HealthBoards (
-   Addiction & Recovery (
-   -   To "Reachout" - Xanax, Oxycontin, Suboxone - How to Help a Friend (

Friend999 01-17-2008 07:20 AM

To "Reachout" - Xanax, Oxycontin, Suboxone - How to Help a Friend
Dear Reachout.

Please read my other thread about how I might be able to help a friend of mine. Your knowledgeable and compassionate advice is all over these boards, and I truly admire you for your desire to help others. I have come to you because you have experience with Oxycodone and Xanax.

I have blown it. She now does not want to see me again, although I might be able to drop in where she works (bar). Part of the reason she does not want to see me is because she does not want to discuss her keeping some money I gave her for Suboxone treatment, which she used for ???. I do not plan on talking except to ask if she is all right. Try to ease back into the friendship. As my other thread states, I really don't know if all she is on is Xanax, as she says, or worse. To me, all of the other indicators point to worse, and that is why I am coming to you.

To everyone else, I truly thank you for your advice, and I would certainly appreciate your additional help. I'm simply directing this toward Reachout because of her experience regarding Suboxone and Xanax, but would appreciate anyone's experiences as well.

I am simply amazed by this board, your compassion, your hearts, your concern. There is so much love on this board that I cry everyday, because I read new responses everyday. I've read them all. Please help me help a friend.

mano2008 01-17-2008 07:44 AM

Re: To "Reachout" - Xanax, Oxycontin, Suboxone - How to Help a Friend
Suboxone is ONLY used for the treatment of opiate dependency, so your hunch is probably correct, if she was asking for money for sub treatment, she probably has a dependence to opiates. People who use opiates often use benzos as well, to help them relax and unwind, or to help with withdrawls when they can't get opiates.

The problem here is, your friend needs to want to help herself, and it doesn't sound like she is ready too. Opiates cause many strange behaviors in people, and honestly, your best bet may be to take her up on her offer of staying away from her. She has already used you and lied to you to get money for treatment, and now won't even discuss it. She used you, which addicts are famous for.

My advice would be to cut your ties and run, before she drags you down even more emotionally. I know that is rough, but until she is ready, nothing will change....and it's not an easy battle for someone who strongly wants to quit opiates...many months if not years of recovery and relapses are usually involved.

You're a good friend for wanting to help, but it's really probably a losing effort at this point...and working in a bar won't help her situation. My advice...let her go.


reachout 01-17-2008 03:01 PM

Re: To "Reachout" - Xanax, Oxycontin, Suboxone - How to Help a Friend
Hi 999

I think you must have very close feelings with this friend to want to stick by her in such trying circumstances. Like Mano, my first instinct was, "let her go." However, I waited a while before responding and thought about it. I have three special girlfriends that I would probably not be able to walk away from in any circumstances. I have no sisters, but I imagine this is how sisters might feel about each other.

I have a feeling that she is pretty wrapped up in drug abuse, whatever the drug(s) may be. And as Mano says, working at a bar is not conducive to stopping abuse of substances. It just leaves it all too convenient to substitute liquids for pills, you know?

I did not use Suboxone to taper from the Oxycodone and then the Xanax. I believe it is the right choice for some, not for others. For me, it was not what I chose. I worked primarily with my family doctor to taper. I also worked with a clinical social worker who was very, very helpful. I also had a large support system of family and friends. This was a big blessing for me as it takes a lot of shoulders to lean on in withdrawal so as not to overtax any one support. Without all the help, I don't know that I would have found my life retored again, in recovery. This all fell into place once [U]I[/U] made the decision to get out from under the addictive behaviours and call it quits with the Oxycodone and Xanax.

The truth is, 999, that when we are abusing drugs, we become secretive and don't want to discuss our 'meds' with anyone who might argue that we are becoming self-destructive with them. In hindsight, I can now see and hear the hints dropped by friends and family. At the time, I just ignored them or argues that they didn't understand what it was like to live in pain all the time. I would isolate and not have to hear their thoughts or concerns.

I guess that about the only thing you can do is to tell your friend that you know she is suffereing. Let her know that you recognize that she has lost her light-heartedness and does not seem happy. Let her know that you are willing to wlk alongside of her if she takes any course to try and get out from under whatever her issue may be. Leave it open, leave it up to her, then leave it alone. If and when she finds the courage to face up to her issues, which do seem to be drug involvement, then she will know she has a willing helper. I guess in a lot of ways, I am in agreement with Mano, but there is still that part of me that understands how strong the bonds can be between two friends.

