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BeHereNow

PhD, adderall-free!

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Hey everyone!  I hope you all are well and clean and living the good life!   The website has changed, and it's been awhile since I've posted.  I've been super focused on finishing my degree, and I FINALLY DID IT!!  I finished my PhD..... without adderall!  

For anyone who doesn't know my story, I quit adderall 2.5 years into my grad program.  (It was my second time quitting.  The first was junior year of college..... which also lasted 5+ years.  Re-hooked instantly, which is why I do not recommend ever turning back!)   

So, I'm posting this just to let you all know that I'm still alive and clean, but also to let people know that, seriously, if I could do this without adderall, then you can do whatever you want without it.  

Over the past few years, I almost quit grad school repeatedly.  Adderall-free, and in grad school, I have had several traumatic deaths in my family, 3+ major heartbreaks, other huge losses, massive financial issues, major depression, daily panic attacks, horrific interpersonal conflicts....  you name it.  I've literally been through the worst things life has to offer over the course of my time here.

In hindsight, I thought I was quitting adderall halfway through grad school.  Turns out it takes an average of 7 years, not 5, to finish a PhD.   When I look back, adderall was just a little part of my coursework.  Sadly, in some ways it did set the tone for my entire time here, and to be honest, it kind of ruined my social life as well as key relationships I needed to develop early on.  So if you are about to start grad/law/med school and are contemplating quitting, I cannot recommend it enough.   But I can't dwell on regrets.  And my dissertation, along with almost all of my teaching, well, that's been adderall-free.  And I am so happy about that!  My work would have suffered in quality if I had not quit. 

There is no way in hell I could have done all of this if I hadn't quit adderall when I did.  Adderall would have ruined me. My life, my work, everything.  

How did I do it?  To be honest, for the past year, it's been the mentality of "by any means necessary."  So I have been eating a lot of sweets late at night while writing.  And recently I've gained a ton of weight.  (It's very common among phd students, but no excuse.)  So I'm working on body acceptance, and I'm also gearing up to start running again and to lose all this weight.   Ugh.

Also: naptime every day.  Down time.  I like work hard for an hour or more, then take an hour or more off.   That's how I get things done best: in focused, intensive chunks.    But different people work in different ways.  So it's important to figure out what works best for you. 

And perhaps most importantly:  Being kind to myself.  Celebrating small victories.  Dance parties, all the time.  Support from friends and family.  Therapy.  Self-help workbooks.  Accepting my anxiety and insomnia, and learning to channel both into my work.  Remembering WHY I am in this.   

Never, ever, EVER stopping.   

In the end, it's all about embracing how much it sucks.  Experiencing the fear, pain, trauma, depression, anxiety, the full range of emotions.  These are part of life, part of being human.  You realize that you're going to feel that way no matter what, so you might as well do the next big difficult thing.  

My journey has been very imperfect, very hard, and to be honest, horrific.  I'm happy to talk about it if you want!  But mainly, I am putting this out there in the hopes that someone might see that it IS possible for a daily, high-dosage adderall user to quit and still finish grad school.   

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Greg!   Our friendship has been one of the KEYS to my quitting, staying clean, and actually becoming at least semi-successful after adderall.   

I know I haven't been on the forum in a long time.  I think maybe I had to stay away in order to stop thinking about it.  But everyone here, this amazing community, you have all been some of the keys to my journey.  And I am so thankful to you all <3  

 

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Well, that is some very good news.  Congratulations!  It took e a minute to remember the name you used to post from.....The Occasional1! 

I'm pretty sure you wouldn't have finished your program if you had not quit.  Lack of success is a near certainty while actively persuing an addiction.  

What is your field of study?

Thanks for posting such an encouraging update.  I feel like you were part of my "graduating class" here on QuittingAdderall..... along with @Cassie, @Greg, and @LILTEX41,  @ashly6 and @hyper_critical, and a few more whom I consider my friends here.

Thankfully, a new class of forum posters have emerged to keep things active and interesting around here.  I read far more than I post these days......what a great community we have here. 

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this is fantastic news! congratulations (:

 

14 hours ago, BeHereNow said:

So if you are about to start grad/law/med school and are contemplating quitting, I cannot recommend it enough. 

^^^ this X 100. unfortunately my abuse truly began towards the end of my masters program, which forced me to withdraw from my program with maybe a few months remaining. i had intentions of getting clean and picking up where i left off, but my addiction just got worse after leaving the program, and i procrastinated past the point of being able to actually complete the degree.

adderall is not the tool that you think it is. stop while you can.

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BHN, that is truly incredible. Just think of where you'd be at if you never quit.  

Ph.D. is NO JOKE. SO proud of you and grateful you came here to share the news. 

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Congrats!!!!! How amazing. So many of us struggle academically and turn to adderall as a way to cope so this is particularly inspiring! You should be so thrilled :) 

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