By | February 28, 2009 63 Comments

Sociopaths and opiate addiction

Heroin and oxycontin belong to a class of drugs called opiates. Lovefraud recently received a letter from a reader that raised the issue of heroin addiction in sociopaths:

For nearly two years after my relationship with him ended, I was on the web researching heroin addiction because I assumed this was where all of his abusive behavior came from, but I stumbled upon information on sociopaths, and realized that he fits every trait”¦I know substance abuse behavior can mimic sociopathic behavior, but it is clear that the man I was in a relationship with is a sociopath, and was able to use his addiction as an explanation and excuse to further manipulate the many people who offered help to him”¦ The man I dated definitely went beyond the regular lying and stealing that takes place and went far into the realm of sadism- taking great joy in manipulation and emotional devastation of others. He was breaking into cars and taking great risks to his physical safety as a child/young man, well before his drug use started. It makes sense to me that people who are sociopaths and do not have a conscience would be more likely to become heroin addicts, as seeing others being hurt by their behavior would not be a deterrent. Whereas someone with a conscience would feel just as good when they take the heroin, they would be more likely to think about its effects on others, and stop the behavior.

I trained in three public urban hospitals where the prevalence of opiate addiction was so high that I treated countless numbers of these patients and encountered them on a daily basis. That nearly all were sociopaths was an inescapable reality. It did not seem possible that all these people were sociopaths prior to becoming addicted, so I have long believed that heroin especially makes people into sociopaths.

My beliefs have been confirmed by a number of scientific studies. One particularly thorough study was published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology in 1998 (Vol. 107.p 412-422) entitled, A Typology of Antisociality in Methadone Patients by Dr. Arthur I. Alterman and colleagues of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine.

These researchers studied 252 men in methadone maintenance programs. Their average age was 40. The researchers looked extensively into the backgrounds and histories of the subjects and had them complete a number of personality tests. They also interviewed them using Robert Hare’s PCL-R.

The study identified 6 groups of subjects, each with a unique psychological profile. 72 percent of the sample were sociopaths. That means that only 28 percent were not significantly antisocial. The researchers believed that in perhaps 17 percent of the sample the sociopathy was due to the addiction. The take home message though was that 55 percent were highly psychopathic as measured by the PCL-R. About a quarter of the total sample were married and we can assume the rest had relationships of some sort.

Government statistics indicate there may be as many as 2 million opiate addicts in the US. There are only 650 methadone maintenance programs in the US with an estimated 120,000 clients. These clients are likely similar to those of the reported study, but it is reasonable to believe that non-sociopaths are over represented in treatment programs, so the 28 percent figure may be an over-estimate with regard to the total addict population.

One of the most interesting findings of the above study was that Machiavellianism was high in the 55 percent of methadone clients who were sociopaths. Machiavellianism was measured by the 20-item MACH-IV which measures egocentricity, a lack of concern with conventional morality, and interpersonal manipulativeness. These symptoms would predict a great deal of distress in the spouses and romantic partners of the subjects- not to mention the children born to these parents.

The results of the study raise other important points I have made on this blog. First, among the very antisocial and manipulative opiate addicts there were a range of PCL-R scores. This means that you should not be concerned with trying to decide if the person who is hurting and manipulating you meets some magical cut-off score. Instead look at the list of traits Donna has posted and see if the description more or less fits.

Also, childhood and teen problems cannot always be identified in people who are very psychopathic. Things happen in late adolescence and early adulthood that change people. Furthermore, just because we can’t prove a given person had antisocial tendencies early in life, doesn’t mean they weren’t there. The other implication of this is that at-risk young people require careful, loving, hands-on parenting even if they seem OK. Addiction may be an event that tips at-risk individuals into the realm of psychopathy.

The brain opiate systems are central to love and attachment in humans. This fact may account for the propensity for sociopaths to use heroin. It may also be that opiate drugs specifically poison a person’s ability to love, making him/her egocentric, grandiose and manipulative.

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Dr. Leedom,

Have any similar studies been done on people who are addicted to cocaine and/or crack?

Ox Drover

Not a suprising result at all in my estimation. I think it confirms observation of the toxcisity of many people with addictions to various mind-altering chemicals including alcohol. AA has enough people who are obviously psychopathic that the term “dry drunk” has come into being to describe them. They are “off” the booze, but still behave in an antisocial and manipulative manner.

My mother’s brother was a very violent man both with and without alcohol, and from a very early age. The alcohol of course disinhibited his tendency for violence. The fact that he would go periodically for 3-4 days without sleep and while drinking makes me also (in retrospect) think he might have also been bi-polar. When he was sober, he could/would control his behavior in public at least (in front of anyone except his victims) but in “private” with his victims, he was relentless with the violence.

EVen when drunk though, he was a bully, and would only be violent to someone he thought he could cow. He was only verbally violent to me once, and then when he thought I would not respond—I did respond and left the scene of his outburst. He was careful to pick people he thought or knew would not fight back.

I’m with Jen, I would like to see studies on other substances of abuse as well as opiates. Good post!



I also would be interested in studies on the abuse of cocaine and/or crystal meth. My S served 10 months after he stole paychecks to feed his coke habit. By the end of our relationship I knew he was back on coke and pretty sure he was on meth.

Based on things he said relating back to his childhood, I am certain his sociopathy is genetic. However, the need of a sociopath for a fresh buzz, hence the return to drugs, makes me wonder if the sociopathy was a result of his drug addiction.


The book Monkeyluv by Robert M. Sapolsky cited research s that the frontal cortex or the pre frontal cortex of the brain is smaller in sociopaths and heroin addicts. I read that heroin deals with the pleasure centers in the brain, located in these areas, and heroin also changes the oxytocin and vasopressin? in the brain, which interferes with the experience of love and attachment to others. I think there are a lot of sociopaths who definitely find it beneficial to embrace their label of “addict”, because they can continue to hurt others, and then claim that they are really good people depite their actions, as a way to further manipulate and gain pity, playing on the sympathy of well meaning people who have not yet experienced their wrath enough to know to steer clear of them altogether.

Healing Heart

Hello Hopeful – I fell for this with my ex-S. His background was sketchy, but he explained it as the result of his addictions – that he had behaved poorly at times because he was an addict and alcoholic. He had been sober for 3 years when I met him. I should have paid more attention to the fact that his life didn’t look all that much better in sobriety. But, I gave too much credence to the “addict behavior” as the reason behind his antisocial acts. Turns out he was a drunk and high sociopath. And in some ways he got WORSE after getting sober. He had more conscious hours in the day to devote to lying, cheating, manipulated. The drugs and booze had slowed him down.

Ox Drover

Dear Hopeful,

Glad you are here, welcome!

Thanks for the reference for the book. Sounds i nteresting. I am interested in the differences in their brains versus “normal” brains.

I think you are right, too that they use their “disease” of “addiction” to blame for their behavior….”Oh, pity me, I’m sick and can’t control myself.” Yea, right!


