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Old 12-08-2007, 10:22 AM   #1
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cantdoitanymore HB User
Help. What are the behavioral "red flags" of meth addiction?

I have a friend who has been behaving very strangely lately. As long as I have known her she has been addicted to opiates, drug of choice being oxys, secondary being hydros. Several months ago a major bust took out the major suppliers to the area, so the street supply dried up. She tried doctor shopping for a while, but she's transparent and rarely got what she was after. Soon after she entered a methadone treatment program and has been doing very well. Last month she completed her step down and was opiate free (as far as I know.) She got a job for the first time in a while, and she actually had money, so I knew she wasn't using because when she was her paycheck was gone within an hour of getting it.

Lately, though, I think she's been acting strangely. She isn't sleeping and she's losing weight quickly. She has terrible mood swings, much worse than she ever had with the pills. For hours she's upbeat and energetic, and suddenly she grows sullen, irritable, depressed, and flies off the handle for no reason. Then she usually takes off. She will disappear for a couple of days sometimes (she is also my neighbor in the apartment next to mine,) and after fighting to get clean so she could keep custody of her preschool aged daughter, she's suddenly VOLUNTARILY given her to her father. She only goes to see her once a week, sometimes less. That is really bizarre. She used to love that kid more than anything. The threat of losing her was the only thing that made her kick the pills. (Or at least that's what I thought. It may have just been because her supply dried up.)

I have extended myself as far as I can for her. I love her dearly, and I have a really hard time saying no when she comes to me crying for help that I am the only good thing in her life and she wants to go straight. Oh, it's the typical addict MO, but she certainly is good at it, and I certainly have a hard time resisting her emotional manipulations. I'm so tired of being used. After the most recent incident of her blaming my dad (not me, my FATHER, who, at my request, was only trying to help her out) for keeping a battery from a car my dad had sold her that her dad had already paid for when she had actually taken it back to WalMart for a refund (wonder where that money went???) I am ready to wash my hands of her. I have a family to think about now that I didn't have when we first met. I have tried everything one person can do for somebody else. I have provided her with tough love, honesty, I've helped her out financially (I never NEVER just gave her cash though. I'm not that dumb) supported her emotionally and attempted to show her reasons why life would be better clean. I'm emotionally exhausted and I feel like she sucks the life out of me. KWIM? She no longer has family. She left her ex husband after he broke her neck, her parents were both arrested on charges of trafficking oxycodone, she has one sister in prison, and one who won't speak to anyone in the family. (Can you blame her? LOL.) Her boyfriend is just as dysfunctional as she is. He's not an addict, but he is a major enabler and he's white trash. I would be abandoning her. And she can't take care of herself. I don't want her in my life any longer, but everytime I think about getting away, this little voice in my head says "NO! Don't give up! Just give her one more chance. Maybe this time you really will make a difference." Then I remember the time I fronted her the check in money for a rehab facility after one of her tearful, pleading confessions and solemn oaths that she really, REALLY wanted to be clean. 2 days after entering, she checked out. She lost much of my money, and what they did give her back, she went straight to a dealer from rehab! Then again I have a lot of guilt about abandoning her. I just don't know if I could live with myself if she got locked up or something after I walked away from her. I feel like I am the only person who stands a chance of helping her turn it around.

Oh my goodness. I am so sorry for this book. It was supposed to be a simple question, and it just turned into me pouring my heart out. But I have to talk to someone about it. I'm hoping maybe someone here has been in my situation, or maybe on of you have been that addict friend and can give me some advice. Back to the question: I think she's using meth. Dilated pupils, extreme mood swings, lots of jaw clenching, bursts of energy, sudden outbursts of temper, and I can't tell you how long it's been since I have seen her put anything in her mouth besides Mellow Yellow and cigarettes. I have asked her about it more than once, and she just says that she's taking adipex off and on. I'm not sure about that. I had indulged with her in some pharmaceutical recreation in the early days of our friendship (I was in college!!) and I've taken Adipex. I remember my symptoms being on a much milder scale than hers. Is it a possiblity that adipex in mega doses could produce these effects? If so, I'm still skeptical because meth is MUCH easier to obtain in our area, and cheaper off the streets. Should I put an end to this friendship either way? Whether it's meth or adipex?

