11 Months Today

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Hello my friends! 

I have 11 months today and after lurking around this site for the past year, I finally have enough mojo and clarity to share. I want to start with a huge THANK YOU to everyone who shares their stories and struggles so a guy like me can understand WTF is happening on this journey from darkness to the light. All your stories really helped and I love you all for it. I chose ‘Speed Racer” as my ID because I totally identify with this classic cartoon character, not so much these days in recovery, but definitely during my many years of Adderall use.

NOW after 11 months, the dust is settling and the fog is lifting. I survived what seemed to be one crazy PTSD crises after another. It lasted for years and years until I finally got to a place where I could direct all my attention to recovery. It was a 15-year gauntlet of pain, loss, and suffering I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy and I took Adderall the whole time. It gave me the strength and power to fight. It lifted me out of my fear and depression. I used it because I could at least function and survive what was happening to me.

I was first diagnosed with ADD during a nightmarish divorce with custody battles from hell in 2001 and I continued to use Adderall through my career battles where I was constantly fighting for my reputation, my career, and my sanity.  Years later, I finally made it to the other side safely. I am finally in recovery. I was sure the Adderall helped me avoid total destruction. But now Im not so sure. I wonder how much of my suffering was self-inflicted or aggravated by the Adderall. Where exactly was I self-deceived about the drug? Was the medication actually making everything worse? Could I have avoided years and years of pain and suffering with a strong surrender and commitment to sobriety in 2007 when I first tried? I think so!

Ever since I finally surrendered 11 months ago, my life has gotten supremely better in so many ways. All the crazy drama miraculously went away. But I am suffering in a different way, one with waves of depression, anhedonia, PAWS, lack of confidence, lack of clarity, and a limited social life. But even with that, I can also say I have never had it so good. I am no longer fighting someone or something. I learned some amazing principals from AA and the program has really put things in perspective. I love the 12 steps. Although I may not be an “alcoholic” per se, the literature and the elements of living a spiritual life are amazing. Today, all my needs are getting met. I have been granted the time and space to recover not only from the Adderall but all the stress injuries accumulated along the way.

The most valuable lesson I learned from this site has to be the actual timeline for recovery.

I have come to accept the fact it will probably take me 2 years to get to my baseline. I used Adderall for almost 20 years together with booze and sleeping pills. I agree with one post I read which compares our condition to a chemically induced “traumatic brain injury” and like all brain injuries, it takes at least 2 years to heal.  I also need healing from all the traumatic stress, loss and grief along the way. I was numbed up with adderall for almost 20 years.

My mojo is probably better today than its been all year. Thats why I can finally write something. With all the daily fluctuations, the stock price (my emotional health) keeps rising higher and higher over time. I am getting more and more days of clarity and motivation. Tomorrow I will probably get hit with another wave of depression or fatigue and the stock price will drop significantly, but I am prepared for it.  There have probably been at least 10 times where I would have given up if I didnt know the waves do pass. They always pass if I take the right actions with diet, nutrition, exercise, prayer and meditation. Every time I get in a funk I go to this site and then I start coming up with a list of simple actions I can take to get my needs met. Needs for community, companionship, understanding, love, exercise, etc...I call a friend and set up a time to get together. I go for a  hike. I call my brother. I try to help others. The waves of pain always pass with right action. Taking right action always gives me relief. It usually takes a day or two but it does come.  Understanding where my basic human needs are going unmet, helps me identify what may be triggering my depression.  I am learning about of my own basic needs and how to meet them without taking a pill. 

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This was beautiful to read! Congrats on 11 months, huge milestone! Reading progress stories like this get me through another day and give me hope that I don’t need them.

Just 49 days in, I also feel some of the good things you’re talking about. I had a bit of bad news this weekend and normally when something like this happens I lost my shit, but for whatever reason I feel so much more emotionally equipped today to handle it. I can’t explain it. Especially with PAWs still in full-force. (Annoying work situations are another story, I still internally lose my shit lol)

I’ve also been reaching out and responding way more to friends and family these last few weeks. When I was when on adderall I could hardly bother to write or call back, in fact I loathed responding to people, it felt like the biggest chore in the world. Which always left me with so much guilt. Sorry, random rant, my brain is still very much ADD :) 

congrats again!! Would love to hear another update down the road 

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Thanks for sharing speedracer. I can relate to everything you have shared. I am at the same point in the process as you right now (1 year off) and it feels so good to read your experiences and get the confirmation that I am not alone. It is comforting to know I am not permanently damaged and I am going through a traumatic brain injury recovery process. When the waves come and leave me once again surrounded by the darkness and despair, it always helps to read amazing posts like this to help lift the isolation and loneliness.  Its so sad to say but a simple thing like getting a shower is a major accomplishment for me. I have had to force myself to shower (sometimes not successfully) for many months. I now actually want to shower some days. That is a really good sign to me. I try so hard to fake being ok to my family, coworkers, neighbors and friends but it so hard to do with the overwhelming apathy and Anhedonia. I experience emotional breakdowns where all I can do is cry uncontrollably. The light has been peeking through at times and I have noticed the little improvements are adding up.  In all of this pain I have to say that I have never been so aware and in touch with my internal feelings and voice. Adderall made me very effective at work and with keeping up with adulting but I never knew how much it blunted my emotional needs and growth. I Am still not very good at getting everything down in text but I need to continue posting in this group.  I have hope today and that keeps me going. This process is absolutely brutal and I have so much respect and admiration for anyone willing to endure it. We need this place to share with others who understand what this process feels like.  Thanks for posting speedracer. 

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