Addiction: Substance Abuse Community
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17742420 tn?1459773821

My boyfriend is adddicted to painkillers - do I tell his parents?

Hi all,

I have always stayed away from drugs and know very little about addiction - I don't even drink or smoke. When I met my boyfriend he told me that he has done that in the past, but that chapter of his life is over - and naturally, being the naive person I am, I believed him. It seemed like he had been through a lot, and after all, we are all allowed to make mistakes in life, right?

Anyway, we have a long distance relationship - due to the circumstances he is always the one to visit me, so I've never had a chance to be physically present in his everyday life. After a year and a half I found out he is still using painkillers. He refused to tell me the details about his addiction - I am pretty certain he lied to me about how much he takes and how often, and refused to let me read the texts with his supplier. He also claimed that he was done now for real and denied that he had an addiction. He claimed he just took them to relieve stress when he was overwhelmed with school and work.

BUT, reading about the addiction, I realized that the problem is much bigger than he presents it to be. We skype every day and although he really is ovewhelmed with obligations, I always thought it was rather strange how he would simply nod off almost every single day. He's also become very secritive about how much money he has - and although we are in contact the whole time - he managed (without my knowledge) to meet up with the supplier and get the pills. To make things clear - he doesn't have health problems. He had an injury about 7 or 8 years ago and that's when he tried them. He also said that it got really bad for him few years ago and since we met in a country where he didn't know how to get them, I now recall he was going through withdrawal symptoms at the time - restlessness, sweating, insomnia..

I couldn't tell he was addicted until I found out - he goes to school (has high grades) and work, he acts normal (doesn't go out often - but this is because he doesn't have a lot of friends - when he is invited, he always goes out), he is a very sociable person, well-groomed, and a caring boyfriend.

So, the only visible signs that unfortunately can't help me determine how addicted he really is are: constipation, nodding off, financial struggles, and he recently lost about 10 pounds without working out.

He does not live with his parents, refuses to get help when I confronted him about it (saying he will if he ever feels like taking them again), but I really think I should talk to them. I have never met them in person, but we have talked on the phone and skype a few times and I have their contact information.

Is this the right thing to do? I really love him and he is capable of being an amazing human being, but he can't deal with stress and probably sees the pills as the only escape. However, I don't want to be with an addict that will lie and hide things from me. Any advice?

PS. He told me he takes up to 3 pills a day (and compared to other people this is not a lot?!) and he said each was 20mg. Can anybody determine based on the information, how addicted he actually is? And whether nodding off stops immediately when you stop taking the pills? How do I know whether he lies when he says he'll get clean? What signs do I look for through the camera?
11 Responses
Avatar universal
Hello MiriamMM, Welcome to the forum.. I'm going to be blunt. Having a relationship with a active addict is nearly impossible while you live with them While over the computer/camera is Impossible due to the Nature of addicts. I would like to ask why you would want to involve yourself with a addict in the first place. Maybe look into why you do not want better for yourself. I do not mean to be harsh but active addiction is a lot of work for a lifetime.. If you insist start with AlAnon it is a support group of family members of addicts. As far as telling his parents I believe you will loose if you do A active addict will always put his/her addiction first.. take care of Yourself ok. lesa
Thanks for your answer 10356! I have started this relationship almost 2 years ago, and due to my "ignorance" when it comes to drugs (since no one I know has every had such problem) I didn't realize the severity of the issue. Now, I am certain I do not want such relationship. On one hand, I want to get out, but on the other, it is not as simple when you have been through everything to be able to be with this person. We have spent over 5 months in the past year and a half together - previous summer we spend 2 months in which I am certain he did not take anything, because he couldn't. He doesn't know anyone in my country and we were travelling the whole time. He appears to be normal, like any other person. I am trying to determine whether this is a real addiction, or recreational use and whether he can actually quit it for real. I will probably need to make life-changing decision and move halfway across the world if I want to continue this relationship, and knowing this, I am reluctant to try it. I can't tell my parents who have welcomed him with open arms in our home several times, nor my friends. I am too embarrassed and disappointed. We enjoy our time together and our relationship, but I just can't be with an addict.
4522800 tn?1470325834
Hi & Welcome.
Some ppl can do these types of drugs and nod out or get real wired up. We build up a tolernce to opiate pills and need more and more to get that "good feeling".. Sure it can start out recreational but Addiction is or will become a Brain Disorder sooner then later, meaning that it's is not about substance a persons uses or the amount or frequency use. Addiction is about what happens in a persons brain when they are exposed to rewarding substances or rewarding behaviors, and it is more about rewards circuity in the brain than it is about the external chemicals or behaviors that "turn on" that reward circuitry in the Pleasure part of the brain they call "mid brain " which is responsible for our survival. It can happen by Substances, Gambling, Shopping and even Chocolate, etc.. Lots of things bring Pleasure, and it is what one does when they get that rush of dopamine to that part of the brain that can make them become addicted.. Sooner or later the drug/other additive behaviors takes over and nothing matters as far as survival except to get the drugs or so fourth. People who are informed about the brains origins of addiction can benefit from understanding that their illness has a Biological basis and does not mean they are "Bad" people. Treatment of the person's w/ds symptoms is based on understanding how w/ds is related to the brains adjustment to opiates. Try to do some more home work and read up on Addiction & the Brain. It will show you how many Brain Neurochemical to Receptors get all unbalanced, or how drugs can interfere with the singles that go back and fourth in many other brain chems and so forth. It will help you to understand "why" some of us can become Addicted and others can do their pain pills right or as needed. Regardless these type of substance do something to many of those Brain Chems.

