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pkr

How does recovery happen?

14 posts in this topic

After 5 years of consistent use, I started the weaning process in March, and I've been almost completely off adderall since June. I feel good having quit, and I've had some pretty good days where I am so thankful for simple pleasures like smells and tastes and occasionally life in general, but they never last. When I envisioned recovery, I think I envisioned more of a one step forward two steps back scenario. I guess what I didn't expect is that I'm finding that I have many different kinds of days. Days where I can't feel a thing, completely numb to the world. Days I'm depressed, days I'm anxiety ridden, days in mourning for how I've represented myself to my neighbors or for how I'd treated my kids. Days where I see a glimpse of my former self, days where I don't know who the hell I have ever been. This supposed recovery is really very haphazard, and it's making it hard to feel like it's moving in any one positive direction. Is this typical?

I'm having a lot of social anxiety, because I feel like I'm not getting proper feedback from the world around me--like I'm still faking my responses to it, because my natural instincts aren't kicking in. Does that make sense? I used to be quick witted and funny, but now my natural laugh still escapes me, and any funny response I might have is either too slow, or if it does come, I'm finding myself weighing whether I should say it or not. That was NEVER me. Social anxiety was never a problem, and I'm not sure if forced interactions will be helpful or if I should keep to myself for a while. We have a party in two weeks to meet the parents of the my daughter's classmates, and I have a real dilemma. It's a first impression situation of a very social school that she'll presumably attend for the next 8 years. Right now, I feel like if someone just met me, I'd come off as weird. Distracted, not engaged, slow, faking a laugh, just generally awkward. I have a very hard time following a conversation, and catch myself furrowing my brow and squinting in an attempt to sort of hold onto the words. It's ridiculous! And these are the handful of times that I've given in and had just 2.5 mg to help me out a bit.

I've been taking Sam-e, which is very helpful, and I'm working out like crazy. I so want my old self back. Does it ever really come?

I'm so thankful for everyone on this board1

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Hi pkr,

It's taken me about 8-9 months to start feeling like myself again on a regular basis, or at least to feel like I've finally broken through to the other side. I was really afraid that my sense of humor was lost forever. It's just now started to return to the same level as before adderall. I felt supremely unfunny and serious for the first 8 months off adderall (and on adderall too - one of my reasons for quitting). Maybe I was just so depressed in the first 6 months or so of sobriety that it was buried down somewhere deep and couldn't surface. My emotions and moods were all over the map too - still are to some extent - but like I said, I now feel like I'm starting to cross over to another phase of growth after addiction. It is frustrating, the chasm between what you want yourself to feel and act like and what is actually happening. It does eventually sync up, but be prepared for a long wait. I think that's the most helpful thing to know - that it may take you 9 months, or a year, or longer, to feel that syncronization occuring. To feel like you are starting to 'know' yourself again, your wants, interests, who you are deep down. The point at which things start to make sense again internally.

Have you ever heard the saying: "The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease."? I thought it was Hippocrates or Plato who said that, but I'm glad I looked it up because it was actually Voltaire (I was way off!) Well, I think that holds true for quitting drugs. You do whatever it takes to get through the early stages of recovery and distract yourself from the misery and confusion that accompanies your newfound sobriety, because ultimately the only real 'cure' is time.

So, what are you going to do to amuse yourself while you wait for time to heal your brain, body and spirit? I don't believe there is anything 'amusing' about forcing yourself to engage in social interactions if you don't want to. Do what you want to do. If you want to see people, go out. If you want to stay home and be a hermit, do that. For me, I just tried to focus on being as healthy as possible because eating healthy and exercising felt good to me, and I think it helped recover faster (however minimally). The first time I tried to quit I forced myself to jog all the time and I was miserable. So, the second time, I just walked when I felt like I should exercise and it was a lot easier. Do whatever feels good to you and doesn't feel forced in any way. That will only add to your mental resistance.

Anyway, I hope this helps a little. I took adderall for the same length of time as you, and I really relate to all the thoughts you've been experiencing :)

Cassie

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Thank you, Cassie! That is very encouraging. "Synchronization" hit the nail on the head. I feel completely out of sync, with myself and the world. It's probably some sort of dopamine regulation issue as we heal. When I'm crazy busy, I'm desperate to have some couch time. When I do have some time to chill, all I do is feel guilty about the things I should be doing. When I'm alone, I feel like I should be social, and when there's any social event at all outside of my comfort zone, I just want to be home. Restless all the time!!

I love the Voltaire quote (I would have thought Hippocrates!). I guess I just have to make peace with this process and have faith it will sync up at some point. And in the meantime...hmmm...work out, read good books, wine with close friends, and good quality family time.

Thanks for taking the time to respond. Your insight is incredibly helpful. :)

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As long as "giving in" and taking 2.5 mg to "help you out a bit" is an option, you will struggle with your recovery. Even at that tiny tiny dose, it fucks with your dopamine and seratonin levels. For days. I wouldn't force myself into new social interactions if I were you, unless it is a "have to" event like a funeral or something work-related.

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With regard to the 2.5mg cheats, I've been justifying it as a sort of a bifurcated weaning process. I.e. I can handle being adderall free for the day to day grind, work, kids, etc. But with regard to the social situations, I feel like I should have been weaning. And going from 30mg a day everyday, to 2.5mg every few weeks, in most respects feels like a victory. But of course, I would love for it to simply not exist in my life. I wonder what is a more efficient recovery method--to wean or not to wean. Fortunately, adderall scares the hell out of me right now, so at this point I'm not worried about stepping back up. I'm not so naive as to believe I'm not vulnerable to changing my mind some day, but I'm way too pissed off about missing these precious years with my kids to even consider it right now. So quit once, you think the tiny doses for certain situations aren't a good idea to function as a weaning process while I get myself together in other areas?

