There is this little orange pill that haunts my dreams. Every other pill in my life did not haunt me in the way that this one does. Even knowing what it does to my mind and my body and my brain - I still think of it fondly. And then I slap myself, metaphorically, and wake the fuck up because Adderall destroyed my life.
BUT, BUT - it also destroyed my life to the point in which I broke open, fell apart, and finally got clean - and not just clean, but sober - free, happy, at peace. I was never really at peace before - maybe with the ocean & with poetry & in parks…
Why I Loved Adderall
In 2010, I was prescribed Adderall for suicidal ideation and depression. I did not go seeking out Adderall - I sought help when my life was falling apart from a psychiatrist that had treated me for the past five years.
I wasn’t innocent - I loved snorting Xanax, swallowing Kratom, Vicodin, Tramadol, Ambien, Booze - but there is no drug in the world that had its grips on my life like Adderall did - not even love & love was a drug.
I am a woman who loves to succeed. At 16, I had the word ambition tattooed on my butt in Chinese lettering. (I know, so not cool!) Because ambitious was my favorite way to be described. I loved succeeding, accomplishments, awards, accolades - I loved, loved, loved when my parents told me they were proud of me. It was a high in itself & I craved that type of validation.
When you are this type of person - Adderall is a gift from the heavens. That’s what you think at first. It allows you to do so much - if you are a dirty person, your home is now clean. If you are looking for a job, you’ve applied to at least 100 jobs in one day. If you want to read and write poetry - you can write all night. And when you’re on Adderall the words are long and you fall in love with your own work. It makes you feel spiritual, like maybe you don’t need the worlds’ approval.
And soon, it turns on you. It does. You start to stare at your computer a little too hard & a little too long. You don’t want to go out with friends because you want to enjoy the high - the glitter & magic of Adderall. It eats at you, slowly.
And you don’t notice who the fuck you are and you certainly don’t notice that you’re not laughing anymore.
That you’re not happy.
You lose 20lbs and you feel fit & thin. You think you look damn good.
But, you don’t.
Your family and your friends see what Adderall does & you don’t.
Adderall becomes your one true love. It was mine.
My Adderall Addiction Story
I’ve written extensively about my adderall-induced psychosis & what the drug made me do - tear apart computers, glass frames, bite my boyfriend, call the police on myself - sit in a corner of my room so afraid because the voices would not stop. I cut into my own skin - I continually harmed myself over & over because I couldn’t stop what I started with Adderall. I loved, obsessed, and craved Adderall - even when I tried to stop, I couldn’t stay stopped.
People don’t talk about Adderall addiction as much - I don’t know why.
No one who LOVES Adderall wants to give it up. It’s incredibly difficult to stop. You know what Adderall first did for you and you will never forget the magic it brought into your life.
From the moment I first swallowed that 30mg orange pill in 2010, I felt free – like an angel or a bird. My wings were wide open. My heart was singing. And if I wanted to die the day before? Heck no did I want to die now. I wanted to live.
About four months into my Adderall-use, I started to become odd, strange, weird – angry. I had a temper that was never there before. It raged. I would take Xanax to calm me down. My favorite thing was snorting Adderall and Xanax together. It allowed me to take back control when the Adderall took over.
I hid my pills. I counted them incessantly. I lived with a man during the beginning of my adderall addiction and I didn’t want him getting his hands on MY Adderall. He could have any of my other pills, but Adderall was never something I wanted to share.
Adderall made me creative and interesting. I would talk to my partner – who had a masters in Art History – about all the things I loved about words and artists and other creatives. We would read poetry. He would speak French and I would fall more in love with him. But, never as in love as I was with my Adderall.
The crash from stopping Adderall is insane. I would sleep for days. I thought I could stop using for moments but when you’ve been up for so long, you don’t want to be down. Sleep is not your friend. You don’t want it anymore. You want to be awake for as long as you possibly can to experience what life has to offer on Adderall.
