My Friend...

Updated on May 04, 2011
T.G. asks from Trinidad, CO
18 answers

Hey Momma's...
This one makes me sad because I dont know how to help my friend. My friend Kasey has a husband who is battling with addiction to pain meds, and is very depressed. He recently lost his job about a year ago and ever since has gotten worse and more difficult. If he has his medication he is better, but still is very antisocial and very distant with her. When he runs out of his prescription he becomes like a whole other person. This past weekend started it for her, he didnt show up to their daughters recital and he started throwing a fit with her about it... and then he just takes off and doesnt come back for hours at a time. Well today she checked their account and he took 260.00 from it, because she thinks he is buying more pills illegally. He meets with the doctor again on the 5th but until then he goes on rampage looking for more meds. They have 4 kids together and I see my friend trying so hard to try to understand what is going on, but when he completely shuts her almost very mean and cold to her...she wants to give up. Our daughters are the same age and are bf, and We will go over to visit, so our girls can play and he will run in the other room and not say to words to me. At birthday parties he completely hides and is antisocial. So my question is how do you help someone that doesnt want help? She loves him so much, but what do I tell her? Do any of you know any books or websites that she can relate to? Any help... would be greatly apprecaited. Thank you again...

Sad for my friend,

P.S. The reason he is on meds is because he hurt his back along time ago, and since they have no health insurance on him,surgery is not an option for them right now. He is in pain, no doubt. But is causing strain on my friend. Thanks again...

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So What Happened?

EDIT: Sorry, I think that he wont let her go with him because of HIPPA and because he thinks that he doesnt have a problem. But it is, I have witnessed it. He is very cold and mean to her when its the "issue" and if its not, she just brushes things under the rug until thie next time. She rather just keep the peace than ruffle any feathers. She is walking on egg shells...and it worries me.

Featured Answers



answers from Pittsburgh on

Watch her kids so she can attend Alanon.

An addict won't get help until he or she is ready.

She may consider leaving him, thereby bringing his "bottom" up to meet him. Might work, might not.

Alanon will help her.

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answers from Milwaukee on

He's addicted, plain and simple. She needs him to get help in the form of rehab.

Willing to bet his back pain is actually FROM the pills. It's a wicked cycle.

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answers from Honolulu on

**EDIT: she can keep trying to push things under the rug and pretending to make nice. Or, she can think about herself and her kids... and protect them.
Some drug addicts, get violent. And/or endanger their families. Because, they do not think straight.
She and you, has to know this.
She needs to think about her kids.
Trying to make nice and ignore it, will not help herself or the kids.
It is a volatile, situation.

Or, she can wait, until she or her kids, gets ABUSED by him. Literally.
Or, until he dies, from it.
Because, many drug users, will often use other drugs if they can't get their drug of choice.... and/or they will mix drugs with other drugs or alcohol... and this can be a deadly mix.

That he is addicted to the pain meds.
There are other pain meds, that are not addictive.

Or, he should go to a detox center.

He is an addict.
Thus, he is displaying the behaviors, of an Addict.
An Addict of prescription drugs.

He is also, already emotionally off. Due to his Addiction.
And mentally.

She cannot change him. Only a Professional can help.

Getting off drugs... is also a DIFFICULT thing. And their moods/behavior will rampage. While weaning off of it. Or, he can do it, per a Doctor's guidance. Not on his own. Getting off of drugs, by themselves, can be dangerous and/or futile... because the propensity for relapse, is high. And getting off of it, is very difficult.


She, cannot do this on her own. He is an Addict.
Unless she is a professional, she will not know how to properly, do it.

Only he can change.
Or, she takes herself and the kids, elsewhere, until he is sober and clean.

She should, tell her family or friends, and get help or a place to stay.
And money.

Addicts, can keep going using up ALL their money.
And then will resort to street drugs and/or methods of making money to get more drugs. ie: stealing or getting arrested doing so.

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answers from Seattle on

Look, this (addiction/dependence) is a tricky and complex (emotionally/scientifically) subject, especially when a person is prescribed medication for chronic pain.

I am not going to try to decide whether her husband is a addicted or dependent or neither. It's not mine to know.

That said, and *assuming* he is addicted, here's what I'm getting after reading a third party account of a situation.

Kasey's husband has been regularly using prescribed opiod analgesics for at least one year. I'm sure there are exceptions, but to my knowledge, over time a person's tolerance to opiates increases; they need more, for it to affect their body chemistry (less pain and/or high). I am assuming he is, at least, dependent on them, because of the length of time he's been on them. I am also *assuming* that he is abusing his prescription because he is running out of his medication before his next refill. Based on what you wrote, it seems his relationship to this substance is having a negative impact on their marriage and finances.

