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My brother is recreationally using heroin...

(89 Posts)
GlitteryPomPoms Fri 20-May-16 14:42:17

I've NC for this thread.

I found out today that my brother (28 years old) uses heroin recreationally a couple of times a month.

He's single. He has no children. He has a good job and is doing well in his career. His use of heroin doesn't appear to be affecting his life.

I'm obviously worried this is going to spiral into addiction but he says he's been doing it for a few years, that he knows what he's doing to stop it becoming a problem and that anyway it's none of my business.

I don't know what I'm asking really. I guess, is it actually possible to recreationally use heroin? What can I or should I do to help him?

Arfarfanarf Fri 20-May-16 14:43:47

I dont think you can help someone who doesnt want help.
All you can do is protect yourself as far as possible.

Afreshstartplease Fri 20-May-16 14:46:19

Personally I don't think it is possible to use it recreationally, is he down playing the frequency

TheWeeBabySeamus1 Fri 20-May-16 14:49:51

It will absolutely spiral. Heroin is not a recreational drug, it sucks you in and makes you physically dependant on it. I remember reading a similar story a few years ago. Professional couple, start taking heroin occasionally, then it's every weekend, then maybe once during the week too... Fast forward a couple of years and they were both homeless and completely addicted, injecting instead of smoking...

Heroin destroys people, I've seen it in my own family. You can't force him to quit but you can say that while he's doing it you can't be a part of his life in any way.

GlitteryPomPoms Fri 20-May-16 14:50:00

I don't think he's playing down the frequency. This sounds stupid but I can always tell when my brother's lying and I don't think he is. That is very much just a feeling though so I agree he might be playing it down.

As I said in the OP, he's doing well at work, has a normal, stable life so I don't think he's doing it that often. Certainly it's not disrupting his everyday life IYSWIM.

DiggersRest Fri 20-May-16 14:50:04

My dsis was using recreationally a long time again and thankfully she stopped. She said smoking it was better than injecting for her ( she never injected but she hates needles) is he injecting? How did you find out he's using?

I was so shocked when dsis told me and somewhat pissed off as our cousin had been a serious user and put his family through hell so she had seen what it could (did) do to people.

GlitteryPomPoms Fri 20-May-16 14:51:16

TheWeeBaby These are the kind of stories I've been reading too. There are some forums which talk about using recreationally (like a how-to guide) but these stories are very very very much in the minority.

Chlobee87 Fri 20-May-16 14:53:03

How did you find out? If he told you, do you think he is actually asking for help (even though he's simultaneously telling you to mind your own)?

I believe that there are some heroin users who consider themselves to use recreationally and they have various 'techniques' and rules to keep them from becoming addicted (there's a name for it - can't remember) but it's surely a very dangerous line to tread and it's exceptionally difficult (if not impossible for a lot of people) to come back from once you're properly in its grips.

FellOutOfBedTwice Fri 20-May-16 14:54:27

My friend started smoking it "recreationally" when she was trying to stop taking as much coke. It was the thin end of the wedge... She never ended up homeless or what you'd think of a traditional drug addict but the smoking heroin was the beginning of a bleak and downward spiral and she became less and less able to function with substances of some kind booze/drink etc. She also met some proper wrong uns on the back of it.

More power to her, she got clean and barely has a glass of wine these days but it took years, a lot of debt and I shudder when I think of how much worse it could have been.

FellOutOfBedTwice Fri 20-May-16 14:55:46

"Booze/weed" that should have read

GlitteryPomPoms Fri 20-May-16 14:55:58

DiggersRest He's smoking it. I found out because I went to his house today for a cup of tea. We both have the same Friday off work once every six weeks so we always try and have lunch or a brew. Anyway, he's giving me his old phone and told me to look in a drawer for it. I opened the drawer but there was no phone so I started digging in the crap (it's his junk drawer) and came across a little bag. I knew what it was straight away so I went and asked him about it. He didn't deny it or try and play it down. He just told me straight that he uses it recreationally every so often, about a couple of times a month. He said it like it was no big deal, like I'd just found a bag of weed.

