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How to Function With a Family Life, and a Heroin Addiction

Updated on March 26, 2019

I paid my bills, and bought my drugs--in that order

The very first drug I ever used was heroin. I used it before I smoked cigarettes, smoked marijuana, or drank alcohol. I knew I was going to use heroin by the time I was 13 years old.

Why did I make up my mind at that young of an age? Was it because I was curious? or was it because I knew at that time that my life was so messed up, that I would need the self medication, and the peace, and the ease of my emotional pain that it would provide me, even before I ever tried it.

I came from a very disfunctional family. My mother married a preacher that she had only known for two weeks, and we packed up our house and moved four hundred miles north of the town where I was born, and also four hundred miles away from any family besides my siblings and mother. We moved onto a hundred and twenty acre ranch where there were no buildings, the house we had to build before the winter snows came. It was a very difficult situation, for at that time I was only about ten or eleven years old, and my two brothers were younger than I by four and six years.

The preacher that my mother married after knowing him for only two weeks, was a pedifile, but nobody knew that at this time. I was the first to find out, and that was a short six months after my mother married him.

I won't go any further into the story of my disfunctional life growing up, except to say that the preacher molested me, and beat my brothers without my mothers knowledge, and moved us all to Mexico to be missionaries for the last seven years that our family was together.

Yes, by the time I had been moved two and a half thousand miles from my hometown, and from any safety that I had known, I knew that I would use heroin, and that it would become my best friend, my comfort, and the only thing that I could find to ease my pain. I was only thirteen years old. I made a list of things that I wanted to experience in my life, and the list went like this. I wanted to be married. I wanted children. I wanted to go to australia. I wanted to experience jail for myself. I wanted to see New York. I wanted to use heroin.

I didn't use heroin until I was about 23 years old. I had just had my first child, and I was married to a man who had no self worth, therefore he beat me down constantly to make himself feel better about his life. I never used any drugs while I was pregnant. This was the beginning of my self discipline concerning drugs. I could not permit myself to get my unborn child high, therefore I was able to control the drugs. As soon as I was through nursing the baby though, I was right back on my road of pain killing. At the age of 26 I broke my neck, and this also gave me more reason to use.

I was able to use heroin, work, raise my kids, pay my bills, and the result of my experiences was that I found that I was able to control it all to the point of becoming a functioning addict. I was happy with the arrangement, for it cured my pain, physically, emotionally, and constantly. If I did not have money to buy my drug, I went without, and I never let the children do without anything they needed. I have to say that as far as being selfish, I was not, for I found it was part of the painfulness of the addiction that I disliked, but did just so that I would not have to give it up permanantly. It was how I functioned.

One Day at a Time

I used heroin everyday almost for approximatly 25 years. There were periods of time when I would substitute the heroin with Methadone, just because I did get tired of finding a supply that was easy to get to without losing my freedom, by chasing it in the streets. I found that I had friends that also used that would buy enough for both of us, therefore I didn't have to compromise my freedom. I would reinburse the money they spent and give a tip to boot. It was a situation that worked out well for a number of years.

Also due to the fact that I lived in Mexico, and could speak spanish, this also helped me to be able to score my drugs more easily for most of the heroin in california came from mexico, and was sold by mexicans. This also made it easy for me to get quantities, for my language abilities made them trust me more.

I was preached to by my mom, for she became aware of my habit. I was told that I needed the twelve steps to quit. But I found that the twelve steps only made me crave the drug more, for I would go into the meetings clean, and by the time I was near the end, having listened to an hour or more of the war stories of others, I found I would make a beeline to the connections house as quickly as I could, sweating bullets thinking about what was said in the meetings. It definitely did not work for me, and I did try it more than several times.