And just an FYI... Xanax can easily put a chronic user into depression.... it sure helped lead me there. Some of her behaviours are pretty strong indictaors of depression. The Xanax will only exacerate it.

Best wishes

Friend999 01-17-2008 03:32 PM

Re: To "Reachout" - Xanax, Oxycontin, Suboxone - How to Help a Friend
Thank you to Mano and Reachout. Some of what you each said is hard to take. I am generally someone who tries to see a problem, tackle it. and eliminate it. It seems I am really going to need patience, but its tearing me up inside. She has to hit rock bottom before she decides she has to do something? Its hard to stand by and watch sadness, fear, money problems, etc. etc. for months, years? I think she now is on a high enough dose that financial problems might hit soon.

Walk away? I don't see that as being a very good friend. I am a friend of the real person, not the one that is doing these things. The real person is a wonderful person, and I simply can't give up on her. I suppose I have to have patience, go slow, not be taken advantage of, and somehow say what you suggested, reach, but perhaps in more subtle words. I live in fear of being pushed away permanently, and never knowing what happened, and never being able to help.

When one is on Oxycontin, or Xanax, is these sometimes where one is not in a "fog"? Does the real person sometimes say "What am I doing?" or "What have I done?" I'm thinking when first awake, before taking a pill. If there is always a "haze", as someone on one of these posts said, then there is never any rational thinking?

I'm just trying to understand, to get in her head, perhaps. If that is true, then no matter what I say will be accepted, or remembered. Or am I wrong?

Thank you both for your responses. You are both wonderful people. If there are other wonderful people out there with advice I would appreciate your help, especially someone that might help me understand how she thinks when she is on Oxycontin, which is probably all the time.

mano2008 01-18-2008 08:56 AM

Re: To "Reachout" - Xanax, Oxycontin, Suboxone - How to Help a Friend
Yes, it is hard to walk away from a friend, but she is walking away from you...she has a new best friend, opiates, and her life will revolve around them. Personally I would say something to the effect of "hey, I am here for you if you ever want to get some help and change your ways", but really, sometimes you have to walk away for your own sanity...It's called tough love, and your friend doesn't want your help now it seems. Maybe this will change someday.

She doesn't necessarily have to hit rock bottom, but it usually takes something pretty bad for a wake up call, like being arrested, or losing the ones you love, or overdosing, or becoming a financial wreck, etc....and even then the struggle can go on forever, especially with opiates and benzos, which are by far the hardest drugs to stay clean from, IMHO...

An opiate addict is usually either filled with euphoria when using, or acting sick and nasty when not using or not using enough. The fog is not looking at things in there proper perspective, because nothing matters when they are high...not people, not money, nothing....Kind of like being intoxicated on booze, only being able to hide the buzz and function quite well for many years, until we really get messed up.

You are a good friend, but you can't save someone until they are ready to be saved...if you remain a "friend", it will probably be so she can use you, as she has in the past already....Didn't you give her money for suboxone and it disappeared? Suboxone bought on the street is usually for one ward off withdrawl until the next fix comes along.


reachout 02-07-2008 07:46 AM

Re: To "Reachout" - Xanax, Oxycontin, Suboxone - How to Help a Friend
Hi Friend

I was glad to see an update from you. Thank you for the kind words.

I think you are taking the only stance that is really possible with your friend. Be available if she decides to seek help and support and have knowledge behind you in preparation for if that time comes. I hope it does. I really do.

There is so much denial in us when it comes to the point that we are abusing drugs no matter how we started. While I stayed in the realm of legitimate presciptions, I was no less abusing them than the recreational users who get them off the street. We both live in a world of denial. Denial of what the drugs are doing to change us for the worse and denial of how our use is impacting others. Denial may not be reality, but it sure can be a safer place to dwell when abusing. Now that is a sad fact of life in drugs. However unhappy we may be, we have found a place where we can live in denial and avoid all the harsh realities for a while.

There is going to come a point for your friend where denial won't be possible anymore. Perhaps her sources will get cut off, perhaps she will totally run out of money, get evicted, get really sick.... eventually something will occur that is going to be a do or die point for her. When it comes, and it will someday, perhaps, she will turn to you. I think the best you can do is to be prepared with all the information you can gather to offer her. Understanding that withdrawal and detox is a tormenting process is good. Understand the symptoms. Perhaps attend some NA meetings in order to get a better handle on what addicts think like and what addicts do. Among the caring people at NA you can learn of resources available in your area and be prepared if it is you your friend comes to. Learn what is and what isn't helpful in trying to work with a loved one who has an addiction.