About 10 months into my year long relationship with a femaile sociopath, she admitted to being a heroin addict in her early 20’s.. she was 42 at that time.. I was shocked at first, but felt that we all have a past and have made mistakes so I was just glad it was something from her past… later when the beauty turned into ashes and I was left trying to figure it all out, I recounted a year’s worth of her tales from her past and there had been other addictions.. cocane, xanac, and various other perscription and recreational drugs. In the whole time I was with her, I never saw or knew if she was taking drugs, but as I was piecing the whole bizzare relationship together along with her inconsistant behavior, I had wondered if she was taking drugs, because of the crazy behavior.. that was before I stumbled across thsi site… I guess the bottom line is I’ll never know if she was a sociopath, bi-polar, borderline, or a drug user, or maybe she was just crazy…… Next month will be three years since her departure from my life, and I have manged to go on and be thankful for the lessons learned and that it wasn’t worse then it could have been… but to be perfectly honest, the whole thing, the whole relationship, the twistedness of it all, has haunted me.. I guess it’s about not really knowing the real truth about what it was, but then again, at this point it really doesn’t matter… but still the same… I’ll always wonder how someone could be so dead on the inside once the mask slid down and possess a heart made of stone.



I was so busy trying to figure out what the hell I was dealing with by the end of my relationship with S. I spoke with drug counselors who told me that based on what I was telling them he was using agan. I spoke with therapists who had their own spin. I read the literature and knew I was dealing with an S.

In the end all I knew was that whatever the hell he was be it a drug-addicted S or anything else — I neeed him out of my life.

But, it’s that moment the mask slipped and I realized that he had no heart and for all the love and money and everthing else I gave him I was viewed as nothing more a source of supply just like his drug dealer.

Ox Drover

Dear SouthernMan,

Glad to see you back here! Have missed you! glad things are doing well and still on the healing, the drug/P connection is interesting itsn’t it. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Welcme back!

Healing Heart

I think these guys (and gals – yours sounds like quite a piece of work, Southernman), are born predisposed to being an S – maybe become one, maybe do not (depending in part, on environment – some will become S’s no matter what, others will not unless they are abused/neglected, somehow deprived of nurturing). And then because they are so empty, bored, irritable, they find substances that help them feel okay, and even good, temporarily. That frustration and emptiness is medicated – temporarily.

And, as they do for every human, use of substances to modulate emotional experience becomes substance abuse and then substance dependence. And addiction will rob a good person of their soul – “spiritual bankruptcy” they call it in AA. You lose your morals, your self-respect, your respect for others. I think “normal” people can regain, and even develop and improve, their spiritual self in sobriety (not all, though), while S’s have always been that spiritually bankrupt, and always will be that way. The substances just changed, somewhat, the expression of their pathology.

For my ex S some drugs mellowed him out and made him less likely to get in fights – while alcohol made him more aggressive. However, in sobriety he seems to be more strategic in who he hits – he hits women. He was less self-serving in his targets when drunk, and sometimes got himself beaten up by bigger guys. But when clear-headed, he knew to only assault women. And his sexual addiction (if you call it that – maybe just depraved sexual behavior of a sociopath) went on overdrive once he stopped using drugs and alcohol.

I think these guys (and gals) are bad. Both before and after the substance abuse. It may impact the way they live their lives and the expression of their pathology – but they were bad before, bad during, and bad afterward. They can use substance abuse as an excuse.

*I know many people who are “recovering” addicts and/or alcoholics who are absolutely wonderful people, and some of the most consistently spiritually sound people I have met. And NOT like the S – can walk the walk in addition to talk the talk.


HH I think you are right about some psychopaths being predisposed and that some start out as psychopaths and others are switched on and become psychopathic due to environmental influences. I also think there is a third group that has psychopathic behaviors but are not psychopathic.

Here is a link to a study that is not about psychopaths but it does show how social interactions can alter gene expressions in the brain and vice versa. One part from the study says:

The picture that is emerging from these and other studies suggests that social signals can have a profound effect on when and how genes function.

An organism’s genes, its environment, the social information it receives, “all these things interact,” said Clayton. “Experience is constantly coming back in to the level of the DNA and twiddling the dials and the knobs.”

This is one resaon why the discussion/research of this topic is so difficult. It is complex and the subjectivity involved makes it even harder to tease out objective data.


Oops I forgot to post the link to the study:


I seen S/P use both chemical imbalance as the reason for their personality behavior. They will claim to have a drinking drug or some other chemical addiction or will use the bi-polar scheme to gain sympathy from someone new. This will work in the beginning of any relationship so if ever used on me I just take note of it and then watch and learn. I still see it as a pity play but still some of these people who suffer from these chemical imbalances do need help. What I do is look for what they themselves are doing to deal with it. Anyone who really wants to deal with any type of problem will do so continuously and will be honest about what they want to do about it. This is what I look for, what are the things they are doing to deal with it? And how often do they use it as a excuse for bad behavior and/or missing time? One thing to remember is when even one does suffer from any type of “chemical imbalance” they are all still responsible for our actions and decisions. This of course goes for anyone that would suffer from an addiction albeit alcohol drug and/or being bi-polar. Also one should also remember about the issues concerning an “dry drunk” and how when alcohol or drug is no longer the problem in your life (and theirs) but their “personality” type is. This becomes yet another issue to deal with. Whenever we deal with anyone that has a “chemical imbalance” we run the chance of helping them deal with that problem only to see “other” problems that they would want us to help them deal with. This is where being an enabler starts to hurt me (and them) and I must be careful to watch it and deal with that issue about myself.

For me it’s irresponsible for anyone to get involve with someone new if that person has so many issues for them to deal with. For me that is the “first” major red flag. That person needs to deal with themselves first and foremost and then after dealing with “their problems” try and have a healthy relationship with another person. If you meet anyone that has so many issues I would ask them to first deal with that and then maybe we can start our relationship.

I have dated a few “ladies” that are bi-polar so I’m learning as I go, but anyone that has a drug problem for me personally is just that. “Their problem” and not mine. In short I get out of these type of relationships very quickly.


“they are all still responsible for our actions and decisions.”


Should be “They are all still responsible for Their actions and decision”…

Really could use a edit on this blog site..


Healing Heart

BloggerT – this is very interesting, thank you. I have read studies like this and have wondered if it is possible to “rewire” the brains of Sociopaths by having them perform positive and kind acts over and over and over so that new neural pathways and connections would form that would help them rewire. Of course there are a million holes in this “plan” both big and small – but I wonder, since environment can impact brain structure, if we manipulate the environment of the S, could we change their brains?

But in what context could you “force” an S to do good over and over again?

Sadly, probably the ones who have been S’s for years are way too far gone. But maybe if we could get to the young ones………… and I am most certainly NOT suggesting that as individuals we try to change them as personal projects. But maybe as a broad community we could create some “rewire” programs.

Healing Heart

I agree, James. No matter what they are ingesting – their behaviors are their behaviors, and they are responsible.


BloggerT, Healing Heart and James: I believe that they’ve conditioned themselves into their negative thinking, truly believing it is the correct way to think. I believe since they’ve conned even their parents or guardians at a young age, their behavior wasn’t or couldn’t be corrected during these young ages… allowing adults to show them the positive way to conduct their lives, they therefore, continue on this negative, destructive thinking (e.g. learned behaviors). They surround themselves with like minds … and it continues to take off, one negative mind to the next negative mind… group mentality concept.

