View Full Version : ADHD and addiction

10-20-13, 01:49 PM
Hi all, new here. I noticed a lot of threads that seem to shed light on a defense for medications and words like "ignorance" being thrown around... A LOT... Hehe.. Anyway, I'm an alcoholic/addict and have ADHD-PI. Interestingly, going to AA and getting clean and sober have worked for all of these things I "have."

I'm not here with an axe to grind or to try and conquer the world or change reality so that it suits my needs. I just wanted to see if anyone else is here like me, who has had to admit being an addict and that no pills could relieve our symptoms.

I once thought "I don't have ADHD, I'm just a drug addict." That worked to help me get clean... But getting clean and getting sober are two completely different things. AA has taught me what sobriety means, for me, and my thinking has begun to undergo some serious changes. I've done more to change the way I think in the last 6 weeks without any substances than any amount of abuse was able to do to warp my mind over the course of about 14 years of drinking (the last 3 or 4 of which included drugs and cigarettes).

Now that I'm beginning to understand sobriety, I'm realizing that maybe I do have ADHD-PI afterall. I see a lot of of the symptoms in my life. The only thing is, I don't see the symptoms as road blocks. They present themselves in my daily life as challenges, huddles to jump over. I can feel grateful for my ADHD now because at least I have something to do! I have to be very careful about how I live my days, one day at a time, and be sure to set up my surroundings in order to benefit from my energy and creativity, rather than being mired in delusions and self-pity. But when I do it right, what a day I can have! I can have energy like I never dreamed of experiencing! I can write music that I never thought I would hear myself playing!

All the things I tried to find from medication, I'm finding from sobriety and reliance on a Higher Power to guide me.

I pray for understanding of the will of the Higher Power for me, rather than trying to pray that the Higher Power concede to my will for It!

Nate W
10-20-13, 04:42 PM
Good job. AA is where I got sober too. And I actually had (and still do) work the 12 Steps on a daily basis. Correct, you have to have that "spiritual awakening" in order to recover (this has nothing to do with a religious spiritual awakening). For AA it is defined simply as a change in outlook and actions sufficient to overcome alcoholism and for me it took working the Steps with a sponsor who did the same. It was a very gradual change for me, over a few years. Now I too, have a completely different outlook on life, basically doing the next right thing. I also only go to Big Book meetings that practice the 12-Steps. Oddly, you don't find too many of those meetings. AA has lost its direction and if you end up in the wrong meeting, it can cost you dearly.

But I do take medication for my lifelong ADHD, but started it after six years of sobriety. I am of the school in AA that if you have a bonafide medical condition that medication can help, that is prescribed by a doctor, then it is ok to take it, even psychotropic medication.


10-20-13, 05:52 PM
I did have a problem with alcohol too, but after being diagnosed and on my meds properly. I haven't had a sip, but with ADHD I think before you get diagnosed, that your body is trying to self stimulate. Without you knowing so while everyone on the outside sees a drunk or an addict, its kinda the body's way of self medicating IMO.

Nate W
10-20-13, 06:59 PM
True. I drank to relieve boredom and quite my racing mind. I was bored all the time, 24/7. Alcohol made life worth living; it gave be excitement, a zest for life. I could never understand why others did "fun" things for enjoyment. Those things bored me, or were difficult for me to do and you usually had to be around other people when doing them. Yuk! I felt they were missing out by not getting hammered every day. That was the cool thing to do. So in reality I was self medicating my ADHD. I did not realize this, even when I got sober. Only when I began dextroamphetamine therapy did it hit me why I drank. It was a revelation.

Early stimulant therapy may have rescued me from the ravages of alcoholism, but my parents did not believe in medication. This was before it was in vogue; I was diagnosed when I was 6 years old in 1967 with "minimal brain dysfunction":

Sound familiar? And they had dextroamphetamine and Ritalin back then for it.


10-21-13, 04:33 AM
I am an alcoholic, now sober and I have taken meds for adhd for about 9 years.

10-21-13, 04:52 AM
That's a wonderful post. From a wonderful person no doubt.

I smoked cannabis daily for 12-14 years. When diagnosed, it just clicked.

I've had someone try and pull the "most of those traits are from cannabis"... How do they explain 4 -15 years old then?

It is a little disappointing at times, in the way that I have no idea how much more I could be enabled with treatment.

I feel it is most prevalent in "drive" and "confidence" ( moreso missing out on experience than physical damage" ) also when I study, I feel the memory has been effected.

This is by no means a cry. Purely stating that I will never fully know to what extent my behaviors are from damage to my brain or the disorder.