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Living with a Methadone Addict: What to Prepare For

Published on 06. 17. 2015

If your loved one is one of the 52 million people abusing prescription drugs like methadone, you better check out how it is to live with a methadone addict. Learn how to prepare for a roller coaster life ahead with a methadone user and how to survive the ordeals of addiction.


Methadone is an opiate drug used to relieve pain and in the right and supervised dose, it can be included in the treatment program addiction. However, methadone is a highly addictive drug that can cause dependence. Anyone on regular methadone therapy must taper down the dose to avoid withdrawals. While it does not cause big rush like heroin or meth, it can be very dangerous when you mix it with alcohol or other drugs. Second to heroin, it is one of the most abused drugs in the country because it is more accessible and cheaper being a prescription drug.

Why many families are suffering from addiction-induced problems

NIH considers addiction as a treatable disease that not only changes the functions of the brain but the structure itself. It changes a loving responsible and honest person into a detached, irresponsible liar even if they don’t want to. With 23.2 million Americans suffering from different types of addiction and only ten percent thereof have been receiving treatment; many families should brace themselves for the psychological, physical and financial impact of addiction.

How an opiate addict for 23 years successfully recovered from addiction with a simple decision

Rene, a graduate of Hawaii Island Recovery shares her terrible ordeal with prescription drug addiction.


“I was on opiates for 23 years because I had 2 hip replacements. I got on my computer one night because I was desperate and I was not doing well and I needed help. Then I found HIR and 2 days later I was booked in to stay 3 months altogether. And now I am sober for 8 months and I’m doing great.”

Many patients undergoing hip replacement are given methadone for pain control. Initially patients take it to relieve extreme fatigue and numbness aside from pain. Regular use of methadone does make some patients feel psychologically better and they end up abusing it.

Using methadone to quit drugs is a bad idea

Other methadone addicts tend to start off with methadone with the plan of having a smooth transition from heroin or other drugs. But, this opiate also produces ‘high’ in the first few weeks. After that the cravings return, often more vengeful than the last time. It usually comes with lethargy, apathy, constipation, weakness and inability to do anything productive.
There are also patients who went on Methadone to get off high amounts of prescription pills. They believe that there will be no cravings so they stay on it for years and taper down as suggested by methadone clinics. But methadone withdrawal is not as easy as expected.
Detoxing from methadone can lead to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms like blurry vision, body pains, diarrhea, vomiting, confusion and seizure which can be very dangerous. That’s why Hawaii Island Recovery does not recommend methadone therapy. Methadone is an addictive drug which is just a substitute for your actual addiction and it can be more addicting as the drug you are trying to replace.
The whole point of shifting to methadone to stop using heroin is an attempt to change the reward cycle of your brain. What’s worse, your brain gets used to methadone and the new reward cycle begins, not for heroin anymore but for methadone itself! 

What families of methadone addicts can learn from this HIR graduate

Don’t take it personally: This client says Methadone addicts don’t know how to love themselves because…

Rene claims that HIR helped her do the most important thing she cannot do for herself when she was addicted to prescription drugs.
“I would have to stay the best thing I learned in recovery is to love myself and be myself and who I am. It’s because when you’re on drugs, you don’t know who you are. The only things you want are the drugs and alcohol or the gambling or the sex addiction and whatever your addiction is.” the Rene continues.

How often did you feel hurt and rejected because the methadone user in your family would not stop using drugs even if you beg him or her to do so? It’s because many of them also feel trapped and scared and they can’t get off the hook even if they want to. It is true that addiction starts with the user himself, but addiction has a very strong ripple effect on their loved ones. To say that an addict is selfish is an understatement. At least a selfish person knows how to love himself, but an addict loses control of himself. 

Vilma: This is how I learned to believe in me

As a trainer, Vilma had to deal with personalities at all times. The HIR program helped her believe in herself and in her passion for fitness and health and to help other people. “It is my way of being of service as an AA member” says Vilma.
If you will ask methadone users why they cannot quit methadone, they might probably tell you that trying to quit this drugs is like a million times harder than it is to stop cold turkey heroin because of the very painful withdrawal. Some try to taper off, other switch from methadone to heroin and back, but they remain stuck in the pattern of addiction. They always revert to methadone to avoid the pain of withdrawal.

Face reality and get help: Methadone addicts need this kind of program to get their identity and joy back

“When you’re going through that process you lose who you are, you lose your spirit and I was soul less and when I came out of recovery, I got back joy and I learned to love and trust myself. That was a big thing I learned at the rehab, and once you do that then you can love everybody else around you. My life has changed dramatically and I’m so happy now, the staff amazing, the therapist, amazing, the house we stayed for three months is amazing and it changed my life and it was the best thing I ever did for myself. I highly recommend it” says Rene.

It’s hard to give up the addict identity and get your real identity back. At HIR, the therapists shall help you give up your addict identity which revolved around drug addiction and the factors influencing it, including your environment and physical health. They will equip you with the tools you need to discover your identity.
In the meantime, keep yourself healthy while helping a methadone addict in the family. HIR offers family support therapy to make sure you keep a good balance with caring for a loved one, recreation, nutrition, work and friendships.
You may be tempted to feel responsible for the addict but enabling them by helping them get the drugs or covering up for them can worsen their condition. You may eventually feel guilty, hurt and devastated when things don’t go your way, or if they don’t get “fixed” after all you have done for them. But, the best thing you can do is to bring them to a drug rehab facility that gives them the right program to succeed in the recovery program. It is best to do it when they reach out for help or as soon as you can convince them to do so. 

Marni: Addicts need to feel safe because…

“Hawaii Island Recovery offered a safe nurturing environment during a time in my life when everything was falling apart” says Marni. She said that the staff at Hawaii Island Recovery and the unique addiction treatment program gave her a choice to heal and live a sober life. Moving into a secluded, drug-free and safe environment can be a great help for someone who has been struggling with drug abuse for a long time. You need to break the pattern of drug abuse, even if it means, leaving your home and going to a rehab facility where you can discover yourself and heal.

To overcome methadone addiction, your loved one needs first to admit he or she needs the help of addiction professionals and the exciting journey to lifetime sobriety shall begin. After that, they need to get clean by staying in a great rehab facility like Hawaii Island Recovery to be successful.


Call (866) 390-5070 for more details on how our treatment programs can help your loved one overcome methadone addiction.


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