I never thought I would actually sit down and write a blog. Mostly because 1. I have ADHD and I thought it would take too much time, and 2. because I never really thought I had much to talk about, that is until a series of events changed my life in early summer of 2017.
I was raised in a nice little suburb of Colorado, I grew up knowing I had ADHD because my parents and teachers were very observant to my behaviors and quickly enrolled me in special learning classes, as well as cognitive behavior therapists, and had me on all types of ADHD medication.
I grew up thinking there was “something wrong with me” but didn’t really know what ADHD was or why it affected me or my family so much.
All I knew is that I had bountiful energy and would drive my parents crazy because I couldn’t clean up my room (or anything for that matter) or sit down to do homework, and I was always moving….
I didn’t make great connections with friends growing up either, I was sort of in my own little world, very creative, would day dream all class and not learn anything. It wasn’t until high school that I truly understood the affects of my learning troubles. I wasn’t doing so well in the classes I didn’t like (surprise!) and did extrodinarily well in the classes that I loved.
My mother was a saint, and dealt with massive array or normal teen mood swings x10 because of my ADD. Temper tantrums, sneaking out, screaming fights and my love of breaking the rules and the guidelines her and my father set for me. I was always grounded, and always snuck out anyway. But despite everything I put them through, my mom helped me study, often re-teaching me what I hadn’t learned in class that day. She helped me develop ways of keeping myself on track and tricks to paying attention in class,even when it was boring. She scheduled me with tutors, and special educators through Learning RX who helped me to develop strategies for learning and memorizing information, cognitive skills, and re-training the brain to learn to memorize differently. Unlitmately, this is how I did so well in college and I owe my parents the world for their patience and unconditional love.
I didn’t notice the emotional imbalance until I was dating in high school and noticed I would become too serious much too quickly, and felt that my heart was “BREAKING” into a million pieces, leaving me thinking I would never find love. Ever. I was literally the most emotional teen in the world. Everything was dramatic and devastating and it was very hard to keep control of my emotions. A lot of the time I was horribly mad at my parents, for not being home enough, or being too strict with me, so I found friends in the “cool kid” group with those who smoked pot and drank alcohol. I lied to my parents about all of it, and played all the tricks in the book on them. They still loved me, and tried to understand why I was so difficult.
I graduated high school and maintained a 3.0 GPA, enough to keep my parents happy and high enough to get into a selection of colleges.
When I started college I became very reliant on my stimulant drugs, at the time Adderall and Ritalin, and used those as a tool to focus on studying and completing homework or reading assignments. I always did better in classes with projects, writing, and the ability to be creative. I struggled with the sciences and of course, the dreaded math classes. My mother the saint that she is, would drive to my college on weekends and help me get through some of the tougher classes.
I loved college, I was free to be who I wanted to be, I didn’t have the restrictions of living at home, and I made friends a lot easier than when I was in high school. There were kids in college that seemed to be just like me: struggled to sit still and focus, but we were all highly creative and intuitive.
I went to a school that was primarily for culinary arts students, but I was on the fast track in Hospitality and had grandeur dreams of owning my own hotel. I had times where I struggled very hard to get through certain classes because of my lack of motivation and focus on having fun. Our college was not an IVY league school, it wasn’t incredibly difficult to get into, and the culinary students literally didn’t have any assignments outside of the classroom. It was the perfect concoction for partying. It started right away freshmen year, freedom yeah! And continued on through graduation.
Most of us our senior year only had two days of classes and would spend the rest of the week couch surfing in the mountains to go skiiing.. (and partying) Needless to say my emotions were always strong, and stronger when I drank. I wasn’t a mean or angry drunk, but I did tend to share a lot of information and stir the pot so to speak. I was dramatic and a gossip, and the friends who loved me, loved me, and I bounced around different cliques on and off, it was hard for me to remain in a certain friend group for too long.
