Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Spence23

About to be back in school, for the first time without Adderall (terrified)

19 posts in this topic

Howdy Howdy,

 

Although this is my first post ever here on the forums, I have read hundreds of posts for the past few years from members who are, like me, trying to quit Adderall for good. 

After taking a high dosage of amphetamines every single day for the past 8 years, I am proud to say that I am currently 77 days stimulant free..  My senior year of college is starting in a month, and I am, without a doubt, terrified about how I am going to preform in school without my crutch.

 

Take note that this is the first time I have written anything stimulant free since I was in Middle school, so please don't judge my grammatical errors and sentence scrambled run-ons.

 

Here is my story in a nutshell..  thanks for reading. This is really important to me.

 

I started taking Adderall in ninth grade due to a recommendation from a doctor.  Looking back now, I do not think at the time I actually had ADHD (for those who think the diagnosis actually exists), but I was highly depressed, and just didn't fit in at High School (which I didn't realize was totally normal).  I had just picked up smoking weed too, which dramatically decreased my motivation. 

 

Like everyone else who has been addicted in the past, throughout High School my parents and I both thought Adderall was a wonder drug.  I was a state-champ wrestler with a smoking hot girlfriend and a 4.0.  The first few years of college was no different, as of the 100 some credits I have already completed I have only had a couple B's and the rest A's. 

 

About a year and a half ago is when my insomnia really started kicking in.  It really is no wonder why, as at the time, I was taking around 30-60mg IR Adderall, and drinking a pot of coffee everyday.  At nights I would down a 5th of vodka to help me sleep.  Although I was literally killing my body, I still pushed on to have soaring high grades, and had an overall pretty good life. 

 

About three month ago is when my heart started hurting. 

 

One night I was sitting at my girlfriends cramming for an advanced Trig test.  Taking a break, I went outside, popped a 10mg IE Addy and puffed on a blunt.  I have done this so many times in the past it was no big deal.  All of a sudden I felt like my heart was going to burst.  I thought I was going to have a heart attack and die in her back yard.  This was the first time, EVER, that I felt the stimulants take an effect on my heart..

 

Although I have WANTED to quit for the past few years, this was the first time ever where I put my foot down and said no more.  I had to quit or I was going to die.  I had no other choice.  After I got done with finals the following week I threw my bottle of Adderall down the toilet and called it quits.  My heart ached bad every day for the next month or so even though I was not on prescription pills.  However, eventually, it started feeling better.  Currently it only aches when I go on a hard run, but I still think it is gradually improving.

 

This summer I have completely ditched the bottle, the weed, the coffee, and the Adderall.  This is the first time since Middle School I am entirely sober.  I never thought this was possible.

 

So here we are...

 

Next month school starts.  I am fucking TERRIFIED about diving into my senior year Adderall free.  The last time I read a book not on stimulants was in Middle School.  How the HELL am I supposed to achieve top grades without the crutch I have relied on for so many years?  How am I going to be successful?

 

I feel fine without the drug, but my brain is, to say the least, foggy (as I am sure so many of you have experienced).  I am a server, and before quitting I was able to take the order of 8 people without writing down a single thing, and as of now I have to write everything down and repeat it multiple times.

 

The only reason I quit in the first place was because of my health.  I don't want to die early.  I don't want to have a heart attack.  Even with Adderall I found an amazing fiancé and was all around happy.

 

But I have to quit, for my heart and for my future family. 

 

 I just need advise about school.  How am I supposed to achieve anything without the crutch that has held me up since Middle School? 

 

  I've thought about being prescribed a super low dosage for studying, but I know that ultimately it will only cause my addiction to soar again. 

