What Made the Difference This Time? (Part 1 – Finally Acknowledging the Real Problem)

Someone asked a great question in the comments on my last post – “What made the difference this time?”  I’ve thought a lot about that, and it was many things.  I’ll write about that in the next few posts.

Finally Acknowledging the Real Problem (Is it ADHD? Depression? Anxiety?  Or is it all that wine I’m drinking ….) 

Last April, I went to a “holistic psychiatrist” – a doctor who could prescribe medication for mood disorders, but would also look at natural solutions.  I felt like I was going crazy, feeling all stressed out and unable to focus and complete routine tasks in my life.  I wanted to try Wellbutrin, an antidepressant.  I had heard it helps some people cut down on drinking.  I thought that would be a great way to feel better AND keep drinking!  I tried it and hated it.  It made me crabby.  My doctor did a whole battery of blood and stool tests and found some nutritional deficiencies. (I am now taking the following supplements: Vitamin D, Stress Arrest, Methl Protect, Tranquil Sleep, Fish Oil and a probiotic.  I was also taking 5-HTP for awhile.)

I was diagnosed with adult ADHD and tried several stimulant medications, including Vyvance, Ritalin and Quillivant (a long release form of Ritalin.)  I had varying success with different meds and doses, but I felt jittery and getting the prescriptions filled was very difficult.  Stimulant medications are Schedule 2 Controlled Substances, so I had to pay for a doctors visit every month to get a new, handwritten prescription.  The pharmacy never seemed to have what I needed in stock and the meds were VERY expensive (over $200 a month) with my bare bones, self employed insurance.

After months of this, I felt like I was beating my head against a wall.  I was still drinking and couldn’t tell if the meds were helping or not.  I couldn’t tell if they were making me jittery or if hangovers or coffee were making me jittery.  I finally had this huge realization that I was trying to treat EVERYTHING but the real problem, my drinking.  Even if I did have ADHD, how could I know what was helping if I was still drinking too much and feeling horrible all day?

So last October, I went to my doctor and said “Its time to shoot the elephant in the room.  I have to stop drinking.”  I decided to quit drinking and stop taking all medication to start over from scratch.  I realized that was the only way know what what was really happening in my body and my mind.

I was worried about sleeping, so we made one exception – my doctor prescribed Ambien for sleep.  She said she didn’t want me to worry about sleep at all, that staying sober was enough to worry about at first.  I quit Ambien on my own after 2 months.

Now I am only taking natural supplements, no drugs of any kind.  I think I do have ADHD, but I am managing it without medication for now.  Without the added problem of feeling hungover all the time, I don’t think I need medication.  I like the feeling of not needing anything (well, except caffeine … I do love my coffee!)

Next Up ….. What Made the Difference This Time (Part 2 – Understanding Brain Chemistry)


9 thoughts on “What Made the Difference This Time? (Part 1 – Finally Acknowledging the Real Problem)

  1. During tommy rosens recovery 2.0 conference Dr Drew commented that many addicts are diagnosed adhd.

    You should google it and listen as he had a lot of good commentary, most of which I forget as I didn’t think it applied to me.

    I look forward to the rest of your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi, I’ve been following your blog for a little while. Chardonnay was my beverage of choice, as well. I also feel scattered much of the time. Good luck to you, I’m sure I’ll be back!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh thank you so much for this!! I’m the one who left that comment, and I am touched that you wrote this. I will refer to it often and look forward to the next. Day 1.

    And I WILL be successful this time.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yay, I’m so glad you saw it! Hang in there. I’m not going to lie, it is really hard at first. It is still hard sometimes. There are physical withdrawal symptoms, emotional breakdowns, boredom, temptation and so on. It is hard, but it is possible. And it really does get better, I promise.

      I’m going to keep thinking about what is different and writing more. I really hope it helps. ((Hugs))

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m a diagnosed ADD since my teenage years. I understand your frustrations, specifically with the cost and availability of medication. I too, was on Vyvanse for a time and paid nearly $150 per month for it. I was switched to extended-release adderall, which is similar to Vyvanse but much, much cheaper. Just figured I’d throw that out there in case you find your symptoms unmanageable without medication. Might be a cheaper option for you?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for that information! I may try Adderall next, if I decide I want to try medication again at all. For now I am doing pretty well with nothing. Just having the ADD diagnosis is helpful. Then at least I don’t think I am losing my mind when I forget things all the time. I’m trying to use more behavioral strategies to stay on track, then I’m trying to be more gentle with myself when life starts getting chaotic again.


  5. For some years before I got sober I was being treated for Hypertension (High blood pressure). Various different tablets, dosages up and down etc.
    When I quit drinking I went to rehab – they looked after all meds. So I gave them my blood pressure tablets. I had a couple of odd times feelings at time – they took my blood pressure it was low. They were concerned a bit but I got through all that. Then when back out in the real world I had a massive “grey out” in the gym one day, literally just collapsed. There was occupational health just next door – again concern over my blood pressure. I went back to the doc that week.

    He took my blood pressure “It is low. Anything changed?” I told him I’d been in rehab and quit drinking the 10 – 12 pints a day I had been. He raised his eyebrows – “Says here you are a regular drinker. No more than 10 units a week”. I smiled sheepishly like a boy caught out. He decided to cut the pills – never needed them again. Hysterical – they’d even at one point talked about potential surgery options as they were concerned I had congested arteries etc…. Of course the major issue was that I was never going to be honest about my drinking now was I?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Funny how so much of our health comes down to diet and exercise, isn’t it? We’d rather take a pill than let go our our bad habits. There are so many drugs available to treat symptoms, while the underlying problems (bad diet, drinking to much, etc.) go unnoticed. I have a friend who is on statins for high cholesterol. He will not even consider reducing his red meat intake to reduce his cholesterol – he said he’d rather keep his bad habits and take drugs to counteract them. What a great business for the pharmaceutical industry!

      Liked by 1 person

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