I know where I worked, negative thinking and behaviors were considered the “norm” and positive creative thinking was frowned upon and looked down upon as if the person was a freak of nature.

As I just wrote in another post, two positive thinking tools are:

1. Fasting from Wrong Thinking
From “Pastor Gregory Dickow”
[email protected]

He’s on chapter 5 today, but there is a search for archives.

2. Reading E. Tolle’s book “A New Earth” … and a added bonus is logging onto to search her spiritual site for Tolle’s free tapes of all 10 chapters of his book.



HH – Sadly I think you are right in mmany if not most of the cases. Early intervention is so important yet many of these folks (not all though) come from households in which intervention would be unwelcome to say the least. And then there are the ones that just like being the way they are and would not change it for the world.

Wini I agree with you in that some of the anti-social youth I have seen over the years fit your explanation. But there are others that are/were in positive environments that would have “conditioned” them into not being psychopathic yet they still were. Genetics play a big role here also.


BloggerT: I would love to call it a day and say it’s genetics. Unfortunately, I can’t. I still believe it’s the individuals ego run amuck.

If we lived in a perfect world … with perfect parents (that loved each other to then turn around and love their children) … perfect teachers in a perfect school setting (including college), perfect corporate environment with perfect friends and relatives … and all were engrossed in positive-creative thinking … then would there be anti-social personalities?



BloggerT: I worked with people who believed in their own egos and crossed the lines of decency all the time because they wanted to. Theu could act normal when it was convenient for them … they could cry, the could get upset… especially if their lives were affected by a negative action. Same with my EX. He could act loving, kind, considerate, feeling person, yet crossed the line because it was convenient for him to do so. But, if his life was affected by an offense as he did to me, he’d have a nervous breakdown.

Reminds me of OJ during his last trial … telling the judge “your honor, I wasn’t going to to harm anyone, I just wanted my stuff”.

It’s not genetic, it’s learned behavior … and our society’s laziness and NOT doing their jobs that they are paid to do has allowed this behavior to flourish.

It’s 2009, do you think the FBI has a database of all the anti-social personalities out there in the world? NO. Why not?



Sunshine: I’m writing from this post because it has smaller blogs on it. The 600 and something on the article you wrote from, makes my computer go into an hourglass spin.

So, Welcome. Read as much as you can. Blog with anyone at any time. Whoever is on line at the time you write, will gladly write you back.

Peace to your heart and soul as you heal from this devastation.


Well Wini you know that you and I disagree on this one. I try to stay with what the evidence based scientific community has to say and I know that as more and more evidence comes in the thoughts I have today could be proven wrong tomorrow.

So far the evidence (and my own experiences treating, living with, and working around) points to it likely being both genetic and environmental. Saying that it is all learned behavior goes back to blaming the parental figures. I know better from experience. I have seen young children (under age 10) in very nurturing and positive environments that had good guildelines and accountability for behaviors and still some come out anti-social where others did not. Not to mention if it was simply conditioning why do most children raised by psychopaths not turn out psychopathic? Or do they?

I have a much different view of our society as well. There are quite a few negative things in it but in the year 2009 we are much much much better than in the past. Just look at the reduction in violence in our society, though it certainly does not seem so if one does not step back and take the long view. I find it encouraging that people like Madoff and the Enron stories are actually news worthy as 100 years ago they were common practice and no one blinked an eye.

As this video presentation shows, perspective can sometimes help


Oh and Wini I am talking about psychopaths not just anti-social behavior/people. I agree with you that much anti-social behavior is often learned and/or reinforced by the environmental factors.


Blogger and Wini – Its a bit of both. It is absolutely a lethal mix of both. One S might be completely screwed with the worst genetic make up and another S might have experienced the most harmful dysfunctional experience in his environment that set the path. Or another S might have had a little bit of this and a little bit of that which began the self deception/destructiveness.

In my family, my mothers baby pictures were never of her smiling. She was always sad in family photos with two older siblings smiling away – was that some kind of a clue? During her childhood years she made friends, she was an over-achiever, extremely high I.Q. – adored by all.

When she was 16 she experienced an emotional trauma finding out the man raising her was not her real father. Her real father was in an institution for being an alcoholic and the family secret was revealed to her in her front yeard when her biological father sent his sister (her Aunt) to bring her to meet her biological father on his deathbed.

My father, her boyfriend and the time, says she was never the same person from that day forward. She stopped trusting anyone and everyone. She shut down. She changed. Genetics or Environmental Atmosphere. Or Both. ??

She went on to have two children by age of 19. Married my father, a workaholic. And eventually diagnosed with schizo affective bipolar disorder



Sorry Wini but I have to agree with Blogger that both environment and genes plays a large factor whenever an child starts to learn and interact with it’s environment. How much one given factor is involved in development is yet unknown to us.

Ox Drover


I don’t want to appear to gang up on you on this one, but my opinions on this are well known to everyone here.

Many (most?) mental disorders from depression and bi-polar and psychopathic personality disorder have a STRONG genetic basis. The twin studies where identical twins (genetics 100%) were separated at birth and studied, 80% of the time if one was a P the other one was too—raised in totally different environments. I have also seen where people who have had TRAUMATIC events in their lives that seem to predispose to them becoming disordered (in some ways) and we know that neglect and abuse can have terrible effects on kids later.

Learned’s mother probably had some genetics from her mentally ill father that were “triggered” by the betrayal she felt at finding out the family secrets. But who knows? Humans are not “lab rats” so it is more difficult to solve all the mysteries of genetics, and especially where behavior is concerned. Also, lots of variables in life so holding one or two variables “static” while the others are changed is impossible.

You are right about one thing for sure, the EGO of the Ps and Ns, is a big part of their problems, the narcissistic bent that they all have makes them “value” themselves higher than anyone else and “de-value” others. IF that part alone could be changed it might help, but the problem is is that it is a “catch 22” their ego gets in the way of them valuing a darned thing besides themselves, that’s why therapy doesn’t work. They do not SEE A NEED to change themselves, cause all their problems are YOUR FAULT. (they think) so there is NO motivation for them to change the way they look at things. Without motivation to change, there is no change. There can be NO change.

My friend, Mike, who taught the “anger management” class ordered by the courts and worked with me at the community mental health clinic used to tell me that most of his classes were filled with Ps. Mike was a therapist who “got it” about Ps. He also didn’t see 1 in 10 of his “clients” in the class do more than “parrot” what they had to to get through the class instead of going to jail. Some wouldn’t even do that, and Mike would send the cops to arrest them if they missed a class and didn’t have a VALID excuse–like being in the ER on life support! Therapy of any kind that is “court ordered” and “forced,” rather than voluntary, isn’t likely to produce any positive result.

At the same time I think there is a great deal of genetics involved, they DO know right from wrong and have a choice to do “right” or “wrong” just like you and I do, they can “plan” and execute plans and so they are, in my opinion RESPONSIBLE for their actions, they are NOT IMHO compelled to abuse, they just like doing it.

Southernman wrote….”I’ll always wonder how someone could be so dead on the inside once the mask slid down and possess a heart made of stone.”

See, that’s the kicker right there….the fundamental disturbing difference between the Ns/Ss/Ps and “normal” mentally/emotionally healthy, loving and caring individuals.

