They tell you Adderall will make you a god, but they never tell you it will cost you your life

Nichole Carlson, Addiction the book, Adderall

For those of us who want to get to the next level, we are always looking for that edge to be better, faster, smarter and stronger.

Our biggest problem may be that we are doing something we don’t want to be doing in the first place or doing something in a way we don’t want to be doing it. My addiction helped me be able to perform in a life I didn’t want to be living in the first place. And maybe you don’t have an addiction, but if you are compromising who you are and what you want in your business, in your marriage, in your life… it will keep you from making it to the next level easily and from reaching your full potential. And what’s the point of reaching that next level if your ladder is completely against the wrong wall?

You have been given dreams and desires – dreams that drive you to be better, faster, stronger, smarter without prescription drugs.

This is my story of going through 10 days of detox in Costa Rica and what I discovered about what the last 5 years have done to my body.

This is an excerpt from my book Addicted: How to Stop Compromising and Be Truly Happy in Your Life

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And again, unless my pain and my life had gotten this bad I wouldn’t have ever thought to stop Adderall – especially when I looked over the possible side effects listed on Google, and thought, ‘Yeah, well I’m young, smart, and healthy – that will never happen to me.’

And it didn’t. It was the little things that added up and ate away inside my body like termites slowly destroying my life.


Over the past 15 years, I have been into weight lifting, running, and clean eating. My mom died from cancer at only 47 and when I learned that sugar feeds cancer, I cut sugar out of my diet.

Not only that, but I have been a competitive bodybuilder over the last 5 years.

‘Of course, all of the serious symptoms from Adderall would never impact me,’ I thought.

I knew I’d have to quit at some point… but not yet.


That was until last year after my 3rd competition. My body locked up. I was doing a lot of lifting and Stairmaster and not a lot of stretching. I was in pain.

All of these were reasons to think it was the competition causing the pain, but in the back of my mind, I knew… ‘This not normal. Other people don’t go through this after a competition. Something’s off.’

A lot went on over the past year and although it was a similar set of problems it wasn’t the same though I am sure they both originated partly from the Adderall. 

So, yes I had pain that wouldn’t allow me to sit and honestly it had been going on intermittently for the last 4 years – almost as long as I took the Adderall.

But with all physical issues, there’s also an emotional element to it. Most of the time we blanket the emotional issues by calling it stress, but stress doesn’t really portray what really needs to be taken care of emotionally because we go through so much in our lives and we just constantly push down our feelings and emotions. Pushing down our feelings creates an energy block in our bodies. Emotions are supposed to move. If we don’t feel them and release them, they stay trapped in our bodies ready to come out when something physically happens to us like a car accident or a bodybuilding competition. Sometimes they just build up and start causing backaches, headaches, digestion issues(anything really) and eventually turn into diseases like cancer.

(I talk about this in my Podcast in episode #5, “How my unhealed trauma caused me physical pain but has probably been my saving grace keeping me from cancer“. You can listen here:


My issue over the last year was emotional unhealed trauma from my 20s(ex-husband cheating) showing up as abandonment issues(see my Facebook live on this), not stretching, and pushing my body for the last 18 years physically. If you’ve read, Can’t Hurt Me by David Higgins – he ends up pushing his body to the limits because of emotional trauma in his past and it ends up almost killing him.

He had it was worse than I did, and I didn’t push myself that far but pain is fucking pain. It doesn’t matter how bad or ‘not that bad’ it was, your emotional pain is trapped inside your body and the longer it stays in there the more it slowly eats away at your physical body destroying your body and life from the inside out.


Over the last year, I was able to do the emotional and physical healing for this issue. In fact, I was able to heal myself in April of this year. And yes, I had to manifest my own healing. As much as I wanted to heal and as much as I did the work and went to specialists, I still wasn’t healing. At the end of the day, I still had to decide I was going to take responsibility for my healing and I had to decide to heal myself and when I did THAT, I healed within a week.


Day 6 Wednesday

Today I woke up and my body felt mostly good.

It seems like I have odd pain in my hands and feet that have been pretty consistent. Those hurt today. My feet have been worse than my hands and after a quick Google search, I see it’s from the lack of circulation because Adderall constricts the blood vessels.

Again this is new over the past week. I’m guessing my body is just done with this shit. 

I also have pain in my right side from the kidney down to my psoas muscle, across the front of my hip to my groin. Some of that pain is not new. I’ve been stretching my psoas for my side, but the pain across the front of my hip toward my groin is new. 

I know that some pain will be from the effects of the Adderall and some will be from the withdrawal, but I also know my body is capable and wants to heal itself if I allow it.

Withdrawal can take from 3-10 days which is perfect for this trip because my trip is ten days!

But depending on how long you’ve been taking it, withdrawal symptoms can be up to 6 months. 

I believe I did the best thing by getting off Adderall while on this trip. I’m literally forced out of my habits and routines, forced into a new diet and given a beautiful and exciting environment so that I am supported mentally and emotionally. 

Because if I think about being at home, I feel the fight in my head. I feel the urge to take some. I feel like I need it to work out which is the thing that really benefits from Adderall is I can really bring it. But again, I don’t need it, but I do need to mentally rehearse what will happen when I get home. There’s no way I’m going back to Adderall. No way. And so I need to visualize it until I don’t feel a fight inside of me and I know exactly what to do when I get home. 

