The Pivotal Moment

As an elementary teacher, one important concept that I teach my students is the "pivotal moment", where I have each kid write a journal about the day/event that the “conductor snapped out of his daze long enough to switch tracks and take the train in a better direction.” (yes, we had just learned about analogies). We all have epiphanies (big, small, important, unimportant, acted on, and not etc.) Our Pivotal Moment is when the stimulus, or cause is SO strong that we realize at a deep internal level that, though difficult and sometimes painful, we MUST make changes, often radical changes immediately, or watch our lives self-destruct.
With me the stimuli (pivotal moment) was the often expressed concern by both of my parents, and family regarding my drinking habits, and the havoc it caused in relationships. Then I had a friend come stay at my condo “until he got a job” (never did), and we would play crazy hard-core drinking games until 4am, regularly throughout the week. This had a severe draining effect on my adhd, my health, and my bank account, as I bought all the booze (over $$2300) while he just drank it, and slept on my couch. At this point I admitted inwardly that I had very little ability to say 'no', not just to booze/weed, but to manipulative pseudo-friends who prey on people like us. Being open and approachable, spontaneous, with the "naive little kid inside", makes us extremely prone to manipulative, self-serving people; and trust me, they can spot us a mile away, and when they work their way into our idealistic minds, it's an easy kill for them (but they play with their catch for a while just for sport, and once it’s in pieces they move on to the next one). 
Ever heard the saying that lessons are repeated until learned? This is SO true with all aspects of add, especially relationships and social skills.
I am learning that effective coping with adhd is comprised of the accumulation of many little steps forward, many backwards, some slips, taking the initiative to snap one's self out of periods of inertia, being mindful of the power, and the potential impacts of every single decision; from the smallest to the biggest decisions. Mustering up the decisiveness to do this is VERY foreign, scary, and extremely difficult for an adhder to do (that's why so many adhder's end up in relationships with the Mother/Protector types. The protector takes them on as a quest, or charity case, and tries to change them into the kind of person they themselves are having difficulty being. Problem is, any decision made without ownership (i.e. due to training wheels) is not authentically yours, so when the day comes that there is no one to rescue you and you have to do it yourself, you become paralyzed by indecision, and the fear of failing and having no one to pick you up.

Some only need a little hurt here and there before they grab the reigns and take control of their minds/lives to lead them in the right direction. Others (myself included) need years of frustration; numerous heartbreaks (loss of friendships, consistently failing relationships that most often can't even make it past 4 months); years of self-destructive coping strategies (booze, drugs, affairs , gambling etc), that can easily take over your life, increase the frequency and intensity of arguments, and the predictable repeating pattern failed of relationships, job problems, money problems, and perhaps most importantly, the disintegration of their already low self-esteem.

