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Hey all, I'm 15 months off of 11 years of Adderall use (25 mg XR) and I'm 31 years old. The hardest part of Adderall withdrawal is that I lost key elements of my personality - enthusiasm, curiosity, passion, hustle, and even my hyperactivity (which I took for granted). Does anyone relate with these identity issues? Does it ever return? When did it return for you? Did anything help? So much of my career was formed around these aspects of my personality and it's really been a gut punch to lose them. Would love any and all thoughts! Best, Andy
Greetings Everyone, First, here's a brief introduction. I've been familiar with this site for at least a year by now, but today I'm proud to say I finally decided to open an account!* (I'll be posting my story after I complete and post this entry.) I've wanted to be a regular participant on this site because of the hope you all inspire each time I recognize a piece of myself in your stories. This is something I could never get out of 12-step recovery, despite the last seven years I've spent attending AA meetings pretending to believe in God so as not to draw attention. You know how they love to say an addiction is an addiction all the time, right? Well, when I discovered QuittingAdderall.com and read your stories and insights for the first time, I immediately took comfort in knowing that there was a community of people out there who understood how our addiction to Adderall is unique after all. Not necessarily more or less challenging to overcome than an addiction to alcohol or heroin, for example. Simply a different condition that requires different approaches to combat. When I used other substances like booze or weed or Xanax and even heroin for a time, the reason was to resign from life. Plain and simple. "I don't want to try anymore," my mind would tell me. "What's the point? Leave me alone." Adderall, on the other hand, has the opposite effect on me. I take it to engage in life. Sober, the world is a woefully dreary place. Everything lacks flavor, color, and texture. I have no perceptible purpose. In fact, I can barely remember what it even felt like to harbor interests and pursue goals before Adderall. It doesn't even seem possible to summon real, organic enthusiasm for anything. I'm also not the natural extrovert I've spent my whole life wanting to be---the kind of person who's effortlessly motivated to meet new people and try new things and spend time in new places. Once Adderall came into my life, however, my inhibitions were at long last lifted. Suddenly I felt overcome with excitement. People were finally noticing me, it seemed. I felt spontaneously compelled to read and write for recreation. I no longer dreaded the company of others. Since then, I never needed to learn how to socialize or develop interests on my own because I had found the magical elixir that did those things for me. (An honest marketing campaign might read something like "Personality In a Pill.") And yet the world still mistakenly believes Adderall is dangerous exclusively because of its prevalence on college campuses and in academic circles. Yes, it elevates focus. But that's not why I'm addicted. I don't have ADHD. There's nothing medicinal about the way I use it in a clinical sense. I take it because I know of no other way to be the lively, interesting, charismatic person it brings out in me. In Mike's description of "The Challenge," he says the goal is to wake up feeling like Superman without Adderall, but I worry that ship has sailed for me. Once Adderall is subtracted from my life, I have no clue who I am anymore. Even worse, I lack the motivation and courage to bother figuring out who that person once was to begin with. What if he's just the shy, anxious recluse he's always hated? Why is the undrugged version of me such a bore? Again, my compulsion to use stimulants stems from a desire to actively participate in life, not to submit to its hardships and wait out the clock. I'd go back to drinking and popping Oxy if that were the case. And even though I'm aware that the perceived personality Adderall gives me is largely an illusion, I've yet to find a satisfying alternative. It's all I've got for now. Why can't I simply get out of bed each morning, clean and sober, take a shower, eat breakfast, go to work (I don't have a job), talk to people without succumbing to a panic attack, work out, come home, go to sleep, and do it all over again? Why isn't that good enough for me? It appears to be good enough for most, right? Did Adderall ruin me? Did it break me for good? Because that's how it feels. Adderall the Study Medicine? For many, yes. But not as it concerns my addiction. In my case, I rely on it to rewrite the parts of myself that demand correction. Without my Personality Candy, however, I'm lost. The motivation to create and succeed? The bravery it takes to connect with people? The confidence I need to carry a career? How am I simply supposed to learn these skills after roughly a decade operating under its influence? Please, fellow speed heads, surely you must empathize with my alarm. How did you address your obsession with Adderall? Does it get easier? Are there techniques? Are there groups (specifically in NYC)? Thanks in advance for taking the time to read this. You people are my best shot. Best, WiredTired Unhired.