Someone please, my heart is breaking, I'm emotionally drained, my head is spinning and I can't tell reality from her manipulations anymore.

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Old 12-08-2007, 10:59 AM   #2
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 406
mk7657 HB User
Re: Help. What are the behavioral "red flags" of meth addiction?


It sounds like meth to me.

I can tell that you really care for this person and her well being. However, try to disentangle yourself from her mess for one minute; step back and see if you can look at your post objectively (notice that I said "her mess").

You are NOT responsible for her choices. If she chooses active addiction, then SHE has to live with that choice. She will manipulate you for drugs and money. That is the criminal nature of the active, addict demon inside. It is a form of gluttony and cannot get enough drugs to feed its ravishing appetite.

You can't help somebody that doesn't want to help themselves. It sounds like you are ready to move on. Attend an al-anon meeting to get support and advice. You will meet people who have great expertise in this area of addiction and can help.

Good luck,


Old 12-08-2007, 12:16 PM   #3
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Tennessee
Posts: 48
Sabrina67 HB User
Re: Help. What are the behavioral "red flags" of meth addiction?

sounds like Meth. Or some other upper...
You cannot help someone who isn't ready. It is the hardest thing to stand helpless. I watched my son go through the same thing. His dad thought it was a bonding thing for him to do drugs with his son. The only thing that saved my son was when his father told me he was going to shoot out son between the eyes I went to the police. They wouldn't do anything because of the threat, but he owed 14,000 in child support so I had him put in for that. While he was in jail My son came to live with me and eventually was straight. Now he is doing well.
Unfortunately......sadly maybe not sadly. Their father committed suicide after being out of jail a short time. But in that time was already trying to get the kids to use.
My point maybe is that it is possible to recover. But I feel it has to come from inside the user. No matter how much you help and give it will not matter. Meth , if that is the drug, takes everything that was good out of a person. They love no-one and feel nothing. At least that has been my experience.
Sorry for the long post , but Meth is a hard subject for me as it has destroyed so much in my life.
I wish you the best with your friend. But remember. You have a life also and until they are ready....there will never be anything you can do.
Love to you and your friend

Old 12-08-2007, 01:35 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: NE PA USA
Posts: 307
tat2duser HB User
Re: Help. What are the behavioral "red flags" of meth addiction?

Hey....I'm no expert - not even close actually - but I *have* been around the bock a few (thousand) times.... The weight loss and jaw clenching thing sounds to me like Coke. Really have done enough. What more can you possiby do? I'm not one to tell anybody to just walk away from someone who needs help, but damn, you must be at the end of your rope. But if it comes to the point where her actions are effecting your life, which it seems like they already may be, maybe then it IS time to just walk away. very wise old Dad used to have a saying.....'you cant help those who dont wanna help themselves'. HOW TRUE IS THAT? If all you do is give and give and healthy can that be for ya? Not very.....not very AT ALL.

But anyway....if you're looking for some support, you came to the right place. This place is FULL of awesome people who are always willing to help in any way possible.... Even if you just wanna vent, sit down, relax, and let it loose. We're all a bunch of really good listeners here. ;0) Sometimes it just does good to sit here and know, getting it down in words is sometimes a wonderful outlet.

So welcome.... Please let us know how things progress, ok?


Old 12-08-2007, 10:39 PM   #5
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 29
cantdoitanymore HB User
Re: Help. What are the behavioral "red flags" of meth addiction?

The sad thing is, coming from her background, she was the only person in her family or even on her block who had any real potential. She never touched drugs for most of her life, made good grades, and never got in trouble. She got married to an abuser, had a child, and left the abuser. After that she got a college degree in radiology and soon landed the highest paying job that anyone in her family every had. It was as the hospital (I'm sure you've heard of a certain faction of hospital employees who seem to get an awful lot of prescriptions written.) that she even started using RX's recreationally. She was 24 at the time. I am not even sure what lead up to her quitting that job, but we met when she went back to school full time to get her masters. She was already pilling, and that's when it really hit the fan. She dropped out not long after the semester began. 25 years old, and right on track in life, she derails. Somehow it's almost sadder to see someone who seemed to be beating the odds of their upbringing get sucked right back in to that culture. I still feel like she has it in her. I know she does. She's 28 years old and you couldn't tell her from any druggie at any meth house, when just 3 years ago she was pretty, smart, and successful. I know she has to want it. My problem is with me thinking I can make her want it. She just has so stinking much potential that it makes me sick.

