Many of us with ADHD have a little problem with addiction. Mine manifests in different ways.
The worst addiction in my life is a 40 year struggle with alcohol. I’m happy to report that the last nearly 31 years of this struggle have been without the physical influence of the stuff. That’s right, I’ll have been sober for 31 years in early December.
But I’ve had other bouts with being unable to surface from immersion in substances and behaviours. Caffeine is a big one for me. I have gone to great lengths to educate myself about the stuff, because frankly, I believe that an addiction will always need to be a part of my life.
That’s an odd thing to say
True, but like the many oddities that make up this thing called ADHD, I have some idea that this is true. As long as I have an addiction, I need not move on to another one. I can allow my hyperfocus to target the current one.
And caffeine is one that I can manage. Sure, I let it get out of hand some days, and on other days I rein it in. The great thing about caffeine is that it doesn’t cause me to lose control when I’ve had too much. Well, not too badly anyway.
I get no hangover from caffeine, I am able to concentrate better while under the influence of this stimulant, and it actually helps my mind to not run wildly in circles allowing me to go to sleep. Odd, but true.
I’ve had other addictions though…
I was once addicted to computer programming. I know, pretty weird, but there it is. I would get up in the morning and immerse my mind in a programming problem that would keep my head down for the entire day.
I would often go to bed with manuals and reams of printouts and start editing programs ’til I got sleepy.
Sometimes that worked
Often I would have some eureka moment in the middle of the night and I would jump up out of bed and run into the office and rewrite some piece of code. Two or three hours later I’d finally be happy with what I’d done and wander back to bed for a couple of hours before the alarm went off.
You think that’s just dedication to the job, right?
I know, you’re telling yourself that I was obviously dedicated to my job. You’re saying that I was lucky to have work that I was so obviously enamoured of.
And you’re right, dammit.
But before you decide that this wasn’t, at the very base of it, an addiction, I feel I should tell you that, although I had graduated from college as a computer programmer, I never did actually have a job that required me to program computers.
Fix them? Yes. Configure hardware and software? Yep. But other than writing a couple of trivial routines at a factory during my college work placements, all my programming was done for my own entertainment.
I’m calling it a manifestation of my addictive personality. You can disagree if you like.