I was working part time in a hotel my senior year of college and had 2 days of classes.. It was an easy life for someone with ADHD, I had plenty of time to procrastinate my projects, and plenty of time to rush and get them done. I met my best friend senior year, we got along so well and were significantly similar in our study/procrastinate patterns, as well as our need to be creative! She too has ADD but had been newly diagnosed. We had become best friends overnight and 5 years later we still talk almost every day and or FaceTime for hours at a time, as she has since moved out of state.
Right after college I took a big management training opportunity with the hotel company I had been working for. I moved to the Big Easy and worked 14 hour days through all operations of a hotel. It was the most stress I had ever been through in my life, often not knowing how to control my emotions at work when things got overwhelming. I would cry in front of leadership when they corrected me on something I had done poorly. I found myself crying in stairwells and calling home everyday upset about how my bosses handled things or why I was having such a hard time managing employees.
I Learned so much from this experience, not only on a professional level, but especially how much I loved to drink. If you didn’t know, bars are open 24 hours a day, which meant when me and my friends ended our shifts at 3 am, would all meet up and blow off the stress that we had all endured during our training program for that day. Go to sleep by 7 AM and be back at the hotel at 2PM for another draining and exhausting shift as a management trainee.
I was dating someone when I moved to New Orleans and decided I had had enough of the long distance relationship, so I moved back to Colorado. We had dated for 2 years long distance and right around the 3 year mark to our relationship, it ended. Much like all of my past relationships, I took this very hard. I took it all out on myself, like everything I did was wrong and pushed this person away. Now I know that’s not the case, as I reflect a few years after, things just weren’t working out and neither of us were happy. He also liked to drink excessively, and we lived a rather social life of drinking and recreational drugs.
When I made the move back to Colorado, I had gotten a great job working for another hotel company in a new role, and loved every minute of it. Currently I’m still at this occupation so I wont lead into it too much. I found that I was starting to struggle with balance. Balancing happy hour and health, and after the breakup, it became even more apparent that I was having issues with my emotions, instead of dealing with them, I was just drinking them away.
Now let me make one thing clear, I never thought I was an alcoholic, I didn’t shake in the morning for a drink, and could go several days without drinking and not be in withdrawal. But I did however, let alcohol control my life. I didn’t know my levels, I didn’t realize I had too much to drink, until it was too late, and had become worse and worse at recognizing that as I got older.
I leapt right into a rebound relationship with a great guy, or at least it seemed that way at first. He made me realize that there was so much to love about myself that I had forgotten, he appreciated my company, and told me I was beautiful as often as he could. He allowed me to love myself for the first time in a really long time, something I had lost somewhere in my past relationship. But because I’m emotional and impulsive I jumped into this too quickly and realized that we weren’t right for each other either, causing another painful break up, emotional breakdown and more drinking to hide the bad feelings.
Most people consider my job field to be particularly difficult. It’s very high stress and can be really hard to find work life balance during our busy season. My co worker and I had just worked over 70 hours in a week and decided to leave work early and celebrate our successes at 4PM on a Wednesday. We went to a local fun bar, and ordered 2 (yes two) 40oz bottles of rose (because, why not, we had just finished a huge project and deserved it, right?) Wrong.
I don’t remember this part, but apparently we both decided to get in our cars after celebrating and drive home. That’s when I rear ended a car, got arrested for a dui, and had a blood sample of .24 BAC.
That was a wake up call.
The next day I was home, called in sick from work due to panic attacks, the fact I had spent 4 hours at the police station and had called my rebound to come pick me up the night before. I was throwing up with fear/hangover and had no idea what was going to happen next. All I knew was that I had gotten caught, and there was no getting out of it, and that I was going to need a lot of help.
Now here’s where my journey begins. I’m 26 at this point in mid may of 2017, and I am convinced my life is over.
I hope your ready for the next part of the story, because it gets interesting, intense, scary as hell, and tests everything I ever thought I knew about my life.
I hope to use this blog as a reminder that we all make mistakes, that we can recover from a loss, and that there are really amazing people in the world who can help.