Anyway, she called a couple of times today and I didn't answer the phone. I'm taking the indecisive solution right now. I guess it's a good thing she's no longer my neighbor so she doesn't know I'm avoiding her. If she knew, she'd be here and I would never be able to distance myself from her.

She's going to continue to call. I either have to talk to her, or ignore her. If I ignore her, I can only imagine the tearful messages she will leave (probably within the next 24 hours) if I don't call her back. But there will be so much drama if I just call her up and say "until you are clean and serious about maintaining sobriety, I can't have you in my life anymore." I'm sure some of you know the drama. There will be tears and apologies. She will beg my forgiveness for not being a very good friend. She knows she doesn't deserve me. She will beg and use the word please and the phrases "you're all I've got" "I SWEAR if you stick by me right now, I will get up right now and go straight to rehab. You can go into my apartment and get rid of everything yourself and I will never touch anything again. I swear." I've heard it before. I know it's BS. But I always doubt my own will power to resist her. "What could one more chance hurt?" Then again, sometimes I wonder if my being her crutch isn't doing her just as much harm as good. She is definitely what I would call codependent on me, and as close as we are, it's sometimes stifling and always exhausting. As long as I am in her life, perhaps she will never be able to hit rock bottom. Looking at it that way might make it easier to walk away. I know I probably sound ridiculous with my ambivalance when she clearly doesn't deserve my loyalty. But for some reason I can't shake the responsibility I feel for her. And she's 5 years older than I am! I think I've allowed her to mold me into whatever my half of the codependent relationship would be without me realizing it.

How do you think I should handle the subject when it comes up? There will be no way around it. if she doesn't hear from me soon she'll show up. It's like she can't function when she doesn't know what I'm up to. How do I respond to the drama with compassion and caring without leading her to believe that I'm not sure about my decision or that I would be "easy" to "win back" if she tried hard enough? Because there's always the slight possibility I might be! LOL. Thank you for your patience with another novel. And thanks for your previous insights. Sabrina, I really liked what you said about what meth does to it's users. That describes her to a tea. I think that is the reason it is so easy for me to consider cutting off contact with her now, because she is not at all the girl who was my friend. She's a thief, a liar, a master manipulator, and the biggest thing is that her personality has become short, sullen, and withdrawn. She can be downright nasty pretty often. She never behaved like this when she was on opiates, even when she would get the occasional itch to hunt down heroine.

Old 12-08-2007, 10:43 PM   #6
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cantdoitanymore HB User
Re: Help. What are the behavioral "red flags" of meth addiction?

You know, I just read through my post again, and tell me what you think about this:

It seems to me that drugs, no matter which kind, is not the root problem. Or perhaps they are even a symptom??

Old 12-09-2007, 10:49 AM   #7
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Posts: 242
joanharvest HB User
Re: Help. What are the behavioral "red flags" of meth addiction?

I went through this with my 26 year old son. It does leave you with a lot of guilt. But I've gotten over that. I didn't choose to take heroin and crack--he did. He's a recovering heroin addict for almost three years and about a year ago he tried crack. In two weeks he lost so much weight but fortunately he came to me for help and has been clean ever since. After the crack episode I told him he couldn't live with me anymore . I told him it was time to be on his own. He went to Florida for the winter and came back here thinking he could just move right back in with me. But I said no. He ended up living in his van in the Walmart parking lot. It was so hard to turn him away like that but he will never accept responsibility if I keep taking care of him. I was afraid he might turn back to drugs but it was the chance I had to take. I learned all this by going to Al Anon. Now he is living in Buffalo, has a job, a girlfriend, and living in a nice house. He's doing it on his own because he knows I won't bail him out of his problems (no money, no job, etc.) anymore. He hates the cold so I think he'll head to Florida again, but that's his choice. I am not responsible for him. I love him but will no longer deal with his problems. They are his problems, not mine. As soon as I told him I was going to Al Anon he knew the jig was up anyway. Now when we talk he doesn't even bother telling me his problems because he knows my standard answer "You'll work it out".

