If Your Loved One is Involved with Heroin

If someone you love is using heroin, you can’t make him quit on your own – and you know it.

Your best course is to try to set a boundary around your own life, and to give up trying to control the life of the addict’s. There are two primary exceptions to this rule:

  • Exception #1: The addict is a minor (under age 18) you are a custodial parent or caretaker. If this is the case, you have the power to place that child in a treatment center. You can get help right now by calling. The counselor that you speak with will guide you to a program that is near your home and affordable.
  • Exception #2: You want to stage a professional intervention. You can also call 1-877-762-3768 is to arrange a professional intervention. A counselor will come to your house and set up a meeting between the heroin abuser and those who love her. Each person gets a chance to speak and describe the negative effects of the addict’s problem. Often the addict will agree to enter treatment immediately after an intervention.

Are You in Love with a Heroin User?

If the heroin abuser is your lover or spouse, you may feel as if you are involved in a “love triangle” in which heroin is the third party. Your emotional needs are not being met because your partner is focused on heroin, not you. If your parents were alcoholics or drug abusers, then the sense of abandonment and of not getting your needs met will feel normal to you.

If this describes your situation, the best thing you can do for the two of you is to seek out therapy for yourself. If you are addicted to a substance yourself, and this is a very common circumstance, then work through your own addiction first.

Is Your Relationship Suffering?

Relationships with substance abusers usually have predictable patterns:

  • The non-using partner or parent begins to complain about the abuser’s habit, mentioning the costs and the toll it is taking on their relationship and the addict’s life.
  • Then the non-user tries to control the addict’s behaviors, by throwing away the supply of heroin, taking away checkbooks, not accepting phone calls from dealers, and so on.
  • The addict then accuses the non-user of being “controlling.”
  • At this point, you hear things like, “If you would only get off my back, I wouldn’t have to use heroin.”

Are You Making Things Better – or Worse?

More often than not, the non-user becomes an “enabler” by protecting the addict from the negative consequences of his behavior. For example, a spouse may lie to the addict’s boss or a parent may try to “fix” a child’s problems with police or legal authorities. You may be doing these things out of love for the person, but your actions will not help the addict – and they may even make things worse worse.

Are You Neglecting Your Own Needs?

Many families who are dealing with heroin addictions benefit by joining Nar-Anon, a free organization based on the 12-Step philosophy. Nar-Anon provides help for family members and friends of narcotics abusers, regardless of whether the addict is enrolled in Narcotics Anonymous. You can attend meetings, share experiences, find (and offer) support, and obtain up-to-date information on addiction and its problems. To find a Nar-Anon meeting near your house, go to http://nar-anon.org/index.html.

If your loved one decides is to enter a recovery program, you and your family and friends may have to participate in the treatment process. Your loved one will need your support as well as your willingness to change yourself and your relationship as he recovers and begins a new life without drugs.