Up until just recently, I continued to use heroin. My kids went through college, and became citizens that did not use drugs of any kind. They were aware of my habit, and at times were angry, but mostly did not have problems concerning this habit of mine. I am now 55 years old. I have used up until about eight months ago. I can not tell you why I quit, except that my life finally became a happy one for me. For the first time in my life I feel happy, therefore I did not feel the need to use, with the exception of a couple of times when my physical pain became overwhelming. But this has been a full eight months of no heroin in my life. I cannot say that I miss it, nor can I say that it was ever a problem that I felt I had to solve. As for today, I will not use heroin, maybe tomarrow, for I will not lie to myself and say never again. But today, I will not use.

Years Later- did this work for my family?

Well, I am now 62 yrs,. old and my children have long moved away from my house and all have their own families and lives. All of them are aware of my struggle throughout my life, and are able to look back at their childhood with a smile, and some questions which I will always try to answer for them as honestly as possible.

None of them seem to carry any animosity about my choices, and do not seem any worse for their experiences with me as a parent.


Submit a Comment
  • MarkMAllen15 profile image


    8 years ago

    Great article.

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    8 years ago from Oxnard

    there is always hope, and also let me add that you need not kick yourself in the butt or feel guilt for any failure you may be putting on yourself, for the one good thing about being at the bottom of the barrel is that there is noplace to go but just continue trying to do your best and don't let it change your life. keep your priorities straight and the rest follows naturally.

  • LaiLai29 profile image


    9 years ago

    I absolutely agree that there are many functioning addicts out there. Your story proves that. I also was/am a functioning addict although not really functioning so well anymore. Your story is inspiring and gives me hope. Thank you.

  • ajcor profile image


    9 years ago from NSW. Australia

    Congratulations to the both of you having the above conversation - such strong self aware women - I have not had this problem but have read about it a lot and understand within the limits of my knowledge how difficult it must be...again congratulation...cheers

  • FrankiesGirl6Yr profile image


    9 years ago from South Carolina

    You know I tried hypnosis for the purpose of quiting ciags. once. I don't know if self hypnosis is different, but yes, I am teired of battleing the cravings every time high stress re-enters. I'm the type that will try any thing...LOL

    Shoot me an email

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    9 years ago from Oxnard

    knowing is half the battle, and everyone is different. You still might consider self hypnosis, unless of course you do not want to quit craving it. That is the question right there, what do you really want?

  • FrankiesGirl6Yr profile image


    9 years ago from South Carolina

    Ya, I am completely aware of the "blocks" that come with Suboxone, believe me. But my husband and I have both been on it over 3 1/2 years and theirs ways you go around the "side effect". My husband just had hurnia surgery..He did have to stop taking it about 4-5 days before and was given extra pain meds. during and after, but everything seemed to work out ok.

    When we both decided to get clean, Suboxone worked great for him. For me, well I was the bad influence that caused several relapes. Now, like I said it been three years, but I still constantly crave "all of it". The process of getting it, cooking it, and even shooting it. I'm an all or nothing girl..I couldn't use the drug moderatly, I always went overboard. If given the choice; electric or heroin, it would be heroin every time, no questions asked.

    This is the only drug, only thing at that, which took over everything in me..But, I know this and that is why no matter how bad I Want to go downtown an grab a bag, I can't, because it would never be just a bag.........

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    9 years ago from Oxnard

    There are "tricks" to it, and my dr. gave them to me. there are ways to brainwash yourself, and if you learn to look at the drug in a different manner, things are much easier. I was in therapy for 23 yrs. and this was the way I learned to live with my addiction. I allowed myself for mistakes, and I lived by the fact that the only cure for addiction was substitution. Also, read the fine print on the suboxone, for it has some rather dangerous side effects, like you cannot have surgery or any kind of procedure that requires anesthisia, for it blocks it. You are up s--t creek w/o the paddle if you get into an accident. If you would like some of the tricks I learned, contact me by email and I will gladly share them with you. It is not as hard as it might seem. I have overcome an alcohol, and tobacco habit also these same ways. Let me know, I will help you.

