BeHereNow

One Year Clean!!!

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I can't even believe I'm saying this, but today I am celebrating my one-year adderall-free "birthday!!!"    One year ago today I was reborn into a new life of being clean and doing things on my own rather than letting a stupid pharmaceutical drug run my life for me--Into a new life of BEING ME--a life more fully lived, a more vibrant and more human life.   A new life in which I can allow own natural inspiration to grow--a new life of bringing my true self into my life and work, of actually experiencing my life and all the emotions--good and bad--that go with it, rather than dulling the pain with a drug that was slowly killing me.   

 

I honestly cannot believe I survived all that horrible PAWS, mood swings, frustration, insomnia, depression, and anxiety, without relapsing.  I also cannot believe I didn't fuck up my career in the process, which as many of you know was my worst fear in quitting.  The worst damage happened while I was ON adderall, and was BECAUSE of adderall.   But I couldn't see that then.  Quitting has turned out to be a good thing.  That's something I could never have imagined when I was on adderall, because I truly believed I couldn't do anything without the pills. 

 

I know that I still have a long ways to go.  But I can look back with confidence and know that the worst of the quitting process is behind me. The worst of it was within the first 6-8 months.   I am feeling increasingly stable now.  

My brain seems to be more or less functioning again, at increasingly higher levels.  Sharper. Stronger.  More genuine.  Grounded.   More focused, and capable of focusing for longer periods of time.  Better memory.  More inspired and creative.  More fully connected to my revived, beating heart.  As this website says, there IS life after adderall!

 

I'm not back to my pre-adderall brain, and I probably never will be.  Instead, I'm going to make it better.  

I am on an upwards spiral and determined to create a life that's infinitely better than I could ever have imagined when I was on adderall.  Because back then, all I really thought about was taking more pills.  Gosh did that limit my imagination. My mind is so much freer now.  I can actually think again.

 

Reflecting on my recovery, I think that the bulk of the physical/neurological aspects of recovery have happened in the first year.  In the upcoming year, now that I'm somewhat physically recovered, I need to focus on cleaning up the mess I made of my life when I was on adderall.   I need to break all the bad life habits I created on adderall.   These habits include: 

  • Letting my social anxiety stop me from interacting with great people.  Shutting people out. Isolating myself.
  • Being WAY too hard on myself, to the point of self-deprecation.  That has got to stop.
  • In the same vein, self-confidence!  Adderall destroyed what I had of it, and I need it back (and then some!)
  • Putting too much pressure on myself.  Nothing is ever good enough.  That's an adderall mentality that has got to go.
  • Making overly ambitious to-do lists, and being frustrated when I can't get to everything on the list.  That's an adderall mentality.  I need to be more realistic about what I can and cannot accomplish.  I need a better understanding of my limits and the limits of time.  I need to appreciate them as part of being human, part of living in this world.
  • Letting stress and anxiety mess with the deepest spaces of my heart.  
  • Being hypersensitive.  This isn't the way I was on adderall (it dulled me), but I've become hypersensitive in quitting (emotional lability.)  In 2014 I want to build a thicker skin.
  • Mood swings.  I want to be more stable.
  • Not making art.  (I want to start painting again.)
  • Natural inspiration.  I let adderall steal my natural inspiration.  I'm slowly getting it back. But I need to get some serious momentum going right now so I can start writing my thesis.  (Wow did I quit at just the right time!)
  • Thinking that my workload precludes working out.  I've made some major steps in this direction and started running again, but more is still needed.  I still allow myself to be "too busy" to incorporate working out into my life.  "Too busy" to go running or hiking?!  PLEASE.
  • Being late.  I'm a lot more punctual than I was on adderall; I've even developed some systems, such as being really early, to help me cope with my lateness tendencies.  But more is still needed!
  • Drinking.  On adderall I used to pretty much live on beer.  I drink with much more moderation now, and I also actually eat food now, but I still want to cut back on my alcohol consumption. 
  • Sugar.  I developed a nasty sweet tooth on adderall, and I'm working hard to rid myself of it.
  • This is hard to say right now, but eventually I'd like to stop taking all pharmaceuticals.  That needs to wait for further down the road though--year 3 of my recovery maybe, because Wellbutrin and Klonopin are lifesavers for me.  They have improved my quality of life and I'm OK with that for now.