TheWeeBabySeamus1 Fri 20-May-16 14:56:28

My cousin started off taking it with his mates at the weekend in his early 20s. He's 37 now, never had a job, doesn't leave the house and is still on methadone ( not been on H for about 7 years )It broke my nans heart to see him like that.

I'm sure he never saw it turning out like this, no one does or you wouldn't take it in the first place.

thenewaveragebear1983 Fri 20-May-16 14:56:56

Most addicts start using recreationally. Then they try to stop, and realise they're addicted, or recreational use becomes daily use, or something shit happens and they turn to their crutch. Unfortunately there's not much you can do. Don't lend him/give him money. Recreational use has many pitfalls and is dangerous, in the sense that daily users have high tolerance and often will use from the same 'batch' purchased on different days iyswim. Irregular users will often purchase from different suppliers/batches therefore have a lower tolerance, not just to the heroin but also the contaminants/cutting agents. Suggest he uses clean works, (needles etc but also foils/gauze/etc which are available from needle exchanges) and suggest he and his crowd 'test' the strength of their supply. Regular users tend to take care of this, and information is often communicated in circles which irregular users might not be involved in. Unfortunately, there isn't much you can do except protect yourself. Lots of people use heroin to come down from more traditional recreational drugs such as e or cocaine, as well.

GlitteryPomPoms Fri 20-May-16 14:56:58

FellOutofBedTwice Sorry your sister had that experience. This is what I'm worried about for DB.

GlitteryPomPoms Fri 20-May-16 14:58:42

I don't think he's been using any other recreational drugs like E or cocaine. He did when he was younger. I did too. But he doesn't now as far as I know.

Oysterbabe Fri 20-May-16 15:39:35

There's a classic reddit post about how heroin addiction creeps up on you. I'll paste it below.

Actually this is an obvious question but it's not what you might think. Let me explain it to you, I've been an opiate addict for a long time and tried many drugs. Drugs that are 'uppers' have the most 'obvious' euphoria. For example if you take adderall/coke/meth/speed/MDMA you will get this shining bright euphoria, self confidence, energy, and other drug-specific feelings (for meth like you are king or for MDMA like you love everyone). However, you owe these drugs back what they delivered to you. After a meth binge, or lots of MDMA use, or staying up all night on coke you will feel like shit. To an extent this aspect is similar to an alcoholic hangover.

On the other hand, for many people who experiment with heroin they are underwhelmed (not including IV usage, but most experimenters rarely ever IV first time). They just feel good, chill, happy, but they feel like this spooky drug 'heroin' hasn't delivered. They are just mellow. Oh obviously it has all been a lie they will think. Heroin isn't spooky, it's chill. It's not addictive like everyone else thinks. It doesn't make you do stupid shit or stay up all day and hallucinate like amphetamines or coke. It doesn't empty your serotonin like MDMA or give you a hangover like alcohol. People tend to just think oh, what a nice drug.

So the next day they wake up and everything is normal. No headache or shitty feeling--just a slight afterglow of that nice feeling. Oh it was cheap as well! It only cost $10 for a whole night of being high! I thought people said heroin was expensive? And then next weekend comes... There are all these drugs I could do but I liked heroin. It didn't 'fuck me up,' I could still think clearly. No hangover. No feeling like shit later. I still was awake. It just made me happy and content with life. Oh and it's only $10! Well, I should get some more for the whole weekend. This is great! I will use Heroin on the weekends now!

