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OT - Anyone have experience battling addiction?

sunshinex's picture

For those who know me and my story, my husband has had undiagnosed ADD his whole life. It's really impacted his adult life in terms of making it hard for him to complete tasks, stay focused, achieve goals, etc. It's the reason behind him procrastinating on a whole host of important things. This week, he took a HUGE step and got diagnosed/medicated. And holy crap... The difference is incredible a few days in. 

He cleans without being asked, he takes our son outside to play during the day, he gets things done around the house, he's scheduling appointments, it's incredible. I have never seen him able to focus so it's really huge for us and our family. But where things get tricky... I am a recovered drug addict. I have been clean from stimulants (and all drugs) since I was 18 (7 years ago) and have struggled now and then, but never relapsed once finally getting clean. 

Since he's had his medication in the house, I have been uneasy and stressed. Stimulants like amphetamines were one of my favorites. They were something I really struggled to get rid of. I have had thoughts here and there since he's gotten his medication of "you can take one and never take another again - just to remember what it was like."

I am scared. I know this isn't the right place to be posting this but it's the most anonymous place I have. My husband is understanding although I haven't quite told him how much I'm struggling because I want him to enjoy this time of having a clear head for the first time in his life. He's offered to get a lock-box and keep them in there. We are going to do that... But how can I feel less uneasy about this? I truly do believe I'm strong enough to be smart... I have a 21 month old son who is my entire world and he's my "why." But it's a struggle. 

Sorry for the long and irrelevant post. Just a bit rough here lately. 

susanm's picture

Just so we know what we are dealing with - was he prescribed Adderall?  Because I can see where that would be tempting.  If not, are you certain that he was given something that would trigger you or are you assuming?  Some ADD meds are not necessarily stimulating for people who are not ADD.  You may have gotten lucky and he was prescribed something effective but boring like Strattera that would have no real effect on you.  If not, perhaps his physician could consider switching him.

sunshinex's picture

He was prescribed Vyvanse! From what I've read, it contains lisdexamfetamine rather than amphetamine the way adderal/dexedrine does. So while different than the stimulants I have done (amphetamines), still a stimulant and controlled substance. 

susanm's picture

Yeah - not something that you would necessarily want around if you are feeling unsteady.  Most physicians are familiar with this issue and are very willing to try other meds that have been formulated without the stimulating effects on non-add people.  It is reasonable to ask your husband to explore this possibility just as it would be reasonable to ask him not to bring in a bottle of vodka if you were not feeling comfortable in your sobriety.

As far as going to a meeting, the time to go is BEFORE the relapse.  Not after.  Reach out for help when you are feeling shaky.  That is what meetings and sponsors are for.  If you don't have one, get one.  I am not an addict but my work brings me into contact with them and I have them in my family and friend circle.  A close friend has 30 years and has lost count of the women she has sponsored.  There is an AA or NA meeting going on every day of the week somewhere near you or 24 hours a day online.  You will be kicking yourself if you have to re-set your clean date.

Mostthanklessjobever's picture

My son has been ADHD his entire life, was diagnosed at the age of 12 and by the age of 22 he was a full blown addict.  His addiction started with the Vyvanse.  He is now 1 year clean.  Vyvanse is very addictive, my son started with that and moved on to meth.  My advice is to get involved in NA if you aren't already.  That's what's kept him clean along with a great sponsor.  You've done a great job it sounds like in being clean, don't let this stray you in the wrong direction.  You have too much to lose.  BIG HUGS.

Merry's picture

I am not a recovering addict myself, but a close girlfriend is. Occasionally she has a mental relapse and struggles as you are. Once it was so bad that she checked herself into a rehab center. I don’t think she was actually using at the time but don’t know that for sure. 

Good for you for recognizing the struggle and the temptation. Are you still in touch with recovery peers, coaches, mentors? There is strength in reaching out to the addiction community to help yourself recenter. 

