Cassie

4 years clean - a recovery timeline

17 posts in this topic

I am four years off Adderall as of a couple weeks ago. After this long, one doesn't really notice the specific year anniversary dates anymore, just a sense of the general time frame. I thought I would put together a little timeline of my recovery, since there are a lot of newbies here. It might help with some of the questions and uncertainty in recovery, although remember that I'm not you. No one is. Your individual recovery is a function of a lot of things - your age, dosage, length of use, diet, exercise, support, commitment, and attitude being the biggest factors. I won't go into my original story here. If you're interested you can find it by the title "The Two-Month Itch" on the Tell your story forum. This is more of a timeline of how I felt at each stage of recovery.

Days 1-30:

Fatigue, brain fog, existential despair - the usual. However, I had quit for one month periods before so I knew the drill. I also had two weeks off from work so I wasn't sweating it too much.

Diet:

Small, frequent high protein meals. Lots of veggies. Lots of high protein snacks such as hard boiled eggs, nuts, edamame, beef jerky, etc. More meat than I usually eat.

Supplements:

Multivitamin, l-tyrosine 500-1000 mg/day. Also occasionally a supplement I bought online called 'focus factor' or something. I can't remember. I honestly never felt like supplements really did anything and I didn't take them daily.

Exercise:

Bikram yoga 2x/week, hiking on Sundays, leisurely walks during the week

Days 30-72:

Worse fatigue, worse brain fog, and worse existential despair. This was the worst of the withdrawal period for me.

Diet:

Small, frequent high protein meals. Lots of high protein snacks such as hard boiled eggs, nuts, edamame, beef jerky, etc. More meat than I usually eat.

Supplements:

Multivitamin, l-tyrosine 500-1000 mg/day.

Exercise:

Bikram yoga 2-3x/week, still hiking on Sundays, leisurely walks during the week

Day 73:

I will never forget the first day I felt PHYSICAL ENERGY! This was a huge encouragement.

Days 74-150:

Still fatigued many days but having more energy overall, brain fog is improving, still very anhedonic.

Diet:

Small, frequent high protein meals. Lots of high protein snacks such as hard boiled eggs, nuts, edamame, beef jerky, etc. More meat than I usually eat.

Supplements:

Multivitamin, l-tyrosine 500-1000 mg/day.

Exercise:

Bikram yoga 2-3x/week, still hiking on Sundays, leisurely walks during the week

6 months:

This is when I stopped counting the days and started counting the months. Doing okay at work but still very unmotivated, depressed, and socially awkward. Went on a family trip at this time and felt very uncomfortable in my own skin. Felt like I was always second guessing myself in conversation. Lots of social awkwardness around this time.

7 months:

Feeling very fatigued and depressed around this time. I start going to some SMART Recovery meetings which helps.

10 months:

Very low energy - took a low dose of Wellbutrin on and off at this time. I had some leftover from years ago. This helped give me an energy boost. If you're going to take an antidepressant at all, I recommend this one (but just short term- you don't want more med dependency).

1 year:

Feeling much more comfortable with sobriety. More inner strength. Took up some new hobbies at this time. Still lacking self-confidence and self-conscious about my ability to learn. Still socially awkward but it's improving. TIME STARTS GOING SO MUCH FASTER NOW.

18 months:

Feeling like I need more challenges/change in my life. Adopt two rescue dogs. Quit my job. Actually feeling some sparks of life within me. Still very anhedonic some days though. Make some good decisions and some poor decisions during this time. Start a new job and have strong Adderall cravings but they pass. Go to some Pills Anonymous meetings around this time.

2 years:

Feeling much better than at one year. Social awkwardness is better. Anhedonia is lessening. More social in general. Still struggling with self-confidence though.

3 years:

This past year flew by. Feeling much better than two years. Have a new, more challenging job. Seeking out challenges and more self-assertive. More confidence in my ability to learn. Still struggling with motivation and some self-confidence issues. Ween down my caffeine intake to one cup of tea a day.

4 years:

This past year also flew by. Feeling great. I'm the most positive I've been, attitude-wise. Starting to eat mostly vegan meals (occasionally eat meat and eggs though so I do eat some animal products, but very little dairy). A plant based diet has made my energy levels skyrocket. Also, drinking minimal caffeine. Feeling much more self-confident, but also laid back and self-deprecating like I used to be before Adderall. I feel normal again.

This has been a crazy journey, but so well worth it. All these positive changes I've made have been slow and painstaking, which means they've stuck. I hope you all realize you're good enough on your own, without drugs. Nothing worth doing in life is easy.

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THANK YOU for this. I'm on day 41 and noticing some of the others who quit around the same time as me report that they're feeling great. Meanwhile, I'm laying here battling intense fatigue that doesn't seem to be letting up. No amount of sleep can make me not feel tired. Tonight is New Years Eve and I'm supposed to be going to a friend's house party... but I SO do not have any desire to go. I wish I wanted to go, but it sounds absolutely agonizing. Ugh. 

