For 10 years, I took Adderall for Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) religiously four times a day. The meds became my fuel, my saving grace, and ultimately my life.
I took it to wake up, I took it to do work, and I took it to pull all-nighters to study when I was in college.
As far as I was concerned, if I could rule the world one day, I would require everyone to take it.
Sounds ridiculous, but it was such a miracle drug for me that I could only imagine the world would be a better place, filled with more productive people with that little orange pill pumping through everyone’s veins.
That is at least until I got saved four years ago, and the day came about a year later that the Lord asked me lay it down for Him.
Talk about fear …
I couldn’t imagine my life without Adderall.
Until that moment, I didn’t even realize I had a problem or that I was addicted to it!
But I knew if something was standing in the way of me saying “YES!” to God, then it was an idol and it needed to go.
As a small business owner, I “needed” the medicine to stay focused and stay motivated. And honestly, I was afraid of what would happen if I went off of it.
I feared the failure that was sure to follow.
But I knew this was part of the Lord preparing me not only to be free from it and more dependent on Him and His energy, but I also felt it was Him trying to prepare me for marriage.
See, you can’t take Adderall while pregnant, and having a family was (and still is) a desire of mine.
So as He was encouraging me to start dreaming of a life without Adderall, I also felt the Lord promise me that I wouldn’t still be taking it by the time I got married, which I assure you felt like an impossible dream (both to be free and to find a husband worth marrying).
My prescribed addiction had made its way deep into my identity and into my everyday life. It had its dirty fingers wrapped around my emotions, because I feared going off of it would result in a huge plunge into chemical depression and extreme fatigue (which I had experienced twice before when I ran out of pills). So should that happen, it would also directly affect my ability to produce in my business.
Are you seeing the spectacular mess I had inadvertently signed up for with my miracle pill?
I had probably a hundred people pray for me to be set free over the next two years. But nothing seemed to make a difference.
I was certain I was going to have to go to rehab, which at the same time also seemed silly because Adderall is such a commonly used legal drug, and I was taking it according to my prescription.
Long story short, one night the Lord asked me to confront someone about something, which I really didn’t want to do. I was afraid of what they might think of me, or that they wouldn’t like me as a result of what I had to tell them.
But the Lord perfectly orchestrated the conversation, and I had the opportunity to be obedient. As I went to bed that night, I felt the fear of man break off of me.
Over the next two days, I totally FORGOT to take my Adderall, which was unheard of for me!
On the third day, I did notice I hadn’t taken it, but wanted to ride it out and see how long I could go without feeling like I needed it.
On the fourth day, I woke up incredibly nauseous at 5am and continued to throw up all day. On top of that, it felt like I had needles sticking into every cell of my body.
It was unlike anything I had ever felt before.
I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t drink, and I couldn’t even breathe without being in pain.
I was just lying on the floor, sweating profusely, waiting for it all to end, or just frankly, my life to end.
Truth be told, I thought maybe it was just the stomach flu. Then I finally realized I was going through withdrawals. I had the same symptoms of what heroin addicts call being “dope sick.”
But then, around 5pm that day, it all stopped. I was finally free!
I then realized my addiction to Adderall was directly connected to my fear of man. It was all knotted up in a nasty web of lies. So once I was free of my fear, the addiction no longer had a foothold to stick around.
Looking back, I don’t know why I had to go through the withdrawals, because I personally know a few former addicts whom God miraculously set free without any pain or sickness.
I also don’t know why I had to go through 10 months of recovery, where I felt blessed to have the energy to work even just an hour a day. As a result, my business basically did exactly what I feared and ran in the red for months.
I had to humble myself and share what I felt was a shameful situation with those close to me, hoping they might be able to help me financially until I was back on my feet.
Thank God, two individuals from my church offered to each pay the full amount of my rent (which in New York City is no small amount), which literally saved me from eviction. Others along the way gave significant amounts that kept the electricity on and food in the fridge.
But I was free—and humbled—and I realized that I had real friends and family who would stand by me in the midst of my darkest struggles. It was painful to not be self-sufficient for a season, but it was only the pain of my pride dying.
It was one month after this experience that I started dating an amazing man. And in less than a year, we were married!
And just as another testimony to God’s goodness, after that very slow couple of months in my business, I saw six consecutive months of growth that not only covered the losses, but helped pay for a wedding that was beyond my wildest dreams.
So I am here to tell you that God has a promise for you.
It will likely take a bit of a process for you to walk through before you get married so you can stand at the altar on your wedding day, free of the junk that isn’t supposed to be a part of your identity.
The process will not only heal you, but it will also benefit your future spouse and your future children.
All it takes is an ear to hear Him and a desire to obey, knowing that He is good and His plans are better than our plans.
What process are you walking through? How can I pray for you and support you in your journey to the altar?