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Methadone use

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answered 11:54 AM EST, Sun October 23, 2011
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My boyfriend delivered a bombshell last night when he told me that he is on Methadone as a recovering heroin user. I am totally shocked. He is a successful sales executive and a totally normal guy and not someone you’d ever imagine as a drug user, or at least I never would have imagined it. He says that he has tried stopping methadone but that for him it’s just better when he uses it and that it doesn’t mean that he is an addict anymore. Is this true? He says he hasn’t used any kind of drug for over three years. I have been considering asking him to move in with me but now I don’t know what to think anymore. Is he likely to go back to using drugs again? I love him but I want to have a family one day soon and I also need to be thinking about what kind of dad he’ll be…

Loren Gelberg-Goff Says...

Bravo for your boyfriend to be clean and working on creating and maintaining a healthy and successful life and life-style.  You don't say how long you have been in a relationship, only that you were considering asking him to move in with you.  For however long you've been together, you must have a sense of who this man is.  Anyone who has come through an addiction and is working at maintaining living a life that is drug-free needs love, support, understanding and compassion... much like all of us want and need.  (Does he give you these things???)

That said, it is imperative that the two of you talk about the issues you raise... long term commitments, family, goals, baggage, etc.  Issues that every couple would do well to address, and go into relationships with eyes wide open.  There were reasons that your bf got hooked on Heroin, and reasons he got off.  The research shows that long term use of methadone is a very effective strategy for remaining drug-free.  Good therapy is also worthwhile, beneficial and in my opinion a necessity so that the issues that got you (&/or your bf) into trouble can be addressed, coped with and hopefully resolved; or at the very least learned to be handled differently.  Couples counseling would also be advisable so that some of these issues can be dealt with openly in a safe and supportive setting. 

Life is an ongoing series of lessons, tests, challenges and opportunities from which we can grow and learn.  You do not have to judge your bf for having been an addict as he really may have done a lot of the work I just described to be in the better place in his life that he's in now...  Maybe you need to get to know each other a little bit better, have some more heart-to-heart discussions about life and your perspectives, and should you decide to move forward in your relationship do so with honesty, compassion and respect for yourself and each other. 

I understand your concerns about having children, and I would also recommend that you both do genetic counseling prior to any planned pregnancy so you can address this important issue in your life with the same honesty, forthrightness, compassion and respect that I hope will be the cornerstone of this relationship and any other relationship(s) you have. 

I wish you all the best, Loren


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