Lawyer

Lawyer Trying to Quit Vyvanse - Any Advice?

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I started taking stimulants in undergrad to cram for finals.  It worked well.  I did the same in law school, but more frequently, and it also worked then.  So when I started practicing law, I obtained a Vyvanse prescription. 

 

Five years into the medication, I find myself in a spiral.  I am burned out, antisocial, miserable, and stuck in a bad job (and perhaps profession) that I do not like.  I can’t—but certainly should—believe that I’ve gotten to this point.  

 

Whenever I run out of my prescription early, the withdrawal sucks, and I’m worthless at work.  But I also eventually feel much better (outside of work) and start enjoying life again (again, outside of work).  I’m a better person without the medication in every truly meaningful sense.  This gives me hope.  But during that period the work piles up, and I eagerly refill my prescription when the time comes.  I love that first day back on the medication. 

 

This vicious cycle continues...month after month after month.  

 

I want to quit but am terrified of attempting to work daily without it.  It has helped me produce work product that I believe will be unattainable without the medication.  This work product is now expected from me.  In addition, even basic organizational tasks have now become difficult for me without the medicine.  

 

But I have to quit.  There are more important things in life.  And the side effects will only get worse if I don’t, including depression and anxiety.  In communicating with people, I am actually more confident and articulate off the medicine.  The returns of the medication are rapidly diminishing.  

 

My most immediate obstacle to quitting is that I just don’t see how I can survive the withdrawal phase in my profession.  I don’t have time for prolonged lethargy.  I wish I could just quit my job and find something that I find more engaging and/or meaningful.  I find the practice of law to be boring and tedious but still very demanding.  I really don’t like it.  There’s a good chance I’m doing what I do because of the medication (the 7 characteristics of Adderall users are eerily on point for me).  But since I have a family to support, quitting is easier said than done.  If I only had to support myself, I would take almost any job, rebuild myself, and then pursue something I actually want to do.  

 

Are there any other lawyers who have had similar struggles?  I don’t see how anyone does this job without stimulants.  Ultimately, aside from my lack of self control and discipline, I believe a combination of perfectionism and utter boredom has led me to the pathetic state I am currently in.  I usually sit in front of a computer screen for 10 hours a day composing legal documents.   It feels like a 21st century purgatory.  Why did I choose this?  If only I was capable of self-reflection when I was 20-21....

 

Right now I have a prescription to be filled at the beginning of next month.  I want to throw it away.  But I keep justifying not doing so by telling myself I have a major brief due soon, which I do not believe I can accomplish unmedicated and certainly not during an acute withdrawal phase.  I know these excuses will just continue each month.  I’m almost willing to just toss it and deal with any negative consequences.  If I crumble and have to rebuild, so be it.  I’m not meant to live like this. I can’t even connect with God on this crap.  It feels like a battle for my soul at this point.  But this feeling will subside when I am off the meds, and I will refill.  Anyone have any advice?  

 

I want to escape my isolation, regain normal thought patterns, sleep naturally, laugh and smile with ease, discover and attain my natural life goals, stop gritting my teeth to the point where I can’t eat a chip.  I want to have meaningful friendships.  I want to interact with my wife and children without feeling like a zombie.  The list goes on and on...

 

My good days when I am off the meds and past the most acute withdrawal phase give me hope.  But I don’t fully trust myself.   

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Hey @Lawyer. Welcome to the forums - you are in the right place.  I am a professional in my late 30s with wife/kids and the way you write makes me feel like we are in a somewhat similar situations.. 

One thing is clear - you are very self aware and have a good grasp on your situation - the fact that you are able to feel joy and laughter and happiness after the acute stage is a GREAT sign... It means you are not too late...

Honestly - I would do what you need to do to get on short term disability and then have the option of going on long term if you are still sick.  That is in no way immoral and exactly what it's there for - you are going to be too sick to work and need to focus on your health.  With 60% of your pay (tax free) hopefully you can keep afloat and even keep the option of returning to the job at some point. 

 Sadly for me, at the end of my use I was so manic that I quit a perfectly good job with dillusional aspirations of self employment. I am 9 plus months clean and just now starting to look and interview for jobs.

Feel free to reach out openly on the forum or privately if you want to connect more in depth.    

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@Lawyer I know the feeling of losing touch with life (kids, family, yourself, higher power) while on these meds and it sucks. I’m currently on my 24th day clean and it’s been exciting, almost like a renewed lease on life. I am unfortunately paying for my 5+ years of usage thru fatigue, short term memory loss, lack of interest in things, and reduced work productivity. On the flip side tho, in the last 24 days I haven’t felt like a zombie, felt my blood pressure shooting thru the roof, felt an overall sense of death, or any other problems the drugs caused me (which was a lot). I laugh and joke like crazy now and my son and I are like two peas in a pod and it’s awesome (wife and I are great too even tho I’ve been a lotta lazy lol). So I’m gonna say quitting has been the best thing in my life so far, even at 24 days in. I pray you can find a way to quit so you can enjoy the things that really matter in life! :-)

Your work situation reminds me of myself in different ways, I currently work in the IT field at a small company and I’m heavily relied upon to perform a wide range of duties to keep the company moving forward. I would always find a way to justify my addiction and when I wasn’t on them I felt so great, but the work would pile up so I’d go back on them to catch up and the cycle continued.

If it weren’t for the meds I would’ve never stayed around this long at the company cause I dislike the IT field, I know I’m only this deep in it because of how much the adderall/vyvanse made me think loved it. Now, I heavily rely on the high income to support my family. I must say tho that I’m hanging in there and doing the bare minimum and the world keeps on turning like everyone said it would.