I STILL, after almost a year away from the X Sociopath in my life cannot begin to fathom the degree, the extent, the TRUTH of not being able to return love that is being honestly and openly offered.

And the cold calculating deception, the masterful illusion created to seduce and exploit will forever boggle my mind. I just don’t frikkin work that way!

I think those of us who are truly kind, gentle and loving consider manipulative exploitive behavior to be utterly repulsive. Downright evil, for sure!

On a side note, I was perusing the reviews on Amazon for “The Art of Seduction” by that Greene author. I clicked on the 1 stars first because it was clear to me I would agree with many of the negative reviews. And I did. More than a few of those folks were candid in their disgust regarding exploiting another person’s insecurities and weaknesses for the sole purpose of “seduction.” It’s aberrant base behavior to me.

What was not so shocking (after spending years studying and researching PDIs the realization of their predatory natures hasn’t caused me to be de-sensitized but AWARE) and kind of pathetic were the reviewers who nonchalantly considered it “OK” to use and manipulate people for your own selfish needs because (in their false logic) “everyone deceives and manipulates and lies to get what they what.”

Riiiight. Whatever you say, mr/miss lacking knowledge and any sort of authority what-so-ever!

Thank goodness that there are MORE decent, good people in the world and predators are in the minority, otherwise every house, every street corner in the world would be like a mini-tribal war zone.

Is opn

Genetics and environmental. As I have talked about before about the S, that his father had alcohol related schizophrenia in his late 40’s. Diagnosed by the VA at a time of heavy alcoholism. What the possibly is that S’s father was, genetically linked to having a relative that had schizophrenia. Through his life “May” have had symptoms of schizophrenia but unrecognized, and dismissed by others as ecentric, angry or unable to reach because of an ego. Scizophrenia diagnosis is common in the 40’s. This awareness of his behavior became apparent in his 40’s. Alcohol, triggered it to a very noticeable degree and he was taken to the VA for help. He was put on medication and it seemed to help as I was told by one of S’s relatives. Then there was more control, alcohol was stopped and he lived a better life until 60. Was he still exhibiting schizophrenia symptoms, mildly, perhaps?

With S I always felt it was mental illness, years before even knowing that his father had been diagnosed with the alcohol related scizophrenia. S told me for years he did not drink. Towards the last year of the so called relationship S would go out 2-3 times a week, he had been drinking heavily. Another lie. I do not drink ever. S lied to please me and mirror that I don’t. I believe for all that it’s worth, my opinion only, there was a genetic link in the family for schizophrenia, that the family did not acknowledge and were in denial of and found it easier to say it was the alcohol. The environmental impact on the illness was that S was delayed in dating women, and could not hold a steady job, and found alcohol soothing to drown his fears and possible symptoms of schizophrenia that he may have been aware of. So this case of the S that I knew seems to be genetic and environmental. Was S’s father a S/P ? Possibly. If the father and son were an S/P this seems to be genetic, and environmental due to many exposures of the S that I knew and hardships of no job, not getting along with others etc and alcohol, which also may have been genetic.

The links of genetic and environmental impact on an individual for alcoholism/schizophrenia/mental disorders, maybe somewhat similar for an S/P. Even if, there is no other mental illness, or alcohol or drugs present.

I speak of my family, my natural father was an alcoholic to the most maximum degree. When I was 5 he had beat my mother so badly in front of 3 of the 4 children. My mother was rushed to the hospital, and was not recognized by her brother while she lay in the hall, in a bed waiting to be transferred to a room. Covered with bruises and blood completely all over her face. The fight as I told many years later as a teenager was that my father thought my Mom was cheating on him. She had 4 children and 1 was a newborn, a month old when this happened. Was there more to my dad being an alcoholic? Was there an obvious mental illness? I will never know.

My Mom immediately had my dad barred from the home and a few months later left with all 4 young children in tow. We were never to see or have contact with my dad again. She remarried almost 2 years later.

Out of 4 children in my family and not being raised with an alcoholic father. One sibling, an older brother is a heavy alcoholic, just like my dad was. He cannot hold a job, and he is enabled by my mother with money to feed his habit of alcohol. He was not raised with our dad, and was 6 when this witnessing of a horrific beating of our mother took place.
Was my brothers alcoholism environmental? Maybe, but it had a strong genetic link to alcoholism from my dad. My brother had hardships in his life as we all do, a construction job that became more scarce with the economy.

Another sibling, the baby, my sister has struggled since being a young teenager with severe alcoholism, and being hooked on prescription RX’s. At a young age she had been in a bad car accident and through many surgeries became hooked on RX meds, and all the while still drank. And still does into her late 40’s. She stays in bed most of the day and when up is drinking and feeling good with RX meds until the good feeling wears off and then she is back in bed for days and has even said sometimes she has not left the house in 3 weeks! So with her you could say it was environmental. The car accident triggered the alcoholism and RX med addiction. But there was also a strong genetic link to alcoholism from our father so it was Both genetic and environmental.

A younger brother has an addiction too, but is high functioning and has a good job, a family and very active in the community, but has limits with his alcohol for weekends and social gatherings. (He is the one that did not witness the beating).

The last child me, I do not drink. When in my 20’s I would have 2 drinks and be violently sick and feel the alcohol effect the next day, from only 2 glasses of wine. Is this because I cannot tolerate the alcohol, possibly an allergic reaction to it, or is it because of what I witnessed as a child, and remember small parts of and I have seen over 20 years how my siblings have come to be with alcohol literally destroying 2 out of 4 of our lives. It is probably a little of everything, an awareness of genetic predisposal, environmentally witnessing of a beating under the effects of alcohol is why I cannot tolerate alcohol. Which genetically I am aware I am predisposed to.

A Misdiagnosis, maybe of many years ago. S’s father was mentioned to be diagnosed as alcohol related schizophrenia. Maybe it was schizophrenia, wrongly or not diagnosed at all for many years and later a diagnosis of alcoholism followed, producing alcohol related schizophrenia.
Maybe the father was an S/P. And at the time, only mass murders were considered to be an S. His son I have no doubt is an S and has every trait possible, along with other things.

Ox Drover

Dear Is Opn,

I am so sorry that you and your family have had so much trouble from all of this, and I totally agree with you that there is a genetic predisposition toward “addiction” to alcohol, etc. and also to mental illnesses. Many times people with mental illnesses (depression, bi-polar and other illnesses) will “self medicate” with drugs/alcohol so the alcohol becomes a problem in itself, making the other mental illness “invisible” and the “drinking”more visible. In truth, they have TWO (or more) problems. Just because you have ONE mental illness or personality disorder doesn’t mean you cant have a second one as well.

Dr. Leedom has shown research where people with bi-polar also tend to have a high rate of personality disorders as well. So those people have the DOUBLE GENETIC WHAMMY, then if you put them in a home with a mentally ill and/or psychopathic parent, they get the DOUBLE GENETIC WHAMMY + THE ENVIRONMENTAL WHAMMY and that equals “Hell on wheels” for a person.

Studies of children who are adopted and raised by “good” parents are starting to show an “adoptive syndrome” and many of these kids who are available for adoption now come from mothers with personality disorders and/or drug or alcohol addiction. It used to be assumed that somehow these kids “turning out bad” was the adoptive parents’ fault, but it is now realized that the HIGHER THAN TO BE EXPECTED number of “conduct disordered” and other mentally ill or disordered children is more genetic than environmental.

