amcardwell

40 Days Clean... and I have questions.

9 posts in this topic

Hey everyone. I will try to make my story as short as I can. I am 31 years old and have been taking stimulant (and non-stimulant) medications for most of my life. I was diagnosed with ADD when I was in 5th grade, and I have been battling lack of focus/anxiety/depression ever since. After trials with non-stimulants failed, I began taking stimulants when I was 18. It improved my life drastically. All of a sudden, I became motivated to do small things that I had little to no motivation to do at all before. I finally felt like I could function like everyone else. I didn't have many hobbies before I started taking meds, but all of a sudden I became inspired to do many things, and finally take on responsibilities like an adult. Unfortunately, I began to abuse alcohol in my early 20s and made some bad decisions in doing so. I drank heavily, but I didn't take any drugs other than my prescribed Adderall and an anti-depressant, and never abused them.

I got sober at 25 years old, went to rehab and they took me off all my meds of course.  At that point I was on Adderall XR 25mg + 10mg IR. I had never abused the drug, as it was doing what it needed to. I WAS highly dependent on it though. After 4 or so months sober, I began to complain to my rehab doctor about my focus. I was depressed all the time, and I wasnt being very productive at work. I went through the entire ADD medication cycle again (Strattera, Intuniv, Wellbutrin) - nothing really working, until finally my doctor asked me "Did Adderall work for you? Did you ever abuse it? Do you think you can safely use it again?" - Uhh YEAH!!! So I began taking it again. It worked pretty much immediately. I went the next 5 years taking it, from a small dose, gradually increasing back to the dosage I was taking before I got sober - plus an additional 10mg IR in the late afternoon if the meds were wearing off too soon before work finished. Again, never abusing but very much dependent.

About less than a year ago everything changed. I began to get depressed and incredibly anxious. I began getting panic attacks and my blood pressure was skyrocketing (up to 170/120) during early "peak" times and fading throughout the day. Additionally, I found out that I was expecting a child and I found out my Dad is starting to abuse alcohol - but I am talking about these things in my AA meetings and I have a supportive wife that is also in recovery and sober 3 years. I joined a church group and I felt like I was in a good place. Still, the panic attacks were debilitating and now that I am expecting a child, I couldnt keep going with my blood pressure in that range and only live to my 40s. So my doctor switched me to Vyvanse, and that worked but my blood pressure was still high. Finally, I made the decision to quit taking stimulants. It's been a nightmare to say the least. On the bright side however, my blood pressure is now in a normal range! That is literally the only thought that gives me relief nowadays.

My days are now long, and I am beginning to remember what life was like before Adderall. I am incredibly unmotivated to do anything I once loved, and spend most days just staring at my computer, tv, a wall (literally!) or looking at my phone. I cant focus on much of anything for more than 10 minutes, and I am gaining weight more than I have in a while. When I first quit adderall, I ate because I was hungry all the time. NOW, I am looking to eat just because thats all that really brings pleasure to me, even if I am not hungry. I am battling the eating problem while also not being able to sleep at night without taking a Benadryl. Also, contrary to others' posts on here, I have no desire whatsoever to exercise, go on hikes or even walk the dog. I still go on walks, not because I enjoy it, but because I know if I just sit all day I am not helping my weight problem.

I'll spare you all the rest of the sad details of my current lifestyle, because I know that I am clinically depressed. I am on 50mg of Zoloft and have been for the last 4 years. But I am between doctors right now and my next appointment is on the 3rd of September and I know I need a change in my anti-depressants. Note that I have had zero cravings for Adderall since I quit, I guess due to the fear of having panic attacks again. Seriously, those were some terrible experiences. Anyway, I am expecting my first child the end of September and I am scared to death that I am going to feel this way through what ought to be the highlight of my life. I dont want to miss out on the joy of being a father, and I dont want to have to force myself to take care of a baby when I know that, on Adderall, I would give her the world. My wife is just as anxious as I am about the whole situation because she knows that if I was on Adderall, I would have had the nursery finished. Now its just a chore to do anything, much less the small task of hanging up drapes or building shelves.