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I believe that any amount of adderall you take after you have quit taking it on a daily basis is a bad idea and that it will make your recovery process more difficult . It sounds like you have the daily habbit kicked but still think you "need" that social crutch once in a while. A recovering alcoholic could justify taking a drink in the same way. I am in the cold turkey camp myself, but these are just my beliefs, backed up by my own experiences and observations.

Does anybody else have an opinion about PKR's 2.5 mg cheats?

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I completely agree with you quit-once. My beliefs might be based on the fact that I couldn't just take 2.5 mgs with my addicted brain, but if you're putting all this work into quitting, why not give up the 2.5, so you can get this stuff out of your life for good? The "necessary" times could become more frequent, if they haven't already. That's just my opinion. You're breaking the cycle, so why not truly break it? This is just my opinion from experience also.

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You are absolutely right. Incidentally, I did the same thing ten years ago quitting (chain) smoking, and to this day I smoke one or two a month and always have nicorette on hand 'just in case'. Just in case what?! WTF is that? I am long past any sort of chemical nicotine addiction. And with xanax! Just a crumb, every now and then. I'm talking a nibble of a .5 mg, despite the fact that I have about 100 of them. Omg...epiphany. I'm using it all as a crutch, probably because I'm scared. Of what?! With the adderall, I went from totally fine socially, to a complete crazed maniac, and now I'm not sure what I'm left with, so that makes a little sense. But the rest of these little crutches? Why? Probably time to bite the bullet and find out.

Looks like I have some work to do. Thanks guys!

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I "quit" smoking cigs in 2001, but I continued to "enjoy" ONE cig per month for about two years. Until I started taking adderall and then within six months I was a daily smoker...again. It has been much, much easier to have none and be done with the habbit. Addiction is addiction, whether it is gambling, porn, nicotine, heroin or adderall and the only way to beat it for sure is a commitment to life-long abstinence.

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Pkr,

What a revelation to have. I've noticed the same about myself. I tie it to not feeling comfortable dealing with my own emotions. I'm currently on klonopin, and I take it everyday. I don't enjoy it, and I have legitimate anxiety, but I've used it as a crutch. I think that stuff is just as addictive as adderall, it's just not my drug of choice, because it works how it's supposed to, not to feel a buzz, but I have a desire to quit that stuff too. Adderall is what I'm focused on staying quit from right now. Cigs too. I really thought they'd be easy to give up after adderall, but not true for me; however, it would be impossible with adderall. Cigarettes and adderall go so hand-in-hand, it's crazy. I hope you can kick the adderall, now that you've figured out what it signifies for you....best wishes.

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Hi pkr,

It's taken me about 8-9 months to start feeling like myself again on a regular basis, or at least to feel like I've finally broken through to the other side. I was really afraid that my sense of humor was lost forever. It's just now started to return to the same level as before adderall. I felt supremely unfunny and serious for the first 8 months off adderall (and on adderall too - one of my reasons for quitting). Maybe I was just so depressed in the first 6 months or so of sobriety that it was buried down somewhere deep and couldn't surface. My emotions and moods were all over the map too - still are to some extent - but like I said, I now feel like I'm starting to cross over to another phase of growth after addiction. It is frustrating, the chasm between what you want yourself to feel and act like and what is actually happening. It does eventually sync up, but be prepared for a long wait. I think that's the most helpful thing to know - that it may take you 9 months, or a year, or longer, to feel that syncronization occuring. To feel like you are starting to 'know' yourself again, your wants, interests, who you are deep down. The point at which things start to make sense again internally.

Have you ever heard the saying: "The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient while nature cures the disease."? I thought it was Hippocrates or Plato who said that, but I'm glad I looked it up because it was actually Voltaire (I was way off!) Well, I think that holds true for quitting drugs. You do whatever it takes to get through the early stages of recovery and distract yourself from the misery and confusion that accompanies your newfound sobriety, because ultimately the only real 'cure' is time.

So, what are you going to do to amuse yourself while you wait for time to heal your brain, body and spirit? I don't believe there is anything 'amusing' about forcing yourself to engage in social interactions if you don't want to. Do what you want to do. If you want to see people, go out. If you want to stay home and be a hermit, do that. For me, I just tried to focus on being as healthy as possible because eating healthy and exercising felt good to me, and I think it helped recover faster (however minimally). The first time I tried to quit I forced myself to jog all the time and I was miserable. So, the second time, I just walked when I felt like I should exercise and it was a lot easier. Do whatever feels good to you and doesn't feel forced in any way. That will only add to your mental resistance.

Anyway, I hope this helps a little. I took adderall for the same length of time as you, and I really relate to all the thoughts you've been experiencing :)

Cassie

This is extremely inspiring..

Thank you

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Cassie!

I owe you a huge thank you. I've had three good days in a row, and the difference has been your post. Every time I feel out of sorts, I've reminded myself that I'm not damaged, I'm just out of sync right now, and I just have to trust the process while nature heals. I can't even tell you what a difference your words have made, not only in how I'm feeling now, but my hopefulness in the future.

My next hurdle will be when I have to work go back to the night shift at the end of the month. Wish me luck!

I'm so thankful for all of you, and I hope you're doing well!

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So glad I could help! Good luck on going back to work. It may suck at first, but as with anything, you with adapt with repetition.

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