 For me it took several lost loves (and when I fall for someone, I fall HARD), including two canceled engagements; MAJOR job problems, never-ending financial problems (much of which could be attributed to drinking excessively on a regular basis) etc. Eventually it seemed like everything was slipping through my fingers, and I had nothing good to hold onto; no hope. That's when the pilot light ignited the desire to change my life, and the only way to do that is take a long, deep, hard and honest look into yourself and the repercussions of years of bad choices. The impact my escapist/coping behaviours had on friends and family, my health, finances; everything and everyone in my life in some capacity was affected negatively by the things I did and shouldn't have, as well as the things I didn't, but should have. Even after having found effective meds, I still continued to resort to the booze comfort; it was WAY out of hand, like 8-10 beers a night minimum (whether alone or with someone), about 5 or 6 days of the week. I researched Revia (naltrexone), a drug used to combat heroin addiction, and found studies of its potent effect on alc. craving/consumption. I printed the journals out and gave them to my Doctor. I would not take no for an answer. He said he hadn't heard of it, and will discuss it with colleagues. I told him ok, while you do that, I’ll be drinking a 40oz a day until I hear back from you. Ok, so a 40 a day was an exaggerated bluff and I felt bad for dropping a guilt trip...but he gave me the prescription. Revia was the first major disruptor of my regular pattern of alc. abuse. I visited my folks in Mexico, and they both told me they were worried about my drinking, that they thought it would eventually kill me. That was one of the rare times I have seen my Mother cry. That has a tremendous impact on most "mama's boys" (which I am proud to say I am), and of course it was amplified by the emotional nature of adhd. I felt SO bad, and it became clear that day, that the tears she was shedding were out of love, fear, and the desperate futility of trying to help me change my self-destructive ways. She looked so sad and helpless, and when I hugged her, I could feel the pain in her heart that I had caused her. My eyes are all welling up just typing this, because the shame I felt (still a vivid memory) for hurting the one person in the world who loves me more than anything, unconditionally, and whom I love more than life itself. That was the final lesson/cue, whatever. Now I rarely drink, and when I do it's only one or two. It was easy to quit once I reached that pivotal point; as was quitting smoking and stopping weed. Learning to acknowledge when I have wronged someone, AND apologize for it is a bit more difficult (esp. Being a Leo), but it’s a continuous learning process and I have committed to it.

Sorry if that got repetetive!

fuzzylogic72's picture

pivotal moments

Believe it or not, I have MORE ramblings (including my adhd version of The Three Little Pigs), but I've been sitting in this chair typing obsessively for over 12 hours.. I think I'm getting bed sores. Today I discovered that 60mg of vyvanse is too much for me; it's 4 am and I'm about to have what I took out for breakfast... yesterday's breakfast that is. 

Well put...

I need to go finish the yard before I find something else to stop that project.

You seem to have a great understanding of what ADD can do to someone. I hope you keep up the great work.


he Pivotal Point


While I do not know you and probably never will, you represent so much more than words typed on a forum- you are real and you have a story that so many people share but few find the confines within to share aloud. I am a woman with ADHD and after finding out about a year ago, and realizing I could only change if I had that moment of clarity since my brain seemed unusually foggy, clarity was few and far between. I fell in love with  man who like you had ADHD and suffered numerous addictions. I as well suffered from major addictions so I knew that stopping may have been imminent but they were not immediate, therefore we were either going to survive or deteriorate, we fell apart. I never wanted to change him because as a person with ADHD you know- there is no changing until you are ready, all I wanted to do was love him and take care of him, like nobody else could, because when I fell for him I fell hard and I lost all control. Any conscious effort of control had diminished the moment we kissed and then it became a fairy tale and I was destined to write the most perfect ending even though, we were both awful at managing money, he had no job and was not intent on getting one. I always LOVED him until recently, until the day he told me he didn't even like me as a friend so I figured oh well, i gave it all I had and if he does not care then neither would I. He has somehow "adopted" my best friend as his and goes to bars with her. They are not romantically connected, I just think its weird that I spent so much time obsessing over him and now here he is out with my friends talking about me. Its beyond bizarre. You are so right, I always wanted to save him and save myself in the process. He helped me with the ADHD I will always be grateful to him for helping me see the light. And I would learn from his experience that loving someone was something     I was capable of even if we weren't in a monogamous relationship.

Its always been a struggle but  different kind of struggle, lots of people just don't understand. So many unlocked doors, so many questions not so many answers. Thank you for writing...

fuzzylogic72's picture

I'm so relieved

Thanks to both of you; I am so relieved that someone read my ramblings! It would suck to have been on the computer until 4am and have no one read my stuff. Mostly, I feel so good if I can just have even a tiny impact on someone by sharing my experiences.

