I just recently ended a relationship with someone that I think may be a high functioning cocaine addict. I never saw him use the drug and he only had a few of the physical symptoms of a cocaine user but his mood swings were undeniable. When I questioned him about drug use in general he screamed at me and told me he didn’t use drugs even though he had admitted to have a coke problem in the past and had tried about every drug in existence. He has a good job, money, a nice house and parents with money so I doubt that he will ever hit the “bottom” necessary to see his addiction or be forced to deal with it. I guess my question is – if he is so far in denial that my questioning him resulted in a screaming match, is there any other way to approach the subject without alienated him or making him even angrier than he already is?
Response from Daniel?
A high functioning cocaine addict is more the exception than the rule. Don’t rule out the possibility of his hitting bottom, albeit it may not be when you’d expect him to, as I imagine he will not continue on indefinitely as high functioning. However there certainly are exceptions to the rule especially when there are co-dependent significant other he can depend on to support his addiction by helping him escape its destructive consequences. Given that he “screams” at you, his reactivity is a manifestation of denial, which is, in itself evidence of addiction and basis to make a diagnosis of addiction. There is likely no way to approach him without forcing a confrontation as your questioning poses a threat to his dependency or relationship with cocaine and his defensive weaponry, i.e. denial will make it impossible to see the problem, let alone discuss honestly and rationally. Expect his mood swings to continue as his use will, which will inevitably doom the relationship.
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