There are many ways to approach managing our ADHD symptoms. I have read, researched and tried many of them. However, all the diets, tricks, memo pads, and medications don’t unlearn years of learned behavior. This has been my challenge as an adult diagnosed with ADHD.
Once on the path of managing the “disorder” portion of the ADHD, it became obvious to me that I am still missing something. So many parts of my life still feeling out of control and off balance. Some areas more so than before treatment. Much of this I believe is from making changes in itself. Working on new habits and becoming more self-aware is like going down a new road. I’m just not sure what is around the next corner, and this new, unfamiliar territory holds a combination of excitement and uncertainty. I say managing the “disorder” portion of the ADHD because I believe that we are who we are, and although our way of being in this world may differ from the majority, the diagnosis comes in when we are not able or equipped to cope with having to live in a world filled with non-ADHD expectations and structure.
Beyond The Diagnosis
The fact is, even with the best doctors, therapists, coaches, and supportive friends and family on your management team, addressing your ADHD and making lasting changes for a satisfying life takes time. While the journey is challenging, I have found joy in the progress, and have learned to turn the uncertainty into excitement for the future. I have also learned that it is impossible to make all the changes you want and need to make at one time. Trying to do so is setting yourself up for failure, and if you’re at all like me, you’ve done enough of that to yourself already.
It is easy to get so caught up in the management of our diagnosis, that at least for me, It became the reason for my life’s problems. ADHD is a large and underlying factor, but I had to remind myself that there is more to me than ADHD. Along with that, I realized that many of the things that make me unhappy about my life are not the ADHD itself, but are the results of unhealthy coping strategies and self beliefs due to different traumas over my history. It is at this point I discovered my codependency.
AA for the ADDr?
Addicts, Adult Children of Alcoholics, and ADHD. What do we have in common? Well… Besides being prone to addictions and substance abuse, its codependency. Codependency is a broad term for an addiction to taking care of the needs and problems of another person. That is a very basic definition, and like ADHD it is unique for each person and resides in the world of paradox. It is the toxic pattern we live in our relationships, and the loss of ourselves, our “inner child” within them. There are many things that cause Codependency, and it’s not your fault.
I haven’t seen many references to ADHD and Codependency together, and maybe it’s because those of us with ADHD want to avoid any more labels. I have seen some reference to codependent behavior related to ADHD and relationships, and Dr. Hallowell talks a little about codependency in “Delivered from Distraction”
In the same part of the book that he talks about codependency, he also talks about 12 step programs and how they might apply to managing ADHD. As I look closer at what codependency is, what creates it, and how a 12 step program can help, I believe the 12 step program is underutilized.
A 12 step program offers structure, support, acceptance, and help on healing from our past.
One Day at a Time
My goal here is to share with you my journey of healing my own codependency and ADHD and offer you hope and insight. In my following blogs I will be sharing more on codependency and how I vew it’s link to our relationship sorrows. I will also be breaking down the 12 step model from AA and CoDA (Codependents Anonymous) and sharing how I see the 12 steps with ADHD.
Lets learn to have a great relationship with ourselves, so we can show the world how amazing we are.
For more information on Codependency and the 12 step program. CoDA
- OCD, ADHD Confused but Therapy Differs (hispanicbusiness.com)
- Adult ADD/ADHD and Substance Abuse (everydayhealth.com)
- The Biggest Myths About Girls with ADHD (psychcentral.com)
- Do You Have a Codependent Personality? (everydayhealth.com)
- Start-up launches website for recovering addicts (jsonline.com)
- Is there a relationship between codependency and ADHD? (psychologymatters.asia)
- Management of ADHD (jharnisch.com)
- Juliet Wright – Everything is My Fault – A Journey Through Co-Dependency (onpurposemagazine.com)
- ADHD Insights: Stimulants Don’t Work (corepsych.com)
- Technology Addictions and ADHD: Is There a Connection? (webroot.com)