 

I am 100% POSITIVE that I would have relapsed if it wasn't for our quitting community here.  You all have been an incredible source of inspiration, advice, support, ideas, and strategies for getting through it.  You all are the main reason--if not the ONLY reason--that I was strong enough not to relapse when I came within inches of it.  You all have helped me to become strong enough to see that IT GETS BETTER, strong enough to push forward despite the horrific roller coaster that is quitting adderall, strong enough to rediscover my love for running (extra special thanks to the 12 miles a week running club for that one!!!), strong enough to survive what has been the hardest year of my life (quitting aside), without turning back. 

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Occasional, what an amazing post! It is so awesome to hear your perspective from one year out. I really liked your list of bad adderall formed habits that you are trying to work on.... makes me want to create my own once I hit the one year mark next week. Mega congrats on this milestone!

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I couldn't miss out on this one. CONGRATULATIONS Occaisional. I love your optimism. I hope it's contagious.

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Great post. Well done on making it a year. Your habit list is amazing, I'll probably copy and paste a few into my New Year plans.   

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"I'm not back to my pre-Adderall brain and probably never will be"

 

I like that statement because it means we have mentally grown.  My pre-Adderall brain was seeking.....stimulants.  Having learned that life lesson on addiction, I hope that will never be the case again.  

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Congrats occasional! You made it through the worst of it and next year you will feel twice as good as you do now. I like that you said you still have a long ways to go, because I found that to be true after a year as well. At two years, I'm just starting to feel certain passions and motivations re-emerge, and my confidence is still improving. Now, I'm not making as many 'lists' of personal goals and tasks I need to accomplish in recovery - I'm just enjoying being pleasantly surprised by their natural resurgence.

 

Your posts are awesome and you have a great voice. I love reading your in-depth, well thought out posts.

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Congratulations, Occasional! One year is a major accomplishment, and I've truly been impressed by all you've still managed to accomplish in this past year. It took me basically a full year just learning to live without adderall (still am learning), so I look up to you for that. "The worst damage happened while I was ON adderall, and was BECAUSE of adderall." I couldn't agree more!!

It was really great to read your self-reflection about your recovery. I'm so proud of you! Treat yourself because this is a major accomplishment!

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I couldn't miss out on this one. CONGRATULATIONS Occaisional. I love your optimism. I hope it's contagious.

 

Thanks Jon!   I fully believe optimism and being positive are contagious.   I caught it from an old friend who was dealt a very bad hand in life, but who always chose to stay positive no matter what.  

 

To me, it doesn't mean being unrealistic, and it doesn't mean overlooking or denying the bad.  Being positive is just how I cope with it, and includes facing everything bad and working through it as best I can--or at least I try.   I strive to choose to stay positive, to focus on gratitude and hope and beauty, and hope it spreads to others.  It IS a challenge, and a choice.  Being depressed makes it harder to stay positive; I have to work for it, and I can't always get there.  But it DOES help when I'm mindful of it, and it makes the happy times in life so much better too.

 

I think negativity is contagious too...... it works both ways.

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Thanks for sharing that with me Occaisional. My nephew just gave me a book called Learned Optimism by Martin Seligman. It's more of a workbook, but I am going to do the work.

 

Today is the first day in a LONG time that I have felt pretty good. I hope to string a few of these days together and also start having more good days.

 

I am happy you took the time to comment on how optimism has helped your recovery and that it's worth working towards. Progress not perfection is what we should strive for, eh? That's what they say in AA.

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Thanks Jon! I fully believe optimism and being positive are contagious. I caught it from an old friend who was dealt a very bad hand in life, but who always chose to stay positive no matter what.

To me, it doesn't mean being unrealistic, and it doesn't mean overlooking or denying the bad. Being positive is just how I cope with it, and includes facing everything bad and working through it as best I can--or at least I try. I strive to choose to stay positive, to focus on gratitude and hope and beauty, and hope it spreads to others. It IS a challenge, and a choice. Being depressed makes it harder to stay positive; I have to work for it, and I can't always get there. But it DOES help when I'm mindful of it, and it makes the happy times in life so much better too.

I think negativity is contagious too...... it works both ways.

I love your thoughts on optimism! I should start focusing on working on this. I'm not a total pessimist, but I am a worrier by nature, so optimism is a struggle for me. Great post!

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