Is he relapsing? Heroin?

(26 Posts)
inarmsofanangel Thu 25-Aug-16 21:06:59

One of my brothers has a history of heroin use and he came off it probably around 8/10 years ago when his children came on the scene.
We are pretty certain after much coming and going he hasn't done anything during this time and he started working and earns a fairly good salary now. He seemed to have been doing so well with life and there were no signs of heroin use.
However, recently he had some issue with his boys and their mother and was feeling pretty low about it all.
He's been asking to borrow money from me (I have my own 3 kids) and acting a bit odd at times.
But this evening he's done something really strange and put me on red alert. Obviously he told me not to tell my mum (who lives nearby) and I haven't, nor have I about the money borrowing as I think she is oblivious him having been clean so long.
But he called me this evening and asked me to go to the chemist and get him a needle exchange with citrus acid for his friend (not that I believe that bit!)
I don't know what to do about this as i don't want to burden my mum.
Does this mean he is using again?
I didn't think he had any friends here who did any heroin (he moved away from all his mates that did it years ago)

I didn't go to the chemist in the end as he called me back a bit later saying not to worry about it.

inarmsofanangel Thu 25-Aug-16 21:09:37

Also worrying as when I was younger he lost one of his friends (and I'm sure a few more) who had overdosed coming off it a long time before.
Is this a dangerous time in terms of overdose?

reader77 Thu 25-Aug-16 21:19:27

It's hard to know as the nature of addiction is the secrecy. But trust your gut...if he's suddenly doing slightly odd stuff (I.e. Stuff your gut tells you is connected to using) then it needs to be addressed.

Also, if he's in recovery, he should be staying well away from any using 'friends.' IME, these 'friends' are simply fellow users and the substance is the only thing that they have in common.

reader77 Thu 25-Aug-16 21:20:53

Btw, yes it can be more dangerous in terms of relapse, as people often go back to the same level of using as previously, when t heir body is no longer accustomed to that dose.

tribpot Thu 25-Aug-16 21:22:31

I'm no expert but I think a factor in the deaths of both Peaches Geldof and Philip Seymour Hoffman was taking a dose they had previously been able to tolerate after a long period of abstinence.

My first thought, though, is that you must not collude in this - addiction thrives on secrecy. You need to drag this out into the open. I don't think there is any possible innocent explanation for the needle exchange request. I would ask him flat out if he is using again . Does he go to NA/have a sponsor?

inarmsofanangel Thu 25-Aug-16 21:33:15

Thanks reader. I've lived away for a long time but grew up as a teenager with him in a lot of trouble. Yes, some strange bits he's been coming up with. Scratches? He recently has scratches on his arms he said were from work and an ear infection where the Dr had said his ears were all scratched and bleeding inside? No idea if this bears any relation.
Not sure what I am supposed to do now. He often calls me for a lift somewhere and sometimes comes to the house and I can't keep bailing him out with money.
His old friends live quite a long way away if they are still around there so not sure if he's met new people around this area.
I don't want to point the finger or put my nose in (he'solder than me) but I also don't want to be naive if he is so he starts using me as an aid or taking advantage. I understand it wouldn't be him but the drugs but I can't be involved with my children around.
Thanks

inarmsofanangel Thu 25-Aug-16 21:40:23

Tribot, I don't know about an N/A or sponsor ? (not sure what it is blush )
I understand the secrecy. If I asked him outright I guess he'd probably say no also.
I feel awful but I locked all my doors up tonight in case he came around when I was out (I usually leave the porch open) as he used to steal a lot off the family and even broke in to my grandmother's when she was alive.

reader77 Thu 25-Aug-16 23:11:46

Heroin can make people itchy; might explain the scratches.

WannaBeDifferent Thu 25-Aug-16 23:17:39

Sadly I have quite a bit of experience with drug addicts and I would say he is using again .

I'm so sorry Op . Don't 'lend' him any more money as this is enabling him and don't believe what he says as once they use they become excellent liars.

I hate drugs - they wreck not only the users lives but their families too .

inarmsofanangel Thu 25-Aug-16 23:32:15

Thanks WannaBe, I will stop. I hadn't clicked before today really. sad It's just horrible to watch your own brother in that state if it starts going that way again.
He'll lose everything he's built up and worked hard for. Hate it.

inarmsofanangel Thu 25-Aug-16 23:34:16

Yes, I googled it just now reader.

WannaBeDifferent Thu 25-Aug-16 23:38:07

I do feel for you and your brother - addiction is a life long affliction . I know he had a choice not to take drugs in the first place so he is responsible for his problem but I still feel for addicts . Unfortunately the addiction is a power greater than anything else and once they are in the grip of it everything falls apart.

You are right to be wary of him stealing from you , if he is at the stage of 'borrowing' money then it's only a matter of time before he starts stealing again .

