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inloveinmiami's avatar

What behaviour should I expect from a recovering heroin junkie ?

Asked by inloveinmiami (20points) August 18th, 2010

I am in a relationship of nine months ( we live together) with a recovering heroine junkie. I met him when he was already clean for nearly 2 years..making him now almost 3 years clean.. He expresses that he has no desire to go back down the dark road of drug addiction and we have implemented many precautions into our lives to help him stay healthy and clean. Despite what I have read and learned about addiction, about once a month we share a small bottle of wine on a clear night at the beach, or with a nice meal. I know many people feel it is not ok for him to drink alcohol at all, but it very limited. He smokes about 2 packs a day and, although the health risks of that worry me, I am not out to change that addiction at all…he is 36 and has been smoking ( and doing drugs ) since he was 16.
He is a wonderful person and I am proud of him every day that he stays clean. We have plans to marry later this year. Over the last month- six weeks I have noticed a difference in his behaviour. I do not beleive he is using any drugs. He seems moody and quiet more often, short tempered and he snaps at me often. I feel there might be some sort of resentment from him towards me because I have made it clear that if he starts using drugs again we cannot be together. He denies this. He wants what he wants when he wants it – is this common behaviour for someone in his position ? He has little outbursts when I limit anything to him – on occassion these can be quite heated. He even tries to make me feel guilty when I try to limit the money he spends on cigarettes or energy drinks ( which he has daily ) when I have a well paying job and support him financially. Most recently, he started sneaking non-narcotic pain pills from my purse and became very defensive when I questioned him about it – although he did admit to doing it. Is any of this normal behaviour for a recovering addict? I fear this behaviour is leading to a relapse despite his assurances he is fine. I want to do what I can to support him emotionally so I don’t lose him to drugs. Any insight on what to watch for, and what to expect would be very much appreciated as I am not familiar with any of this enough to determine signs from symptoms. Thanks for reading.

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4 Answers

tedd's avatar

I have no direct experience with a recovering drug addict (though some second hand knowledge), but this is what I think…

This behavior is not indicative of a relapse, but is definitely red flag material. Him being an addicted smoker (or addicted anything for that matter) will make it easier for him to fall into an addiction of anything else (be it drug, or energy drink, which contains non-narcotic drugs like caffeine, which is addictive). You don’t mind the smoking so the only one of those that really stands out is the pain pills. I’ve known some people who’ve gone through addictions to that, and it can be quite bad and severely inhibiting. Not as bad as heroin, but still very bad (not to mention it can kill you/severely mess up your liver and kidneys).

I would say first and foremost, continue to be there for him and help him maintain his streak of being clean and off heroin. Second, I would sit down with him, and tell him in a CARING/LOVING way that you are concerned with some of his actions/moods/whatever lately. That you’re worried. Explain how you’re about to commit yourself to him for the rest of your life, so it worries you to see what to you at least looks like a problem. Be sure to let him know you’re not judging him or anything like that, just concerned.

It could simply be that he’s nervous about getting married or some other event going on (causing the snapping I mean).

Good luck.

trailsillustrated's avatar

I am four years clean. After two years, he shouldn’t be having any cravings at all. You say the pain pills are non narcotic. After this much time, anything narcotic would make him vomit, as if he never used. Its sounds to me like he is having control issues-with you. I still smoke and occasionally have wine or beer. While an addictive personality is just that, the smoking and occasional glass of wine don’t really have anything to do with his heroin addiction. Could he work or find a way to help out financially? I too, am financially dependent on my partner, and this can be really frustrating. He might be having more trouble with it in that he is male, it might be making him feel really powerless and choiceless. I don’t know what the pill sneaking could be about, but if they are non-narcotic, he’s not getting high from them. If you suspect a relapse, a way to tell is to catch him in a darkened room and look into his eyes. The pupils would be constricted when they should be dialated. This is how my partner used to catch me when I would sneak a high. I really think it’s about that he feels powerless and trapped, and might feel that you are nit picking about cigarettes. Try to talk to him about it. Good luck, after two years clean he should be just fine as far as the drug addiction. I really think it’s not about that.

zenvelo's avatar

You don’t mention what he is doing to stay in recovery. Is he still going to meetings or in active therapy with a therapist skilled in addiction? (Not all therapists are well versed in addiction studies.) Recovery does not stop after three years, it’s an ongoing process.

I am a recovering alcoholic, not a drug addict, yet the behaviors you describe are troubling/red flag issues from my perspective.

and don’t forget Al-Anon or its NA equivalent for you. talking to partners of recovering addicts will help you.

syz's avatar

Ah, I’m probably going to sound really cold, but why are you marrying someone who you must financially support and who treats you this way (never mind his past history)?

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