Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin Withdrawal

Here are some common questions we've received about heroin addiction, withdrawal and treatment:

Boyfriend needs help, not seeing his daughter and in jail?

by Peggy

I have a friend he has been clean for about 4 years, he had to get clean because he went to prison, for robbing to get money for heroin.

He has been to all the programs and says he is completely off everything, the problem is he left behind a little girl 7 years old. She lives with her mom, she talks by phone with him but hasn't seen him in 4 years. She asks when will he come home and cries. He tries to explain how long it will be. The mom won't take her to visit him, they are divorced.

Now he gets so upset and it just tears him apart because he feels so guilty because he made a promise to himself and to his lil girl that he would never leave her. I know she doesn't remember this but he does.

So how can I help him about him breaking his promise to her?? He says although it really hurts him, what he did, that he would never go back to using.

I just want to help him. I know he did wrong but I know you can't keep beating yourself up over past mistakes. How can I help his little girl and him?

Thank you...

One Step at a Time
by: Ned Wicker

Dear Peggy,

People who use and develop a Substance Use Disorder will never think of the dreadful impact their choices have on those they love. It’s one of those consequences.

This is a mess. The mother says she won’t allow him to see his daughter, mainly because she understands the history and she wants to protect the little girl. Your friend, who sounds like his is painfully repentant, wants to see his daughter and rebuild that relationship.

He wants to be a good father. You don’t want to get into the middle of that.

The court might be his answer to getting visitation rights. I would think that the court could order such an arrangement. It is probably best for him to allow the court to make the call.

Trying to negotiate with his ex would likely result in old wounds being reopened, especially because of his addiction and subsequent jail time. The court is the middle man here, and so is a party to the arrangement.

You say he does not want to use anymore. This is of course a good thing, but he needs to establish a solid track record. While there are drugs in prison, being able to behave outside of the system is quite another matter.

Did he receive treatment, or was he just away from drugs for four years? Alcoholics, for example, go into prison and become “dry dunks” while they are behind bars. They get out and drink again.

Your friend needs to go to meetings, find a sponsor, work the 12 Steps and be responsible. It may take some time for him to build trust with his ex wife and earn the right to see his daughter. It’s a tragedy that he created, so he must live with the consequences of his actions. But it can be done and I hope for his sake, and for his daughter, that their relationship can be rekindled.

responding back
by: peggy

Yes, he still goes to meetings has been for 4 years now, he also has went to parent class in there, his marriage was over before he went to prison and before he ever used any drugs, she wanted out.

I'm not going to get in middle of when or how he will ever get to see his child, I just listen that's all..but the question I have is he feels so much remorse over breaking a promise that he would never leave his child?

I'm just trying to find out what I could say to help him deal with that?

Thank you

Keep Being a Friend
by: Ned Wicker

Dear Peggy,

The remorse can be the worst of all the consequences of a failed marriage, drug use and prison time. He can’t take any of the mistakes back again and every day he is reminded of the pain he has inflicted in his daughter, himself and his family. They say time heals a broken heart, but I do not agree.

The 12 Step recovery process is designed to deal with these consequences. Working through that process, he will have a methodology for rebuilding his relationships. You can be a source of encouragement and support.

You can’t do it for him, and I sense that you would if you could. Your boyfriend needs to look forward and not dwell on the past. His sins are many and he has suffered the consequences, but he can only deal with what is ahead and take steps to position himself to be a good father.

You are not going to save him. I know that sounds rather odd, but so often a significant other thinks they can rescue the one they love. You aren’t going to change him, but you can influence him to change for the better by being there and being a steadying force. You can’t fix his relationships with his ex-wife and daughter, but you can help him take care of his own business and eliminate any excuses.

Regrets and recriminations poison the soul. You and your boyfriend are dearly loved of God, so why not turn to God for his help and guidance. Your boyfriend can sweep his own porch and allow God to clean up the rest of the mess. You can be a good friend and help keep the process on track.

I'm stuck and I need help now for heroin addiction?

by Natalie
(Portland, OR)

Dear To whom it may concern,

Hello, My name is Natalie. I'm 17 years old and I live in Portland, OR off of Powell BLVD not to far from Downtown Portland.

I was just browsing the internet about opiate use and Heroin addiction because I myself suffer from a Heroin addiction and I'm trying to quit and get clean. And I'm all bunched up and tense because some people think that I quit and I'm clean. So i just really wanna get clean so I am for sure telling the truth all the time again and I wanna fix my disease.

Running out of money completely and it's time to just stop messing around and get my life together. By looking at this site and writing you this note/comment I was hoping you guys would have counselors or something of some sort, people to talk to when I think about using.

I have a-lot of support. But not that much since a-lot of people think i quit using a while ago. I don't know what to do I'm stuck. I NEED HELP! NOW! Please!!!

I'm trying to get my GED at outside in and this heroin addiction is interfering with everything.. AND RUINING MY LIFE! and Chances at everything. I'm finally asking for help.

It would be GREAT to hear from someone. Thanks! Have a nice morning/evening.

Living a double life
by: Ned Wicker

Dear Natalie,

It sounds like you are living two different lives. You say people think you are off heroin, but you are still using. You want to quit. You realize you have a problem and this is good, but you don’t feel you can move forward because of what some others might think.

What would happen, Natalie, if they knew you were using because you came out into the open and sought treatment? I think you might be surprised what matters and what doesn’t matter. The most important thing is for you to get better.

It is possible to get clean, but you need to make some important moves to give yourself the opportunity to succeed. First of all, bring it into the open and quit lying about it. If you have support, let them support you. Let go of all the garbage you are holding on to and seek treatment. Are your parents fully aware of what’s happening to you, or is there any other family there for you?

Do you have a safe place to live and can you get away from the drug culture and those who are supplying you with the poison? You need to get away and come into the light. The darkness of the drug culture is the road to death.

Alcoholics Anonymous has many drug users in its membership. That is a good organization to turn to, because they can get you with the right people to give you the emotional support you need. Work the 12 steps, find a sponsor and learn how you can help others and the program can work for you.

Also, Al-anon is an excellent organization for your family and friends to go to, so they can learn what they need to do to help you.

There is a way out and you can get clean. You are 17 and you’re whole life is ahead of you, so there is no reason to dwell on any past bad choices, jut look forward and allow others to love you and help you get healthy.

and Finally Remember:

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."
- Matthew 7:7-8

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