About work - I am a Web Developer and I am the sole coder of my workplace. I have a lot on my plate. I am trying to get some jobs finished before I take paternity leave and even though I am getting them finished, I am literally doing the bare minimum to get them done. I used to LOVE to code. I would wake up excited about it and fall asleep dreaming about it. Now, I despise the thought of it. Its incredibly difficult now to force myself into the job because it takes tremendous focus to do it. I am scared to DEATH that I have permanently lost interest in my job. I dont have any college education, but I have a few certifications to back up my coding career. I am NOT at the point in my life where I can quit my job and find another career. We are tight on cash as it is and my wife is working full time at 36 weeks pregnant to help with the bills. 

Finally, my questions are:

  • Did anyone else feel they lost interest in their job after quitting adderall, then over time grew to love it again? If so, how long did it take?
  • How did you manage the lack of focus after quitting Adderall? Are you on a non-stimulant now?
  • I am currently munching on sunflower seeds all day to help stimulate myself during work. Are there any other healthy, non-fattining alternatives out there to munch on to help stimulate you?

Thank you to all who help keep this website running as well as the sober people that come and help those of us trying to make it one day at a time... you are lifesavers!

 

 

 

4 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First off congrats on 40 days clean and congrats on becoming a father!!! It's a great experience and is truly life changing. I'm 31 years old too with a wife and a 1st grader now, and I'm the only person at my company that does the job I do and I'm HEAVILY depended on which can be good and bad at times in recovery.

I started taking adderall and vyvanse at 25 and within a few months was abusing them. I've also abused tramadol for the last 2.5 years on top of the adderall so that made things a little tougher cutting BOTH of them out.  I'm sorry to hear the struggle your going thru. I feel like I've seen other members on here over the years that shared the 10+ years of (non-abusing)use like you and may be more qualified to answer your actual questions than me, I'm only on day 22 of recovery myself so it would probably mean more coming from a senior member .lol. I really hope that some are able to chime in to answer those questions for ya.

From my own experience, once you get to that point where the pills negative effects outweigh the positive then its pretty much not a viable option anymore.  It only seems to get worse from then on out when taking them.  I wasted so many precious moments with my son by not fully being there as a dad he needed cause my blood pressure was crazy high and I was like a weird zombie. I also learned that parenting only gets more difficult the older they get so obviously just stay the course with recovery from adderall and bite the bullet now. Know that you got someone cheering for you on this site as well!! Good luck!! 

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@eric thanks Eric. I've read many of your posts on here and I really appreciate the help and feedback you have given! Your timeline really fits with mine... you may have been abusing adderall where I decided to abuse alcohol. "Singleness of purpose", they say; We all have our niches. Still, the recovery process sucks for everybody, regardless of the situation... so it feels good to know I'm not the only one going through this. 

Its funny... I work a M-F 10-6, and Mondays usually are relatively the "best" days (they suck less)... then it goes downhill from there. I am a couch potato on the weekends (thank GOD football is back!!), curse my life that I have to go back to work on Monday, then start the process over again. Idk if anyone else relates... it may just be me.

On another side note about weight... I stepped on the scale today and lost 5 pounds! Two weeks ago I was193, now I'm 188. I was super nervous. The trick for me was to cut sugar because I had been self-medicating with ice cream and candies ever since I quit. I've reduced the amount of bread/starches, quit eating pasta (kill me - Italian food is my favorite lol), and skip desert most nights. If I don't skip, I eat strawberries or black/blueberries, or Halo ice cream. One night, I ate a bowl full of fro-yo without all the toppings. I go on walks around the office at least once a day to get around 2-3k steps in to contribute to my 5k steps/day. I don't have a Fitbit or Apple watch, but I found the "Health" app on my iPhone to be a good tool to track steps... even though it may be inaccurate since I don't carry it around with me 100% of the day. Sunflower seeds are a lifesaver. I cant go a day of work without them. My ADD is raging... my mind is spinning 1000mph and sunflower seeds help me to slow my brain down and focus a little bit; Far from ideal, but it works. I know that if I stopped eating them, I might lose a little more weight... but right now its a necessity. Still looking for an alternative!?!?

I have to say that every night I have INSANE food cravings. I would clear out my entire fridge if I could. It feels just like the cravings I had for alcohol back when I was newly sober. Every night I watch the clock for the time I can take my Benadryl and go to bed. Only then will my mind start to slow down so that I can get some relief. I am worried that this may be my new "normal". I don't want to have to take something to go to sleep every night.