I do know what living with adult ADD is like. Oh Lordy it’s a struggle. 

sunshinex's picture

It has been so hard. 

I have spent so many nights in tears while he is at work because I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders alone. I have had to handle most of the housework, all of the appointments/meal-planning/shopping/literally everything it takes to run a household. He is a good husband and does things if I remind him, but he has always struggled so much with being able to get up and get things done on his own. When he was diagnosed, they said it was actually quite a severe case - which now makes more sense. 

I am not in touch with anyone who can help, but that is a good idea. 

sunshinex's picture

Thank you. This is a really good idea that I never thought of because I felt silly going without having a relapse to speak of. 

Merry's picture

You will find that there are folks who are 10+ years clean who never stopped going to meetings. They will welcome you.

I have been so impressed with the addict community. They are generous, nonjudgemental, encouraging, helpful, and they hold each other up.

Wrong Way Diva's picture

for being honest in recognizing and dealing with your feelings!!  It's not his responsibility to keep you from taking his meds.  It's your choice to stay clean and not take the pills.  Watch out and avoid triggers--certain songs, tv shows/movies, people, FB posts, etc will want to make you remember 'what it was like'.   Revisit those dark early days getting clean--withdrawls, sickness, money issues, legal trouble--whatever was going on in your life at that time.  Compare it to the beautiful clean life you have now--family, peace, love, stability, good health, money in savings, etc.  

 I am the mother of a recovering addict (using since 15, now 30 with 2 years clean)  I see first hand how my daughter struggles when times are hard--she has a 2 year old and a BF that doesn't keep a job very well. My daughter says she will never go back to being homeless, broke, addicted, scared, hungry, sick and tired.   I know some days she is still tempted, but through Al-Anon for myself and various treatment programs for her, we are doing well today.    Reach out to friends in recovery, find a meeting or even an online group.  It really does help.  Hugs from an addict's mom.......

tog redux's picture

Has he tried any of the non- stimulant ADHD meds? They typically don’t work as well, but might be worth a try. 

sunshinex's picture

He has not. This is his first time ever addressing his ADD, so I reallly don't want to derail him from it because he's been so happy. He says he finally feels like a normal person. And I am so happy for him. 

strugglingSM's picture

I was going to ask the same question about ADD meds. My husband has ADD (has taken meds since he was a child). He currently takes Concerta, which is time-released and also methylphenidate, so not amphetamines, but still a stimulant. 

Can you husband store his medication someplace where it wouldn't be easily accessible to you or where you wouldn't know where it is? 

Do you work with a counselor, maybe they could help you and your husband both come up with a plan that helps him get what he needs, but doesn't put you in such a difficult position. 

Being in a stepparent situation is stressful, so I feel for you, because even though I haven't been in the same situation, I imagine stress makes it harder to not relapse. 

ESMOD's picture

I vote for going to a meeting.  No one is going to judge you for not having actually falling off the wagon.  No one will judge you because you are just having "thoughts" about possibly falling off the wagon. 

I mean, I think the very point of these groups is to be a support network and have a place to regain your resolve and figure out how to move forward.

It might be helpful to actually see a therapist yourself who is versed in addiction. 

Your So should be supportive and if it makes you more comfortable knowing that those pills are secured.. then that is what he should do.  Maybe they need to be locked up.. small personal safe.

I think it's admirable that you are realizing this is stressfull to you.. and what it might mean. 


Evil3's picture

I agree with the others who say go to a meeting. Go every day if you have to. Hell, go twice a day if you have to.

30 years ago, I woke up with a mind-numbing brutal headache that created enough pressure that I functioned with seeing blue lights at all times. I went to 18 specialists, went for every test and tried every nutritional regimen possible. Every type of doctor, every kind of health care provider and I even went to a psychiatrist when doctors threw their hands up in the air. Another undiagnosed symptom was the I was a walking zombie since I was a very young child. I was constantly exhausted and it was debilitating. My exhaustion ruined my life and definitely impacted my career and ability to succeed at other things.

