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30 Days! (But Now What?)

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Well, folks, I'm proud to say I haven't taken a single Adderall in 30 days, which is probably the longest I've gone without one in years. But I'm beginning to learn how pleasant it is to lead a balanced lifestyle and think with a level head. My panic attacks are significantly reduced. My confidence is slowly returning. I don't feel nearly as intimidated by new people or situations. In fact, I'm traveling to Israel next month! I guess this is what growing up feels like. (Only took me the better part of a quarter-century to figure that one out!) Of course, life still isn't exactly rainbows and apple pie. And make no mistake: There are times I miss the euphoria, the instant bolt of energy. First things first: I'm still unemployed. (Seriously, what do people without connections and specialized skills do about finding work? "Go to college," they said. "You'll find a job after college," they said! It's a good thing sites like Indeed and LinkedIn don't require degrees to sign up.) I'm still lonely. (This one's a real Catch-22. I dread meeting new people but feel overwhelmingly sad when I'm alone. I immediately crawl outta my skin in social situations but desperately miss the company of others.) And I still lack meaningful direction. Perhaps I'm being hard on myself. After all, thirty days sober---an achievement to be sure---is hardly an eternity. I guess I'm just in a rush to make up for all that lost time spent drugging myself. So, net-net? I think I've made impressive strides since last month.  I'm moving forward, not backward. Believe me: I don't need to tell anyone reading this that kicking a daily habit of several 30mg IR tablets is no joke. And achieving that brings me a real sense of pride. But what now? How do people make friends? Find romance? Earn a living? Become adults? Sure, I've got some serious catching up to do. I know that much. Yet I haven't a clue how to begin, where to turn, or with whom to associate (not counting 12-step support).

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Congrats on 30days! If I did not have my own buisness when I first quit probably would have been fired. So it’s really hard to judge at this point what your going to do. I don’t know how old you are but guessing mid 20’s? If so your not alone see so many young people sort of lost, a little college and part time jobs no set career. I’d give it time just focus on quitting if your lucky enough to have that luxury. My oldest son is graduating high school this year although he’s not big on studying he feels just going to college will get him a job afterwords. That’s true if you know why your going for but this bs taught in high schools schools you just go to college and just land a big paying career afterwords is garbage and I tell him that. Personally I went to trade school best thing I ever did. I’m not saying he must go that route but if he really does not like to study or have any goals in mind going to college I feel is a waste.

 Too meet new people maybe join a gym or do a little volunteer work in your community. Seems like visiting Israel will be something to keep you occupied and mind off addy for awhile good luck on the trip. 

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Thanks, Frank! And yes, I'm 28 so you could make the case that I'm still in my "mid"-twenties. Thankfully, I finally earned my BA about 2.5 years ago. There are grad programs, of course, but I would probably pick waterboarding over returning to school (right now) if provided the choice. I do like higher education---the sounds, the sights, the smells. Even the crisp autumn air promises unlimited opportunity, hope, inspiration, creativity, and a love of learning***. But just 31 days into my sobriety, I think I'd sooner jam a sharpened pencil into my eye than churn out 5 pages on Jane Eyre.

Your college-bound son actually sounds a lot like me when I was an 18 y/o freshman. For most adolescents of this generation, the message behind why HS matters was as plain as day: "To get into college, dummy!" That was good enough for me...until I finally got there. Not surprisingly, I was almost instantly struck by intense, unfamiliar sensations of discomfort and unease. (It took two stints in rehab plus countless sessions with my psychiatrist of 4 years and counting to finally assign clinical names to these conditions and to properly treat them with non-narcotic antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy.) It didn't take long for me to arrive at a similar version of your son's question: What, I genuinely wondered, are these four years really about? And likewise, my HS offered a similar answer to the one your son received. A HS diploma + a BA degree + Internships + an Entry-level whatever + Promotions + Marriage all adds up to... No wonder I resorted to every drug dealer/pill dispenser on campus! After a childhood spent following the rules, doing the work, and sticking to The Plan, of course I couldn't cope without knowing what was supposed to come next. 

As a father who not only gets that the idea of "life's correct trajectory" is the stuff of mythmaking but also one who clearly adores his boy, this can't be an easy position to be in for either of you. You want the best for your son but learned a long time ago, as we all do, that "what's best" is rarely college. If there's something he naturally loves to do, though, like study film (I was always the AV dork...) or play sports (...yet played a season of D-III hoops!) or jam out on music or write for the school newspaper, there's a good shot he'll find it there. Friends included! 

College, it turns out, is precisely as valuable or as useless as one makes of it. (Unfortunately, I was hardly privy to this kernel of wisdom at the time. I was too busy managing an unauthorized, unregulated pharmacy by cashing in on endless stacks of written scripts and CVS bottles.) And if your son is anything like 18-year-old me, he won't fully understand what a truly powerful thing that is until real life kicks in. But hopefully, he won't take the bait (Adderall) like the people on this forum most likely did.

Thanks again for your support, Frank. It always feels nice to be recognized for something you're proud of. 

***Not including the $200,000K in student debt you'll owe by the end of your senior year. There is good news, however. In exchange for a modest six-figure balance, you'll be afforded the privilege to enjoy American academia's rich history of unabashed patriarchy, sex abuse scandals (followed swiftly by ugly, litigious coverups), Greek life and the extremely disturbing behavior it condones, and of course, the Universities themselves which turn a blind eye to all that and more!

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This makes me so happy to see! I was worried about you. Loving your honest posts, and CONGRATS on 30 days. That's 30 miracles in a row. How fantastic. You're likely to face some more emotional struggles in the coming months, but you sound increasingly equipped to handle them. CELEBRATE yourself, this is a huge achievement many adderallics never reach. Badass. Keep at it and update us in Israel! What an opportunity :)

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It seems odd I’m now the “old guy” with a son 18 I started young just now hitting 40. Think younger generations now are not making the same mistakes mine did as often having children before they are ready yet for all the problems it does make one is forced to grow up. How I got into adderall when he was in second grade my son was given a prescription to help him focus in school. It totally made him into someone else no happiness or sadness sort of a zombie. I thought what is this like I’m gonna try it myself see what it could be doing. Well I loved it but thought it was way too harsh for a second grader. So I got him off it then went and got my own prescription and that started me on the road of 10 years of addiction. It was a stupid choice I knew it was bad for my child yet thought the benefits it gave me of superhuman motivation was worth the bad side effects. 

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Congratulations on your 30 days! That’s so awesome! Traveling is a really great way to meet people. I’ve always had trouble making friends at home but seem to form really strong connections on my travels. Also lots of people find romance this way too. 28 is still young, you deserve some travel/ leisure time before returning to study or full time employment. 

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