Our son has not lived with us for many years however here is some of the things I can tell you about dealing with an addict. We found it really doesn't matter if they live with you or not.
I have divided this into five or six posts because there are a lot of things I learned. Let's start with the signs.
The Earliest Signs Do Get Missed:
Trust me here. What we know now and what we didn't even know about heroin and opiates unless they have a sign flashing or they come right out and tell you. No, you will miss it whether they live in your home or not. Even if you see them a lot, you'll miss it. Why? Because I really don't think as parents we are looking for the signs in the first place. We can see a lot of odd behavior and in our minds, we somehow sweep it away to mean something else.
Our son didn't live with us and one day I happened to notice that I had three spoons left from my dollar store bought set. It's only me, the hubby and the dog here. I accused the hubby of throwing out the spoons to the trash. Why would you throw away our good set of china?
A tote of shoes in the closet of the spare room- every pair was missing the strings- weird...
Every time we wanted to throw something on the grill we had to go buy a new box of aluminum foil...WTH do we have aluminum foil bandits living in the laundry room?
Now for some reason and I don't know why if I get agitated or mad I start cleaning. I'm talking about chucking the furniture around like I'm the incredible hulk style of cleaning. I was angry at something that happened at work and came home and literally just started cleaning and pulled the cushions of the couch to vacuum and found a bent spoon with a burned black mark on the bottom.
I picked it up and wiped the black mark and HOLY COW... that was the moment I finally figured out what those black smudges were in my bathroom These marks weren't there all the time, I only found them when our son stopped by. I knew what they are now.
From there the puzzle in my mind started and I started connecting all of the dots. Who? What? When? That sort of stuff.
It hit me whenever my son visited he came in and said, I've gotta go to the bathroom. When he went to the bathroom he was in there for what seemed hours. What are you doing? When will it be time for the next group to go? Did you fall in or something? Hello... Hello...
The next time he came here I wouldn't even let him in the door. Oh no, you got to go, leave, get out of here!! You don't have to leave but ya gotta get the heck off my porch.
He was just visiting. We told him that He was not allowed to visit or be around us when he was using. He needed to respect us that we didn't like him using, we didn't want it anywhere near our home and just how much we hated drugs of any kind.
Now, this is a Bill Engvall Here's Your Sign... moment. The sign was flashing many colors but there it was!!!
Even then we didn't know it was heroin. I looked online at drugs and spoons and all sorts of drugs came up- crack and others.
It would be several months later before we learned it was indeed called heroin. This is nothing you can smell.
Of course by this time they've been using for some time. This wasn't a fluke. It wasn't like this was the first time. Don't deny it. You'll feel much better in the end- trust me.
Don't blame yourself for not knowing!! I know you will. I'm just telling you DON'T!!! It wasn't you. You had nothing to do with it.
Why blame yourself when you didn't know. We all want to believe that none of our kids would ever use drugs so no... stop blaming yourself. Unless the umbilical cord is still attached to them which it is not you really didn't know.
How would you know if you didn't know what to look for?
And well how many of us parents even think their kids would be using drugs? None of us!
Some personal signs I noticed from my son:
- If your loved one suddenly cannot keep a job
- If you find that they are sleeping all of the time
- No attention span when talking to them. They appear they are nodding out which is what it is called.
- Uncontrollable eyes- especially when they are under the influence of heroin. Their eyes appear all over the place. I even commented What is up with your crazy eyes?
- They cannot hold a conversation without dropping off to sleep.
- Under the influence, their speech is slurred but you cannot smell alcohol.
- It's 120 outside and they are wearing hoodies and sweat pants.
This is the Heroin/Opiate abuse: The Classic Textbook Signs of what they tell us are the signs of heroin/opiate abuse.
Part II: The Enabler
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