My head pain was horrible and in Canada you can get acetaminophen with codeine over the counter. It doesn't take long to build up tolerance and develop rebound pain. Only recently I've gone off acetaminophen with codeine. I've been told by medical professionals that it could take up to a year for the residual pain to subside. There are days that I'm so tempted to take "just one more dose" to get a zap of energy and to maybe take the edge off the pain. However, I remind myself that I'm so very lucky that I have not developed some sort of disorder, cancer or something else from consuming a crapload of acetaminophen with codeine numerous times a day for close to 30 years. When I get tempted, I think of my DD19 and how I want to live to see my great grandchildren. I'm normally a health nut and if there's anyone capable of living well into the triple digits, it's me, but if I go back on acetaminophen with codeine I'll be playing with my life. It won't be long before my liver shuts down or I develop cancer or have something funky going on in my brain from all the toxic crap I've consumed. The withdrawal was pure hell and I don't want to make it all for nothing and I certainly don't want to go through it again. I have certainly felt alone, because no one else I know has gone through kicking a dependency or addiction, or perhaps they're just not talking about it. Think of your little one. Resist that "just this one time," for his sake. You have a wonderful family, so think of them and if you have to go to several meetings a day, then do so. Come here numerous times a day too. I don't think there's anything that can't be talked about on Steptalk. Maybe we can start a daily check-in forum for those of us struggling.

You got this! Hugs!

SayNoSkidsChitChat's picture

Have you tried drinking coffee or tea for the headaches? I can’t stand codeine: it makes me nauseous!

Evil3's picture

I've tried EVERYTHING and I'm an avid tea drinker. I'm finding turmeric and ginger and intermittent fasting to be helpful for some reason.

DPW's picture

You need to go to at least one meeting per day until you feel secure again. There are online and telephone meetings if you cannot access an in-person one. I'd also start journaling. Need ideas? Gratitude, daily record, meditation, working your steps, etc...).

And I would totally do the lock box... 

And keep posting! We'll be here for you. 

Gimlet's picture

First, I'm so proud of you, sunshine.  You already know I think the world of your maturity, empathy, and strength.

My husband has ADD and Vyvanse has been amazing for him too.  It really helps.  I think the lock box is a great idea.

I wholeheartedly endorse going to a meeting.  Addiction is a lifelong challenge and it's commendable that you have the self-awareness to know you are uncomfortable and recognize the signs of trouble.   

((Hugs)) you are killing it in your personal life and it's OK to need support.  We all do, in one way or another 

sunshinex's picture

I am, once again, shocked by the amount of support on this forum. Thank you all for your kindness <3 I can't say enough how much I've come to really trust this community. 

I will be looking for meetings in my area first thing tomorrow.  

Kes's picture

I am late to this party, but just wanted to add my voice, having been an addict for 17 yrs, and clean for a number of years.  I can completely understand your anxiety - if I knew my drug of choice was in the house, I know I would find it very hard.  I think you have been given very good advice to get support from the recovering addict community. There are also online recovery support forums that you might try - one of these was invaluable to me, sadly the one I was on doesn't exist any more otherwise I could give you a link, but I'm sure there will be others. 

flmomma08's picture

I've never been an addict but I have lived with one. I definitely would not want the meds in the house. No idea what he does for work, but is there any way he can keep the meds at work? That way it wouldn't be tempting to you? I think it would be nearly impossible for any addict not to relapse with drugs (legal or not) in the house. Maybe try going to an NA meeting in the meantime! Good luck with everything.

step to grown children's picture

I think you both need to go back to his doctor and for your sake (and that of your marriage) request to have him switched to something else. You do not need the temptation in your own home. 

SteppedOut's picture

Has anyone heard from sunshinex? I haven't seen her around in a hot minute. Hope she is ok!