 

Although it's somewhat discouraging to read your timeline and realize that I still have an extremely long way to go in my recovery, it also gives me a huge affirmation that I made the right choice by quitting. Why drag it on any longer? Why delay the recovery any longer? And why would I ever even slightly consider going back to Adderall, knowing that I would be back at square one all over again? Right now really sucks. And I'm realizing things are gonna really suck for a while. But I do have hope for the future and I can't wait to get to the point where you are right now. 

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I totally agree with your timeline so far.  I am nearly at 18 months clean and it is pretty darn accurate for me, too.  Sparks of life...yes. 

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This is a very valuable post, Cassie.  I thought about making a similar post, although so far I haven't had the sustained energy or motivation to do so ;).......yet

 

Congrats and happy New Year!

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This an amazing post!!!!   Thank you so much for sharing the timeline.  I think a lot of people will definitely be able to benefit from seeing that.  

 

You have been a great inspiration and  hope to others here. :)  

 

I just started eating a lot of vegan meals myself and I can honestly say I cannot believe the difference it's making so far.  I just feel like the food cravings have vanished and I feel so incredibly nourished.  It's amazing the changes that take place when you eat a crap ton of fruits and veggies.  I really think this is the key to so many health problems in our society today.  I lived off all processed foods for really the last 20 years or so and I swear I can now see how eating all that junk caused depression, anxiety, mood swings, and eating issues.  It feels great to finally be this healthy.  Glad to see you found that for yourself as well.

 

Anyhow, congrats on 4 years!  That is truly an amazing accomplishment and it's great to see how far you've come!  :)

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Awesome! Good job. This gives me hope. That first high was the best high and everyone chased after it. Then adderall consumed me, I didn't consume it anymore. It was such an evil drug. Everyone knows this. I'm a little bit over 170 days soober and I don't want to ever use it again. 3/4 of 2014 was cool. The remaining ¼ sucked. Then half of 2015 was spent on sleep deprivation and lifeless activities. U become too focused on not living life. All the crap that I did while wired on adderall were very insignificant. I can finally sleep. I can finally eat. The weight gain is normal. 2016 is gonna be good. The most important thing is to tell someone about the addiction. Most people can't stay sober alone.

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I am not sure if I do or not.  I remember being paranoid about it at one point.  At the very least I think it makes those "eye floaters" get worse.  

 

Also I think I read somewhere it can amplify your problems if you have a family history of Glaucoma.

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I had eyesight problems while using.  Bad night vision, Inability to read things without the words blurring together.  Inability to read the fine print.  And horrible depth perception.  It all turned around after I quit and I still don't need glasses :).

Reminds me of a favorite joke: 

Do you know the difference between a brownnoser vs. a shithead? 

 

depth perception 

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on the first week of my senior year (september 2014) we were assigned to write an essay about our favorite word. i chose the word" hope". For me  to actually chose the word "hope", i should have experienced hope in many ways. i don't even know if i truly understood what hope meant then.  fast forward to the end of school year (may 2015), i'm hopeless, addicted and depressed  as shit. the drug changes the brain's pleasure system. i think i became anhedonic. i'm friends with a recovering meth addict who has been sober for more than 20 years. she was also doing heroin for 20+ years and did methamphetamine for  2 years. her experience with meth turned her anhedonic for a while but she told me that she has completely recovered. she doesn't have any long term damage.  adderall changed me but i'm sure it's not permanent. i feel like my thoughts are void.. i tend to stare at something for like minutes not realizing that i'm spacing out.   the beginning of my senior year, i didn't have any problems with my emotions. now i feel like i hate what i've done to my mind. ps im almost 6 months sober in 2 days. 

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Timelines like the one Cassie posted here are priceless. I absolutely loved reading it. She wrote it on New Years Eve 2015, over 4 years ago. I cant believe the similarities of her experiences with mine. She obviously put in the work and it looks like she made a complete recovery after 3-4 years. What a journey. I am so committed to the same journey. Im comming up on 16 months, and I see that at 18 months, she still suffered severe anehdonia and continued to improve through the 3rd year. This supports the theory that our brains need significant time to heal from this drug, like a traumatic brain injury. Thank you Cassie!  

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I am on the same train! I am 23 months and on the same train.  It is worth it, things get so much better - life is not perfect but that is ok.  Still anhedonic and not sure what I like to do for fun but I am working and social and happy.  I still get aggrevated too quickly and intensely but my relationship with my children is so much better - I feel joy with them! I hope year 3 is even better but it's already so worth it!

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I too am with you DC and Speedracer. I am at 17 months now and many things have significantly improved but I still have severe anhedonia, anxiety and I’m not motivated to do anything pleasurable because nothing really drives me. I can find comfort and peace at times but I’m not excited, happy or really motivated to do more than just survive and keep up with basic responsibilities and obligations. My sleep is excellent and I do get pleasure from food. LOL. This is one hell of a journey of self discovery and that requires a level of commitment and persistence that is mind blowing. I never knew how difficult this would be. I do have hope that things will continue to improve. HOPE is not something I had a few months ago and that alone is encouraging. Tiny improvements day after day putting one foot in front of the other and as I continue moving forward no matter what hardship stands in my way. It feels good knowing that I am not doing this alone and that others can relate. All the best my strong friends.   

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