He, Himself, will have to really want to get Support for his Addiction. Until he excepts the fact that he has no more control over these, then there is nothing no one can do but only him. Keep searching and learning all you can about those Brain Chems and maybe you can show him. I know it has help me to be "scared straight" plus my meetings and church and some other types of support. I do wish YOU the best. There needs to be TRUST and COMMUNICATION in a relationship. Maybe he will stop and get help if he knows he is going to lose you. Who knows how far or deep he is in this. Like I said, do some more homework and find out all you can about Addiction. Also like Lesa said, those meetings will teach you so much too, but in a bit of a different way.
I wish YOU all the Best that Life has to offer! Off to Church I go!
Thanks Vickie,

I just spoke with him on the phone and he hung up when I mentioned that. He also replied to all my texts that he needs help and that I won't support his addiction with "lol" and smiley emoticons. Maybe it's not as serious as I think, or he really is in denial. He tells me not to be with a "loser" like him, but playing the sympathy card won't work with me. I do not condemn him, I let him know I am there if he decides to help himself, but I don't want to be dragged into that. I have a beautiful and fulfilling addiction-free life. I am about to get my BA with 4,00 GPA and get into a masters program. I always put him first and have never lied to him. I spend all my savings on our time together. However, his mom did have a bad gambling and alcoholic addiction. It's in his genes, and although I think of a future together, I am not sure I want those passed on to my future children. Thank you for your advice. I hope he takes the right road and gets help. There's really nothing I can do. As for telling his dad, do you think I should do that? My boyfriend is in his late 20s and has left his home over 10 years ago.  But, I will still learn as much as I can and try to help him, don't want to give up on somebody with potentially amazing future.. It is really sad what drugs do to people.. and we only get one life to enjoy this amazing world. Why intake chemicals to prevent beautiful emotions such as psychological pain when it is the only way to personal growth and realization of our wrongdoings?! If I leave him, he'll probably bury himself in the pills since he is incapable of dealing with any negative emotions. But, the way out is the way through, right?
242912 tn?1402543492
Hi Miriam...as was said above, telling his Dad won't do any good.  Your b.f. is an adult in active addiction; there is nothing his Dad can do.  

Clearly you are a highly intelligent young woman.  You have a good head on your shoulders and a lot going for you.  As hard as it might be, please harden your heart, look out for yourself, and leave this man behind.  

Wishing you the best~
I found this out on the 2nd day of his two-week visit (after not seeing each other for almost half a year) and since he was staying with me and had no pills with him (I checked) I decided that it would be best to enjoy our time together. It is really hard to take this step since he is not here physically present with me (he left yesterday with a lot of crying and promises to come back in only 2 months) and I am the type of person that won't give up on someone unless I am 100% certain I tried everything to save the relationship and nothing worked, but I know that taking your advice is the right thing to do. Although I know, ironically, just like he won't acknowledge his addiction I will also not give up on this relationship before it hits rock bottom. However, thank you so much for the advice, Jade, I really appreciate it.
1445648 tn?1470319663
starting a relationship with and addict starts with a lie and unless you a very very strong person you are in for a bad time, telling his family is bad idea its his problem and from what you have described your relationship is not much in my opinion the bottom line is he wants the pills more than you if he didn't then he would not be acting like an addict I know that sounds bad but its just the way it is.. do yourself a favor and tell him the pills or me and really mean it then let us know what the outcome is without telling his parents...
Well the problem is he claims he is done. (But says he doesn't want or need help) He also said that he doesn't have a problem and that I make him look like a real bad addict whereas he leads a happy, fulfilling, and successful life. He also claims that he used to drink more in the past, but this is not a problem now (this is true, I have been around him long enough to know it), and he smokes cigarettes, but one pack per week. Judging from the alcohol and cigarettes habits, I want to think that he has the pills under control too. However, since we have a long-distance relationship I can never know whether he truly stopped taking them. One thing I noticed, though is that he doesn't feel guilt for lying and simply says he withheld from telling the truth. I asked numerous times whether he was taking the pills and he answered no. That sure seems like lying to me. He's lied in the past about things too and when I found out also not even a hint of guilt which is very worrisome...
1445648 tn?1470319663
I think you know what the answer to your situation is what does your heart tell you.. good luck
242912 tn?1402543492
Hi honey....here's a link to our "Living with an Addict" forum.  Please read as many posts as possible, I think they will help.  