Nor are you responsible for this young woman. She will never learn if you keep helping her. You need to lay it on the line to her and stick to it, no matter what manipulative ways she tries to use on you. I had to do it to my brother also about 15 years ago. I told him to never call me again unless he had been sober for at least three months. He's been sober now for over 12 years.

Tough love works. Maybe not all the time but quite a bit of the time.

Old 12-09-2007, 05:52 PM   #8
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: NE PA USA
Posts: 307
tat2duser HB User
Re: Help. What are the behavioral "red flags" of meth addiction?

And you know what that even IF the fact that you're threatening to walk away from her life DOES scare her straight, you won't know if it's genuine or not becasue you have been down that road before and heard all of the "I'm sorrys" and "I won't do it agains" know?? Who knows....maybe she WILL get scared that you're gonna walk out of her life and it WILL scare her straight.... And who also knows....maybe she already IS at rock-bottom and you don't even know it. People can sometimes show a very different face, but on the inside - mentally - they truly are at their lowest possible point. I feel for you....this has GOT to be very difficult for you. I have been there....I have had almost the same exact situation in my life...more than once. But it sadly it gets to the point where it starts to have such a negative effect on your ife that you have to put an end to it before it consumes you totally. I guess the best advice I can chime in with, is to just follow your heart. With that, you can never go wrong.


Old 12-10-2007, 11:04 PM   #9
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cantdoitanymore HB User
Re: Help. What are the behavioral "red flags" of meth addiction?

Well, it's done. After she started ringing my phone off the hook when I wouldn't respond to her, I knew I had to do something. It went exactly as I expected. There were enough tears to float the ark, and she gave me the sincerest (seriously, she means that crap at the time) apologies. Promises, tears, pleas, bargains, flattery, guilt.... yeah, it lasted a while. She nearly wore me down a couple of times, but in the end I stood my ground.

After I left, I had the oddest feeling. One one hand, I felt like I was 20 lbs lighter. Like I had been carrying something heavy for a long time and just put it down. On the other, I had this horrible, sinking feeling in my gut. It was almost like a vague premonition that things will not go so well for her.

My DH and my mom keep telling me I did the right thing. And in my own thinking, my ultimate responsibility is to my impressionable, very young children. Not only do they not need that drama surrounding them, they also need a mommy who is emotionally healthy, not stressed out all the time, and not giving of myself so much to someone else that they might not be getting all they deserve. They were ultimately the reason I resolved myself, and definitely the reason I was able to go through with it. See, she was thrilled when I had my first. She always talked about how much a part of his life she was going to be, etc. So it was kind of a surprise that I didn't have them around each other alot. I always made up excuses not to have to spend too much time with her when I had the kids.

Anyway, thank you all so much for hearing me out. I know I did the right thing. I still have a bad feeling, but I know. It's almost like that bad feeling hit when I "cut the cord" because for the first time I realized she had a very dark future ahead of her, AND THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD DO ABOUT IT.

I'll keep you posted. I know her, and I KNOW that this isn't the end of me hearing from her. She's mad now, but within 2 or 3 months, she will contact me, sweet, cleaned-up, and apologetic. She'll have bought me something and will try do lots of stuff for me. And she would have been off any kind of drug for about a month or more. And I'll be so tempted to reestablish a connection. Just like I am every time. I have pulled away before (though this is the first time I've said "no contact) and she did the same thing. I'll want to be her friend again, and about, oh, 3 months later, without warning, the whole vicious cycle will start all over again with me stuck right in the middle of it if I give in to her.

Well, that's that. But I will keep you updated on the situation. It's obvious that I've lost all faith in her recovering permanently, because she's "recovered" SO many times, but it could still happen. We shall see.

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