Hi, there and welcome. Honesty, that was very upsetting to read. And not for the reasons you make think. It's sad to see someone that is obviously articulate and informed, yet so defeated.
I'm not going to sugarcoat this okay? A few things your wrote are huge red flags:
-you did NOT tell you psychiatrist that you are a hardcore alcoholic and you got ritalin anyway? Did I read that right or am I mistaken?
-you and your therapist believe in "harm reduction"? You, having proven your long standing and debilitating alcoholism, and your therapist believes you should not avoid substances? WHAT?!
-you wrote: "do everything I can to avoid addiction to stimulants" How on earth do you plan on doing that? Is there any addict on earth that can do that?
Your addict thinking is so evident: you just want to "take less", you want to control it, this won't work for you, that won't work for you, might as well be addicted to one thing etc etc etc. You still seem to believe that you have the ability to control a substance. And you proved that you can't after ONE week. You know that you can't. My question is: why don't you want to do the work? The REAL work to get sober? I know people that have been to rehab 15 times. I know a guy that went 30 times. They got clean. But you have to surrender your thinking completely. Your thinking got you here. We all think we are so unique, that are addiction is unlike anyone elses, that we've been through more, worked harder, tried more. It's all bs. It's all our way to negotiate our addiction and keep playing roulette.
You probably know what to do. Get 100% honest w/ your psych. Get into rehab again and if you can, stay for months. After that, you should be in daily meetings indefinitely. You need to listen to everyone and anyone that has been successfully clean and sober for a significant period of time and do what they do. You need to NOT try and come up w/ your own ideas. Your own ideas lead to straight back to using and misery. I'm assuming you're are miserable and tired. I hope so. If you are, that's when the change comes. Real change. Not substituting ritalin and meth for alcohol change.
Stay on this site. Others will be on as well.
Imo....b/c i have to preface everything with that....
You KNOW u are setting yourself for another addiction problem! And no addict, in recovery, is going to tell you otherwise.
That "uncomfortable" feeling that you cant stand, and i hear ya, I thought it SUCKED, is what you have to get through and get to the other side. And there is a "other" side to it. I just dont think you've given yourself enough time to get there. You have to be ok with NOT being ok for a while! There is a turning point in it....but 3/4 weeks is just too soon.
Imo...put the ritalin down and get into some form if recovery. I personally use N/A...not pushing it, just telling u whats working for me.
Of course my psychiatrist known about my alcohol addiction. That's why I got him in the first place. Sorry my post was unclear about that. He's completely aware.
I never said that my therapist "believes in harm reduction". I don't know what he believes in. He's a therapist. His job is to help me figure myself out not to tell me what to do.
How do I plan to avoid getting addicted to stimulants? I'm not sure. That's one of the questions I'm struggling with. Not exceeding the prescribed amount might help.
And I'm certainly not miserable and tired. I've been sober for 9 months minus a week, for the first time in 17 years. That felt pretty great on it's own.
Now I'm being offered freedom from alcohol AND being comfortable in my own skin for the first time in my life. By a professional. It's hard not to at least consider it.
I am "in a recovery program". I made the decision to quit drinking 6 years ago. Been to 12-step rehab, evidence based rehab, and Native healing based rehab. I've been sober for 9 months minus a week.
Every week I go to:
- rehab aftercare group meeting (12-step based)
- men's relapse prevention group (evidence based)
Every two weeks I see my addictions counsellor/therapist.
Every month I see my mental health worker.
Every 3 months I see my family doctor and my psychiatrist.
I practice mindfulness and CBT every day.
Not sure what else you'd have me do.
Okay your posts are a tad confusing. You didn't say that you were 9 mos sober or in any recovery. So wrote that you tried everything in the past.
Oops clicked send too soon. So, according to your last post. You go to one meeting per week? And aftercare once a week? That's not enough. Do you have a sponsor? Do you have commitments in meetings? Started the steps? You need to IMMERSE yourself in recovery like a drowing man. I actually used to go about once a week a long time ago, I felt no change and went back to using. Finally, I had to do what people said and I started to feel better.I still don't know why your shrink gave you Ritalin knowing you are an alcoholic. But I think you know where this is leading. I can tell you want affirmation to continue the Ritalin and "try to control it" If any of us could do that, there would be no addicts.
Do you got to Church?
I really do hear you loud and clear. Man do YOU get alot of Support. It just goes to show, that it is inside US that must change and NO one can do it for us. I too started to drink and dabble in drugs in my teens. I could drink once in awhile and could NOT stop once I had that "ONE". Drug use was whatever everybody else was trying and most of the time I could walk away. This was in the later 60-70s. This went on & on for yrs & yrs, until I got my first taste of Opiates..(well not the first time, but on down the line..Progressive Disease). I was dealing with pain and went on up to getting Methadone prescribed. Doing a bit better but when I had my surgery, and the pain was gone, the Dones where cut down a bit..NOW this is when I got really, really hooked for yrs, was when I started to add the Adderral to my Dones and Snort them together. I got the Adderral from the streets, as I do not have ADHD and these 2 together would wire me up like my crank days..(Meth). Got clean back in 2012 and been working HARD every day to stay clean & sober. Even if those meds help me to STOP DRINKING, (over 12-13 yrs now), I still got SO addicted to these pills.