Eventually, Adderall tore my relationship apart; my friendships too. My lover ran back to Quebec and even though I tried to chase him – he didn’t love me anymore. To make him come back or feel sorry for me – I made up stories about cancer and pregnancy. He had no idea that I had been locked away because of my psychosis. He didn’t know what was going on with me anymore and I don’t think he cared to. I lied. I lied all the time. I was never a liar before.
Without him in my bed, I had no reason to sleep. I didn’t have to lay in bed next to him pretending I was a normal human who actually slept. There was no pretending.
Within a month of him moving back to Canada, I had a new roommate. This roommate was spying on me – or so I thought. I was experiencing Adderall-induced psychosis. And even though I trusted in Wikipedia & it sounded oddly similar to my experience – my rational mind would not allow me to believe this truth.
My printer was taking pictures of me. My roommate had put up cameras around our home. I called the police to report this multiple times, but they kept hanging up on me and telling me to stop calling. WTF? Did they not care that I was being abused, stalked, invaded?
Adderall-Induced Psychosis aka Amphetamine-Induced Psychosis/Stimulant Psychosis
I have millions of stories like this. About psychosis. I lived in drug-induced psychosis for almost four years of my life. Adderall fucked up my brain and I didn’t know if it would ever be the same. The doctors kept prescribing me Seroquel, but that shit made me so damn sleepy. Like I said, I hated sleep so 200+mg of an anti-psychotic that knocks you out is not something I see as a solution or a gift.
Psychosis is the most traumatic thing I have ever experienced in my entire life. I did not have a peaceful moment at all – my mind was always talking to me. It would never shut up. And it wasn’t saying nice things – it was saying terrible, mean things. It was tormenting me constantly.
Paranoia is awful but auditory hallucinations are the absolute worst. You can never escape yourself, no matter what you do. There is always a voice, a sound – there is never silence. (I longed for silence.)
I would try to pray at night – pray to God to help me. And the voices would laugh at me and mock me. I would wake up in the middle of the night to figures that looked like they came from ‘The Ring’ movie sitting on my chest or standing in the corner of my bedroom, slowly moving toward me.
I’ll never forget when I punched the figure that was sitting on my chest. I am still really proud of that. You won’t get why unless you know psychosis. It’s debilitating and any moment of strength is one to celebrate.
I did horrible things on drugs. I think anyone who’s been addicted knows this. But the worst thing I ever did was continue to use Adderall knowing exactly what was going to happen. I remember trying to quit.
When I quit, the voices were incessant. At least when I was high, I could handle them. Being high made me feel safer than not being high. When I wasn’t high, I could not exist in life – I was in constant fear. I was paranoid. I would make up scenarios about people and know with every fiber of my being that they were out to get me. I trusted very few people.
But, for some reason, when it came to being committed – I could always convince the medical professionals that I was normal. Yes, my parents tried to take away my rights but I was still able to manipulate people. If I knew my rights were going to be taken away – I could snap back into a normal girl who didn’t even do drugs.
How did I Overcome Adderall Addiction?
I don’t think there is ever one answer. It’s not like I have a guide in ten easy steps that can tell you exactly how you can overcome Adderall addiction. It was absolutely the most difficult drug to quit. I’ve quit a lot of drugs. Adderall was the hardest.
Like I said, even at almost five years sober – there is still something in me that wants to have a love affair with that demon drug. But, I am strong now. I know better. I know sobriety and freedom and joy and peace. I have silence. I have truth. There is no going back.
As mentioned previously, I tried to quit Adderall on my own a whole bunch of times. I could do it for a few days or a week, but never much longer. And if I couldn’t get Adderall, then I would find a stimulant to replace it. I loved amphetamines.