 

 

Thanks for reading.  And I look forward to becoming an active member in the forums.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On one hand I shouldn't be giving you advice as I myself have quit and relapsed for the 90th time it seems, but on the other hand I already completed my bachelors degree a few years ago. All I can tell you is that it's important you just get through it and not start taking that stuff again because then you're going to find more reasons as for why you should keep taking adderall even after you finish school. College won't be the end of your stresses, only the beginning. Consider the internships, the jobs, the job interviews, and applying for them all, on top of then the stress of completing the job that you will eventually get hired for. If you start taking adderall again, then you're going to continue to fool your mind and body into thinking that you can't function without that stuff. But if you at least manage to get through the midterm portion of your semester, or just writing that 1 paper without the adderall boost, even if it's only a 2 page paper, then you've already boosted your confidence about your capabilities, enough to make you believe and understand that sobriety is worth it.

The biggest challenge that I found about college was handling the stress of it all, and especially during senior year, when you give absolute no f**** because well it's senior year lol If you set deadlines for yourself, create a schedule and find alternatives to releasing stress (yoga, meditation, even playing video games), then you won't be cured but you'll at least feel a bit more relieved than you did before.

Anyway I hope what I've said has made sense for you. I wish you all the best. 77 days is an amazing accomplishment and you should be very proud of yourself for that.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey! First off-- congrats. I'm so happy for you and your sober time. I, too, quit while I hadn't finished college. I quit adderall May of last year and then started up school again that following August. So it was about the same time you will be going back. You will still feel withdrawals and temptation because you just want to believe that you can't possibly study without the drug. But DONT believe it.

Once you prove to yourself that you can study and get things done without it, it WILL get easier. I had a lot of anxiety though. Once in a while, I'd treat myself to super awesome school supplies to keep me motivated to study. Cute little staplers, really nice pens, expensive notebooks, etc. haha. It totally helped me because I usually didn't want to study without adderall but I was motivated with new things when I needed the boost. not that I encourage frivolous spending, but you deserve a booster once in a while to keep you going.

Around the college, I'd see students who I thought FOR SURE were taking stimulants. That was hard, but just never forget why you quit. Write it on a piece of paper and keep it with you. Try your best to remember why you stopped all the time because it's so easy to forget. BE EASY ON YOURSELF. your brain will take time, but it gets better. Don't lose hope. By spring semester, I was able to spend almost the whole day awake and at the library. Something I never thought I'd be able to do again. Of course, we can't expect to be super wired like on adderall, but let's be real-- I spent most of my wired state color coding my notes and less of it actually learning.

Feed yourself fresh fruits and vegetables. They help with focus. I took a nutrition class and it helped me to know how to eat to have energy and focus. Maybe look into that?

Seriously, though, don't give up. It will be hard, but each day you show yourself you are capable without adderall, the easier it will be to move forward. Come back when school starts and let us know how it goes!

PS I am a Chemistry major so it is NOT like I had an easy work load.. You can do this.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, and sorry I forgot to mention this because it is the only reason I have succeeded, I got my help from Jesus. I'm not trying to be pushy, just sharing my experience. In Romans chapter 6 (KJV), it talks about freedom from sin and I'd read that and pray every time I got tempted. He would calm me down and help me to remember why I wanted this and also gave me strength to resist. Because let me tell you... Without Him id be at the pharmacy filling my next script. I am so weak. I was just sitting here thinking over the advice I gave to you to make sure I included all that helped me, and couldn't help but to feel guilty for not including my real source of help and reason. :)

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Spence --

 

Congratulations on taking major steps to help yourself and even out your health. 

 

As many of us here can attest, doing work stimulant-free often becomes easier and produces better output over time than working in that peculiar state of mind-lock that Adderall brings on. For me, it would induce me to want to sit at my desk and do something, but what that would turn out to be wouldn't always be categorizable as work. Certainly not good work, for that matter, either. 

 

There's something called euphoric recall you might look up, as you're still in the early quitting stages. In a nutshell, it's about how the mind focuses on the (sometimes even fabricated or exaggerated) good memories about doing a drug or an addictive activity and temporarily "forgets" about the bad stuff. I mention this because when you're tempted to go back to using, your brain may not help you in this regard. 

 

That's why coming here can be really useful, as you'll get an instant reminder about how terrible this drug actually is. It takes a little while to get your sea legs back under you, but I have zero doubt that you will also discover how your work, social life, exercise, general outlook and many other important aspects of your life will improve so much over time if you give it room to breathe without medicating yourself. 

