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Diabetes With Multiple Addictions


1delapisa reaches out for help with her Loved One who is in dangerous territory. He suffers from multiple addictions on top of diabetes and mental illness. He does not seem to have any motivation to take care of himself, and he refuses to talk about the treatment and support that he so desperately needs.

I’m 1delapisa!
My son has shut down yet again. Drug addiction – adderall, crushed and snorted – uses and sells. Subutex, snorts. Pot always. Supposedly was hooked on pain killers which got him to Suboxone 1st, then Subutex.

2nd disease – Type 1 Diabetic – doesn't check his blood, just waits to feel like crap. Hospitalized 3 times for diabetic ketoacidosis. Endo flat out confronted him and said his problem is not diabetes. Problem is he has been a drug addict half his life. Go to drug is meth. I have a hard time knowing if when really high he has had too much meth, adderall, or Subutex or all of them. Last time hospitalized 3/9/19. Diagnosed in 2015, his former life was GONE, friends, girlfriend, eventually job, home, money. Since has lost other jobs, money, apts. Also high on the list is PTSD – of course will not attend any therapy, groups. Does not feel any self worth or talking to any one, cousins, friends, brother, family. Called me once again this am and cried for 2 solid minutes then hangs up. Has no friends in his mind. He wont let anyone in. 3rd disease is mental illness. Refuses any therapy, testing, counseling, guidance.
I just cant give up hope. I wish there was a concrete way to ship him to a rehab for learning a healthy way to live with t1d, serious drug management, right down to learning how to live day to day and keep his job and follow up with an IOP. He’s a tech guy, very smart, makes great money, but doesn't know how to live day to day. I really think longer term treatment which he wont even discuss is his only option. He’s so into his own head, I feel the outcome is going to be bad and final soon.
Desperate as most of us are…

Your son knows he is in trouble. Waking up in the ICU at one point and being told point blank from the doctor that the problem was drugs… It is of course much more than drugs, but drugs are at the top of the list of what needs resolving. I suspect he won’t address his diabetes properly until he gets a handle on the drug problem.

If your son is misusing Subutex (which is Suboxone without the opiate blocker) then he should consider methadone. This would be the first thing I would try and intervene with as a family. Getting on methadone, which is much harder to divert or misuse, would take care of the opiate issue. It would put him under the eye of a professional who would see the Adderall in his urine and address that as well.

What if you put all the rest of his world aside and aim for this first? Can you find the methadone clinic for him? Can you find out about wait-lists and costs… and map out how he can get to the clinic everyday? With methadone, it is dispensed daily until the person shows himself to be trustworthy enough to have a take-home.

I would agree with your longer-term need of finding your son a place where he can learn how to manage his diabetes, drug addiction, and mental health. Can you private pay at all (somewhere around 5,000 a month?) I could see him in a place, perhaps where he trades some of that tech knowledge, for a bed for 6-9 months at the least. I imagine that on top of all these barriers you may also find that the substance abuse treatment system has worries about taking on someone whose diabetes is out of control. This is an area in the field of addiction that could use some more research.

Does anyone on this site have ideas about longer-term care for someone with a medical issue such as Type 1 Diabetes?

Your being on this site and reaching out for support is positive. You have been doing your best, but it seems so thankless and frustrating. It can be agonizing to watch what a Loved One does to him or herself. He refuses to talk about the kind of support and care that you know he needs. Your pain is palpable.

Go easy on yourself. Find your way to a place of internal peace and quiet, even if just for a few minutes in your day. A few minutes each day adds up. This struggle is traumatic for everyone involved. Your desperation is real. It has driven you here. It comes with a very important message. Your thoughts can carry you away to places that are neither hopeful nor helpful. You don’t need any more stress… I’d suggest revisiting Learning Module 7. Take some time to figure out how to shift your thought patterns when they start spinning off into a negative direction. These negative states are perfectly understandable, but they don’t help solve your son’s problems, they don’t help solve your problems; they don’t help you see a way out. They create a sticky trap which requires a lot of energy to escape.

Your energy is precious. It’s important that you find a moment here and there to show yourself love and appreciation. It’s important that you find a light to shine for yourself as well as for your son. There is a path. It’s not a tidy formula that works the same for everyone. It isn’t a straight line. But it is there.

We are glad you are here on the site. You are asking the right questions. You have our support. The whole picture of your son’s chaos and dysfunction is too much for you to take on – it’s too much for anyone to take on singlehandedly. He is ultimately going to have to take the helm. In the meantime, find a way to carve out a plan for just the methadone clinic for now. This would help nudge him towards a safer space. One small shift at a time: this is how we can create new possibilities. Take it one step at a time, and be prepared for the opportunities when they arise.