I think for me, the biggest help that came from my doctors and my support circle is that no one tried to control me, but rather helped me to learn to control myself. I was offered many tools, I was offered encouragement, but ultimately, it was my responsibility to work my way through it all. I hope your friend can find the courage to face the reality of what she is doing and the courage to work it out.


jules3 02-07-2008 11:00 AM

Re: To "Reachout" - Xanax, Oxycontin, Suboxone - How to Help a Friend
wow very intense conversations...mano, i agree with most everything you say. my son is on suboxone now for a week...he was buying them on the street before this. he was buying them becuase he knew they were his last chance...and we werent going to allow it..we had a change of mind when we began to understand more about addiction..and the withdrawels and the other side of him that comes out..and he basically told us he cant help himself and he needs unless we threw him out and told him do it cold turkey and come back when you are done, we chiose this not 100percent for it..he is being tested weekly for benzos because they dont mix with suboxone..we are talking death and i think he knows that much. while its only been a week, hes doing well and hes comfortable and calm..i know this stuff has to be weaned and is additive too, but im looking for the lesser of 2 evils here..hes looker for the lesser of 2 evils..we live 1 day at a time..It is easy to tell another that they need to cut ties with a loved one over addiction...and deep down in my heart i know if i had to do it to my son i could. I hope friend doesnt have to do that. does every addict have to lose alot to become clean? like people,cars jobs,family, homes??

g8trgrl15 02-07-2008 11:24 AM

Re: To "Reachout" - Xanax, Oxycontin, Suboxone - How to Help a Friend
I didn't. I looked ahead and was able to see what was going to happen if I didn't straighten up right away. I have a history of an addictive family. Plus I've seen it happen to too many people. I have a beautiful home, 2 beautiful boys that I would die for, and a husband who truly loves me.. even if he doesn't really understand what's going on right now. I knew that if I kept on the way I was going I would lose everything. And I've seen plenty of people it's happened to.. they've lost everything. Or close to it before they realize they have to get this fixed. Some take it to extremes, others don't. Some die. I know I'm just thankful for getting help when I did..

Best of luck

jules3 02-07-2008 02:56 PM

Re: To "Reachout" - Xanax, Oxycontin, Suboxone - How to Help a Friend
g, i wish you so much sound so positive now and thats great..keep it up..:)

Friend999 02-12-2008 01:50 PM

Re: To "Reachout" and Others- Xanax, Oxycontin, Suboxone - How to Help a Friend
Well, today I received the "encouragement to keep going". Please don't condemn me too much, because I REALLY DON'T believe in horoscopes, but mine today was "You don't easily give up, but you're not sure if a current effort is really necessary. Just when you're about to through in the towel, Capricorn gives you the encouragement to keep going".

Today I was at the bar, as usual, that my friend used to work. My friend's "best friend" showed up as a customer. She no longer works there, but I asked her to "help a friend", as I have of others that work there. This friend advises me that my friend has had problems with "painkillers" ALL HER LIFE! She informed me that my friend had called her at 2 AM a short while ago and did not seem ok, and also that she was informed that she had lost 18 pounds.

What does this mean? Well I have been praying for my friend for months, and also asking for guidance, patience, etc. for myself, as well as "enlightenment" as to whether my concerns were necessary. Lo and behold, I find out that she has had problems with "painkillers all her life". I am now more determined than ever to press on to try to help my friend, because I am more sure than ever that she needs help. That fact is very important to dedication.

I'm not really a religous man, and I feel foolish to think that God is speaking to me through horoscopes. I didn't even ask if she was a Capricorn. The fact remains, though, that someone who knows her well has confirmed the painkiller problem, which was only a rumor before. I hope her friend follows through with my "help a friend" suggestion, although others haven't. Me, I'm going out to see my friend this weekend, instead of the end of February. Please wish me well, and hopefully I can say the right words. Words seem so darn important when speaking to someone in a "fog".

You folks are all so much comfort to each other. I hope soon that I can get my friend on here to tell her story and ask for help. I know that each of you would give her all of the love and concern that you have shown each other. She needs you all. Please wish me well. I could use it!

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 08:07 AM.