Alcohol and cig use...I'm afraid since this is a long distance relationship, you only know what he tells you.  What he wants you to know.  We (addicts) lie, that's a fact.  And if he really did cut down on the alcohol, he simply traded one addiction for another with the pills.  And if it's not the pills, it will be something else.  

Most young people don't think they have a problem...don't think they need help.  We were all young once too.  When you're young you can party all night, then go to work the next morning and function just fine.  Or take pills all day and function just fine.  

I hope you will notice the age of the members who have taken the time to talk with you.  We are all in our 50's and 60's, and have been addicts a LONG time.  So we know.  There are so many Red Flags with your b.f., they are difficult to count.  You would benefit greatly in checking out Al-Anon.  

Truly, Miriam, we only have your best interests at heart.  Please trust us.  Hugs.
Thannks Jade! I think I know all this, but at the same time it's really hard to convey here what our relationship is like. He is very devoted to it, when he doesn't work or is at school we literally talk the whole time. I never noticed any mood swings or anything strange except the nodding off and taking a long time in the bathroom. I've never seen him drink except when he hangs out with friends, but that's normal for all young people. He is also very very hardworking and gets everything done in time. He's all alone where he lives, no family, no close friends and he recently went through some very difficult emotional times. I am not justifying what he does, I would never do that, but maybe I understand to an extent...  I'll check out everything you recommended, but I guess I really pissed him off insisting that we talk and talk about it and even suggested breaking up to which he agreed. Maybe that's for the best. Thanks from the bottom of my heart.
242912 tn?1402543492
Oops with addressing that post to myself!  That was to you, Miriam.  
Avatar universal
What kind of pills is he taking? Do you know the name?

It sounds like his use Is recreational but that could lead to problems. I don't think you need to tell his parents; it would probably just upset them and there's nothing they can do.

You need to decide where to focus and the focus should be on you and your happiness and comfort.  

He'll lie as long as he's using. It's the nature of the beast.  You can't fix him, you can't make him stop, and you'll never convince him he's doing the wrong thing.  He'll think about stopping when his life becomes completely unmanageable and even then it will be a long haul.  

Tell him how you feel about his drug use and what your limit is. If your limit is no drug use at all then there's your answer. You need to tell him you won't tolerate drug use in the relationship. Don't give ultimatums though; it doesn't work.  Good luck-
Unfortunately I don't know the names, but he told me he gets them from someone who had an accident and they are different every time. He told me they are tiny, round, and blue. Any ideas? And is 60mg a lot? (probably lied about that too, but he said that's the most he's taken) And he also said that after a while of taking them he did need to increase the dose. He also told me when we first met that he was going through times when he had a real problem with those, that it got bad for him, but I had never taken any pills and didn't realize how dangerous that is and that it actually is drugs until I found out he still takes them. So, you could say he didn't completely lie about that, In fact, he told me that like a month into the relationship or so.

I know I can't fix him though, but he still gets financial help from them, so maybe if I tell them they would stop giving him money. He also told me that he once got a large amount of money from them to pay off his credit card but spent it on something else. Didn't say what, but I would guess pills. So, yeah, it's just me being naive, and feeling super stressed out because I do not know what to do. I really love him, but this is the last thing I want. Thanks for all the answers, you are awesome and very helpful, the whole community!
242912 tn?1402543492
Hi Miriam, I only have a minute, but what you're describing is likely "Oxycontin".  Google it.  I just had major surgery a few months ago, and was given this upon release.  This is MORPHINE.  That's what my bottle said.  I got used to taking 20mgs twice a day very quickly.  ANY Morphine is serious.  ANY.  So is 60mgs a lot?  Yes.  I took my last one Easter Sunday, and still feel just horrible from the withdrawal.  If your b.f. is nodding off, he is likely taking more than 60mgs but of course that is only a guess.  

Saying a prayer for your strength in this, honey!  We are all here for you!!

Yes, I talked to him and he said that and others like that is what he usually gets. Now he changed the story a bit and said he only gets a few at a time, would usually get one before bed and then he wouldn't get them for a while. In the span of half a year he claims he didn't get them more than 10 times, but just like everything above, I can never know how much of what he says is the true.
Avatar universal
Yes, you do know what to do. Go to alanon. We are here for you but all this analysis is not going to help you. Please get into action and go.
I think I just needed to hear from other people that have/had the same problem, but I will take your advice, thanks!
Avatar universal
When my girlfriend and I got together she knew from day 1 that I was a very active alcoholic and she took that on.  We lived together for a year.  Tried to battle this daemon together.  We both learned a LOT about each other AND about addiction.  Both ended up in therapy and on crazy meds.  Then I ended up in jail and she left for a while.  I sobered up after 17 years, and she was right there waiting for me.  We're a couple again, but not living together yet.  Both sober.  Both still in therapy.
It's DOABLE, but don't think for a second that it's going to be easy or even successful necessarily.
Thanks for sharing your story i41agree, I am glad you had someone to help you through it all. I am not sure whether I should be the person to do that for him, though, but hopefully things will work out. All the best to you!
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