Now let's say this person works and has responsibilities. He knows he can't go into work drunk, or on MDMA, or high. So he doesn't. It's actually simple. But heroin... Well the user might actually find they do better work on heroin. Instead of being sad or grumpy or depressed with his job... he is just... happy. Mellow. Content. Everything is fine and the world is beautiful. It's raining, it's dark, I woke up at 5:30AM, I'm commuting in traffic. I would have had a headache, I would have been miserable, I would have wondered how my life took me to this point. This point I'm at right now. But no, no, everything is fine. Life is beautiful. The rain drops are just falling and in each one I see the reflection of every persons life around me. Humanity is beautiful. In this still frame shot of traffic on this crowded bus I just found love and peace. Heroin is a wonder drug. Heroin is better than everything else. Heroin makes me who I wish I was. Heroin makes life worth living. Heroin is better than everything else. Heroin builds up a tolerance fast. Heroin starts to cost more money. I need heroin to feel normal. I don't love anymore. Now I'm sick. I can't afford the heroin that I need. How did $10 used to get me high? Now I need $100. That guy that let me try a few lines the first time doesn't actually deal. Oh I need to find a real dealer? This guy is a felon and carries a gun--he can sell me the drug that lets me find love in the world. No this isn't working, I need to quit.

To answer your question, heroin feels nice. That's all, it just feels very nice. You can make the rest up for yourself. Attach your own half-truths to this drug that will show you the world and for a moment you will feel as clever as Faust.

Edit: Thank you for the kind words. I received help and I'm doing well now. Luckily I was able to pull up and get help right before I entered the deadly downward spiral. Some of my friends have not done as well. Sorry to steal the limelight from OP

GlitteryPomPoms Fri 20-May-16 15:45:27

Thanks Oyster That's really moving.

MrSnow Fri 20-May-16 15:49:02

Great post, Oyster.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 20-May-16 16:00:12

"His use of heroin doesn't appear to be affecting his life".

Well perhaps not yet anyway but he is really on a downward path here.
He has a job you state, well for now anyway. He could easily go onto lose absolutely everything including that and his own self respect and liberty. Infact he has already lost his own self respect.

Re your comment:-
What can I or should I do to help him?

You cannot help your brother; attempting so will drag you in and he will take you down with him. You cannot and must not enable him even when he pleads with you for money or a place to stay. Besides which and I mean this most kindly you are his sister. You are not qualified at all to help him and besides which he thinks he has this under control. No. You need to remain his sister; not his enabler, counsellor or therapist.

You can only help your own self by protecting your own self. Talking to Frank could also help you.

AttilaTheMeerkat Fri 20-May-16 16:00:29

Great post Oyster.

CopperPot Fri 20-May-16 16:13:31

Heroin killed my mothers only brother. No one could stop him or tell him anything. Overdosed at 33. Waste of life

cocochanel21 Fri 20-May-16 16:17:45

My dd started out using recreational drugs.

She then moved on to herion, cocaine and anything else she could get her hands.

Drugs totally destroyed my dd. As a mum watching her it nearly destroyed me too.

She died last year in tragic circumstances aged 23.

CopperPot Fri 20-May-16 16:18:57

Jesus coco so sorry for you loss. I hate drugs, such a waste of life sad

GlitteryPomPoms Fri 20-May-16 16:36:39

coco So sorry for your loss but thank you for sharing that.

I don't want to enable my brother in any way and I absolutely won't.

I feel like he's perhaps at the beginning of his downward spiral because he's using occasionally, he's still managing to live a normal life etc.
I feel like it's happening in slow motion so I have time to help. As in, he's not going to turn up tomorrow homeless, gaunt, malnourished etc. It'll take time if that's going to happen.
But, even though it's going in slow motion so I have time to help, I'm just standing at the side watching it happen.

On the other hand, I want to respect my brother's autonomy and believe him when he says he's been doing it for a while and knows what he's doing. I don't want to go in all holier than thou, you must stop doing this.

MariaSklodowska Fri 20-May-16 16:42:15

PomPoms there is not really such a thing as recreational heroin use for the vast majority of people.
I do know one person (she is probably on here being a perfect mum these days) <waves> who loved to smoke it for fun as well as encourage her friends to do the same....
well one of those friends is now dead. ...she never injected either, but smoked it and smoked it and died of untreated pnuemonia ...

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