Just to feel out the situation more, what dosage are you taking and what’s the longest time you’ve been off the meds since you got prescribed them?

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Thanks for the thoughtful replies and for the prayers.  I started out about 4.5 years ago on 40 mg per day.  Within about a year or less, I began re-dosing.  To resolve this problem, I had my dosage increased to 50 mg per day—my idea being that, at this level, I wouldn’t dare re-dose or even desire to.  I was wrong of course. In short time I was back to the same habit.  

Three weeks is about the longest I’ve been off the medicine, but I consistently go two weeks a month off of it.  

I’ve known for a long time that my pill consumption is unsustainable, but I kept putting off quitting.  But now is the time.  I actually just flushed my new prescription down the toilet.  What a feeling!  So to even get a refill I would have to call my doctor and lie about losing it.  I won’t sink to that level.  

This next decade, 31-40, is crucial for me.  I have to put this behind me.  I have to be there for my family instead of chasing perfection at the expense of my mental and physical health.  I’ve done enough off the meds to know I can survive, even though it will suck at times while I stare at my machine and that blinking cursor in a silent office.  But I’ve realized that being an antisocial hermit is not a recipe for success.  It’s worth a hit to my work product to be able to communicate and build relationships and see the big picture.  

I’m amazed at how insightful the content on this website is.  It has really cut to the core of my issue and given me the needed confidence to put this behind me for good.  

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Congrats on the decision to quit!! We're not getting any younger (I'm 31) and I would always try to find the "perfect" time to quit but with the way my job is and the responsibilities there never seemed to be a "perfect" time to quit so I kept using.  Sometimes you just gotta go for it and I'm glad you had the courage and strength to flush the meds and get on with your recovery sooner than later. 

Thankfully you already know what to expect the first few weeks since you appear to go thru it 12 times a year lol. So just take it one day at a time and hang onto the positives from all the people on here that have years of clean time and promise that it does get better eventually...I've seen it personally with my best friend who is coming up on 4 years clean and he told me all the time that its worth it to quit.  Now I've finally decided to listen to those that HAVE been there and done that and I couldn't be more excited to begin the long process of putting all this crap behind me.  I'm on day 25 right now, I worked a pretty rough morning at a humid and hot tower site repairing issues that I "always" needed meds to fix...now I'm just forcing my butt to do it and its not that bad at all and I get it done in a reasonable amount of time without any crazy extra tweaky overthoughts. lol

Well just keep coming back on here to vent or let us know how your doing.  I've been coming to this site for years and never fully participated when I would "quit" and I would just avoid it entirely and say "I got this on my own".  This time I'm obviously doing things way different and its helping me alot to come here and participate in the posts. I'm actually putting work into my recovery by reflecting on the past and learning from it so I can help my future.

Good luck on one of the best decisions you've made in your life!!!  

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Feeling less optimistic today about throwing my prescription away.  There is part of me that is convinced that I need it and that, if I could only commit to taking the prescribed dosage, everything would be fine.  A part of my attempt to quit is based on the premise that I will eventually find a new job.  But I am worried that this is just a delusion on my part.  

Ideally, I just want off completely.  I want my personality back.  I want my mind to be free. Someone convince me that I won’t be able to stay at proper dose and that I shouldn’t even want to regardless.  

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@Lawyer wow you posted nearly a minute after me about 20 minutes ago!!!, wish I would've gotten onto the site sooner to reassure you that your doing the right thing by quitting.  The good times are over when it comes to taking it.  It sucks to hear it and realize it but from what I read in your post it sounds like the honeymoon has been over and the drug is only gonna make you feel worse and worse as you continue taking it.   I've taken it for almost 5.5 years and I finally realized that you will only get better if you listen to all those that have come before us and just quit taking it, time is the only thing that will be able to fully heal us at this point. 

I'm sorry to hear that your feeling some regrets from getting rid of them and it happens...I've had so many relapses that I became sure I would be on them forever and I'm still at risk of potentially going back on them because I'm human and make mistakes.  That's why I'm doing things different and working my recovery to the point where I've come to terms that I will never be able to take another one again because in the past when I take "one" it would lead to more and more and things would only get worse....

Just know that you will unlikely be able to take these forever and getting clean will be one of the best accomplishments of your life.  I'm really hoping this is helping cause I'm trying brother!!! Just get thru the rest of the day and chill this weekend if possible!!!

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On 8/23/2019 at 2:29 PM, Lawyer said:

Someone convince me that I won’t be able to stay at proper dose and that I shouldn’t even want to regardless.  

@Lawyer , think about it this way - do you see yourself taking Adderral for the rest of your professional life? (probably not)

do you think there will ever be a better time to quit, when you don't have as much responsibility? (probably not)

so you're going to have to quit at some point. right now you're at about 5 years - imagine how hard it will be after 10 years. 

and that's even assuming the pills continue to work for you. if you're already double dosing and only lasting through half your prescription cycle, that's a bad sign. your chances of ever going back to normal therapeutic use are close to 0%, but as i point out above... you shouldn't want to anyway

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@Lawyer after reading your post I know you’re going to be ok. You know what you need to do. Time to exercise that discipline and self control you referenced above, it sounds like you are capable of doing your job off of Adderall, it’s just going to suck because you hate it. I get it’s hard, but don’t sacrifice your relationships with your family because your current job circumstances. 

Your law degree is an asset even if you don’t want to practice. There are all kinds of careers you could leverage yourself into. Sports agents almost always hold a law degree. Consulting pays well and would probably be a lot more fun. Real estate developers often hire in house legal council. Just throwing a few things out there to give you hope. You have an advanced degree and therefore options. I obviously don’t know you, but from what I read in this thread I can say I believe in you and your ability to create a better future for yourself and your family.

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