It would stand to reason, based on my assumptions, that he is experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking the medication/drug. Withdrawals from opiates are not dangerous (usually, usually, usually) but are extraordinarily uncomfortable/difficult, both mentally and physically. His described behavior is also typical of someone who is an addicted (read: protecting "connections", mood swings, withdrawn/extroverted depending on level of influence, dishonesty/not disclosing full truth/not knowing and admitting full truth, etc).

Keep in mind though, that a person can become dependent on a variety of other (sometimes not) narcotic medications. Why/how addiction evolves, is still being understood (many sound ideas and programs exist, but a conclusive answer has not been decided). The difference between social/recreational use, dependence, addiction, etc exists, but is fuzzy. At best.

Add to that, that when a person is abusing/using prescription drugs, their "drug dealer" is most often their doctor. Who we're supposed to trust.

It's complex, right?

My suggestion is that she starts researching the drug he's using. The physical impact of a drug are, in my mind, a good foundation for understanding the emotional implications. Many drug rehabilitation centers have counselors who can discuss a particular scene with participants. They are a VERY good resource when starting this process. Look up drug rehabilitation centers in Denver and Colorado Springs. Be wary of advertisements and the such. There is a ton of money to be made from drug addiction/recovery and in trying to find reliable information, profit lines can be a nuisance.

Al-anon is a fantastic resource for many people.

Libraries and book stores are another great resource. Self-help/addiction section. Again, we have to decide what to focus on and how to navigate contradicting information (a PERFECT example is the once an addict always an addict debate. Some say once a person is an addict, they will be one (maybe in recovery) for life. Others think it can be a phase. Folks on either side get emotional and need to protect their viewpoint because the opposing side, sometimes literally, threatens their way of life/recovery process/actual life OR implies that the other is not being honest/is in denial). There is a lot of information and suggestions out there (both for recovering from active addiction and for dealing with relationships impacted by addiction and for co-dependence). We have to figure out what works for us and that's a process.

I, personally, don't think we get to change anyone but ourselves. I do think we are able support those people who want and ask for help. Whether we should, or can, is another discussion. Your friend can focus on setting boundaries (you will leave the house/I will leave if you yell and cuss at me, or I am not willing to be in a relationship with someone who is actively addicted, or whatever she needs) and following through, taking care of herself (sleep, eat, relax, get support from friends/family, and starting to emotionally and physically understand the issue.

Good luck to her. It's tough and, hopefully, an ongoing process.

Ephie - raising my niece, the daughter of my drug addicted (started on pharmaceuticals) sister.

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answers from Minneapolis on

HIPPA does not stop your friend from talking to the doctor. It only prevents the doctor from sharing medical information of the patient with her. She can call or see the doctor and tell him what is going on!

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answers from Chicago on

He has to hit rock bottom and pretty much loose it all before he will get help ... I watched quite a few "pill popping" friends do this and they started taking pills for good reasons and then things got out of control. I am terribly sorry for your friend but I honestly think she is going to have to move away for a while or kick him out until he is clean.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Denver on

I can totally relate to this. My brother married a woman with a major addiction to pain meds and her mother recently recently sent her to Detroit for a detox. They actually put her in a comatose state to clean her up without suffering the worse part of withdrawls. She is a train wreck, can't function, mean to my brother and has darn near bankrupted him with all this. He now cannot afford health insurance, she claims back pain (huge excuse to addicts by the way although they do represent pain). It is a mess.

My brother is also totally in love with his wife but in my book, this is unhealthy and an ugly way to live, especially for the kids. Your friend needs to demand he get help or get out before her girls start thinking this is how you are to be treated in a marriage.

I know it sounds harsh but I could go on and on about how serious this is. I also have a girlfriend whose mother was a script addict and she bankrupted 3 husbands and used my friend as a child to go in and claim pain with docs so she could get more pain meds. There is no telling how far your friend's husband could go.

Good luck to her and thank God she has a friend like you.

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answers from Redding on

This is so sad and happens more than you might think.
A friend of mine went through this when her husband became addicted to vicodin after having two knee surgeries. It was pretty bad. The final straw came when she was injured herself and was given a prescription and he took her pills. Not just one or two, he TOOK them. Then, he wanted her to call the doctor and ask for more. Mind you, he had his own prescriptions, but they never lasted until the next refill time.
She went to the doctor with him one day and told the doctor, "You got him on these pills, now you get him off. "
It was his surgeon that actually helped him. She was ready to divorce him over it and she made it clear to him AND his doctor.
If your friend's husband won't let her go to the doctor with him, that would be a deal breaker for me. Yes, he has a certain right to privacy under the law, but does she really even know the truth about how many pills he's blowing through that the doctor gives him? Does his doctor realize it?
If he does have true pain, what he needs is a long-term pain management program, not more pills.
He may not get help because he may not want help, but she can't let him drag her and the children down with him. No matter how much she loves him, she has to make up her mind that that's simply not an option.
She can call her county health department and ask who to contact for help as a family member of someone who is addicted.
Addicts can be very manipulative, and she needs help keeping her own head on straight for the sake of the family fincances and most importantly, the children.

