Today is Monday, December the 9th, 2013.
30 years ago today I was 24 years of age. I had a job. I was making reasonably good money. I spent some of it on gas, some of it on food, some of it on rent, and a lot of it on alcohol.
I didn’t know I had ADHD. I didn’t know I was an alcoholic. Okay, not true. I was in denial, the kind of denial you have to work hard at because you know the truth.
The truth is that I was using alcohol to self medicate, but that’s only half the truth, I’d stumbled onto a self-medication that was a problem for me because I was an alcoholic. The fact that it made my rocketing brain slow down just made that worse.
Just what am I suggesting here?
So I’m not suggesting that I’m an alcoholic because of my ADHD, I’m saying that it didn’t help.
The fact is that if I didn’t have ADHD, I might still be drinking. I might not have found the comfort that made me drink so much that it became an all but insurmountable problem. I might still be a problem drunk.
Is that true?
I don’t know. This is true, I don’t want to find out. I don’t want to have my ADHD taken away and then have to start drinking again like I’m the lab rat in some twisted lab experiment.
Okay, I’d love to start drinking again, but, you know what, I’d hate it too.
Self Medicating with meds on board
At one point I was on stimulants. They were prescribed. It took more than two years for me to discover that I was experiencing side effects. Specifically, my methylphenidate was causing me to experience clinical anxiety.
When I first started on stimulants, I had the weirdest feeling that I could possibly try drinking again. I was pretty sure that what I had gotten from drinking was now being provided by the stimulant and that I would be able to have a drink or two and then walk away. I never did try that, I think that was wise of me.
And in retrospect, when the medication had to be abandoned, if I had returned to drinking, I don’t know if I could have walked away from it again.
Is there a cheery end to this?
As I was saying at the beginning of this post, 30 years ago today I was spending a lot of my income on alcohol. That’s not the sort of memory that makes for happy holidays.
But maybe this is. 30 years ago tomorrow I had my last drink.
I now self-medicate with exercise, work, volunteer work, music and humor.