It feels good to talk about this. Its really hard to bring up my Adderall use in AA meetings because I know its frowned upon since it's a narcotic, and it may trigger people. No one really understands what we go through... even my wife, a recovering IV drug user (sober 3 years) doesn't understand the recovery process of Adderall. She always asks me, "Shouldn't you be better by now?". Ugh.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

hi @amcardwell

first of all, congratulations on finally taking the step to reclaim your life! as hard as it seems,  now is definitely the time to do this, before your kid is born. life seldom gets less complicated, so there will never be a better time to quit. 

On 8/20/2019 at 0:48 PM, amcardwell said:
  • Did anyone else feel they lost interest in their job after quitting adderall, then over time grew to love it again? If so, how long did it take?

to be honest, you lose interest in mostly everything after quitting Adderall. unlike hobbies that you can just not partake in for a while, your job is something you're forced to be exposed to most days of the week. this forced exposure is going to make it feel like your dislike for web development is stronger than your dislike for everything else.

to be fair, work is work, but honestly you may never "love" it in the same way again. that love that you describe, "wake up excited about it and fall asleep dreaming about it"... that was never real. your interest will slowly return in time, but i'd say don't worry about that right now. work is going to SUCK for a while, but if you can manage to get by with the bare minimum then you're already managing your recovery in a healthy way. focus on everything else in your life - you're having a kid soon!!! you will draw immense strength from that experience - use it to fuel the stuff that you dislike but have to do (:

gl and keep us posted!!! 

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Day 48 - thanks @sleepystupid. You may be right about my false "love" of my job. Though I really did love my job in the beginning because I'm good at it. I'm starting to believe that deep down I still do love my job, but not as much as I think. In the late stages of my Adderall use, I would distract myself with my work to avoid thinking about outside negative things... thus making me feel better. Work was my biggest coping mechanism. Today I dont have that coping mechanism. I really dont have a coping mechanism today outside of AA, now that I think about it. I've cut out all the negative things I had in my life... the last one being food. I dont smoke, drink, gamble, do drugs - nothing. Fortunately, I still have the tools that I used to quit drinking through AA program to help me through this. However, I'm in early sobriety from stimulants so it sucks. I'm working on this one day at a time, like the rest of us.

Funny... Yesterday I found 5mg of Adderall in my desk drawer that I kept just in case I needed it during my withdrawal phase early on. I got up the nerve to throw it away. I cant live right now knowing that drug is within reach.

3 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@amcardwell Congrats on day 48! Keep it up and good job on not giving into that 5mg. I'm looking forward to reading more about your recovery since your further ahead.  Also, I'm beginning to realize that drugs may have given me a false "love" for my job as well so I'm right there with ya. GOOD LUCK!!

Currently day 29, fatigued but finding my personality more in the last few days.

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@amcardwell you’re on the right path! For what it’s worth I think your new baby is going to energize you and give you something else to focus on. You sound excited to be a father so I doubt it’s going to feel like you’re forcing yourself to take care of your child. That’s a huge blessing. I can’t wait to get married and have children which is insane because I had no desire for that before I quit Adderall. Continue to use the principles you’ve learned in AA to stay clean, you have a bright future ahead of you!

1 person likes this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

thanks @DrewK15!

@eric congrats on day 29. I remember around that time I started to see my personality start to return. I started wanting to be around other people more often, and I started to hate isolating so much.

My mornings have been the hardest part of the day since quitting. I am constantly late getting to work, and once I do get to work I pretty much do nothing until noon, when I eat lunch. Thats when I can start to get things done. Every morning when I come into work, I open up my computer and immediately see long lines of code on my screen from the day before and I get overcome with exhaustion. On adderall I could immediately get my head in my work and start. Today, it takes an incredible amount of effort to get my head into my work. Once I do get into my work, it does get a little easier, and time goes by a LOT faster. Still, God forbid I have to go use the bathroom, or someone disrupts me because if I get too far out of the "zone", I'm back to square one.

A few days ago, my wife and I finished the last of our binge shows. Last night, we were just looking through Netflix and I couldn't care less which show to watch. I cant really maintain focus throughout a show or movie anymore. I was just counting down to bedtime. Still, I'm looking up. Things will surely get better, they have to.

2 people like this

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do 100 rate for tech scouts and I do 50 rate for travel day.

If they are renting gear from me tech scout days count as rental days if they are on set, I usually give them the gear for the travel day if I have it in my possession.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now