The first time I had to quit Adderall was after the roommate experience. My parents came to California to try to help me. They told my psychiatrist to stop prescribing me Adderall and he did. At this point in time, I had never been to rehab. I didn’t know how to get drugs. I didn’t know you could buy them off craigslist, or doctor-shop or go down to Skid Row and find the next best thing, meth. I learned these things after rehab.
So, when my doctor stopped prescribing me Adderall – I went into a deep depression. I don’t know anything worse. Because even in psychosis, which is really bad, I was able to get high. The type of depression you experience after quitting Adderall is what leads to suicide. You do want to die. You see no reason to live. There is no hope. There is no joy. There is only darkness.
Eventually, I told my parents I wanted to die and they had me committed to my first psych ward. The cops showed up at my house, put me in handcuffs and took me to Exodus in Los Angeles.
I was a girl living in Santa Monica who didn’t know the horrors of addiction yet. So being in a psych ward with other crazies is not pleasant. I was not humble. I was better than them. And I almost got out of staying there for 72 hours, but my dad had to tell my case manager the truth about what Adderall had done to me. I lied about the truth. He told them the truth.
So, I was sent to Gateway in Los Angeles – which was longer term and possibly even more unpleasant. I remember a woman telling me she was Jesus and she was taking the train to Washington DC and she was going to announce the second coming.
I had no freedom there. When I finally got out of that psych ward, I discovered that I could order Ritalin online. It wasn’t Adderall, but at least it was something. This is how it went for four more years – in and out of psych wards, and rehabs and sober living homes - ordering drugs off the internet or dating men who knew how to score.
For me, I absolutely had to go to rehab in order to overcome Adderall addiction. I had tried to quit on my own. It wasn’t possible. I felt like I used to be someone. I used to have a good life. And Adderall had destroyed it. Actually, I had destroyed it because of my addiction – but when you’re addicted, you want something else to blame.
I also went to rehab four times. Three of the times I went to rehab was at a state funded program in Los Angeles called Cri Help. It wasn’t the right fit for me. It was all 12 step abstinent based programming with very little clinical work. Don’t get me wrong. Cri-Help has saved thousands of people’s lives and I love that place. But, it didn’t help me overcome my addiction. I needed to understand the why behind my addiction.
Why did a good girl from the suburbs have such a bad drug addiction?
So, my parents finally found a good place for me. A place that would address my clinical issues and my trauma. I don’t necessarily believe my recovery is based on the fact that I went to this place over another place. I think it had to do with timing – and options and readiness. At this point, the money was gone. The apartment was gone. There was nowhere else to go but into treatment. I stayed there for 66 days and then I stayed in sober living for almost a year. I did most everything that other people told me to do. I listened.
If you have read my blog, you know that I was in AA for 2 years and I have been out of AA for 3 years. I believe there are multiple pathways to recovery and I believe that you have to find what works for you. What worked for me, may not work for you. But, you have to throw the book at it – you have to try everything. If you don’t try anything, you’ll never know what will stick.
Again. I can’t write down my recovery in steps or sequences – drug addiction is a whole different beast.
Sobriety as a Gift
But, I can tell you about sobriety. And recovery. I can tell you about joy. About what it feels like to cry at night because you are so grateful to live the life you do. I can tell you about the goosebumps on your skin that occur when you think of the life you used to live and compare it to the life you lead now. I can tell you about integrity, truth, honesty, service – I can tell you about a woman who has become all she never knew she wanted to be.
That woman is me.
If you’ve read this long, then maybe you’re still stuck in addiction – so talking about the joys of sobriety doesn’t really interest you. Maybe you just found my blog because you were searching for Adderall addiction stories. I think that was the point in writing this. I wanted you to find my blog. I wanted you to know that you have a life worth living. I wanted you to know that there is freedom from Adderall Addiction. I wanted you to have hope.
I wanted you to know that you can reach out to me. If you are ready to admit that you have a problem and you want help, I am here. If you’re not ready, that’s cool too.
I’ll still be here shouting about the joys of recovery.