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I'll start with the ADD thing first. I was born in 63 and was the classic ADD kid. Not quite bad enough to have to separate me from the other kids and there really was no ADD framework to speak of so it went undiagnosed. Was able to barely squeek by every year, but would score high percentile in the standardized IOWA tests. They let it go. I learned to work around it, but it's really been a rough ride. Barely graduated high school and joined the Navy in 1981 and got thrown out in 1984. Surprising it that it lasted that long. This February I was officially diagnosed after hearing it from every counselor I have ever spoken to. He prescribed me adderall. It works quite well. Here's the problem:

I have abused every drug in creation. Back in 1989 I cleaned up from an alcohol, Valium, pain killer thing. (I spent a year in the hospital in 1984 for a motorcycle accident and got quite an introduction to the drug world.) Stayed clean and sober (I hate that term) for 10 years. In that time I got an engineering degree and have had a somewhat successful career. As soon as I started working a 9 to 5 in a cubicle (which i find unbearable) I went back to drinking which started out rough because I went right back to coke and things came off the rails again. That was 16 years ago. My career continued to grow and I learned to moderate my substance abuse up until my back trouble began. After 20 years of walking with a terrible limp my back just got all messed up. So the pain killers started again. A little Valium in the really bad episodes to go along, not too much though. Cut to the chase I wound up having to kick PKs again. 30mg Oxycontin daily for about a year. Kicked them pretty quickly with Suboxone which was just the most vile ****** on the planet. Doctor prescribed Klonopin because the subs, while they did their job amazingly well, caused anxiety and all sorts of other weird emotional stuff. Kicked them in a few months by a self administered taper (just reduced them every week to the point where it was tolerable.) Unfortunately stayed with the Klonopins for a little too long. Tapered myself off of those, but just couldn't finish. (Stuck with my doctor the whole way with this Oxy chapter btw.) I read about a great Valium titration from this woman MD and my doctor went along with it. Worked like a charm! (The SOB made me do the calculations because, "you're the engineer!" He did check the work and the dosages were so small, so it wasn't anything extreme.) That all ended in 2007. Drank an occasional beer the entire time btw and continued to work although I didn't do the greatest work of my career in this period.

So if you're still awake I'll get to the present day. From 2007 on my back got worse stayed away from the PKs (except for surgery and a couple of back incidents that were off the chart painful) career declined, depression and I wound up on SSD starting last March.

Now at first that wasn't so bad. A nice lump sum to start, a lousy, but doable steady monthly check and I moved in with my younger brother and 88 year old mother in the family home. Not the easiest sometimes, but I'm grateful and we all don't fight anymore. The price is right too. But this is really not an acceptable permanent life plan. I'm 53 and that check ain't gonna carry me and she's not gonna live forever. I'm stressed.

So I started messing with Xanax. Doctors in medicaid won't prescribe it if you have a history. Those guys are usually really close to the chopping block and they're heavily regulated. Not the highest quality healthcare although I love my rheumatologist. So I wound up prescribing myself Xanax. The guy I found sells 1 mg xr so that's my prescription. (I'm such an idiot) My friends and family figured it out right away so after a couple of weeks I tapered them off real fast and took my last one 2 weeks ago.

Now here's the tragic part. I talk to people in my career field all the time who want me to come back to work, but I just can't do it. It's not just physical, it's this ADHD that has gone untreated in conjunction with the whole occasional back laying me up. So I decided that I'll try to do something about it. I went to see a psychiatrist (a good one who ain't cheap) and he tested and "examined" me and I told him my story, but conveniently left out the substance abuse part. he diagnosed me as ADHD and prescribed my adderall. This is in the middle of kicking the Xanax after a short bout. So these addys work great he gave me a script and we worked out a dosage. I actually took the least amount I needed for them to work. These things are great! I don't get high from them at all (never liked uppers) and I feel like a normal human being. I converted a spare bedroom into an electronics lab, took an 8 hour class on the new Xilinx FPGA (look it up). I can pay attention to things and follow though on projects. So the addys were prescribed in February and I took my last Xanax two weeks ago.

For whatever reason I'm having a particularly bad withdrawal though. It is improving and my 5mg dose of Adderall twice a day are making it so that I can function. I know a benzo withdrawal and this is a straight up benzo thing. I'm sure the Adderall is probably exacerbating it even though it still helps me out.

Here's the dilemma: If I go to a medicaid clinic this whole thing is shot. It's out of the question. I'm going to come clean with my psychiatrist next visit in a few weeks provided this withdrawal improves. Otherwise I'll have to throw in the towel. In two weeks I'm going away with my family for a week. My appointment is for just after that. I'm hoping to make it through. I'm getting better every day, but it's slow and not fun. I'm confident he'll help me out. I have no faith in the free clinic.

This whole scenario compounds my stress. I really need to hang in there though. If I show up and fess up about the Xanax and have 4 weeks it would be a whole lot better than to still be working on some taper.

Man I'm good at messing up my life.





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