Janey, you did the absolute best thing by sizing up the situation, acknowledging that you did your part, and moving upward and onward. I have a feeling that down the line you will see where you have taken yourself, and you'll see where he... still is. When you connect with your innermost self and let that confident, optimistic person stretch out and breathe, you will wonder what you were ever doing with him. Now as for your "friend" who is buddy buddy with him, she's no friend. A true friend would never do that. They wouldn't ASK to do it, and they wouldn't do it even if you told them it was ok; it's not. Janey, that's trashy, friends don't do that. Shed your skin of them and open your life to a new page.

I read it...and can honestly

I read it...and can honestly say that I hope that my husband someday gets to where you are with his ADHD. The comment you made about realizing how it affects your relationships (several sentences, but this was the heart of it) and those who love you almost made me cry. I'm tickled that you've been able to kick all of the bad habits. I truly think those things have a huge negative impact on the ADHD brain and sometimes stand in the way of the goal of 'clarity' and 'focus'. I think my husband could relate to a lot of what you wrote...esp the part about people seeking him out that know he's almost incapable of saying no...and don't care that it is to his own detriment that he carries their burdens. Sadly one of the worst examples of his is his daughter...whom he loves dearly...but she only calls him when she needs something and literally would suck the life right out of him if it benefitted her. He is a 'yes man' to his own detriment sometimes.

Congrats!! Now get busy on that school work!!

fuzzylogic72's picture


I know the kind of kids you're talking about; like little emotional (and financial) vampires.

He does sound similar to me by what you've described. How do you think he would react if you asked him to read it? One of my first big obstacles to overcome was the "certainty" that no one out there even comes close to really understanding me. I guess that's how I justified the stubborn refusal to take accountability. Accountability to me was synonymous with "admitting fault". Doing so meant that you are obligated to change, and not be such a 'bad' guy. And when you have deep-seated feelings of incompetence, and have learned to expect failure, then why on earth would you want to admit fault. It's just layers and layers of defense and self-protection through avoidance. But eventually (hopefully) you realize that "taking accountability" isn't about that at all; it's not about shame or defeat. It's about confidently locking horns with your inner demons, taming them, and taking ownership of your past, present and future. There's a famous painting that I've always loved (ok, now I'm rambling, and blatantly avoiding my course work), anyways it's a picture of the legendary Chinese monk/teacher Lao-Tzu and he's peacefully riding along on the back of a big wild ox. He's not being bucked off, and the ox goes wherever he wants it to. It's a great message for adhd. I just love the picture, because to me it's such a good symbol of taming one's own wild mind, erratic thoughts and impulses; a big undertaking, but necessary if there is to be any direction and control in one's life. On the bottom of one of the copies I really liked, it had a quote from him (totally about the pivotal moment) that says, "When I let go of what I am, I become what I might Be."

Ok, Goodnight everybody!

I don't think he would read

I don't think he would read it..or anything this point. I've been trying to come up with the nerve to ask him to read Melissa's book. I've been reading it.

When our marriage hit rock bottom late 2009, he and I both finally held ourselves accountable for what had happened in the marriage. I recognized my anger, he recognized his destructive behaviors and we started rebuilding. When the daughter I mentioned above moved out in June 2010 (she was a GREAT source of stress and problems for our sense of respect for anyone or anything) things finally started REALLY coming together. Then he got the ADHD diagnosis..and was OK with it, spent a lot of time explaining "you don't understand how my mind works" and (I feel) struggling to accept that there really WAS something more to his destructive behaviors than it all being about my anger. The reason I say this is that, although he was saying he was accountable for his own actions, he would occasionally say "All I ever wanted was for you to treat me this way" ... and I would remind him "I just wanted the same from you..." but it was like he never really 'got it' even though he wasn't doing all of the very hurtful things of the past.

