When a Bachelorette Party & Addiction Collide was first published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel under the pen name Elizabeth Rose.
I’m a week out from my bachelorette party, which means I’m a week away from my addiction getting the best of me. It’s not alcohol that makes me worry; it’s weed. As many of you who have followed this column know – thank you so much from the bottom of my heart, by the way! –I’ve struggled with this for a while. It turns out it ain’t over yet.
Back in 2017, I wrote a piece called “Last Dance with Mary Jane.” A farewell to arms, so to speak, of the vice that I love so much. But as recovery seems to go, it wasn’t a total goodbye. I quit on March 17, 2017, and smoked again in June of 2018. The on-again, off-again battle continued until last October when I completely lost my shit in the sense of massive anxiety and debilitating guilt after hitting a friend’s freshly packed bowl of pesticide-free Carpinteria-grown weed. (Ah, I can still smell it.) It was right before the Avocado Festival, while Jason was out commercial fishing for lobster all day. I didn’t enjoy the festival, of course. The shame of being high while Jason was working his ass off was crippling. You see, I had “quit” again the month before and told Jason that was the end for me.
The worst part? I lied to him when he asked about it later that night. I’m sure he could tell from my glassy eyes and distant gaze that I did something. For a solid ten seconds, I held tight to the fact that I didn’t smoke but admitted the truth when I realized drugs were making me lie to my partner. The thing is, I doubt he would have been that upset if I had just admitted I smoked, to begin with. But instead, he was hurt and disappointed. Felt betrayed, understandably. Why did I lie? Probably from the shame of going back to the one thing that held me back from my best life. Perhaps because I was high.
We got into a big argument that night, where I played the role of every addict you see in the movies, trying to convince someone they will change. “Things will be different this time,” I said. “I’m doing the best I can,” and even, “You can drug test me!” It was pathetic. I realized the only way I could prove I was serious was to show it. I went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting the next day.
I know what you’re thinking. Actually, I don’t, but my guess is, Why are you still doing this to yourself? Why are you quitting because of someone else? Shouldn’t you quit for yourself? I’ve pondered over the last one a bunch because quitting for someone else is when resentment comes in. The thing is, Jason has witnessed marijuana affect my life negatively, my writing, mainly. He’s listened to me go on about my constant struggle, and he only wants the best for me, which I appreciate greatly.
[By the way, I feel like an A-hole for being addicted to a substance that isn’t generally viewed as a threat. Alcohol addiction, people get. But weed? Nah, man. Pass it over! The paranoia is in your head. Maybe society at large doesn’t yet view weed the same as the rest. But addiction is addiction is addiction. You’re just born that way. There’s no need for shame. (Though we have it, and it sucks.)]
I went to the NA meeting on a crisp Sunday morning last fall, not entirely convinced I would stop. (The night before, I bargained with myself and Jason that my bachelorette party and Burning Man would be my “free zones.” How f’d is that?) I went to NA for the tools to help with addiction and to feel less alone with others struggling the same or worse than me. Honestly, for the past year, those tools have helped immensely.
And now, here we are. A week from my “free zone,” and I have to admit; I’m a little scared. Can I resist? Would I be able to handle it? No. That would be the answer to the last one. Even if I smoked then stopped, the craving would gnaw at me for months. Contemplating my future feels as if I’m holding a daisy in my mind, plucking the soft, white petals before tossing them into the air one at a time. I love me, I love me not. I love me, I love me not. I love me…