 

Good work doesn't come from a drug -- the work you did over these past few years came from you. You can access those abilities without pills, too. For me, the side effects could be so intense that it's amazing I was able to do work in spite of the Adderall at times. I was prone to going off on tangents, embarking on useless research on the Internet about irrelevant subjects, obsessing over tiny aspects of a task to the detriment of the project as a whole, etc. etc. While there might have been a short window in which I temporarily enjoyed a boost in my productivity (I'm not inclined to think even this was true, though), and maybe also in the quality of my work, I'm positive that was so minimal in actuality that it definitely didn't make all the really harmful side effects worth it. Not at all. 

 

Finally, for me, the drug also made it hard for me to think creatively -- it got me into tunnel vision mode, which could actually hinder my ability to come up with unexpected or original ways of thinking about my work. I felt like my personality was flattened, which I would submit would be a problem in just about every profession. This stuff doesn't exactly make you the best team player, either. 

 

So, I actually think you're in a great place to put down the proverbial bottle and explore what it's like to be a young adult version of yourself without distortion, for the first time in your adult life. You have a year, and senior year of college doesn't have to be full-blast crazy workaholicness if you take a little care in planning your schedule. I think it's better you do it now than when you're out of school and trying to navigate the working world. If you become acquainted with your strengths and start laying the groundwork to understand how you work best without the drug, you'll have a year's worth of practice or so behind you by the time you get to the next phase of your professional life. 

 

And if your experience is like mine, at some point not too long from now, you'll wonder how and why you ever stayed on it for so long. Answer: you didn't know better yet. You will. Hang in there. 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Spence, welcome!  You've gotten some great advice here!  I'm so happy to hear you're quitting and I am cheering you on.  You CAN do this!!!!! Congrats on 77 days!!!  Your brain has already done some AMAZING healing already. 

 

I think Matilda sums it up really really well here:

 

So, I actually think you're in a great place to put down the proverbial bottle and explore what it's like to be a young adult version of yourself without distortion, for the first time in your adult life.

 

I can't agree with this more.   Your young adult years are so special-- More special than you will ever realize until those years are gone.  (Wow, LOL, that makes me sound old.... I'm 32 and trying to cherish this phase of my adult life with the same approach.)  Anyway.  On adderall, I never felt like I was really living.  I was so disconnected from everything and everyone around me.  Honestly I feel like I missed out on over 5 years of my 20's because I was taking that crap.  So many beautiful days with close friends and my beautiful sweet (ex) girlfriend,  all the time with my amazing friends spent just goofing off, going to the beach, riding bikes, going out, whatever.   For the years I was secretly taking adderall, I missed out on ALL of those experiences and I will NEVER get them back.  Whether or not I was physically present, I was never mentally or emotionally there.  Ya know?    Adderall puts you into a zombie-like trance where you never get to experience just being YOU!  You never get to experience all the fun you COULD be having just by living your LIFE!!!  Trust me you WANT to live a full life and enjoy all the fun things that your 20's have to offer.  This is YOUR life, and it's just the beginning! 

 

Ok here are some more concrete tips for studying:

 

As much as college students obsess over their GPA's, most employers aren't looking at GPA's so much as the whole picture.  They want someone with the right combination of skills, background, and personality to be a good fit for the organization and to get the job done well.  Most adderallics are missing a piece of that puzzle.  Here is your chance to develop all of that.  This doesn't mean you get to just slack off and get bad grades, because a college degree shows both knowledge and endurance.  You do need to keep your grades up.  But don't let that stop you from quitting. 

 

Adderall is bad for memory formation.  When you study on adderall, your brain's ability to form memories is decreased.  Perhaps you have good short term memory on adderall (being a server), but adderall is not going to help you truly learn. Furthermore there is NOTHING wrong with writing things down and repeating them-- that's just how human memory works.  (And if you were to keep up the adderall while serving, I can almost guarantee that as the drug inevitably, eventually starts working against you, you would start messing up orders.)   

