Dear Aunt Agony... Do Heroin Addicts Become Violent When They Are Ill?

Dear Aunt Agony,

Is it true that heroin addicts get violent when they are ill? My friend wants me to babysit him through withdrawals and I am willing to do it but am scared that when he's desperate he may go crazy on me. Do you think I should accept to babysit him through withdrawal? I've done it once before but it didn't even last two hours before he made an excuse to go to the toilet, then said he needed some air, and never came back. But this time I think he's serious as he's been talking about it a while and seems to really want to stop. I hope he does anyway.



Aunt Agony says:

Hiya Sarah,

This thing about heroin addicts being violent is pure media myth served up as an indirect way to have people believe that heroin addiction takes such a strong grip upon the addict that it turns them into knife wielding drug crazed maniacs. But the truth is, when an addict is properly ill, it is one of the weakest physical conditions someone can be in (without being dead). It's pure torture just laying still, nevermind moving, or doing anything strenuous. Often the addict is so ill they cannot even score themself. So no, an addict who is ill is not dangerous or violent. More than anything they will be an emotional, begging, pleading, groaning, cursing mess... but they'll be so unwell that they'll not be a danger to anyone. The point where an addict is capable of doing something completely out of character (maybe violent) is just before they get ill... when they know it's coming and have to do something within the next few hours to prevent it. As time ticks on, and as the addict becomes more uncomfortable, so he/she considers more desperate means to raise money. If a violent act may occur, it is there where it will happen... the threat of it at least. I say "the threat of it" because hitting someone isn't going to get you well or get you money. But a show of rage, scaring someone, could frighten them into giving up 20 quid. Really it is this: if your friend doesn't have a violent temperament he will not become violent: no matter what. If however he is known for chucking the occasional right hook when frustrated then that will not change. Still, with proper withdrawals I cannot see anyone becoming violent. Dope sickness is an illness which puts psychopaths on their backs... any prison guard or mental health worker will tell you the same.

Babysitting??? for me that never works and always ends the same: the addict begging to be let out – to the point where the babysitter just cannot take it no more. If by some miracle you can put up with it, and don't fall for one of the any number of tricks that the addict will use to taste fresh air, then there can be anything from a room fire to the addict feigning death to have the door opened. If ever there was a detox plan which has less success than even government funded schemes, then it's that one. But that doesn't mean to not do it. It just warns you that it's very rarely gonna end in success, and more than likely, if your friend did make five days, as soon as it's over he'd leave and immediately score just to get rid of the stress of the past week.

Now my question, as something in your first mail intrigued me. You say the first babysitting attempt didn't even last an hour? Can I ask, did you give your friend money that day? Let's say for some medical supplies.... paracetamol... herbal relaxants.. energy drinks, etc?

Until soon... all my best, Aunt Agony. X


Hello auntie,

thanks for explaining things about the violence, so now I don't think i've anything to worry about but I have heard so many stories and not always from the media. I know you say it's hopeless but i've decided i will babysit my friend. I'd like it to be me who sat through it with him if he did make it. If it does no good, well, it cannot do harm, and so i think it'd be best if i am there no matter what. We have planned to do it on monday as he says he wants to have that as a clean start and time to get his head fully around the idea. So fingers crossed. I hope he he succeeds because he struggle(suffers) so much with his problem.

OMG how did you know about me giving money for medicines? did you read my story on the experience project? No one ever read that!lol


Aunt Agony says:

Hi again Sarah,

The Experience Project??? I don't even know what it is. So sorry to disappoint you but still no one has read your piece... maybe tomorrow, lol. No, when you said he had disappeared after an hour it reminded me of a few stories I've heard and even not too far from something I often used to do when funds were tight. I knew because I'm a junkie... there are some gains to be had in all of this!

Oh, things are NEVER hopeless. I just let you know the real chances of this kind of detox working so as you don't end up disappointed, or worse, thinking your friend somehow let you both down by not succeeding. And as I say, even if your friend actually makes it through the withdrawals that's still not time to celebrate and toast his saved soul... that's just 5 days out of a lifetime. When he leaves the room every phone line is a direct line to a dealer, every street the walk to a meet. Detox is one thing, but shirking the monkey for good quite another. So I was just letting you know, and if it seems a negative thing to tell you, it's not... it's only the truth.

