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Friend Home from Rehab

Discussion in 'Heroin' started by Kris10, May 10, 2017.

  1. Kris10

    Kris10 Member

    I appologize in advance this is long. I am new to this forum and seeking advise on how to help a friend without reopening my own emotional wounds.
    I want to start by saying my brother passed away 5 years ago at the age of 21 from an accidental heroin overdose. He kept his illness a secret from literally everyone close to him and we came to find out he only used with his drug "friends". It was crushing to my family and I know we've all taken turns blaming ourselves for missing the signs. As you can tell by my use of the word "illness", I truly believe this is a disease and I have vowed to never turn my back on someone suffering from it. Every day I feel lucky that none of the very dumb things I did when I was young resulted in a crippling addiction. It is true when people say it can happen to anyone.
    Fast forward to now. Even with all of that said, I was livid when one of my best friends, since we were 15, told me he was addicted to heroin. He was at my brothers funeral. I know this isn't about me but it's hard to see past that. His story is similar to many others in that he started with pills. They got too expensive and turned to the hard stuff. The day he called to tell me this was the day before he left for rehab.
    It's now about 6 months later and he's home and calls and wants to know if I want to grab a bite. He picks me up and I quickly realize on the drive he's high on weed and I noticed his car smelled like it. He assured me that none was in the car, but in Ohio it's still illegal and he could have wrecked or been pulled over. He ordered a drink at dinner. I really don't think he took his rehab seriously at all. These behaviors seem to be asking for a relapse. He actually told me he snuck a hooker in the rehab facility! I didn't even know what to say to that. Somehow he also got a hold of a joint he found in a park and smoked it. I'm not 100% sure that he wasn't on anything else that night but he didn't have the pin prick pupils I've noticed can come with opiate use. He did joke about getting cocaine at one point so who knows... Since he gets pot from a dealer I'm not sure what would happen if the dealer offered up something else. He was acting really odd though. Very weird. It was like carrying on a conversation with a middle school boy kind of and we used to talk about politics and current events. Up until he went to rehab we still tried to meet up every 6 months or so it was obviously very different. Is it possible the drugs have just done irreversible damage on his brain and this is the new him?
    I am married (to a wonderful and understanding husband), have 2 young children, a full time job, and am in the process of selling our current home and buying a new one. My plate is full. And I tend to take on other people problems as my own. I'm wondering if I need to make the hard decision to cut ties. Or should I try to maintain our friendship more from of a distance and offer support that way (text/email)? I saw this suggested in another post.
    To put it bluntly though, I'm scared that if I decide I can't sign up for this it may mean the next time I see him will be at his funeral.
  2. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @Kris10... Welcome to the community. First off, I'm very sorry that you lost your brother to a heroin overdose. Addiction is a horrible disease and affects so many more than just the person who is struggling. Unfortunately, you have experienced that first hand. So my thoughts and prayers go out to you.

    As far as your friend's issues, go... I think you have to recall what Nar-Anon and Al-Anon teach us about someone's addiction: "You didn't cause it, you can't control it, and you can't cure it." No matter how much you want someone to change, they are the only person who can take the steps necessary to do it. Even though your friend went to rehab, it sounds like he's not really ready to take those steps. Do some people who were addicted to opiates end up using pot or alcohol without ever going back to using opiates? Sure. And in some circles, using pot as a way to get off of opiates is even an accepted practice (it's about harm reduction). But it sounds like your friend just isn't taking recovery seriously. That's just my opinion, and I could be wrong, but that's what it seems like to me.

    Whether or not you stay friends with him, and, if you do, what kind of relationship you'll have, is something you'll have to decide. After going through what you went through with your brother, cutting ties totally certainly would be understandable...especially if you, like you said, tend to take on other people's problems as your own. It sounds like you have a great life for yourself; you may not want to bring this baggage into it. That said, you could also detach a bit and take your friendship down a notch. Like Melody Beattie says in her fabulous book Codependent No More, detaching doesn't mean that you stop loving, supporting, and caring about a person; it just means that you learn to do those things without making yourself crazy.

    If it were me, I think I would choose to either cut ties altogether or detach a bit and see how that goes. But again, that's just my opinion. Obviously, what you want to avoid is becoming addicted to your friend's addiction. You also have to realize anything that happens to him is a result of his own decisions. The bottom line is that your friend is going to do what he's going to do whether you're around him or not. Some things are just out of our control.

    I hope something I've said makes at least a little sense. It's very apparent that you are a kind soul with a big heart. Just make sure that doesn't end up bringing more pain and grief into your life. Remember: YOUR life (and the lives of your family members) should always be the number one priority. So make sure your decision is what's best for all of you.

    We're here to offer help and support anytime you need it. Or to lend an ear if you need someone to listen. So don't hesitate to reach out whenever you want to. In the meantime, I'm sending you lots of positive energy, love, and light. And I will keep your friend in my thoughts and prayers.
  3. Kris10

    Kris10 Member

    Thank you. This does help. As much as I want to "fix" him I know it's not realistic. And if I'm really honest with myself, I think part of me thinks that if I help him it will make me feel better for not being aware enough to help my brother. I think creating distance is best for me at this point.
    deanokat likes this.
  4. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    @Kris10... You're very welcome. Maybe start by creating some distance and seeing how that goes. If nothing else, it would give you a break for a bit. And for what it's worth, your brother's death is in no way your fault. So don't let yourself carry that around with you, okay?

    Sending you big hugs.