Table of Contents


Introduction: Who this page is for

You searched for this page because this task seems nearly impossible, and that makes you feel even more convicted, more lost, more damned. You’ve probably tried to quit before and failed. You may have quit other addictions in the past without much trouble. But this one is different. This one is so close to your heart and sense of identity…it’s been your secret shame for so long, and facing it seems like such a lonely battle that will cost you dearly (because so much of your life is dependent on it).

It is not impossible. It is much more doable than you think. Your feelings of being convicted, lost, and damned will be replaced by feelings of being true, on-track, and blessed. It is a lonely battle but the undeniable internal progress you notice will take the sting out of the disapproval of others. It will cost you dearly. You will pay a high price in terms of giving up things you think you hold dear right now. But you’re buying something with that high price. You’re buying back your soul. You’re buying back your destiny. You’re buying back all the dreams that might have been. And that is worth any amount.

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Phase 1: Prepare yourself. Get your head in the game.

  • Read this: Your Challenge
  • Think of all the reasons you want to quit
  • Think of all those times you wished you could turn it off
  • Answer this question: Why are you deciding to do this now?
  • Realize that it’s time for this to end.
  • Set up a reward for yourself: If you’re spiritual, make a deal with God (or whatever you want to call it): “If I can go 30 days without a pill, X will happen”). If you’re not spiritual consider some other way of putting a seriously juicy carrot at the end of that 30 days.
  • For the love of God, and the sake of your relationship, warn your girlfriend or boyfriend. Tell them that you’re about to quit Adderall and let them know what they can expect and what they can do to help. Maybe even consider doing this on your own (at least read that post and think about it).

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Phase 2: Crash landing. Your first 30 days without Adderall.

  • Just focus on getting through the day somehow without popping a pill
  • Do not try to push yourself
  • Slack off like crazy…like, the whole day.
  • Do the absolute minimum you can get away with (or lower if you have to) and go home
  • Avoid any task that is really going to make you want to take a pill (e.g., particularly creative tasks)
  • Do not push yourself at all until you’ve surpassed the 30 day goal unless you absolutely feel like it
  • Don’t be an asshole. If somebody asks you to help out on something at work, figure out a way to get it done, even if it takes you forever and you do it way more half-assed than you would ever consider doing on Adderall.
  • The whole idea is to basically sleep-walk yourself accross the 30 day mark
  • Relevant post: Throw away your crutches. Now move.
  • Relevant post: 5 Situations that will tempt you

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Phase 3: Start volunteering some effort

  • Start getting back in touch with your forgotten talents
  • Set aside some time to really start using your creative abilities again (e.g., if you were a singer before Adderall maybe start jotting a couple lyrics down for 5 minutes a day).
  • Go buy a copy of The Artist’s Way. It’s a rehabilitation guide for “blocked” artists…totally got me back on track as a writer. You can get it at Borders/Barnes & Nobel
  • Start pushing yourself to get a little bit more done at your dreaded day job
  • Design your own therapeutic actions and activities to help yourself overcome your hangups and shortcomings. Systematically address the things you don’t like about yourself. (See also: Slay the demons in the basement of your mind)
  • Redefine your dream life for yourself. Start thinking about where you want to go next (job wise) and how you could start moving in that direction. Relevant posts: Finding your natural fitFinding the “growth job” that comes before your “dream job”

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Phase 4: Obligate yourself to a little more work than you’re comfortable with

  • Add obligations to your life that require regular effort out of you AND ALSO move you in the direction of your goals
  • For me, this meant enrolling in 2 college courses that would help me move towards a degree in my new dream career path
  • Make sure these obligations are inescapable. Not being able to escape the work is part of what helps you grow in terms of rebuilding your ability to do work and get things done without Adderall.
  • By now you should be taking several regular and frequent actions towards your “new self” goals and you should be functioning a bit better at your normal day job.
  • This phase will stretch you in a good way

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Phase 5: Getting into your new life

  • Relevant Post: “Finding the growth job that comes before your dream job.“.
  • The basic idea is to change your evironment totally so that it suits the new (the real) you and nurtures your growth as a person in the direction of every great dream you’ve had for your life.
  • Once you cross the threshold into your new life — once you’ve arrived at the environment where your spirit can grow and play — you’re done (at least with quitting Adderall).

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Disclaimers (after-the fact)

What this is not

I’m not going to tell you “Just quit cold turkey and get over it. It’s all in your head anyway. It’ll be kind of hard at first to do work and stuff, but you’ll get used to it…you just have to keep pushing and fighting the urge.” Because I know that for the long-time user it’s not “kind of hard”, it’s excruciating, tortourous, unbearable…to the point of almost gaurunteeing failure. If you can just put it down and immediately resume your normal productive activities through that kind of mental stress, then you’re either superhuman, or more likely: you haven’t been using Adderall long enough for this page to apply to you.

I’m also not going to tell you to slowly wean yourself off. Maybe that works for some people (and please post a comment if you have insight/experience there). If you want to be able to live the life you’re living now just without the pills, then maybe the wean-off/stepped-doses strategy is what you want. But I’m not a big fan of the “wean yourself off” method for anything, especially Adderall. For one thing, weaning yourself off of a long-time Adderall dependency would take forever to do right, and it would be such a relapse/error-prone process. But more than that, you don’t want to live the life you’re living now. You’re quitting because you want to return to who you were meant to be…why would you waste one more second faking and cheating who you are? You’re ready now. Messy as this may be, you’re not going to live a false life for one more day. The sooner you’re the real you again, the better. So let’s start now.

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