For what it's worth, my friend's husband is doing great. So is their marriage and family.

I wish your friend the best.

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answers from Minneapolis on


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answers from Salt Lake City on

My father was an addict and now my Uncle is an addict. My Father has been clean and sober for years but he said "Nothing could make me stop, not having the perfect wife, 2 beautiful children, great job, etc., I had to make that decision on my own" unfortunately it took him about 20 years...
My uncle has lost so much but his wife refuses to leave so I don't think he'll ever get to bottom :(

I 100% agree with Denise P. the best thing you can do for her is be there for her and her kids. And your friend should leave, don't threaten, just pack up some things and get out to show him she is serious.

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answers from Austin on

Three things that jump out at me:

1) Al-Anon/Al-Ateen might be able to help. Al-Anon is a support group for people who are the family members of alcoholics; even in she isn't comfortable being in a group specific to alcohol, they may be able to redirect her to a support group for family members of other sorts of addictions. Sometimes it really does help to talk to someone in a similar sort of situation. Al-Ateen is the same sort of support group, but for the kids. They notice, too.

2) Does she need to talk to a lawyer? She might want to investigate protecting what assets she can.

3) Does she have a safe place to keep things? A small safe, or lock box, perhaps? Somewhere she can safely keep cash on hand? Also, eventually, someone is going to need dental surgery, or break an arm, or someone in the house is going to need vicodin or oxycotin or something - you don't wish that sort of thing on anyone, but life happens - and they won't be able to have it in the house safely. If you are looking for a gift for your friend, a simple lock box might be wise.

And, she doesn't have to go with him, but she can at least call and speak to his doctor. Somewhere in the house, is the doc's phone number; on a business card, or a bill, somewhere.

In the meantime, the next time it gets really bad, is it an option for your friend and her kids to go away somewhere for a couple of days, or can you at least take the child who is your daughter's bf to spend the night? Again, the kids notice, and removing them from the bad days, at least temporarily, will ease some of the strain on your friend.

Best wishes to your friend.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Al-Anon Family Groups
Help for the friends and family of problem drinkers and addicts.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Phoenix on

He is an addict, end of story. Your friend cannot force him to get help, he has to do it on his own, and for himself. As long as she is sitting idly by, she is essentially enabling the behavior. He won't change because he knows she won't do anything. That is no way to live. At minimum, I'd be kicking him out until he got his act together & then MAYBE entertain a reconciliation after he had proven he was 110% on the straight & narrow. Life is short, her kids are precious, and no one deserves to live like that.

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answers from Hartford on

He won't let her go to doctor appointments because he's trying to score pain pills. What he probably doesn't understand is that if he's now taking too much medication and if he's not under a doctor's care (which is likely if he's getting the medication illegally) then the medication can actually be causing him pain.

He needs to get into a rehab program. But as you said, he doesn't believe he has a problem. If his behavior is so very erratic, then he's not stable and your friend needs to get herself and her children out of there or kick him out. Her first duty is to her children. She needs to lay down the law that he gets into rehab and doesn't come back into the house until he's in recovery. She can still support him while he's not in the house, and be a good support system for him, but she's risking her children by allowing him to stay while he's getting high.

His reflexes and his judgment aren't as they should be, so he can't be trusted to keep the children in his care whether he's on the pills at the time or he's in between pills. He's unreliable. He's putting the pills first, as evidenced with their daughter's recital. He steals money. He's temperamental and has a quick temper when he's not high. He really is a danger right now.

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Denver on

Not sure how much help this is, but there are several doctors who do treatments for free or reduced costs. Your friend might want to look into some of those to see if he can get the surgery he needs.



answers from Colorado Springs on

Do they qualify for medicade? If not, do they happen to live in the state of Colorado? My hubby & I have been going through rough times ourselves these past years, with both of us getting laid off & hard time finding something new. Anyway, since we didn't have kids under the age of 18, we didn't qualify for medicade. However, Colorado offers another option, it is called CICP. They charge you on a sliding scale according to your income. My husband just had a kidney stone surgically removed & had to stay 1 night in the hospital. The hospital could not charge us more then $199 nor the surgeon, then the radiologist the same. You get meds at a discount also, along with dental care.

So your friend might check out what her state has to offer & they might be able to have his back fixed, which in return may help out the rest of their problems.

I hope this helps somewhat.

You try to keep being strong for her. Maybe every once in a while your hubby could baby sit all the kids while you 2 go for a good meal & a movie.

Have a good day,

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