Anyway, let me know how you get on... and if there's ever anything else you can mail anytime.

All my thoughts, A.A . X


Thea D said...

Dear Auntie (and Sarah as well /\ )

Shane, you're probably right re herion junkies not normally getting violent whilst withdrawal is actually in process. The only real problem I 've ever had when trying to "babysit"/help a serious addict was io probably due to other substances consued (crack, lots of it! in one case) and probably the Cut of H in another. Bothe of these love ones seized, flailing & the whole bit; ende up on the florr holding onto y brother the first time, from behind, as he was flailing. He bruised himself and me as well

But sefinitely the window for danger from hostility is as you've stated -- when the panic-craving uglies sets in. before the true debilitation from dope-sick starts its wrecking-ball effect. Thank you for affirming that, cause we couldn't get anyone to believe that there wouldn't be mortal danger inwolved w/the actual clean-up.

& I dunno if I posting this in the correct portion of your site.
I only know right now that I've not seen my brother in almost a decade,
Fell like I;m "Waiting For Billy"
What else to do? IS THERE ANYTHING?


Georgina said...

Hey there, Re; Sarah 'babysitting',
I've had two experiences relating to this post. This is one.
Many years back; desparate to get clean(was on verge of losing a good job) I asked a trusted male friend(my family and friends dont know about my addiction to this day) to look after me for a wk during a two week local holiday. We came to a finantial arrangement as I knew it'd be a 24 hr job & emotionally draining.
I organised valium,df's,methadone and the usual pain killers, limited amount of wine and Gin and Tonic with trays of ice(also meds for bowels, high temp, and anti inflamatory,boxes of 'complan & other energy drinks and comfort food)I 'knew myself', I covered all bases-even tampax). I bought a cupboard full of new sheets,clothig both light&silky, and warm and soft.Lots of deodorant and sprays,bath things...LOTS of, candles, music, I had cable tv;the list and cost was endless. It included numerous items for my 'minder'.
It took me wks to organise a schedule, infact, my mistake, it was ten days as we went away for three days after.
I recollect very little of it, possibly due to the combination of valium and wine, but I reduced myself from 100ml meth(was using two g's of smack or thereabout daily,just under an eighth-I kept remainder for following day)Also was buying/taking 50mg a day of meth, so doubling up meth seemed right)So I reduced 10ml a day. I remaimed on valium.
I remember crying and begging, when drinking gin probably. I'm not a hostile person, so Craig said I was never violent(though he did have to stop me trying to hurt myself)
The thing is, he is a Lot bigger and srtonger than I am. Perhaps that was why, other than the trust issue; I chose him.
But I'd only been using for five years or so, I dont imagine that would work now(had I that serious a habit)
I remained clean, propped up by a variety of pills (and wine after work)until I met and fell in love with a user two years later; when I'd began to 'dabble' on pay day, So I found myself in a co dependant relationship. We hit rock bottom and I left five years later.
I use every week, friday(pay day);three and a half g's which lasts until sunday evening. I juggle meth and valium, trying not to become completly mentally and phys addicted to just one(I realese how absurd this sounds but i've managed to keep a decent home, job, and friends, surely I must be doing something right?)Gosh, I've just realised perhaps I'm looking for some sort of validation (I'm VERY private-obviously)
But my advice to sarah would be to be completly prepared(as above)dont let him rattle it out Do it properly and put things, charted,times to take pills, food, even pushing him to have a bath(he'll be glad when he's actually in it! Ridding himself of the sickness seaping and clinging to his every stinking pore, whilst one changes his sheets and freshens, but warm(I needed) room up)
Organise times and volumes of reduction, down on paper.Perhaps use webcam so he'll remember what he's achieved.Maybe chat on line if sedated enough after first few days.I wouldn't imagime three to five would've been enough for me.
A few days break after was ideal,though I did very little(nothing in fact, just sat on balcony) I'd been planning all that for many, many months. And was best thing I'd ever done.I've never been in that state or used those amounts again.
Sometimes I just stay home fri night til mon morning with bottles of valium, wine and classic fm. Trying not to call a couple of dealers I know near by.
I think that deep down every addict just craves complete, and I do mean complete peace.

Best wishes, Georgina.

Anonymous said...

auntie your a dumb bitch do yourself and everyone a favor and inject like twenty bags and die you retarded bitch

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