I have been on a mission and been studying the map of the brain and what drugs or substance do to our Brain Chems. I do believe we have a DOC that brings us that pleasure which indeed rises the Dopamine to the Mid-brain (survival). Now I do not have a shopping, gambling, chocolate etc., addiction but I still know that I am wired different now because of all my drinking and doing drugs. NOW to me this is the part that takes time to balance out, those neurotransmitters & receptors and so forth. It takes a long time for us that have used for yrs &yrs. This is the part that will Make you or Break you. Learning to live in our own Skin again is a challenge. LOTS of bad behaviors have to be addressed and changed. ALL of this takes TIME & PATIENCE. I can only speak for myself, but i bet others feel the same, that it is HARD to adjust and get more control over your thinking pattern after we have removed these stims. We reach out when times our hard, or throw them curve balls, for Something to give us that "instant gratification" at the time.
This has been the hardest job for me, but has brought many rewards and blessing along the way.
I was told by my Heart Dr yesterday, that it is all in my Ballpark. Meaning that I must Stop the Cigs NOW and up the diet & exercise. I did not even start smoking until my way late 30s and now it is the hardest one out of all to stop at this time, but I have to Woman Up and take care of my Brain & Body parts, or I am going to go sooner then later. God has given me more second chances, and now it is time to move on. Being a Addict succkkks BIG Time, but it is not all the way our fault. WE have a Brain Disease or Disorder that has to be taken care of.
SO anyhow, I would really, really be careful with that drug, that was one of the main ones that got me so hooked. I sure do Pray that YOU will find your way and really WORK on YOU!!!
Changing Bad Behavior for Good ones!!!
P.s- you aren't being offered freedom from booze AND comfort in your own skin: you are already not comfortable, one week into ritalin because you are starting to abuse it. Sounds like you are glamorizing it, same way we do any drug before the problems start. And the problems are already starting! Just pointing out that it's already not working. If it was, you wouldn't be on here asking about, right? Bottom line, we addicts abuse mind altering meds. How I wish that wasn't true.
I have used (or at least tried) the following mind-altering substances responsibly with zero temptation for "abuse": pot, coffee, cigarettes, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, benzodiazepines, sleeping pills, certain cough syrups, certain antihistamines, psychedelics, extacy, etc. etc. (Use nothing currently other than one SSRI per day. It saved my life once. I'm happy to take it for life.)
Word on the street is that the initial "magic" feeling of Ritalin lasts less than a week. Then just ho-hum everyday freedom from a crippling illness. Hopefully once that happens I won't be tempted to "play" with the dose myself. Until then, the most sensible advice I've got is sticking to the script, being honest with my psych, and giving the meds at least a one month trial.
So, here goes...
You are just doing what you were going to do anyway. But good luck
Btw, all the meds you listed, I never abused either. And I am on wellbutrin. You didn't mention anything about the program or how you are working it. Not sure why you came on here as your mind was made up from the get go. Wish you well.
Perhaps the reason it wasn't understood that you actually are working a recovery program is because you used "past tense" in your initial post and have told us what HASN'T worked for you.
Here's part of what you said:
"Nothing worked. Did AA. Went to rehab SIX times (drank while there several of them). Many therapists and counsellors. Multiple psychiatrists. Group therapy. Psychotherapy. CBT. Hypnotherapy. Meditation/mindfulness. Prescriptions that were supposed to help but didn't: SSRIs Campral, Naltrexone, Topamax, Carbamazepine, Buspar, benzos, supplements, everything. FINALLY ended up in jail a year ago which at least got me sober for the first time in a long time. Struggled to stay sober for 3 months, relapsed for 7 days I can't recall, and ended up in jail a second time. Barely made bail the second time. Have had routine small relapses since. It's a daily struggle and not a comfortable one."
So the way it sounds, you stayed sober only while incarcerated; and once you were released you stayed sober 3 months, relapsed again, having routine small relapses ever since. By your admission, the only time you do not think of alcohol is when you are taking yet another mind altering, addictive medication.
However, the VERY FIRST day you were prescribed Ritalin....you exceeded the prescribed dose. That's what addicts do. Yet you are telling yourself this:
"Until then, the most sensible advice I've got is sticking to the script, being honest with my psych, and giving the meds at least a one month trial.
So, here goes..."
How are you going to stick to the prescribed amount on the script? You aren't in favor of having someone help by dispensing them to you. You have told us all the things you aren't willing to do.....what ARE you willing to do? Are you willing to look for natural, non-medicinal ways of treating your ADHD? Chasing that "feeling" is still happening to you...regardless of all the addictive substances you are naming that you CAN control.
There are many things you have tried, but you were drinking during the majority of those experiences or you were incarcerated. Now that you are not incarcerated, how about formulating a SIMPLE recovery plan that doesn't involve mind altering substances? After 17 years, you won't feel "comfortable in your own skin" for awhile. It will take staying clean and sober and living thru those uncomfortable moments. That's what makes us stronger and reinforces our sobriety.
Hopefully, you will become willing to try this life w/o an addictive med of any kind...and discover you are more than the man you ever thought you'd be☼