 

Actually, on a side note, to be honest, I don't trust servers who don't write my order down and repeat it.  :)  You are making yourself more trustworthy!  

 

Other methods.  (Browse around the threads for more tips-- there are lots.)  Give yourself extra time to complete everything.  Break up everything into small pieces, and complete projects step by step.  Try "pomodoros" or a similar technique.  Go to office hours and connect with your professors.  They are not in it for the money and they want to help you.  When you need extra time, or extra help, don't be afraid to ask for it.   Don't skip classes.  From your professor's perspective, whether or not attendance is required, they don't care if you don't want to come, but if you want good grades and if you want to learn, show up on time to every class.  Be visible, make eye contact, take notes.  Your attendance counts more than you even know. 

 

I quit in the middle of grad school, over winter break.   It was very humbling.  I went from being this overachieving, egotistical hotshot to a struggling student, having to go to office hours and ask for extra help regularly, requesting extensions, needing extra time to do my readings, learning to be OK with going to class slightly unprepared and doing my best anyway.  I had to learn new methods of writing and taking notes while reading (and actually, these methods are much more effective than the kind of speed-reading I was doing before!)   I'll never be who I was on adderall.  And you know what?  I wouldn't want to be.  I don't like that version of me. 

 

I can see in your writing that you are a much better, funnier, more interesting person without it.  Press on!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am blown-away, I had no idea my post was going to receive such incredible feedback.  Thank you all so much.  :D

So much from your posts stood out that I want to elaborate on, when I get a chance tomorrow I am going to reply in depth. 

 

..Thanks again.  Reading these replies made my entire night.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Again, thank you everyone for the awesome replies..

 

@idonttan.. After reading a lot of the posts from this site.. that is what I have been learning.  There is never a bad time to quit.  No matter what, there will ALWAYS be another excuse to continue taking the drug.  I wish you the best in recovery, and I hope you can kick the drug for good one day.  If my heart didn't start hurting, I don't think I would ever have any desire to quit.

 

@Clinx.. thanks for the reply.  I think the number one thing, like you said, is the anxiety of thinking that I won't be able to study and succeed without it.  I read somewhere that was kind of what Adderall does.  It makes you THINK that you won't be able to succeed, thus makes you want to keep on taking it. 

I wish I could just believe in Christ and gain power through him.. but as much as I tried to be a Christian (went to church for 10 years) I just can't disregard every other religion.  I believe there HAS to be a God (just by looking at the beautiful blue sky and smelling the grass), but I believe I (all humans) would be bias to think every other God is false.

 

@Matilda.. I loved your post. Thanks so much.  It's crazy that, until now, I have had a distorted medicated look on life since I was a child.   Who knows, I could be a lot further than I am now without the medication.. I will never know.  But this is my chance.  I can be anybody I want to be.  I can do anything if I set my sober dedicated mind to it. 

I can definitely put a finger on the euphoric recall you were talking about.. as I always think about how awesome my life was with it.. but I have a hard time remembering how I felt like my heart was going to explode.

 

@Ocasional01..  The thing is, I felt like I was totally having a great life while on Adderall.  I felt like I could feel the same emotion with the drug than without the drug.  But maybe this could be the sheath that the drug covered me with, causing me to think that I have the same emotions when in reality the drug has held them back for years.  Thank you for all the study tips and the part about the GPA not being solely what jobs look at when hiring.  I plan on joining Big Brothers Big Sisters when I move next semester.. That will look great on my resume, and be easy to do without being on Adderall.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Nouedis but I don't want to become dependent on any other drug.  I see you are promoting the drug on multiple posts when people are weak. Shame on you.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder if nouedis is a real person or a robo poster?  Some of the posts seem odd, like he didn't read them at all.  Any insight?  Nouedis, are you real?  Are you in some call center spamming us? I am quite suspicious of you! 

 

If you are a real person, I agree with Spence23.  Knock it off, already!  Adrafanil helped you, we get it!  Stop being a pusher! 

