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How Can I Tell if He's Using/Clean about Meth?

   Thanks for your responses earlier this week. It's been a roller-coaster week for us. Almost a week ago our son confirmed that he's been using Meth for 8 or 9 months and claims to now be clean.
   I visit the board every couple of days and try to get as much information as possible. You're right. You all know your stuff, don't pull punches and provide super feedback. For that I thank you.
   Right now our boy is living on his own and has started working again. He's flat broke and had no food in the house. We bought him some food, but I will NOT give him any cash. We've also been in contact with him every day or two -- an email, phone call or planned visit -- just to show we care.
   I've also been pretty open with the fact he can't be around us or his brothers and sisters if he's using. He won't be welcome at our house. Question #1 -- How can I tell if he's using again?
   Question #2 -- I know the tendency of addicts to "clean up" and get what they want (food, money, etc.) and then disappear again to start using the drug again. Is there anything I can look for in my son's behavior to figure out if that's what's going on now? I hate the thought that helping him out with the rent and some food might be enabling him....Is there some kind of boundary I can put in place to be sure that what we are doing to help him doesn't get turned into enablement? I know this is a confusing post, but I'm obviously confused too...I want to help him and be supportive, but I do NOT want to enable him to go back to the meth...
   Thanks for listening. Thanks for all you've given me already in just one week.
   God Bless, MomT


Lorrie - 
   Offer him something to eat. If he says he's not hungry he's probably using. Look in his eyes. Are they red? Are his pupils dilated? If yes he's probably using. Is he talkative with a lot of energy? If yes he's probably using. Does he seem tired with low energy? He's either coming down off the dope or he's not using. There are so many signs if you know what to look for. A good source of info is Sfj's web page. It's very informative about the questions you seek answers to. Good luck.

Vicky -
   Lorrie gave you some really good ones, and i remember from some of her earlier posts she mentioned "the way he held his mouth". That's a good one too, because if you know someone well, the expression is a dead giveaway, or was for me, with lots of people from the group i used with. Also, and i think the most valuable thing of all, listen to your gut...if you feel something is wrong it most likely is.

Mamochka -
   Here are a few signs that always let me know if my son was using:
1. Sniffly nose (from snorting)
2. If I hadn't seen him in a week or more, and he'd lost more weight, I knew he'd been using. Or if he came home, and ate non-stop, I knew he'd been using and hadn't eaten in days.
3. If he stayed awake for more than 24 hours, he was high at the time. If he slept for extended periods, he was crashing.
4. If he didn't look me straight in the eyes, most likely he was using.
   Unfortunately, as my son got deeper into meth, and was using on a daily basis, it became harder to tell he was using. When he first started using, it was obvious when he was high...bouncing off the walls, totally wired. But as it became a more regular thing, it was harder to tell. I guess that's due to several things. First, one of the articles I've read on this site or SFJ's talked about the chronic user not really getting "high." Plus, he made an effort to control his behaviors, I think, so it wouldn't be so obvious. And, he avoided me...staying in his room most of the time, only coming downstairs when I was gone or asleep.

Sfj -
Common signs of meth use: (short version)

1. lack of sleep,
2. Lack of appetite,
3. Nervous twitching,
4. Blaming others,
5. Grinding teeth,
6. Clenching jaw,
7. Seldom smile,
8. Avoid family and normal friends,
9. Unable to be responsible,
10. Dental and skin health gets worse,
11 Abnormally high amounts of energy,
12. Paranoia,
13. Taking things apart, gadgets and mechanical things
14. Obsessive perverse sexual behavior.

While these are not present in all users, they are the most common.

Stopping meth results in being:
1. Tired,
2. Depressed,
3. Lonely,
4 Fat, and having
5. Lack of ambition and motivation,
6. No sex drive or passion,
7. Feelings of despair,
8. Possible suicidal thoughts

MomT -
   Thanks for your feedback. I honestly don't know what to think at the moment. Our son came for Sunday dinner tonight and it went well. I think. I don't that I'll ever know for sure if things are going well or not...
   Anyway, he came in, looked me in the eye. His pupils were not dilated, although they looked tired. He said he'd been up since 4 a.m. working and was really tired. He talked a lot. He seemed fidgety, but not overly so. He's been somewhat fidgety for years... He talked about things that had happened to him since the last time we visited. He didn't seem to get as emotionally angry today as he has done in the past.
   We spoke calmly to him. Encouraged him to keep working. Encouraged him to stay clean, get a haircut, run with clean people, etc. Now that he's working again, I worry that with money in his pocket, he'll start using again. I offered to hold his money for him so that he won't have it available to spend on the drugs. Again, I don't want to baby him, but provide him support. I think he's considering my offer.
   He also talked about moving to another city -- to get away and start over. That worries me some, but at the same time, I'd like him to make new friends and get away from the tweekers. And their friends. And the dealers. And their friends. One good thing he said, as he discussed one city, is that it's a college town, known for partying, and that might not be a good idea for him.
   Thanks for letting me vent. I truly appreciate all that I've learned on this board. Thanks to all of you for sharing and supporting the rest of us. Have a good one!

See also:

How do you know if someone really stops using Meth?

Quitting Crystal Meth / Methamphetamine

Is he still using meth?

Back to Crystal Meth & Methamphetamine Questions, Answers & Advice

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