Surfer Rob’s outlook on addiction

so just a forewarning: this post may give you a different look at me. If you don’t want that, you might want to skip reading it.

“Oh I’m so tired I could fall asleep standing up.” (Photo credit: Wolves68450)

When I was diagnosed with narcolepsy in 2003…ish? I was prescribed certain medications to deal with that issue: Ritalin and Provigil. From what I understood, the Provigil was successful in some people and worked by doing something with hormones in the brain or something – it didn’t do anything for me except give me a sick stomach. The Ritalin, however, was speed.

I want to say the dosage was relatively small – about a third of what they used to prescribe for kids with ADD. Now, I can dig why that much Ritalin would work for ADD; who wants to even move when their body is so amped up? At first I took it like I was supposed to; it did for me what caffeine had always promised but never delivered. Then I went through all this crazy stuff. My girlfriend at the time left me out of guilt over cheating on me and moved out; what she moved out of was the condo we had bought and whose mortgage depended upon both of our incomes, and she was a nurse who made more than I did.

Tin Fiat 500 and Captain Picard
“Well it’s not the Enterprise, but I’d wager Mr. LaForge can get her up to Warp 1.” (Photo credit: mompl)

So she left me with a mortgage of over $1000 a month, adding the injury to the insult, for sure. I started to keep myself from going insane by watching my way through all of Star Trek, from Next Generation through Voyager. I didn’t realize at this point that somehow I had been broken; by and large, I was done with other people.

I took Ritalin as liberally as necessary so that I could stay awake while watching. Subsequently, I began to unravel at work because I couldn’t get a raise, even though I was easily worth three dollars an hour more than I was making. I couldn’t keep up with my bills. I started experimenting with different Ritalin delivery methods – to be perfectly vague – and then I just self-destructed in a very orderly fashion.

I got another job for two dollars more per hour at a shop where there was no regard for proper ventilation. Breathing grinding dust, possibly coupled with the fact that I was snorting up all my Ritalin, got me a lung infection. I lost the job because of the time I had to take off to recover, and the old shop wouldn’t take me back because the new shop manager had convinced me to skip the customary two weeks’ notice and start the following Monday. Lesson learned.

Русский: Эдгар Шаин, «Безработный», 1903
“Hey, pal – you got five bucks? I’ll sing ‘Piano Man’ for you.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the meantime, I had managed to reconnect with some old friends, and they offered to let me move into their basement. I sort of convalesced there for a couple months, looking for a job but not really finding any because of the economic climate.

When I had fully recovered from everything – the break up, the lung infection, the foreclosure on my mortgage, and a looming bankruptcy – I decided it was high time to take myself off the Ritalin. I just stopped going to the doctor for it. Then I was really down for a while and read a lot of Harry Potter.

So that’s my story about Ritalin. But that’s not the only thing I’ve ever been addicted to; I was a smoker of cigarettes for about 16 years, and I quit for what must have been the fifth and final time over three years ago. Over the course of my life I’ve discovered that addiction is probably 90% psychological in most cases; and if you happen to be this solid wall of hubris like I am, there’s no problem breaking that psychological addiction, because you’re too stupid to ask for help and too proud to fail.

Not that it’s so easy to break addiction all of the time – a person could die doing it, as a friend of mine could and possibly might attest. If you are addicted to something, and you can’t seem to get off of it, please seek help.

this post was prompted by today’s Daily Post prompt.


  1. Wow, thank you for sharing this. Learning a different side to someone isn’t always bad and can make us appreciate from afar how you became the person you are today.

    (I know that may sound cliche’, but it is true 🙂 )

  2. I know sometimes it’s difficult to talk about the not so savory bits of our lives. I’m glad you’re comfortable enough in who you are to be able to admit that you are human and have made human mistakes. Thank you for sharing this, I think it helps not just yourself, but other people who have struggled through tough times, to remember that they’re not alone.

  3. “Thanks for sharing…” once again another you know I met my fiance in rehab .
    Thank you for this post brother.

  4. Hey man. Its Liquid Poet. Nice post. Good message. I was on adderall for years. Now im not. I miss it a lot sometimes but i know the consequences. By the way we live near “Addicks resevoir” think thats funny.

  5. I’m glad that you felt safe enough and courageous enough to share a more intimate and personal story.

    Addiction can and does ruin many lives – but not always. I’m glad that you accepted the help of friends who knew and understood the truth behind the crap – saw and believed, even when you maybe didn’t. Lessons learned and … as always …. it’s a process. And I’m glad that you helped you change your life. 🙂

    Sending you great positive energy – and if you are comfortable with it – cyber hugs (((((Rob)))))) – if not – then delete 😉

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