Then he started meds...from mid-Oct until mid-Feb of this year he was hostile, combative, argumentative, and snapped at the least little thing. I don't know that they even helped him at work...I honestly don't think he was capable of expressing much of anything but anger while on the meds. Several ugly, embarassing moments in counseling as well...while on meds. They just make him mean. :( (Concerta & Vyvanse are what he was on..switched in mid-Dec)

Now, he has withdrawn, sleeps in the den (Yes, he's back in the den folks...after only ONE night of coming to bed when I did like he said he would), won't do anything with me and the kids, only comes up to eat, go to work, and use the bathroom. I've gotten the line "you have never been there for me" and all of the other things that insinuate that somehow, this is all my fault. I am finding my own strength and trying to just go on with my life and wait patiently while he 'works through IT', whatever 'it' might be. He's done this four times in our 13 year marriage...and I'm still not sure what 'it' is.

What I would ask of you, if at all possible, can you explain any of this? I have loved and nurtured him...I don't scream and yell at him. I let things slide that once would have been made a huge issue. We don't fight at all like we used to. I am patient. (God he really pushes this though..) I am loving. I make it known how much I  love him and enjoy spending time with him. And as soon as we got the den remodeled (exact same time he stopped meds) he's just done a complete 180 on me. He's not being ugly anymore, tells me he loves me, but keeps me at arms length. Sex, what VERY little of it there has been, was obviously merely for his own pleasure...for 3 months now. Which has left me feeling even worse because I get my hopes up that it's a turning point, him finally opening up to me, and back to the den he goes. The one night mentioned above..when he went to bed with me that ONE night...well, you can figure where I'm going.

Sorry to highjack your thread. Honestly, I am just the kind of person that doesn't feel it is 100% necessary to know every little intricate detail of how his mind works. I love him. I love him enough that I accept his quirks, his shortcomings, his faults...his struggles, etc. We struggle with communication, but not enough that we don't have a great friendship. What I don't think i get in return is his understanding that I am not like him either. I have done the research, he hasn't. I've read the books, he hasn't.

Oh, and the negativity...oh my God the negativity. It would seem he hates every aspect of his life right now..finds no joy in anything. for the record, he's been treated during these spells with anti-depressants and they MAKE HIM WORSE. So, I don't think any of it is depression related. I think it is an absolute internal meltdown and unraveling ADHD. He refuses to try anymore meds...and until yesterday was refusing counseling. He sleeps, maybe, 3-4 hours a night...on meds he was sleeping a decent 7-8.

I'm working very hard, through prayer and support of others, to not just completely shut down and walk away. It has been like this for 3 months.

My dad wouldn't read it either...

Sherri... I'm sorry to hear about this rough spell you are going through right now. When you said "Oh, and the negativity...oh my God the negativity. It would seem he hates every aspect of his life right now.." it reminded me of what my Step-Mom (Who has been Great for 40 years) said about my dad right around the time of my diagnosis. She is very tech oriented to be married to my dad and reads and researches the internet a bunch. She told me that she was convinced my dad was a Narcissist!?! My dad woke-up in a fowl mood and stayed that way the rest of the day. He was put on Wellbutrin which seemed to help for a couple of months, then not really so much.

I had just experienced similar results when my doc put me on Zoloft. It helped for a month or two, but then made me feel pretty much blah about everything, not too bad and not too good. Then my ADD diagnosis... After reading my first ADHD book that my Psychiatrist suggested, I knew I had found a solid lead for me AND my Dad "Thinks" just like me. I went to see them and, separately and together, went through everything I had learned and how it could explain how my dad feels. Everyone agreed and two years later... "Crickets Chirping..."

Maybe the only thing I can add about the isolation is that it seems to an ADDer (IMO) that if isolated I cannot mess anything else up and avoid what is messed up becoming worse. I don't feel this way anymore, but I do believe, sometimes, that I would be easier to deal with if you did not have to live with me. I don't want to be alone, but facing the anger, still, pushes anything I think I have improved right back into the "I can't see the obvious, as usual, me"... The "New Roller Coaster" continues for me too.

Best wishes Sherri


I hope the other piece I

I hope the other piece I posted went through as it has not yet posted on this site yet...I wanted to write I am also an elementary school teacher... :oO