Would you befriend/date someone who was a former drug addict and thief?

Saw this question on a UK forum mumsnet. Basically these women in their late-20s have been good friends since beginning to work in the same place. They confided in each other everything and were close.

The relationship was however brought to a shake when one of the women revealed that in college, she found work and school hard and started taking prescription drugs. Ended up getting hooked on heroin and coke, dropped out of school and started robbing her family/extended family even as far as stealing money from online bank account. It only stopped when the parents forced her to go to rehab or end up with no place to go.

She went back to college, did well and got the job. According to the other friend, she’s successful and a good worker. Appears to have put that in her past but the friend is still very concerned about this. She says that she finds it hard to trust her going forward.

What would you do in this situation if this was your friend or perhaps even your boyfriend/girlfriend. Would you break up/distance yourself or believe everyone makes mistakes and should be forgiven?

There could be any number of people i know who have jobs and are successful now who once may have been drug addicts and thieves. I’m more comfortable with anyone who told me about it than someone whose past is a mystery.

The woman’s so called friend has nothing to forgive, nothing was done to her.

This. And dont go around repeating what was told to you in confidence would be my advice. If she cannot do this then they were never really friends.

A big problem with drug addiction is that relapses are common even years later. They’re fine as long as things are going well, but when times are stressful they may return to their old ways as a coping mechanism. Recovery is not necessarily a cure. I’m not sure I would cut the person out of my life, but I would likely be very cautious with such a person and always on the lookout for warning signs.

I made a very good friend in college. I was very naïve, and my friend was very worldly, but we just clicked very much. We developed a strong bond, developed a group of friends, and spent years together. He never discussed his childhood much, and I had the strong hint that it was due to abuse. At about 3 years of friendship, we got drunk as Juniors were apt to do, and he broke down and told me his past. It involved drug use, theft, drug dealing, and robbery. He used his transition to college to move across the country to get away from all that, and to clean up his act totally. Meeting him during orientation was a stroke of fortune, as he (unbeknownst to me) started patterning his new behaviour rules after what he saw me do, and how I acted in public. I had had no idea of any of this, but instead was deeply grateful for the life lessons he’d let me know. We’ve now been friends for close to 35 years, he’s been deeply in love with his wife and kids, has a great professional job, and I’m proud to call him friend. Never once in this whole time have I ever worried about what his actions might be.

If I’d known his history when I first met him, I’d never come near him. And my life would have been lessened because of it. He took his chance to remake his life, and become a better person, and vastly succeeded at it.

Your friend now knows more about her friend, and its up to her to react to it.

My college roommate was a former drug addict/homeless/mentally ill person. At the time I met her she had been putting her life back together for about 5-6 years. We wound up roommates. We’re still good friends 30+ years later.

Context matters. At a certain point a person in recovery becomes trustworthy again, but when that happens varies and I wouldn’t hazard a rule of thumb. Sure, they’re always liable to relapse. It’s also possible I’ll develop my first drug addiction tomorrow or next week. If someone has stayed out of trouble for an extended period I’m willing to take a chance on them in a lot of situations, even if not all.

One of my new coworkers (she got hired this summer) does this. WhatI mean is that I was one of her first crew leads and she’s pretty honest about herself, doesn’t dodge any questions and will volunteer something if it relates to the conversation. Anyway, turns out she’s out of an in-residence program for less than a year and, maybe she’s just trying to fit into the company culture, but she’s a rock star at work. Watching her confidence grow and how she talks about her daughter and her home life change from listless to positive and happy…I dunno. We all like having her on our jobs.

I think it’s fine to befriend or date somebody based on how you see them behave and how they treat you, even if they did things in the past that would bother you today. People can change.

But it seems to me a bad idea right off the bat to think somebody is a “former drug addict”. I don’t think people stop being addicted, or, at best, I think we can never be sure they’ve stopped. “Former drug user”, sure, but “former addict”? The problem is, people can also not change. And that particular bit may not even be changeable.

Many of us wind up deciding that we always have to keep our eyes open, whether it’s because of addiction or not. That’s what I try to do.

I was gonna say something similar, but you were first and said it better. The answer is, yeah, sure, if they’re nice to me, act friendly, we have compatible interests, we can manage not to fight over politics, etc, just the same as anyone else I meet and want as a friend.

I befriend many recovering addicts, being one myself. But I’m cautious.

I’d be open to friendship with someone who has struggled with addiction and any behavior that entails. I’d be more cautious to date them if we didn’t know each other well. But with time getting to know someone, I’d be willing to date them, too.

It’s the stealing part that I’d have a problem with. Those people are going to have a real hard time getting my trust.

As far as being an addict, it depends. I know people who drank too much or smoked too much weed but then they grew up and don’t spent 24/7 drunk or stoned. Meth users are another breed and there’s a strong correlation with stealing.

I’ll befriend anyone, probable date too, but that;s not the same as a committed relationship, or even a confiding one. I’m very careful who I trust, but on the other side, if I give my word, I keep it.