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The Chieftain

Screwed if you do, screwed if you don't

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Hey guys,

I'm in a bit of a predicament right now.  Due to my adderall abuse in law school I feel that my mental capacities have been markedly diminished, especially my short term memory.  In conversation, I sometimes even have trouble recalling basic words (two weeks ago I couldn't recall the word "lobby" when talking about a hotel).  In May I graduated from law school and now I am studying for the bar exam.  In my final year of law school I abstained from adderall use w/ the exception of final exams, however, I have not felt right since I discontinued my daily (ab)use. 

Currently, I am in my third week of bar prep.  At the end of my second week of bar prep I started taking adderall again because I was falling behind and didn't feel like I was retaining the information I was jamming into my brain.  However, now that I am back on adderall this shit doesn't even seem to help.  All adderall does now is make me anxious and makes me want to smoke and drink.  Before I got back on adderall I had an extremely healthy diet and was working out everyday.  Now I can barely eat, am smoking a pack a day, and am drinking too much wine.  At this point I feel like I am going to fail this exam whether I take adderall or not.  Deep down I know I shouldn't be taking this shit, if I'm going to fail I might as well maintain my health and sanity.  I feel as if adderall robbed me of my soul - I am not able to make conscious contact with God while I am not this devil of a drug.  Right now I just feel like crying because I have no idea what I'm gonna do w/ my life as I am clearly in no condition to be a lawyer.  I want to thank everyone who contributes to this forum because right now I don't really have anyone else w/ whom I can discuss this with.

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Man I've been in literally the exact same situation with the exact same thoughts and feelings. Like not being able to feel and connect to god and how the adderall just made me want to smoke and use other drugs and not eat. Instead of the bar it was my senior year of chemical engineering at a really competitive/tough school. Wish I had good news for you but I ended up choosing health and dropped out and have been luckyily able to stay back at my dads. It's been a year and I still didn't feel like I was capable of finishing my last year off adderall so I relapsed. All I can say is keep hope that things can only get better if you're taking care of yourself.. it might not be on the timeline you want but eventually, whether you fail or pass this time, take care of yourself. If you can't take care of yourself while using then stop but take care of yourself and with time things have to get better. Did I mention take care of yourself? lol you HAVE to eat and sleep or you're headed up shit creek. 

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From the way it sounds it's not going to help you pass. I don't want to advocate any use but if you're talking your career and future and a living and you believe it'll help you pass take a minimum amount only a couple times a week and don't skip meals and sleep. You wont be getting high or chasing a high you have to control yourself for the sake of your life. 

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Adderall has stopped working for you. It seems like your best move is to quit, go thru the withdrawal and, then pick back up on your studying for the bar when you begin to feel better, and you will begin to feel better after you quit that stuff. Sean’s idea about taking a little just to help get you over this hump seems like it might work too as long as you take care of yourself and make sure to eat and sleep.  But if taking even a small amount just makes you want to drink and not eat then you are better off without it.. 

I know what you mean with the memory issues thing. I had that really bad too toward the end of my Adderall addiction.  If that continues to be a problem, I really think the only way for that to get better is to sober up completely.  Sending positive vibes your way.  You’re going to get through this. Stay strong.

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Thanks guys, I know I have to ditch Adderall completely.  I am sick of being a disappointment to everyone around me and Adderall is exacerbating that.  It is just hard to quit when I am required to exert so much mental energy and when daily studying leaves me feeling so isolated.  Adderall is the easy way out because it makes me feel okay when I am alone for an extended period of time.  Luckily I am seeing my therapist tomorrow who is pretty anti-Adderall.  Hopefully I can formulate a plan to move forward.  It is just depressing when you have devoted 3 years of your life to something and not being able to see it through to the end.  Ultimately, I got myself into this situation and I have the responsibility to get myself out.

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On 6/4/2018 at 4:41 PM, The Chieftain said:

At this point I feel like I am going to fail this exam whether I take adderall or not...  Right now I just feel like crying because I have no idea what I'm gonna do w/ my life as I am clearly in no condition to be a lawyer...  It is just depressing when you have devoted 3 years of your life to something and not being able to see it through to the end.  

FWIW, i think you're catastrophizing a bit. listen, you already got through the hardest part- getting your degree and graduating. the bar exam is a tough exam. i have many friends that studied their asses off and still failed the first time. they were devastated, but they got over it, studied their asses off again and eventually passed. my understanding is that for most states, there is technically no limit to the number of attempts.

i don't know how long you were using or how long you've been clean, but with enough time your mental faculties will return. that thing about remembering common words? i made this exact same post a couple of years ago. it was frightening that i couldn't retrieve the most basic of words sometimes. it gets better, i promise.

you said the adderall isn't even helping anymore. it means you're just using it as an emotional crutch because you feel inadequate. it may help you feel more "connected" with the world, but we all know it's not a real connection.

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This is a tough place to be in and I feel for you. I was a pre-med student but am taking a break to quit Adderall because I know it would be impossible to stop while on campus. What am I doing while I recover? Making porn. I can't wait to go back to school, as I feel so stupid for where I am in life, but for now I just can't. I think we're in a place in life that only addicts would understand. Adderall is dehumanizing in how it gives you so much confidence- but really think about it. Your career won't get easier after you pass the exam, it will only get harder. There will always be a time where Adderall sounds seductive and helpful. If you give in now, what's to stop you in the future? 

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I would just remind you that the Bar is not impossible. Our minds make it out to be a bigger, harder obstacle than it really is.  Forget studying the books. Just load up the MBE (is that what they are still called?) mulitiple choice questions on the computer and do as many as you possibly can. Set goals- 500, 1000, etc. It’s repetitive, almost mindless, but you will learn a lot, and it’s a lot easier than trying to focus on pages and pages of boring shit. For whatever it’s worth that’s  how I passed.  You can do eet!

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