I am an alcoholic with 12 years sobriety, now I'm hooked on heroin?

by Maryann
(Hazel Park MI, USA)

I am a recovering alcoholic. I have not had a drink in over 12 years. I am also bipolar and for about a year now have been having mixed episodes where I am manic and depressed at the same time. I didn't even know until today that, this is even possible.

About 15-16 years ago I experimented briefly with heroin. About 6 months ago I ran into an old friend that does heroin so I asked him to get me some. The relief from the depression, the fatigue, and the chronic pain was immediate. I don't know if this makes a difference but I don't shoot it in a vein, I do it in my arm muscle, so I don't get the immediate rush, instead it's gradual. Now though I am confused because when I don't have it, I am not sure if I am going through withdrawals or just back to how I felt before I used it.

My husband stood by me through all the crap I put him through while I was drinking. Now I don't know how to tell him about the possible heroin problem.

After I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and properly medicated I did not have a depressive episode in over 10 years. Last year I fell apart. No trigger. The depression is so bad suicide crosses my mind, but I know that is not the type of solution I want, I think about the relief it would bring, but I know what I want is relief, not ending my life. I just feel that the doctors cannot help and the heroin does.

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Addiction and bi-polar both need IMMEDIATE treatment.
by: Debbie Wicker

Dear Maryann,

First I want to congratulate you on 12 years of sobriety, alcohol addiction is one of the most challenging addictions to overcome and the fact that you did it bodes well for help in your current situation.

As a mental health counselor, I have a few suggestions for you:

1. Join a 12-step group like AA or NA TODAY and try going DAILY for 90 days. The 12 step process is free addiction therapy, and if you work the steps it should help with many aspects of your heroin abuse. Also, if you can, find a female sponsor who has overcome drug addiction AND depression.

2. Tell your husband what you're experiencing and encourage him to attend open meetings with you. . Also, have him join Al-anon for support for himself and you. You both need as much help as you can get to eliminate heroin from your life

3. Go to a psychiatrist who specializes in addiction and explain your issues concerning your bi-polar symptoms and also your recent heroin relapse. Consider changing your meds so that they are more effective in treating your bi-polar symptoms.

4. Assume that you're not yet CHEMICALLY addicted to heroin and avoid any use at all cost. The withdrawal will go away and if you haven't used for awhile you should be able to not use going forward. Heroin is deadly regardless whether you inject it in a vein or a muscle. You have been alcohol-free for 12 years so you can also be heroin free.

You have a lot to do to stop your heroin use but there is hope and it is possible, you recent depression could be hormonal and that's why you should try different bi-polar meds.

Good Luck,

Debbie

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