“Men Becoming Our Best,” the Virtual Support Group That’s Our Gift to the People We Love

By Mike Fedel

It could have been a tough night for non-nerds. Not true – we welcome everyone! But at least 3 of the 7 guys at the meeting were ‘techies’.

ADDA’s newest Peer Support Group – “Men Becoming Our Best” – held its first meeting February 18, 2018. Of course, we compared operating systems and file structures to how our ADHD brains work! That’s one thing the entire group agreed on. We “get” that we have different wiring.

This is a great starting point. We won’t have to spend time wrestling with feeling like “I am broken” or “I am deficient.” We can get right to talking about, “How does my ADHD affect me” and “How does it affect me as a man?”

What does that mean: “How does it affect me as a man?” We don’t know yet, but it’s one of the topics we’re exploring. We’re taking our cue from leaders in the ADHD community – Sari Solden (“Women with ADD”) and Linda Roggli (“Confessions of an ADDiva”). We know we all face different expectations tied to gender, age, sexual orientation and more.

Our group gives men a safe place to talk about the impact of ADHD on everything. And it impacts everything from time management to risky behavior to finding and keeping jobs and relationships. We alternate between planned topics and topics that come up during members’ check-in.

Like all ADDA support groups, we meet online. We get together while each of us stays in the comfort of our own homes. We chose ZOOM as our meeting platform. The visual interface lets us get to know each other better, to notice (and even learn about) body language, and to “attach names to faces.” Although if you prefer to remain incognito, ZOOM has a “voice only” option.

I love that we can have public or private sidebar chats. That’s a great place to share information (book titles, links, etc.) and expand on the conversation without interrupting the flow.

Our first meeting was productive and powerful. We left the “safe” topics (time management, distractibility, impulsivity, etc.) in the dust. We talked about shame, emotional sensitivity, and even body image (yes, that’s a “guy thing” too).

We explored our own definitions of ADHD. We shared what we were hoping to get out of the group. We talked about how what makes us look “OK” to others – things like: “you graduated college” or “you’ve got a stable home and family.” We also confirmed that they have no idea how hard we’ve had to work to make those things happen.

And, yes, we talked about computer Operating Systems. They’re a pretty good metaphor for neurodiversity. There are things you can do on a Mac that you can’t do on a PC. There are things you can do in MVS you can’t do in UNIX (huh? (trust me)). And everyone with a smart phone knows there are apps that run on Android but not on your iPhone.

We don’t consider these systems “normal” or “abnormal” – we accept they’re different.

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      • Justin
      • February 22, 2018
      Reply

      Hi – I’m based in the UK and noticed that most sessions seem to be late in the evening for you guys so middle of the night for me – do you have sessions any other time or know of an organisation I can use in the UK?

      Cheers

      Justin

        • adda-ADMIN
        • March 1, 2018
        Reply

        Hi Justin,

        I know there is one support group that meets during their lunch hour, which would be at a more reasonable time for you. Unfortunately, I believe it’s only for Non-ADHD Spouses of Adults with ADHD. If we could find a leader and enough people in Europe (or night owls), we would be willing to offer a support group that would meet your needs. IF this is something you (and other people you know) would be interested in, please contact ADDA here: https://add.org/contact-adda/

        To your success,

        Duane

      • Steve Beck
      • February 21, 2018
      Reply

      I had signed up for Men becoming our best last week. I never recieved a link to join the group. I have sent two messages previously about getting a link for the ndxt meeting, but have not heard anything back. Could someone please get back to me on this?

        • adda-ADMIN
        • February 21, 2018
        Reply

        Hi Steve,

        I’m not sure what happened. I just checked and your email address was not on the list of members subscribed to the list. I just went in and added your email address to the list for that support group. Please watch your gmail for a notification of the next meeting.

        To your success,

        Duane

      • James Del Monaco
      • February 21, 2018
      Reply

      Mike Fedel,
      I would like to be a part of your “Men Becoming Men Group”. However, I no longer have an ADDA Membership. Can I still call in and participate? It sounds like something I could really use in my life right now.
      Sincerely,
      Jim

        • adda-ADMIN
        • February 21, 2018
        Reply

        Hi James,

        We’d love to have you join this support group (and our other support groups if you want) but they are open to members only. We work really hard to make membership affordable so we hope we’ll be able to welcome you back to the fold.

        Thank you for your interest in ADDA.

        To your success,

        Duane

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