Children adopted from Romania who had been in orphanages where they were neglected (and who knows what the genetic back ground was/is) also had a HIGH rate of personality disorders and conduct disorders.

It is also known that children in England during WWII who were taken out of London and cared for in orphanages where they got little cuddling etc. had some problems with “failure to thrive” and literally died. I’m not sure what if any follow up studies were done psychologically on the survivors. Dr. Leedom might now.

I think you can take a child with normal genetics and ABUSE IT ENOUGH and early enough to make it a personality disordered individual, though not all children abused become personality disordered or abusers, but I also think that some children are born with such genetics that the “Virgin Mary” for a mother wouldn’t help them much if any.

Is Opn, I am glad you have refrained from alcohol, and you made that CHOICE, and others with a genetic potential to become alcoholics have that SAME choice of NOT to drink. Hat’s off to you! (((hugs)))))


schizophrenia most commonly appears late teens /twenties – but really can appear at any age.

I am hyper sensitive to it happening to one of my children. I pray and leave each one of their sweet special spirits in the hands of god. If there is one thing I have done my best at, it is trying to make sure my childrens environment was as healthy as I could possibly make it along the way. The past year, they knew Mom was struggling with depression – I was honest with my daughters about that much. I made sure that my time spent with S (good and bad) was limited in front of my children. Mostly exposed them during the first year of friendship and shortly after red flags, I just chose to see him out or over his place. Guess I knew…

Is opn

learnthelesson: schizophrenia most commonly appears late teens /twenties – but really can appear at any age.

Yes it can appear in the teenage years, twenties and very rare in young children but possible, and can also appear later in life in the forties.

After watching the behavior of S for much time and finding out the father of S, had the disease that mayhave been associated with alcohol, I tried to find out as much information as I could on this disease. And tried to put it together if S may have had it during the teens and twenties.

Only assuming through S’s behavior that was described then, I reasonably thought it came on in the forties, because of the severity of the symptoms I was observing and alcohol may have accelerated and made the symptoms worse.
And with S having a genetic predisposition possibly, environment can play a role on the severity of the symptoms.

Elizabeth Conley

Pain management with cluster Bs seems to be a serious problem.

I’ve seen the S get really crazy on codeine, but I’ve seen the N and our families unspecified cluster B go paranoid/hostile on neurontin.

No one should have to suffer from extended pain, but pain management for these people seems to present special problems.

Is opn

Sociopaths and opiate addiction: my comments on the article.

If through these studies, patients on treatment programs and through inpatient programs, some are assumed to be a potential client, and may be a sociopth, shown by their behavior in their arrest records, and through personal physician records, “WHY” are they allowed and administered the potentially deadly drug that may get out of their hands?

A sociopath cannot be trusted on their words and honesty, to have in their possesion a weekly supply of take home meds or any prescribed medication.

I have seen a video of patients at a clinic showing a client, and other clients that would come for thier daily dosage of Methadone and hold it in their mouth, and once out of the clinic, and while in front of the building, and being filmed undercover, spit the dose out in a cup they had just recieved, and sell it to a person that is not a patient, in front of this alleged clinic.

And by this action it can be assumed this client is still addicted to heroin and uses the program for money to maintain their habit, and through their lies obtain unwarranted medication. This may be isolated instances captured on video.

The programs of issuing daily doses, may be working for other patients that are committed in their effort to get clean of heroin.

The others, the S’s can use this system and slip through the cracks through their deceit, and can cause harm and fatalities to a person not in the program.

My grown child had gotten Methadone from a patient that was in the Methadone treatment program. This person who they worked with only, would go daily to the site to get the medication where it was dispersed to them and allowed to be taken home by them.

It was contracted by this client to be keep the Methadone in a lock box. It was not, it was sold or given to my grown child at the place of employment, which the contract clearly stated and signed by the patient that it was to be kept at home in a safe place. But on this very day the client stated, to authorities that they were running late for work and usually kept the Methadone at home, but being late brought it to work and had it inside the place of employment. There was access to this drug to anyone, other than the patient

My grown child who took this take home Methadone, one time, (that was given to them by a client of the system treatment program), proved to be fatal to my grown child.

Methadone in this case was entrusted to someone, the client, that was not obviously trusted to keep the Methadone out of reach of others.

This client was on a daily dose of Methadone of 350mg. a day. At the corners inquest the toxicology showed my child had less than 100mg. in their system. The corner stated at the coroners inquest that my grown child had 100mg. of Methadone in their system at the time of death. The coroner also stated that 100mg. of Methadone is “Not” considered to be a lethat dose, but for a first time user it can be fatal.

Statistics and stories of the first time user of Methadone and the fatalities show this.

If it is considered that a person is a sociopaths and they are an addicts, “WHY” are they able to have this deadly medication, or any medication in their unsafe hands?

I believe treatment programs do, and can work for the person who is honest, the addict that is willing and committed by their honest actions to make themselves free of addictions to heroin or any type of addiction.

But other clients that cannot be trusted by being a sociopath should “NOT” have “ANY ACCESS” to these drugs. There should be an alternative way of working with that particular clients addiction, or “NOT” at all for allowing them to partake in the take home dose supply. They should be excluded from clinics, and having in their possession, the take home dosages of Methadone or any prescribed drug.

Ox Drover

Schizophrenia, like most mental illnesses can be milder or out into space. A person can appear “normal” and then have a “breakdown” and be totally “crazy” hearing voices and seeing hallucinations.

My sperm donor’s half sister was a young physician and had a “mental break down” in the early 1940s and was hospitalized, then “hidden” by the family for the rest of her life. She never practiced medicine again. My grandfather, her father, blamed her Psychopathic step mother for the “break down” but of course that was the “knowledge” of the day that it was environmentally caused. The real truth and details of what happened are pretty well gone as all the people who knew what was going on or the details are all dead, but I suspect that she apparently had a psychotic break, and it might have been schizophrenia. I know nothing about her mother except she was a nurse and she was a “very sweet” woman who died in her late 20s in child birth from the placenta detatching during labor.

I do know my grandfather had a half sister who was I think either BPD or bi-polar or both (I am making the “diagnosis” from the family stories about her chaotic life). So even in a large family of successful and mentally stable people the “odd duck” will crop up every now and then. There are few of us that can examine our pedigrees and not turn up the “Uncle Nut-case” or the “uncle Monster” or the “Uncle Alcholic” so the genetics of our families are pretty much a crap shoot in lots of cases, though there are lots of families where there are MANY MANY psychopaths or alcoholics, drug addicts etc.

Also, because a chaotic lifestyle with mental illness and/or psychopathic behavior results in lack of job and financial stability, many of these families live in poverty for generations. I think our society “blames” their addictions, lack of job stability, etc. on the POVERTY, which is the RESULT, I think, of the mental instability of the family, not the CAUSE of it.

The children who are NOT mentally ill or psychopathic who are born into these families are severely emotionally damaged environmentally by the treatment and abuse they suffer at the hands of P parents and sibs. Henry is a perfect example of this. I know others who have come out of HORRIFICLY abusive families and lived GOOD successful lives by comparison, and become worthwhile conscience-driven individuals.