Wishing you peace and strength. We are here for you; we are here with you. Keep us posted.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)

  1. I haven’t been here in a while. My finances have me working 3 jobs. My son lost last job over 2 months ago. He once again used unemployment, anything he could, to stay afloat. Once again all is gone. Probably selling more personal possessions, his loved guitar, again. His dad, brother and only once myself are keeping him with Suboxone and insulin for type1d. I give him rides to store where he comes up with money for cigs. Has managed to keep food. His work search has once again come through. Starts a new job Monday.
    Reality check, he still sleeps the days away and nights. That is a disease related to drugs taken improperly, Suboxone, antidepressants, Adderall. Depression always. No therapy/counseling. Same ol story.
    I just finished watching 7seasons of Nurse Jackie. Around season 5 mentioned to son to watch. He’s actually started watching. Now I don’t want him to see season 7. No point. Maybe if he’s still alive in a few years he will finally understand. Either he wants to get straight in his head or he doesn’t. Ive even learned about wonderful adults doing great things in recovery, working, living, with the Suboxone help. It is pointless for saying/guiding anything. I am addicted to my addicted son. I just want him to live a life, stay around for friends, family. He’s a good person and I enjoy talking with him and being around him. It just doesn’t happen much. I’ll just keep up my prayers.

    1. It’s good to hear from you. I am sorry your son is still sounding so shaky. This is a good opportunity to talk about the scope of CRAFT, including its limits. It’s important to be frank about your ability to control him. Within the CRAFT model, there are steps you can take. These can be very grounding when you can’t see a way forward. They can work wonders. But a Loved One can only change if they are ready to. This is the limitation that we are all grappling with.

      CRAFT provides the family the best framework for understanding and acting when a Loved One struggles with substance problems. The family learns the stance that works best, which creates the best environment around the Loved One. This is the limit of your control over addiction. With CRAFT you are informed about what you are seeing, how you are acting, what you are willing to do that will be helpful (like getting him into treatment).

      Read Dominique Simon-Levine’s full response to 1delapisa here:

  2. I need to share my feelings, again. Today I have had a light bulb moment, now what to do for me…My thought is my son is NOT living. Almost 31, just waiting around to have his next high. Controlled by a drug that tells him he will not sleep at night and sleep all day. He will not have friends, he will not be able to hold down a job, he won’t be close to his small family. He won’t realize and admit to someone how sick he is, and me the parent – well I’m sick too.

    This came to me after older son was doing yardwork for me and had to go to home depot where he ran into my addicted son’s old friend. He was getting something to work on his house, just like my older son. Just normal living stuff!! The old friend is married, working and has two kids, same as my older son. Oh how I prayed for that the whole time raising them both. Please God, let them just grow up. Just let them stay in our family and live, enjoying life – nothing fancy – just living.

    The young man that was addicted son’s friend was part of the group he started getting in trouble with, starting in 8th-9th grade. His friend didn’t do the drugs, but has attended all the same funerals for their friends that have died from od.

    I want peace-

    1. Dear 1delapisa,
      It is positive I think that you are:
      1)able to see that your son is (for now) slave to a drug, not making decisions logically/rationally but simply doing what the drug(s) tell him to do next;
      b) holding a vision for him, for the day he will leave those chains and move toward a healthier life; and
      c) able to acknowledge that you, too, are suffering and need attention and perhaps also professional care.
      This is not news to any of us who have been enmeshed with an addicted member for years: We the family member are also part of the problem. We didn’t cause it and we can’t fix it, but we CAN continue to support them, and heal ourselves. Guiding them by our own recovery.
      I reocmmend reading Laurie MacDougall’s and Annie Highwater’s posts on this site to delve more into the notion of the family member needing recovery just as much as our Loved One.

  3. A few weeks later since last post…Son lost his new job this week. Came here tonight – is it his routine or act just for me? Again he’s down to no money, medicine will be gone. Told me that he knows he’s lost weight. Pretty sure this is his way of getting my mom pity. I right away made him food that would help his sugars – high? Low? who knows, he never checks. Like I said guess he waits to feel like crap. The previous week he went to the beach with his dad’s family. Heard as usual he slept most of the week away until he took whatever to stay up most of the night. After coming home, to be at work on monday, he needed two days off due to his diabetes?? he told me today. Guess they lost their trust in him and fired him. Why doesn’t he understand what an addict he is. When he came here to say goodbye before going to the beach, he was very high. Pacing, rocking, non stop, was it meth, subutex, adderall, all of it? I can hear him snort whatever while on phone with me! I have one thing not done for him yet, have him committed. I know the place he would be taken, then they would know of the drugs he’s on and the T1D bad shape he is in. If somehow, some way they would keep him longer due to t1d and drug addiction and severe depression. He has no job now – it would be a good time for it. More treatment, then an IOP, my dream. He’s a danger to himself. How can he forget the drs. at hospital stating to him clearly his drug addiction will kill him. Myself? I feel like running away. I don’t want to go through this anymore. Of course I made a comment about the addiction, then got a few f.u.’s while knocking stuff off tables as he left tonight, And Still I Love Him. Praise to my God.