Easy peasy. Just prep for it. 


Today we hiked up some hills, through some jungles, up a tree, through a river, to our favorite restaurant. 

I could feel my feet and my side hurting. My body has made so much progress and I’m excited that this is what’s left.

Mentally I feel sharp again, and  I’m not working that much but when I do I feel sharp.


Day 7 Thursday

My friends left this morning at 6 and I caught the morning shuttle to la playa, the beach, at 9.


I still have pain. It’s not terrible. I think I’m going to see how I do without using the hemp cream. It’s good to check-in to see where you’re at, otherwise, you might keep doing something you don’t need to do and it may cause other issues down the line.


I think back over the last year and even several years, and I was constantly icing and heating my legs. Right now, at my house, I have four large ice packs that I was using to cover my entire legs. I would use two heating pads on my upper body to keep me warm and just work underneath the heat and ice. 

Yeah, I know the 15-minute rule, but when you are living with pain day in and day out -fuck it! You’ll sleep under those bitches. 

You do what it takes to stay married to your addictions all the while saying it’s not that bad.

In the last six months, I had even noticed my vision getting blurry a lot and it was hard to see small text. I knew that was the Adderall. I had 20/20 all my life and…you just know. Already 7 days off and I’ve had no vision problems.

I was also stretching every day. I couldn’t function without stretching. Not stretching, would start the pain and that pain would become a downward spiral to more pain and right into the belly of depression.

But since I’ve been traveling I haven’t stretched since the second day. I haven’t felt the need.

Looking back I see how this consumed my entire life. “The edge” I thought it was giving me wasn’t worth the hours and hours a day I spent trying to manage the pain so I could keep taking the drug.


Just because you’re breathing don’t mean you’re alive.


Day 8 Friday

Today I finally didn’t have pain in my hands and feet! Yes! 

Total win for me. 


Last night I fell asleep to the sound of pounding rain and today I woke up to the sound of waves crashing. 


I spent the day walking through the town and through the jungles.

I got some food at a restaurant on the beach and relaxed. With the beach waves in front of me, fireflies up over my head and a beach bonfire to my right, everything was perfect.

Day 9 Saturday

I woke up with sore legs- sore from walking all day though. This was progress. 

I spent the morning reading and resting and in the afternoon I went with a friend to the waterfalls.

Thinking back over the past four years I lived in isolation more and more. Things I used to love doing I stopped. I stopped doing most things that challenged my body – except for bodybuilding. I quit going out with friends. I quit being social. I quit my hobbies except for bodybuilding. I basically narrowed my life down to staying at home and going to the gym because everything revolved around making sure I wasn’t in a situation where I was going to have to sit. Everything revolved around me icing, heating, and stretching.


And I fought it. Emotionally and physically I fought it. I was a happy person living in an unhappy life. And when you’re happy person it’s hard to admit that you’re unhappy even though your world may be crashing down around you.


That’s the thing with achievers. We can handle it until we can’t.

We think it’s not that bad but honestly, if we are saying it’s not that bad – it should be a red flag that we are trying to convince ourselves to live a life we weren’t supposed to live in the first place.


I almost didn’t book this trip because of my legs. There were several times I almost decided not to come even though my ticket was non-refundable. 


Our pain and addictions – to whatever has gone on in our lives – keep us from living our lives and being our true selves.


Day 10 Sunday

Today I woke up with some leg pain.

I walked down to the beach to see it one more time before I left.

Nine am I got the five-hour bus to San Jose and my legs were bothering me again. I was able to stand up and do a little bit of stretching and it made the pain disappear for about forty-five minutes before I had to stretch again. So it’s definitely a huge improvement but I definitely wanted to cry at one point from the pain.


Day 12 Tuesday

I am ALIVE! I feel alive from my soul for the first time in ages. I feel excited and full of life! I can’t tell you how much I have tried and pushed and done all the things – Adderall, caffeine, meditation, yoga, schedules, read books, listened to music, went out dancing, vacations – NOTHING has worked. Nothing has made me feel more alive than I feel today and this is twofold – 

One: I quit Adderall and I’m through the worst of it

Two: I am doing work that my soul wants me to do! I am writing this book! 


Nothing outside of yourself will make you happy and make you feel alive – 

Not even doing your purpose work in the world, 

Not even helping people radically change their lives and marriages, 

Not even having the most amazing clients in the world, 

Not even finding your soulmate future husband, 

Not even living your dream,


But… you need all of these things to add to your happiness, because it’s in giving yourself these things, that makes you happy.


And in allowing yourself to have these things, you are creating a deep, trusting relationship with yourself.


It needs to come from inside of you – you know this shit, but imagine… for a moment… feel into it… 










Our desires are given to us for a reason but somewhere along the way we’ve bought into ‘being responsible’ and ‘our dreams aren’t realistic’. And yes. We need to be responsible, but that doesn’t mean self-sacrifice and depriving ourselves of what we want. And no, our dreams aren’t realistic, but that’s why they are dreams – we need to create them. We were born creators. That’s who we are and unless we are creating in one way or another, I believe we are suppressing our souls. We are suppressing who we fundamentally are.

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