Straight Talk: Reader from Auburn asks for advice on boyfriend's addiction
Dear Straight Talk: Please help. I am 22 and have been with my boyfriend for two years. He was the greatest person – that is, until some personal problems led him to try meth. He was instantly addicted. He is such a different person today and I often think about leaving him. But then I remember who he used to be and try to have hope. He has tried to quit but keeps relapsing. What can I do for him and how I can keep my hopes up? ~ Laurie, Auburn
Kira, 20, Moraga: My friend’s boyfriend was the same way. I’m not sure what he was using, but it was bad. It got to where my friends and I couldn’t hang out with her. She wasn’t oblivious to his problem, but he was always so high she couldn’t reason with him. All their arguments were about the same thing. She finally got the courage to break up with him, which made him finally listen.
Brie, 20, Santa Barbara: From what I saw of a friend’s meth addiction, the only way to get clean is rehab. My friend was 15, and though he wanted to be clean, he had to be forced because he never would go voluntarily. This is typical. He, like others, became a completely different person. He did more than a year in lockdown rehab where he wasn’t allowed to contact anybody. He’s been clean five years now and is absolutely gorgeous. He has turned his life around and helps other people get clean. So, I know your boyfriend can do it, too, but it takes a lot of work.
Colin, 18, Sacramento: Meth isn't pot. It will destroy his life. I doubt an intervention will work, so unless you own a treatment facility and have the physical force to get him there, contact the police. Don’t worry about him being sentenced to jail. That hardly ever happens anymore in California, thanks to our informed voters. Also, don’t tell him you're going to call; he might get angry. Yes, calling the cops is extreme, but meth is extreme. He either gets caught now, or a year from now, when he looks 70 and is doing anything for his next hit. Your call.
Jaclyn, 25, Boise, Idaho: How awful. Most important is to make sure you aren’t enabling his behavior. If he has you to lean on, it can inadvertently make him keep doing what he’s doing. When a bad habit is severe, a person has to get so fed up with themselves that they are forced to make a change – or lose what they love. I would tell him to check into a rehab facility, and then I would check myself out of the relationship until he proves his sobriety. Don't sacrifice your own potential for his bad choices. Hopefully he will overcome his addiction – and if not, there is a better man out there for you. Life is already hard. Choose a partner willing to battle life WITH you, not someone who will BE the battle.
Dear Laurie: Each panelist shares a profound wisdom that I agree with. You don’t say if his parents know of his addiction. Parents can sometime “force” an adult child into rehab using the power of their parental authority. If that route fails, consider an intervention with the help of a treatment center (see www.casacolumbia.org for a listing of centers – or call 1-800-662-HELP if you have no money or insurance). If that fails, I’m totally with Colin. Report his use to police. Don’t waste any more time. He will thank you later for saving his life. For your hopes, if you don’t already pray, now is the time to start.
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More from Lauren Forcella
Methamphetamine, crystal meth, or just meth, has changed recreational drug use. Most hard-core tweakers inject meth, but it can also be smoked and snorted. Because of this, many people (especially adolescents) don’t take it seriously enough. Having a bad week? Need a euphoric break? What can one hit, or one line, do? A lot. Fifty percent of people who try meth only once become seriously addicted. Ninety percent become seriously addicted after their second use. Made with Drano and brake fluid, meth is such a severe brain toxin it drains the life and joy from a person very quickly, aging users beyond recognition in just a couple of years. Relapse is common and getting clean almost always requires help. Parents, please tell your kids how addicting and poisonous meth is, show them before-and-after pictures, tell them not to try meth for anything. And please intervene to the height of your powers at the first suspicion of use.
It is a failure of modern society that for adolescence (now proven by brain studies to go up to age 25), a family cannot legally force, with due cause, their over-18 adolescent into rehab. In earlier, family-bonded societies, it would be unthinkable to let a poison ravage a family member into an unrecognizable form. Out of love, the family or shamans of the tribe would take the person (regardless of age or consent) into the wilderness and retrieve his spirit from the demons. Today’s rehab centers are the modern-day version of this. Only today, love doesn’t determine who gets forced into rehab, age 18 does. Those over 18 are left to “decide” on their own – even though a drug like meth leaves them no mind to decide with. Call me the village idiot, but this law is unloving. That’s why I tell parents to “act as if” and force their adolescent child into rehab anyway, regardless of his or her age. A parent, simply by being the parent, has more persuasive power than our laws tell us we have.