Not all Psychopaths are “poor” and not all “drug/alcohol” addicted people are “unsuccessful” in making money or holding a job, so there are degrees of all of this, but to me I don’t see any “easy” or “quick” solution to the under-belly of society who suffer from ignorance, mental illness, psychopathic abuse, and poverty. Diane Sawyer did a piece on the Children of the Mountains recently in the mountains of eastern Kentucky where my husband’s family have been for generations. My husband’s grandfather brought himself up by his boot straps out of the ignorance and poverty to become a physician, and thus gave my husband an opportunity to have an education and a life outside the hollows that Sawyer so heartbreakingly depicted of kids trying desperately to break free from their lives there, the drug addictions of their parents, the abuse, incest, etc. One high school kid lived in his car to finish high school and got a scholarship to a college, but wasn’t able to make it. The program got such a response though that he was given another chance. I hope he makes it.

We here on LF are educated, bright, have computers and know how to use them, and yet we too were impoverished by the deceptions and egocentric actions of a psychopath or two, we were wounded and are having a difficult time coping with the after match. I can only bleed for those people who are wounded and don’t have the intellect, knowledge, resources or support that WE HAVE. If we are having a hard time coping, I can’t even imagine how some girl in the hills of Kentucky with a drug addicted psychopathic BF or Husband and two kids could “heal” or “recover.”

A news program last night talked about how couples who want to divorce now, in the economic down turn, are having to stay together because they can’t sell the house or survive in two seprate households. Filing for divorce has apparently dropped 30% according to some attorney-kept records.

We can’t fix what is wrong with the world, or society, or the psychopats, we can only fix ourselves….but that’s a start, a GOOD start. If we can help our own children, educate them to what psychopaths are and how to spot them, we have made a difference in lives for generations. If we can comfort a fellow traveler who has been wounded by a P, we make a difference. “I cannot do everything, I am only, one, but I can do what one can do.” I’m not sure who wrote that but it was something I remember from school.


The more I think about it, most of the human beings in the universe have something, if not by genetics or genetic predisposition or environmental exposure or personal trauma or violation – its just that we have to figure out who we do well with, who suits us best personality wise as it relates to friends, co-workers, and as Oxy says even with family members.

I must admit although i had a mentally ill mother, I was mildly subjected to her throughout my childhood/teenage years as my grandparents and eventually my father raised us. She went out “on the road” when I was 2. I still remember the times we were courtordered to visit her (the most surreal moments of my life) and the letters and the lawsuits, outlandish accusations, hallucinations of her being married to Howard Hughes…etc.. you name it.. I basically spent a greater part of my life afraid of her.

The strangest thing about her illness and disconnection from us – was that although she travelled from one place to another — she was able to befriend people. When she finally came home, I had to contact a woman who runs a local storage rental company in the town my mom was residing. She talked to me for an hour about what a lovely, bright, sweet and interesting person my Mom was. How shes been thinking about her and missing her conversations with her. It wasnt the first time I had that experience. Even early on when she was in the hospital for a cancer related surgery – she managed to befriend the woman next to her in her room they exchanged numbers and my Mom went to church with her one day.

I was beyond perplexed and at times angry. WTF??? Dont they know she has a mental illness, left her children, wanders from state to state. Cant they tell her conversations are off the wall?? WTF? WTF? She was reaching out to and able to be friends with so many. A random question to a passing stranger about thier top or where they get their nails done – and nine times out of ten, they would stop, chat and some even strike up a friendship. How can she get close to them and not seek out her children? Didnt she wander the streets seeing families, moms with kids and yearn for her own? … Maybe, possibly at times? But the journey she took and the time and distance and mental illness between her reality and reality was perhaps way to much for her to delve into. It was easier to connect with strangers. (I guess)

What I didnt realize is, there are so many wonderful nice welcoming nonjudgmental beings in the world. And eventually, if they stayed in her life long enough, they would be able to recognize that she was not only a colorful soul but very mentally disturbed. Some remained connected to her, because in small doses she was a real pip to be around, and others just faded away.

It was a way of life. Her way of life. She lost everything she had. Her husband, her family, her children. But the mental illness, her spirit, her dysfunctional way kept her going – most times without a care in the world – except what she was going to wear for the day.

Oxy, I honestly dont know if she was aware she had a choice to fix herself. She didnt see anything wrong with herself. Or perhaps the realization, the PAIN associated with the journey she would have had to take to FIX herself – ie. facing the reality of her past, her childhood, her severed bonded trust with her parents/family was just too overwhelming to turn her mind body and soul and around, slow down, and find her way home.

At times I see it as there are ones who choose to face reality and ones who choose not to…to live in denial…to say in their comfort zone of their personality disorder, mental illness. Life goes on, just not the traditional way, but a way in which they can individually make it through each and every day.

We all have skeletons in our closets, we all have experiences with all walks of life and we all have choices. It is up to us to choose who we want to be and who is best for us in our circle of friends and family. Sometimes we may not be able to figure this out until we go through multiple colorful as well as hurtful experiences in order to find our place. Other times people just get it right, right out of the gate. And other times people never quite realize their potential and dont look past their own nose for growth and enlightenment.

I know each and every one of us here are the ones who are looking to find our place with friends, family, coworkers, and partners and be true to ourselves and each of our own REALITY. Thats what its all about for me. Its a choice.

Ox Drover

Some people with mental illness of a severe kind are NOT able to make an “informed” choice to get out of denial. Those people I do not hold accountable for their actions. Your mother sounds like one of those lost souls. Your opportunity to see her, the her underneath the mental illness, before her death, the “her” that from time to time peeped out and had some attachment to even strangers, was a blessing from God.

Sometimes with some people who are mentally ill, have family members who are mentally ill, have intellectual challenges, financial challenges, along with other challenges to over come, it becomes almost impossible for these people to “succeed” at a healthy life style. Yet, occasionally, someone will succeed in overcoming the tremendous odds and “break free”—those rare iindividuals who do break free from the horrible burdens with which they are born or born into, keep the light of hope alive that more can break free of even overwhelming odds.

My step father, as a high school teacher, and as a mentor to some of his students helped this kind of kid, and at his funeral over 50 years later, some of his “success stories” showed up to pay their respect to him, some of the in their 70s themselves, yet still grateful to a man who gave himself to them, gave a hand up to them. Some of the kids he tried to help didn’t make it out, but some did, and I will always honor him for the kind of giving and caring man he was. The best thing my egg donor ever did for me was to marry such a man. He gave me more than I even realized until the last couple of years before his death, including my faith by his example.

I hope that the day I die, even one person can appreciate me as much as I appreciate him, and as others appreciated him. He taught by example, inspiration and motivation. He knew somehow how to REACH kids that other teachers couldn’t, and to motivate them to reach for the “stars.” He motivated kids who had never had indoor plumbing to want to go to college and acheive it, rather than drop out of high school to go to work for a family that needed the income to survive.

He was always my biggest cheer leader, and even when I did drop out of college to take off for the wild’s of Africa with my sperm donor, he was’t critical (though now I know it broke his heart) when I DID go back, later, much wiser, etc. and graduate, he was there the night I was inducted into the national college honor society (I wasn’t even going to go, but he “made” me go and went with me).

