My Story of Addiction and Bad Habits
I first began abusing prescriptions nearly 12 years ago, in an attempt to focus better in school. I was a straight-A student, but my grades were beginning to slip as the pressures of high school, soccer, two basketball leagues, track, lacrosse, yearbook committee, and participation in my church choir began to mount. I started taking my friend's Adderall, hoping to stay alert enough to function through the many tasks I needed to achieve.
As the months progressed, and graduation quickly approached, it was time for me to find a job for the summer before I headed off to college. I landed a full time job 2 months before graduation and thats when my life really started to crumble.
I wasn't sleeping anymore, because I really just couldn't find the time. I was now taking Adderall and enough caffeine pills to keep a horse awake for weeks, trying to find some way to keep on going. At the time, I didn't think anything of it. It was just a bad habit, I thought. One I could stop quickly and easily.
Somehow, despite losing a ton of weight and sleeping fewer than 2 hours a night for nearly 4 months, I made it through graduation and the entire summer and headed off to college. There, I decided, I would stop taking caffeine pills. I wasn't ready to give up my Adderall just yet, at least not until I knew how well I could handle my college course load.
My first semester at college was great. I got by with just Adderall and even got to a point where I would actually forget to take them. At that point, I had officially decided that my abuse of prescription drugs was not a problem. It was really just a bad habit.
But then it happened. My roommate was raped on campus and I promised to be there for her in whatever way I could. Little did I know that I was going to ruin my life and hers in the process. We began partying quite a bit, because it was really the only thing that could make either of us even the slightest bit happier.
She got pregnant
twice and had two abortions within 6 months. She got hooked on coke, and I was drinking myself into an oblivion and using Adderall again. But this time, drinking and taking Adderall together, my grades fell until ultimately I was put on academic probation and dropped out of college. That was almost 8 years ago, and I never went back to school.
I continued my drinking for a few years until I found my college roommate died of an overdose. I would say that she was my friend still, but by that time, my only friend was alcohol. Alcohol was there for me in the morning, during the day at work, and at night when I was home alone. Alcohol was all I had going for me. But then, she died and I fell apart. To this day, I still feel guilty for her coke addiction, even if it wasn't really my fault.
That was when I began going to AA meetings. I stopped everything, I thought. No more alcohol and no Adderall. But I recently realized that I am still an addict. This "bad habit" is still with me. I never take any medication as directed. For instance, I regularly take Excedrin for the caffeine, Nyquil to help me sleep, asthma meds to open my airways on my gym days (14 years of smoking have left me winded), and of all things: Ritalin to get me through tough meetings or work deadlines I worry I can't meet. It seems I have an excuse or explanation for everything I take.
Taking pills for me, prescription or over the counter, is an addictive behavior. Is misusing meds like Excedrin, Nyquil, and inhalers really an "addiction?" Probably not, but it's not a great way to function. Is using Ritalin only once in a while just a "bad habit?" Again, probably not.
I started going to NA meetings this week for my pill problem, so I am now alternating AA and NA meetings 7 days a week. As an addict, I now know that I will never truely be sober until I stop all of my "bad habits." Drug misuse is drug abuse. Doesn't matter what the "drug" is.