The awful thing is that there's nothing you can do to help him . I would advise you to tell him you know he's using again though .

pregnantgrump Thu 25-Aug-16 23:40:04

Sorry to hear this. Stress is a really common precipitation of relapse.
I would listen to your instincts. It is unlikely that he is obtaining stuff from needle exchange for a friend. Needle track marks can also look like scratches.
You are right that if he is using again he is at increased risk of overdose. There is an antidote to heroin overdose that friends or family can obtain and learn to use. It's called naloxone. You can get it from drug services definitely and perhaps from pharmacies. If you are going to approach him about it I would suggest being as non judgemental as possible and strongly encouraging him to seek help. The earlier he can get on a methadone or buprenorphine script and linked in with recovery support the safer he is. The prognosis would then be really good given the great recovery he's made in the past. Good luck.

Leslieknope45 Thu 25-Aug-16 23:43:27

Sorry op it sounds just like it to me. Disappointing isn't it?
Has he lost weight? This is always a sign in my bil. That and him always needing to borrow twenty quid/ things going missing/ him acting off and being forgetful.

inarmsofanangel Fri 26-Aug-16 00:12:59

Leslie, yes he has. He has never had a lot of weight on him but his face looks very thin atm - mum commented on it the other day. Wannabe, I also really fee; for them. It's heartbreaking. I used to just keep telling myself that all the horrible stuff that he did wasn't him, it was the drugs.
They take over the whole person don't they?
Pregnant, I'll try and look into that. I don't know when or how to approach it or bring it up but I won't be judgemental. I don't think I can tell my mum yet or anyone else for that matter.
I'll try and see what help is in the area. I guess the worst thing is now if he's got to know these people it's going to make it much harder.

WannaBeDifferent Fri 26-Aug-16 00:16:00

You know your mum best but I'd be worried your brother will borrow or steal from her - is it best she's put in the picture if this is a possibility?

ImperialBlether Fri 26-Aug-16 00:19:12

You realise he'll be asking lots of people for money and telling everyone to keep it quiet? Bring it all out into the open.

inarmsofanangel Fri 26-Aug-16 00:21:27

Yes, I was going to try and find out WannaBe if he had a key to her house as I think he might have one . Tricky.

WannaBeDifferent Fri 26-Aug-16 01:13:10

Sadly there's nothing they won't stoop to when in the grip of it.

tribpot Fri 26-Aug-16 07:38:01

NA is Narcotics Anonymous, AA for drug addicts. How did he come off the drugs last time, was he in a treatment programme of some kind? A sponsor is someone who works with the addict to maintain the lifelong vigilance against relapse. It doesn't stop it happening as it's the addicts choice, but it increases self-awareness of the warning signs.

Don't feel too sorry for your brother, it won't help him, or you. Being in denial about the obvious signs of relapse isn't going to protect your mum.

You may find Famanon or similar organisations for the families of drug addicts helpful.

WannaBeDifferent Fri 26-Aug-16 08:41:17

I agree Tribpot about feeling sorry for them. I feel sorry that they have an addiction , however, you have to hide that a bit and get very business like , not judgmental but matter of fact . If you let the feeling sorry bit take over then you cave in and give them money etc. It's when co dependancy creeps in .

inarmsofanangel Fri 26-Aug-16 10:38:10

Thank you Tribot and Wannabe. I agree with everything you say. I probably 'know' but maybe needed confirmation of my feelings which is why I came here.
He got into drugs when he came out of the army and it went downhill from there. From what I know he did not go to rehab or on a special programme. I wasn't living near him at the time. I don't think he has any proper support network.
My mum has gone away this weekend so I'll say something when she comes back if you think I should.
I'm going to look into this sponsor thing.

WannaBeDifferent Fri 26-Aug-16 10:59:27

I think he will need to attend NA meetings to get a sponsor but definitely worth a look . There's not much you can do sadly , he has to want it for himself and sometimes it takes them hitting rock bottom for them to realise this . I would tell him you know he's using again , they think they're being clever with the lies and fooling people . It might help a bit if he knows you're on to him and he's fooling no one .

So bloody sad .

inarmsofanangel Fri 26-Aug-16 11:32:51

Ok, memories of years ago coming back. One of my worst: He'd become homeless and was on the street. I'd seen him but walked away so he couldn't see me to save his dignity. (sad) He was shoplifting and was in and out of jail too in those days. He was such a state, watching him go there again and destroy himself when he's come this far.
My dad was a Dr (died a few years ago) he'd probably have seen the signs but I don't think mum has as I think he's been alright so long we both took it for granted he'd be OK.
The nightmare begins.

WannaBeDifferent Fri 26-Aug-16 11:49:16

I does indeed sad . Could you try and talk to him ? Trouble is they are unreachable when in the thick of it . Worth a go though .

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