I feel strongly that those of us who have “been through the fire” and survived, and grown, owe our help and support and encouragement to those still IN the fire of pain. NOt that we are without scars or still healing ourselves, but we are farther along in the healing process than those who have just stepped on the road…we may not be able to “help” everyone stay on the road, but if even one person benefits from our efforts, then we have WON because our experience has benefitted another. That is why I am SO grateful to Donna for this site, she h as benefitted so many—hundreds, thousands? from the ashes of her own trial by fire! Thanks, Donna. (((Hugs)))) and thanks to all of you who share my journey on this road to Healing.

Is opn

OxDrover: In reading the article above and having had an S/P cross my/our path is another path of the devastation of an S/P can cause, like you say for generations to come, in the form of an addict that was able to fool the system and receive a lethal drug that got passed along and became fatal.

I believe we all do have choices and should be held responsible in this situation. Twenty six years of teachings and just say no, and watching who the friends are and generally looking out for your child’s well being, nurturing and loving, did not stop the destruction that this S/P had created.

We all have choices, it was not forced upon to my knowledge,
I do understand that and cannot change the situation.

But as 1 person I can educate others in various manners. And I have had numerous contacts with the DEA locally and the DEA in Washington and keep up with various government organizations. This S/P mentioned above got off of any charges, was not held accountable for their actions. Another S/P fooled the system, by convincing the system they were once a heroin addict and had a hard time through life and got a job and got clean through the program. These were the exact words we were told. An S/P fooled the system. We all have choices….

Ox Drover

Oh, yes, I agree, but my point to learnthelesson was that people who have schizophrenia and some other mental illnesses where they cannot stay in “reality” (see things and hear things that aren’t there) those people may not have the same choices that others do and should exercise.

Some people have some very difficult choices to make, and are influenced by genetics and environment to drink, and they take the “easy” road and do, but they DO have choices.

My P-son had the genetics to be like my P-sperm donor, but he KNOWS RIGHT FROM WRONG, he had choices, still has choices, but chooses NOT TO EXERCISE HIS CHOICES FOR RIGHT. He is accountable and responsible for the consequences. People who are truly mentally ill and can be treated need to exercise those positive choices to seek treatment, but sometimes it is difficult or “next to impossible” for them to do so. Sometimes involuntary treatment is the order of the day if they are a danger to themselves or others. During Reagan’s administration many people who were held and treated involuntarily were released if they were not an IMMEDIATE (this minute) danger to themselves or others and literally turned loose homeless on the streets without much if any support and bingo, they were off their meds and back in involuntary treatment, in and out, a revolving door. It is a pitiful and sympathetic situation for these people and I have empathy for both them and for their families. There is no real viable alternative and they are caught between the supreme court’s ruling and REALITY of the situation. Unfortunately, many of them become violent and end up in prison where they are involuntarily treated until release and back to the revolving door of violence and incarceration.

There is even court cases where a patient is “sane” on meds, and the court had to decide if he could be forced to take drugs so he would be sane enough to execute because when he was off drugs he was legally INSANE. (didn’t know right from wrong) I mean gosh, when will they (the courts) put some COMMON FREAKING SENSE INTO THIS CAULDRON OF MISERY????????

When I worked in the community mental health program with these chronicly mentally ill people, their stories would “curl your hair.” Week in and week out these people came in for medication (sometimes court ordered injections) to keep them “sane” (non-violent) and marginally functioning, along with counseling and social services. There were just so many that fell through the cracks though, like learn’s mother. Many of trhe chronically homeless or daily shelter clients are mentally ill as well. This whole underclass of people with insurmountable problems—and it pithes me off that these CEOs get BILLIONS in “bonuses” of our tax money! (gotta get off my stump or I will raise my blood pressure, this isn’t a political forum either! LOL)

Is opn

OxDrover: Re: We can’t fix what is wrong with the world, or society, or the psychopats, we can only fix ourselves”.but that’s a start, a GOOD start. If we can help our own children, educate them to what psychopaths are and how to spot them, we have made a difference in lives for generations. If we can comfort a fellow traveler who has been wounded by a P, we make a difference. “I cannot do everything, I am only, one, but I can do what one can do.” I’m not sure who wrote that but it was something I remember from school.

Thank you for your explanations with the above information of mental illness and disorders. In trying to put it all together, in a short amount of time this past month, with alot of information here on the site and in posts, to digest all of this has been so enlightening, in the midst of an S/P, and moving on from the chaos and the pian after they are gone.

Sometimes life happens in an accelerated pace, ie. the S and years of trying to understand and fix them, and then life with S bottoms out for good, for personal safety and the mental health and well being for family.

I finally Know that I can’t, not even in part, whether or not there are other disorders genetically or environmentally fix this individual. I cannot make a difference for a healing and personal revolution for S, that will never come to be.

If I had not happened to find this site, I would still be guessing what is this, and still possibly is it part of me, what can I do to change life with S.

Oxy, I appreciate the time and effort you put into these blogs.
And your animal stories.

I am only one, as we all are. But informed we can make a difference with the new knowledge we gain here, from people like us that have informed us with this site and carry that knowledge into the world and make a speck of a difference as a whole.

In my experience you get to be a certain age and thought you had it all figured out. Not even close. I have learned so much more in middle age than ever before, even at times I was not looking to. It is called life. The path.

Ox Drover

Dear Is opn,

Thank you, I too have learned more in my “elderly” years than I think I ever did in the previous 60 years of my life.

The thing is, I accumulated a lot of “knowledge” before, just never put it INTO PRACTICE, so I am “practicing what I preach” more now as well as learning new things as well.

There is a bit of that “too soon old, too late smart” feeling down inside me, but I am glad that I am here (on the road to Healing) now rather than never having found the path to healing at all. Sometimes it takes some of us more than one run through the “fire” to get burned enough to finally decide “fire is hot!” LOL I’m a slow learner of the practical part of it all, though I think I’ve had a great deal of the “theory” part down for a long time. Knowing and not DOING though is worse than not knowing, I think!

I’m just glad you find my animal stories amusing, I sure love critters and they have so much to teach us. I think I am animal train-ED more than animal train-ER. Every time my dog goes to the door and barks I get up and open the door. Who has WHO trained I ask?


Is opn, it was common for the s I was in a relationship with to sell or trade his take home methadone on the street. He had no guilt over doing this even when his family was spending a lot of money to purchase the methadone program for him. The methadone clinics just take educated guesses on when and if they can trust each individual to take their methadone home or not. But they don’t usually know if a person is a sociopath or not, and oftentimes the most skilled manipulators are the ones who seem the most trustworthy when they are the least. I am so sorry to hear of your loss.


It is so uplifting to share with good people who have had some of the same experiences and as I was reading over the last few posts, being helped towards healing from this strange journey after being hurt so badly. Thank you to all of you.


