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Help--Signs of a relapse?

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Help--Signs of a relapse?

Postby sarah » Mon Jun 12, 2006 5:45 pm

Hello,

I was wondering if anyone could inform me of some possible warning signs that a former addict is using again?

My mother-in -law, a healthcare worker, was once addicted to painkillers (vicodin, demerol, etc.) and was in rehab twice (and on probation once, for stealing drugs from her workplace). She is also an active member of AA (although for drugs--I have been told AA and NA can be interchangeable). She has been clean for over a decade.

She has undergone a profound life loss with the recent death of her husband of 15 years, after a lengthy illness. I am married to one of her sons. My brother-in-law informed me that he is afraid that she is abusing painkillers again. She asked him to pick up a prescription for her, and when he went to pick it up, he discovered that the Px was for Vicodin, and the pharmacist refused to fill it because Vcodin Pxs can only be filled every 30 days, she she had just refilled it 10 days ago. When he told his mother this, she said that it was a mistake and the Px was from another doctor (meaning, she was getting Vicodon Pxs from multiple doctors.) When he confronted her again about the Px, she gave another explaination that the Px was really for a muscle relaxant, not Vicodin, even though the Pharmacist explicity said the Px was for Vicodin.

My husband and brothers-in-law have also noticed behavior changes, that she has become more withdrawn (from calling each of her sons at least twice a day to not calling at all), and is constantly sick, including a sudden stomach ailment, back, ankle, leg, etc, etc. She has also had two car accidents in the past 9 months and has problems sleeping. She is almost always awake in the middle of the night.

I am really concerned about her, as she has undergone such a large loss, and I do not want her to have another huge hurdle to undergo rehab again. Also, my husband, especially, has lingering scars from her past drug use, and I do not want to see him, my brothers-in-law, and the rest of her family hurt again. Already one of my brothers-in-law is questioning letting my mother-in-law around his children (her beloved grandchildren.)

I guess my question is, even though she denies it, are these warning signs of a relapse? And what are the signs, and does anyone have any advice on what to do about it?

sarah
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Postby yakasushii » Mon Jun 12, 2006 6:01 pm

hi sarah,

thanks for posting.

i do think she might be undergoing a relapse. i would take the pharmacist's word over hers, especially since she has changed her explanation for having the drugs. i think she either is embarrassed that she is returning to drugs again, and/or she really does care about her family, and doesn't want them to know and worry about her relapse.

as for the withdrawn behaviour, it can be a sign of grief, as opposed to drug use. i know that when i'm grieving, i withdraw as well. regarding the sudden ailments (leg, ankle, etc.), i get the impression that she's making that up, although she might be telling the truth. i think that she wants to be left alone... or does she say she's sick so people can come to her and comfort her? has she seen a doctor about her ailments, or do you only have her word for it? because you said she suddenly fell ill, with all of the various ailments, and because she said that the drug was (presumably) a muscle relaxant, i do think she is using the ailments (whether real or not) as an excuse to use the drugs.

i know this is what you didn't want to hear. however, i do believe that she is grieving tremendously... which is why she would return to using painkillers. i am surprised, though, that she wouldn't pick up the prescription herself... i thought that if she did, she wouldn't have to lie about it because nobody would have to know... so, maybe she partly does want you and the rest of her family to know... maybe although she doesn't want to be on a relapse, she unfortunately is... and she wants help, even though she doesn't admit to it.

what do you think about this?

take care
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Postby sarah » Mon Jun 12, 2006 7:25 pm

Yakasushii,

Thanks for replying.

Yes, it has occourred to us that she wanted the family to know she was using again, and needed help. That is why my brother-in-law asked her twice about the Px, abut she only gave excuses for it.

Unfortunately, or understandably, my husband and his brothers are not pursuing the topic further. They will support her emotionally through the grieving, etc and for always, but they are not going to force the drug issue. From past experiences, they accepted the fact that she is a grown woman and makes her own choices, and that they cannot get wrapped up again in the drug use, as they know that unless she wants help or admits to a problem, there is nothing they can do.

Both my husband and my brother-in-law have very strong feelings of anger and resentment when it comes to the drug use, my husband especially. Her drug use led to my husband being left alone and having to work two jobs as a teenager to pay the mortgage and utility bills, to which he now has severe anxiety and panic disorder as a direct result of the abandonment/responsibilies he went through as a teenager.

It is really a terrible situation. I only hope that if she is using, which it looks like she is, she will not hit rock bottom again, (bankruptcy, legal trouble) before she stops. It is such a hard time already. I am scared about the effects this will have on her and my husband.

I respect my husband and brother-in-law's wishes on the subject. I just wish there was something to do?
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Postby yakasushii » Tue Jun 13, 2006 4:17 am

hi sarah,

you said that she was an active member of AA for drug use... maybe they can do something to help her, assuming that she will admit to using drugs again?

i'm so sorry to hear about the effects of her drug use on your husband. it makes me sad... i really hope your mother-in-law won't hit rock bottom again before she stops. i'm glad that her family will be there to support her emotionally, and that they won't broach the subject further... but i hope that, through all of her grieving, she does realize what she's doing to herself and the people around her. is her well-being, and that of her sons, worth sacrificing? i don't think it is... but, i think she doesn't see things with clarity right now. i truly hope she will stop soon. i hope her support group will provide her with the assistance she needs. does she know about how her sons feel, and about the risks she's taking by doing all of this? either you know, or you don't, but aren't willing to ask her, because... nobody wants to pursue the topic further.

i think the only cure to grief is grieving...
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Postby sarah » Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:22 pm



Thank you for responding again, yakasushii. It is so nice to know there are others out there who may understand/give words of wisdom.

Actually, I have been thinking of contacting some people from her AA group, ones that I met at my father-in-law's funeral. Maybe she would be more open with them than her family, whom I know she does not want to disappoint.

I also agree that the only way to get through grieving is to grieve. It is so painful. Maybe when things begin to stablize (I hope) it may be worth bringing up the subject again.

Thanks!
sarah
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Postby yakasushii » Wed Jun 14, 2006 3:25 am

hi sarah,

i think that's a good idea, contacting some of her fellow AA group members... although i'm not sure how your mother-in-law will take it if/when she finds out. but, i'm sure (or i hope) that she understands that you just want to help her! =) i agree with you that she might be more open with them...

good luck with this. if you like, you can post about the progress of the situation/your mother-in-law's progress. i hope it turns out for the best.

take care*
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Re: Help--Signs of a relapse?

Postby darkpagan » Sun Aug 23, 2009 5:32 pm

i am actually a former drug addict and i've seen my freinds relapse and there is a pretty good chance that she has i mean to take all those vik's in 10 days and the accident the whole revamping she proboly is is there a way that one of her kids could go live with her for a lil bit and watch her to make sure she isn't doing them or try an intervention or call her sponsor ...best of luck
"if your 555 then i'm 666" Slipknot - Hieratic Anthem
"lets slit our wrist like cheap coupons and say that death was on sale today" Marylin Manson - Disposable Teens
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