  • FrankiesGirl6Yr profile image


    9 years ago from South Carolina

    You are a stronger person than I am. I HAD to use and was defiantly a non-functioning drug addict. I let it consume and take everything....Although I have been clean for 3 years, I cannot set foot into an NA meeting. I was the same way, going in clean, heroin the farthest thing from my mind..But I would always leave early, making the closer trip to the dope dealer’s house than heading straight home. The only way I was ever able to "function" like others, was when I had a back-up of Suboxone that would help the withdrawals. I don't know how you did it, but I can understand why you did it for so long. The whole reason I quit, was because I was tired of having nothing but the drug, being dope sick, and non-functioning without my precious heroin. I think if I could accomplish basic task like paying my bills, I probably would have never quit...

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    10 years ago from Oxnard

    I exchanged drugs to one that is longer lasting, and pharmisutical, and it is better than Vicodin, or Norco, because they do not have the aspirin, and they last a minimum of 10 to 12 hours. The problems I was having was that the heroin was not consistent, and one batch would be different than the next. It is easy to do too much. Besides that, every time I had to get more I was taking a chance losing my freedom. I was tired of these aspects of the habit, not of the drug itself. and yes, my children knew, not that I just told them but as they got older and asked questions, I did not lie to them. they are all adults now. I currently am taking Methadone, 10 mg tabs, two in the mornng and one or two at night. The doc also gives me Morphine Sulfate instant release so that when I wake up in the morning I have something that will take the pain away right away so I can get to the restroom etc. and then an hour or two later I take the Methadone for it's long lasting effect. The Vicodin was like a roller coaster ride for me for I was either going up or coming down on a four hour schedule. It seemed like I was eating pills all day long. The docs don't seem to mind prescribing the methadone at all and it works for me just great.

  • AnywhereGardener profile image


    10 years ago

    Can I ask you why you decided to quit? Were your kids aware?

    You can't be in pain your entire life and function so if you function on the heroin how was it time to quit?

  • AnywhereGardener profile image


    10 years ago

    We've got to push for decriminalization of all drugs! CA is on the right track but I doubt if they ever go further than marijuana. But they should. I have lower disc problems rubbing against my scacia nerve and also bone spurs and compressed disks. I live on Vicodin, its the only way I can function. When my doctor retires I don't know who I can get it from, most doctors are insanely protective with their drug prescriptions and I have a very high tolerance for all drugs. When at the dentist they can't believe how much novacain I need but if you tell a doctor that they don't believe you. I don't know the answer.

  • aguasilver profile image

    John Harper 

    10 years ago from Malaga, Spain

    I have friends who have the same situation, so I can sympathise, they need morphine to stop the pain (bone spurs lower back).

    The amount prescribed to them is insufficient to last through a month.

    Stupid drug laws.

    Living in Spain I could easily buy pure Perduretas Codeine without prescription at $7 for a pack of 60, and could keep them supplied back in Tennessee for very little.

    The online drug 'RX' pushers wanted $125 for the same thing....go figure, gotta pay the tame doctor for the 'examination' I guess.... must keep things legal!

    Then they change the law here, everything needs a script to fall in line with Codex and EU laws.... Stupid drug laws strike again.

    So my friend lies crippled in pain for 10 days a month some months, and the on-line drug rip-off artists stay in business, and the American public are protected from depraved drug addicts rampaging high on prescription morphine.... I don't think!

    Stupid drug laws....

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    10 years ago from Oxnard

    It is not a matter of being controled by a substance, it is a matter of pain, for I have broken my neck twice and I have irrepairable damage in my lower back too.

  • PB_Smith profile image


    10 years ago from Southern California

    There have been many fully functioning, productive heroin addicts. The illegality of the substance and unavailability of it is what brings the problems and crime. Many trial programs have been conducted that showed that when the drug was available and clean, addicts could lead very productive lives.

    Good for you for stopping, not because it's evil, but rather for not being subject to control by a substance.

  • ddsurfsca profile imageAUTHOR

    deb douglas 

    10 years ago from Oxnard


  • Abe Normal profile image

    Abe Normal 

    10 years ago from Gigantic Ocean Seaboard

    "It wasn't a problem when everyone had it." (Robin Williams)

  • profile image


    10 years ago

    wow, you're a very strong woman. thanks for sharing your story!


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