I watched my husband disappear into crack addiction and I watched him become a monster, a sociopath. The man he was on drugs, was not the man he was clean and sober. Crack, Cocaine, Heroin, Ocycodones, and even seeminly innocent anti depressants, for a bipolar, can trigger a mania that never ends. They get addicted to how it feels, or the lack of feeling, and how it easy it is when they’re high, how easy everything feels…and how little they have to care…as
if they ever cared that much in the first place. The drug can drown out the last voice within them, and it can shrivel and detroy the last shred of humanity left in them…and then they are indeed sociopaths; bereft of all that was ever human about them. The thing that’s hard to understand for the person who has to watch this happen; is that the monster they are becoming is glad to see that human part of themselves die. The first time I realized what was happening to him was the moment I saw delight in his eyes to see my suffering. To see how I suffered while watching this part of him die gave him pleasure. There was something so fundamentally evil in his eyes. A person can be made a sociopath by drugs, yes. I have seen it. I can tell you this much though, it was fear that sent him there. It was his own humanity and frailty and the fear of this that sent him into addiciton in the first place. The drugs dulled his pain, they quieted his fears, they silenced his conscience. Little by little, all the frailty that he feared within himself was destroyed in the rage of the drug, a rage and madness that passed, in his mind, for courage, power, confidence, charisma, and creativity. He believed that the crack made him powerful and successful because it took away all the fear and all the things about himself that he considered weak. He killed off everything about himself that he believed stood in his way, in much the same way he would eventually try to destroy me.

Yes, it is possible for drugs to destroy a human being and leave a sociopath in its place. I have seen it happen with my own eyes. Crack alters the brain chemistry of its users and if
they use long enough, the changes are permanent. The man I fell in love with, married and built a life with; that man is dead, he no longer exists and the man he became has been ordered by a judge to stay away from me for the rest of my natural life.

I wish I had some advice that could be useful to anyone. I’m still trying to get my arms around it and its been over a year since I fled from him. Its a funny thing to have to come to terms with, that someone can die on the inside and yet still be walking around like some kind of wraith. Someone you love just dies and disappears and becomes someone else completely. Like body snatchers. Of course, even knowing all this, its still awfully hard to put all the sociopathic behaviors under that umbrella. Evil is evil, whether its drug induced or comes straight from the pit of that person’s empty soul.

Ox Drover

DEar Jennifer,

I am so sorry that you had to experience such a horrible situation, and stand powerless to obseerve something you could not change. I felt the same way about my P-son, though he did not use drugs, but to see him destroy what I thought was a wonderful person (himself) and then delight in destroying others as well.

Yes, the dead walk among us like a bad horror flick. My condolences to you. (((hugs))) and my prayers for your healing.


I wonder if it applies to cocaine addiction as well. I married someone who had “tendencies” towards sociopathy-(impulsiveness, explosive temper) that I would say were not full blown. When we met, he seemed to have a large capacity for compassion. But after a few years of becoming addicted to cocaine, he became a full blown sociopath. In addition, after many years of recovery and getting his life back together, he met a woman in a drug treatment clinic where he was working as a counselor (she was his patient). He “fell in love”, convinced her to leave her husband and marry him- I don’t think she ever really loved him- she was addicted to barbiturates- a methadone addict. I think she thought she had found her way to a legal stash of drugs, but he actually expected her to recover, Well, she pretty much destroyed his life- he made a really stupid decision and is paying for it by being in prison for a decent chunk of time. I think he is a sociopath that got manipulated by an even better sociopath.



I wondered the same thing about cocaine.

As for what happened to your ex — well karma’s a boomerang, n’est ce pas?


Yes, surely.


For Allure: crack is cocaine, a cooked down purer version in a way that is inhaled rather than consumed. Crack is extremely addictive, much more so than powder cocaine. its also consumed as ‘freebase’ made famous by Richard Pryor you might recall. Equally addictive as heroin, cyrstal meth, ect.
For someone who has never done drugs, I feel I know far too much about them. But then the best defense is to educate yourself.

Thank you for your hugs Oxdrover. I’ve read parts of your story in your posts and my heart goes out to you too. I think the hardest part of all of this is looking at this person and seeing a human being, and because we are human; loving, compassionate, decent, genuine…we make this natural assumption that the person standing in front of us must also be human. How does one distinguish between those whose bodies are inhabited by the alien, the body snatcher, and whose bodies contain a human soul? Its a paradox I still haven’t mastered. For now I am shy of everyone until the hurt heals enough that I might be more detached in my discernment. In the meantime, I imagine that he is dead because that idea gives me closure, it shuts down the endless questions in my head, it closes any door that might lead backward, and its about the only thing that keeps me from looking over my shoulder every five seconds.

I cannot imagine the pain of one’s own child being such a person….how does one seperate from one’s own flesh and blood. Its seems inconceivable and the pain of it must be terrible. I am so sorry.

Ox Drover

Dear Jennifer,

QUOTE: “How does one separate from one’s own flesh and blood?”

ANSWER: The same way you separate from the “love of your life” and “your soul mate” husband/wife/lover—it is painful, but I don’t think any more painful than any tremendous loss. It IS a tremendous loss that burns your soul, but also the loss of anyone you love to “the living dead” is a tremendous loss that burns your soul.

I read Dr. Viktor Frankl’s book “man’s Search for Meaning” about his take on pain and loss from his years in the Nazi concentration camps where he lost EVERYTHING but his life. After reading his book, I started to realize that pain is pain is pain. My pain is NO worse than yours, his pain is NO worse than mine, our pain is NO worse than anyone else’s and no one else’s pain is worse than ours, in ALL cases, as he said, it FILLS OUR ENTIRE BEING.

But we can STILL FIND MEANING in ourselves and meaning in the pain we have gone through….and I think one of the keys is to GO THROUGH it, not around, not under, not over, but THROUGH the fire of the pain, and emerge like the Phoenix bird, better than before, from THE ASHES OF OUR PAIN. ((hugs))) and prayers for everyone here at LF.


Dear all,
As I read more the pain seems to sear deeper still, I froze with fresh dread when I saw the link to opiate addiction and wham identification a complete sick recognition that his addiction to opiates,, his no.1 excuse, his alibi for the lies, betrayal, madness there it all is. I still am reeling trying so hard to absorb this latest piece in the insane jigsaw. I wanted to believe that drugs were the problem yet the inner voice always pleaded with me to look beyond and I would not listen.
He now parades as ‘clean’ has the system totally fooled and recently contact with my son has been suspended whilst his lies and destruction continue. The pain of now losing brief contact with my boy, the certain knowledge that he will stop at nothing to destroy me and I am labelled hostile neurotic and abusive. Yet the system allows a child to be parented by
an addict with bipolar diagnosis,his lengthy criminal record,
multiple relationships involving domestic violence.
I now have to prepare for a legal fight when I know the outcome will be in his favour.Family and friends and my counsellor advise me to walk away now before my health goes further downhill.How can I walk away when this evil man has my son.and yet my last contact with our son I felt that he was advising me to let go.- he also let me know that dad spoils him, dad is friendly with new neighbour a young single woman with children, he commented that I should enjoy what I can. My daughter interprets his comments in a negative way she and others believe that he is telling me this to hurt me that like his father he has no capacity to empathise, even that now christmas and his birthday gifts are given I am not required at present.
That is my torment that no matter how much love I gave them both I am now out of the picture and they thrive. I am so very tired. I am also so grateful that I have found my way to LF I will continue to learn and please God to heal I thank you all for your wisdom and humanity. Much love.

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