard narcotics like heroin, speed (meth) or cocaine affect the human brain in ways that simply overwhelm all the good breeding or family upbringing in the world. NO ONE can withstand the effects of these drugs. Additionally, for some individuals, the same is true for the effects of alcohol. Don't delude yourself: even if you didn't have heart problems, your child's addictions would be too much for you to handle effectively.
To contact AA, you can either try your local Yellow Pages, or, perhaps, the directory at the following web address will have the number you need:

http://www.aa.org/CtrOff_d1.html

Best of Luck!

Thomas
Avatar universal
It's the truth I am supporting and you chronicled it as well as I've ever seen it done....I think you have some ministry ahead Thomas... I wish someone had told it to me quite the way you told it to Leah... but then again, I was deaf and blind then.

How am I doing ??????????????????? You're not following the neverendingthread ??? It's a totally whigged out thread and it has been a ghastly experience.

Love, Brighty
Avatar universal
Can't tell you how I felt tonight when I opened the site and found so many caring  people. It truly brought tears to my eyes, to think you all took your time to be concerned about my problem when you have problems of your own. I want to answer each one and thank each one personally for the support and advise.
I really feel you are right about getting support from one of the groups mentioned. I think I knew this all along, but it is scary because it makes one face the situation and no longer believe it will go away any day. My daughter is a grown women in her forties, with five children. I guess, because we have always been so close and supportive of each other, I feel like it is a betrayal. I have carried this alone for so long! I know know that I'm not alone.......thank you for your prayers and best wishes. Mine also go along with you.

LEAH
Avatar universal
Hi Cindi,
  Hope you don't mind my asking, but once before you mentioned to me about your mothers death and the pain your in. My mother passed away 1 year ago as of May 2nd. Yep, right before mothers day. I've had to hold in a lot of the pain of her death as my sisters aren't able to talk about it yet.She was in a lot of pain. Anyway, if you need to talk you can e-mail me at:
***@****. Sometimes it helps to go through things with someone whose going through it too.
  Spook,brightly,Thomas,Annie, all of you,the way you help people that come to this forum looking for answers is to be commended. I only wish I could get my daughter to talk to all of you. Your concern is appreciated from this 44 year old mother and grandmother of 9.I just wanted to thank you all. There's a lot of good in yall.Remember that when someone tries to put you down,they doing it because their weak. You do help people here. I know.
    Thanks , Kerrie






Avatar universal
Thank you,,,that means alot to me when someone offers to talk with me...My mom died on Christmas morning ater a long batle with emphysema...please feel free to e-mail as well @***@****
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