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not that I'm being a pusher or promoting the drug, it's just something I've been taking and know for a fact you can't be dependent of it. I'm not a spammer and I am real.

 

I comprehend y'all being a bit skeptical about me, but I inform y'all I am no spammer or robot.

 

Also, I'm not trying to do this when everyone is "down." If that were the case, don't you know think I'd be "spamming" every post?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm not trying to crap on you here, but I've spent the last week wondering the same thing Nouedis.

Often your posts have seemed *JUST* relevant enough to convince me you aren't a spammer, but some of your posts are a bit odd considering the overall theme/goal of this site.

 

In particular:  http://forum.quittingadderall.com/topic/2699-adderall-and-eating-disorders/#entry23007

 

What is with your comments on that thread?

 

Anyways, sorry for thread hijack.  Back to advice on school....

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an update..

 

Today is my first day back in school and I've successfully managed to study my Organic Chem for 5 hours straight :)

That's the longest I have ever studied anything stimulant free in over 7 years

I HAD THE BIGGEST URGE SINCE QUITTING TO CALL MY DOCTOR AND GET A SCRIPT BUT I RESISTED!!!

Most of the information has seemed to actually stick..

Needless to say I am super proud of myself!

On a side note...

My heart feels great, I am running 6+ miles almost every day

 

WOOHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just an update..

 

Today is my first day back in school and I've successfully managed to study my Organic Chem for 5 hours straight :)

That's the longest I have ever studied anything stimulant free in over 7 years

I HAD THE BIGGEST URGE SINCE QUITTING TO CALL MY DOCTOR AND GET A SCRIPT BUT I RESISTED!!!

Most of the information has seemed to actually stick..

Needless to say I am super proud of myself!

On a side note...

My heart feels great, I am running 6+ miles almost every day

 

WOOHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D

 

Great job!! I hope the fact that you did orgo for 5 hours straight gives you that confiedence that you DONT need adderall for anythign.  Take the next step and cut off your doctor supplier/tell him you developed a problem with it and to not prescribe it to you anymore. Thats really KEY.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My doctor already is aware of my heart.  I requested an EKG on my last check up and everything turned out to be okay (which doesn't necessarily mean my heart isn't damaged).  But she knows that I know how easy it is to doctor shop.  She realized I am intelligent and believes I know better than her what I should or shouldn't be taking  I could ask for Xanax and poof I would have it.

 

On a side note, I caved in to all the supplement talk and tried 500 mg of L-Tyrosine, 200 mg of Phosphatidyl serine, a B complex, and a multi-vitamin today (first day I have really ever taken supplements), and even though I had only gotten 5 hours of sleep the night previously I felt fantastic.  After about an hour of taking them is when I really felt the effects.  It was a similar effect to Adderall minus the cardiovascular symptoms, but felt way more natural and healthy.

 

Until I get an unusual side effect from these supplements I think I am going to continue to keep taking them.  The reason I quit Adderall is because of my heart, and I know taking these supplements is way better for my heart than ingesting a pot of coffee everyday.

 

But I must say I am very surprised I felt as good as I did after taking the supplements.  Completed my first homework assignment without Adderall today for the first time in 7 years.  Woot! 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A little update.  I had a relapse throughout the month of September where I took it every day.  Being straight up honest, I did not have the ambition without it to handle a full school load and work.  My heart started hurting again, pretty damn bad, which finally motivated me to kick it again. 

 

It is crazy to me that my heart hurts the way it does when I take just 5-10mg every day.  After I quit taking it for about 2 weeks it stopped hurting again.  I am sure I have damaged my heart in some way; but it is like my body is preventing my addiction to rage on, which is pretty cool.

 

Anyways, I cut back to taking just 8 hours of school, and am maintaining A's in both classes.  I have learned that it is going to be a slow process to get back to the cognitive level I had when I was on it, BUT I have lately been seeing some improvements in my work.  For example, although it is not as good as when I am on Adderall, I can write a paper in about half the time; as I don't think and rethink every single sentence.

 

But I haven't taken Adderall in about 20 days now. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0