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Slim33

A Call For Help: I'm Crippled by this Addiction

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Hello everyone, I came here for some desperately needed help and advice, I've hope my story gives you a little bit of context to what I'm going through. Here's a little about myself, I'm a 16 year old in the midst of a Sophomore year with an immensely rigorous course load, and I've relied heavily on Adderall, Focalin, and Vyvanse to get through it, I just found this website for the first time after getting busted by my parents for taking several Focalin pills from their lockbox, this is the third time I have been caught, and I think it will likely be my last. Here's my story:

The Honeymoon Stage: My journey began in 8th grade, believe it or not. I took my sister's Focalin after hearing a brief conversation about ADHD drugs and their remarkable effects, I had no idea the addictive potential, nor anything else about the risk of these drugs. I felt unstoppable, I practically got two-weeks of work done, which was fairly insignificant when considering it was 8th grade, but I felt like I had found a miracle pill. Another side note, throughout my whole life I have been generally lazy and rarely self-motivated, I had a painstakingly hard time concentrating but I always scraped by in school, so this was a solution to my problems. I took a pill a few times a month, and I had great results, I thought if I could have access to my own prescription I could set myself up for major success throughout high school and beyond. I would continue to sparingly take the Focalin into my Freshman year as I slowly fell in love with the drug. The long process of getting a prescription culminated in June of Freshman year, by that time I had increased use to 2-3x per week, and I would not do work on days without the pills. It got me through midterms with fantastic results, and projects/papers were done with ease in a single night. I got a Vyvanse and Adderall prescription, and I have been a slave to the drugs ever since. I aced all of my finals, enjoying every moment of studying and every moment of taking them, I was clearly consumed by the euphoria. 

The Moderated Stage: Even though school was over I continued my use in the summer, where I used it to work tirelessly on my athletic career, where I also found success. I was taking one (20 mg Adderall), then one and a half, then sometimes two, but I thought I had things under control. This year school started, and I hit the ground running, I got perfect grades in the first two quarters, but I was consistently taking double my dose now. The side effects remained minimal, however, and I did not run into any issues. 

When Shit Hit The Fan: Basketball season marked the beginning of my spiral, I couldn't take the Adderall during practice, because my heart would nearly pop (my coach was a stern advocate for extensive conditioning) when I took it before, and if I waited until after I would be up until 3 am. At this point I was also extremely psychologically addicted, I had not done work without Adderall or Focalin since eighth grade, and whenever I tried, I would just give in to my urges to abandon my studies. So I tortured myself, taking it after basketball and getting barely if any sleep each night. I quickly had to make more and more, as sleep-deprivation greatly hindered its effectiveness. I would run out of my script, then take my sister's Focalin in much larger doses. At my peak, I would take 60-80 mg of Adderall, and the same dosage of Focalin when I would run out. I wasn't even getting shit done anymore, my grades dipped, and I was showing up to basketball games with 50 mg of Adderall in my system, unable to function. 

Busted: I was spared by my parents when they found my empty script bottles a week and a half after refill, I denied having an issue, but they took them away, "forcing" me to take Focalin instead. I took far too much Focalin, as my dopamine system was pretty messed up and I was still sleep-deprived. Again, they popped me after there was clearly a large portion of the pills missing. They hid the medication, and I panicked, I could hardly keep my eyes open, and I felt like I need the Adderall even to start my work. I felt like a complete addict, I spent hours searching every nook and cranny of my house, convinced that I must have misplaced a pill at some point. After this bust, they took me to my pediatrician and he gave me my prescription back except my parents were to store it in a lockbox. My tolerance for both medications are through the roof, and I need more than one pill. I am so desperate that I find a way to pick the lock with a paper clip, I take large doses on a few occasions, pretending to consume my single pill on days where I didn't have much work, putting it back so I can binge on multiple on occasions instead. When I stole too many Adderall pills, I stopped using them altogether to avoid the risk of getting caught. Instead, I would take the Vyvanse out of the capsules, mix it into water, then fill the capsules with salt and return them to the box. When I ran out of Vyvanse, I did the same for Focalin.

Where I am Now: I am clearly an addict. I just don't feel like I am capable of doing work without it, I am falling in and out of sleep when I am off it. Today was my third confrontation with my parents. The only reason I got popped was that I held onto the empty capsules after taking them this afternoon, planning to fill them up later tonight but my mom checked the lockbox and noticed some were missing in the afternoon. The consequences are going to be dire, and I think I won't have a script, nor access to any medication. I don't know how I will be able to survive my lazy and unmotivated self in my several AP classes. I have relied on these drugs to do 5-6 hours of work outside of school every day, and now I can hardly concentrate for more than two minutes. I do feel that I genuinely have ADHD, I cannot stop myself from spacing out every minute or so in each of my classes. I cannot redo my high school years, and I am on pace to go to a fairly prestigious school, but I think things are going to crash without these drugs. I love my motivated, focused, and organized self when I am on the pills. I came to this website to look for help and advice, I am very tempted to purchase the pills just to maintain my grades. Thanks in advance for hearing me out.

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hi @Slim33


first of all, you did the right thing by coming here and sharing your story. as you can probably tell, it is not unlike many of our's. i'm sorry to say that you have crossed a line with amphetamine wherein you will never receive the same magical effects again. here's the thing though -  Adderall is not supposed to feel magical for those who "truly" need it. most people mistake the euphoria for the improved focus and attention the drug is meant to deliver. this is why the most dangerous association to make is, "the drugs are working, i MUST have ADHD!"  

now, i'm not saying you don't have ADD. you very well could have had difficulty concentrating before all these pills. that's a question only you can answer. regardless, the problem now is that you have abused the medication past a point of no return. if you think your abuse is bad now having to sneak around your parents, just imagine once you go to school and there is no supervision.
 

let me tell you what's going to happen if you continue: you may Adderall your way into a prestigious school, then realize the workload is even MORE than high school (it is). now there's NO WAY you can quit Adderall because you have this awesome opportunity and don't want to ruin your life. you'll increase the dose, lose sleep, perhaps start drinking heavily to offset it, and ruin your life anyway. even if you somehow manage to get through college, you'll Adderall yourself into a job that you don't want to fuck up, etc. etc. until you're ten years deep and you don't even know who you are off of Adderall anymore.

there will never be a perfect time to quit. the perfect time to quit is actually now, before you ship off to college. do it now while you have the support of your family. trust me when i say that going to a prestigious school means nothing a few years into your career. what will matter is your passion and work ethic, things that Adderall will rob from you.

please keep us posted - you're too young to fuck your life up so soon.

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@sleepystupid I want to thank you for your reply. I am in the middle of my week vacation and it has felt good to be off the Adderall, but I can't help but crave it constantly, I can barely keep my eyes open, let alone do work. I think I wrongly characterized myself by saying I was craving the euphoria, I think I chase the ambition that it instills and the focus it gives that enables me to accomplish what I am so determined to complete, that feeling of accomplishment is something I fear I won't be able to experience without it. With AP tests coming up I don't really know what to do. I feel kind of against a wall right now because I don't want my grades to dive bomb. I just don't know what to do at this point, I am considering just getting through the year with continued use and dropping my course load for next year. Over the summer I can deal with the lethargy and generally just getting my shit together. I think my brain is fucked up pretty bad because I have interest in literally nothing and feel numb to everything. I have tried working in very brief periods of about 15 minutes or so then taking a break but I end up taking naps instead. I guess I am now wondering what I do, should I continue and stop in the summer while holding myself accountable (in terms of relatively responsible use) via this forum, or do I stop and say fuck you to my grades and everything I have working to achieve so far? Again I want to sincerely thank you for your eye-opening reply and I hope to hear some more direction. I feel like I've made up my mind in terms of realizing that I cannot maintain this shit forever and I need to stop, but such a drastic halt seems like it has immense consequences.

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The crash is inevitable.. unless you can get someone to lock your pills up and give you a medium to low dose daily and you eat well, exercise, and sleep you’ll be able to prolong your situation probably long enough to get through college maybe a couple years of your career but eventually you’ll be burnt out and have to quit. When you finally quit you’ll be in a situation where you’ll rediscover your true self and this could lead to regret and resentment for the person you built on adderall and the life you have on adderall. You can ignore this and continue to use it but life long it’s not sustainable.. you’ll have to quit one day and one day you’ll realize you don’t need it to be successful. It’s just an illusion, a dream world that adderall has given you and convinced you of. You can quit it and you can work hard without it. Especially if you find something you’re passionate about. Life’s beautiful in that way that if you find something you really love you’ll have endless energy to persue it. Good luck, I wish you the best. 

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On 4/19/2019 at 8:07 PM, Slim33 said:

I think I wrongly characterized myself by saying I was craving the euphoria, I think I chase the ambition that it instills and the focus it gives that enables me to accomplish what I am so determined to complete, that feeling of accomplishment is something I fear I won't be able to experience without it.

i think i can speak safely for everyone on this forum when i say that it was the feeling of "success" that we were truly addicted to, not the drug itself. that's what makes Adderall so much more dangerous than other recreational drugs. that feeling is mostly an illusion, but to be fair, it does improve your performance for a while. 

 

On 4/19/2019 at 8:07 PM, Slim33 said:

I guess I am now wondering what I do, should I continue and stop in the summer while holding myself accountable (in terms of relatively responsible use) via this forum, or do I stop and say fuck you to my grades and everything I have working to achieve so far?

whether you stop now or during the summer is up to you. if i were in your position, honestly i'd probably justify taking it till the end of the semester, but it sounds like you also have some issues with your parents cutting you off etc. i think you need to have an honest conversation with them and as @SeanW suggested, have them dose you responsibly.

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@Slim33 At some point you’ll have to decide that quitting is your highest priority, if you expect to ever be free of it. Read @sleepystupid post above over and over and over until it sinks in. Good luck!

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@sleepystupid @SeanW Thanks for the much-needed advice. I had a fairly honest conversation with them over the weekend, and they agreed to let me continue with the medication while keeping it securely locked up. We also decided on going to a substance abuse psychiatrist to help with the process, which will hopefully help me cope with any cravings to take more than prescribed in the future. My week back on the medication has been great so far, I have been eating and sleeping well, which seems to have significantly improved the effectiveness of the Adderall. I hope I can maintain these habits for the remainder of the school year which will be tough with the intense workload of APs and finals, but I am optimistic. I plan to stop as soon as summer begins and I'm hoping by the time school starts again my brain will have fully repaired itself. The thought of quitting altogether is daunting, considering that I had never experienced any success with such a rigorous courseload before the meds, but what you all have said has resonated with me and I think I'm heading in the right direction. Anyways, thanks again and wish me luck!

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On 4/22/2019 at 4:01 PM, William said:

At some point you’ll have to decide that quitting is your highest priority, if you expect to ever be free of it.

And, because you had the courage to come on here and share your story, you deserve for people to be honest with you: This will always get worse, and never better, the longer it goes on.

Good luck. 

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