A few weeks ago, Chris and I got in a huge fight about smoking weed.
Actually, it was the fact that I lied about smoking weed than smoking itself.
Basically, when he asked if I smoked, I said no. I took it back ten seconds later. Regardless, I lied.
I saw this whole mess coming. So I used his anger to push me to stop.
This time, anyway.
Bad Habits Die Hard
I quit weed for over a year once. St. Patrick’s Day in 2017 to be exact.
Then, at a Widespread Panic concert the next spring when the LSD wasn’t kicking in, I took a hit off a passed joint and blasted myself into the atmosphere.
I had a great time at the show (duh), and didn’t smoke regularly for a while after that.
But as all addicts know, addiction eventually caught up with me and a year later, I was smoking every day.
And not just every day.
ALL DAY, EVERY DAY.
From the moment I got in my car in the morning until right before bed, I was puffing my one-hitter, eating an edible, hitting the vape pen, or all the above.
I was a high-functioning pothead (unintentional pun), but my writing suffered because after a certain point in the day I became too tired and uninspired to work.
I’d tapper off with a nature walk, yoga, and basically anything besides writing the book I’ve always had in me.
I should note that these activities meant I could smoke more weed. Which meant, I was getting DAMN GOOD at yoga, and there wasn’t a nature trail in Wilmington, North Carolina or Charleston, South Carolina I hadn’t hit.
This progressed into my California life when I moved back to Carpinteria in September of this year.
So, after the argument with Chris, I realized my relationship with weed was making my romantic relationship suffer, too.
Two Sundays ago I went to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. Not totally convinced I would stop, I went for tools to help with addiction, and to not feel like a complete asshole for smoking something that many people do not see as a threat.
Alcohol addiction, people get. But weed? Nah, pass that shit over! It’s all in your head.
I’ll share my experience with NA next week but until then, I’m reposting a story I wrote right after I first quit smoking weed.
My, how things have changed yet stayed the same.
What are your thoughts on weed? Do you smoke or do you have a similar story with addiction? Would love to hear what you think! Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or share it in the comments below!
Last Dance with Mary Jane
First published in the Santa Barbara Sentinel, April 2017. Written under my pen name, Elizabeth Rose.
The first time I smoked pot was at a friend’s house just after my senior year of high school.
There were eight of us on the back porch, huddled in a circle among cigarette butts and empty beer cans from past late nights. I was known as the “good girl” in our group, so you can imagine my friends surprise when I said I wanted a hit.
I knew I’d experiment in college. A “smart” decision, I thought, to have my first time with people I trust rather than a bunch of frat boys who would see me as a piece of meat.
I was eighteen. I had it figured out.
I told myself I could handle it.
Hits From The Bong
They passed the bong. A homemade contraption made from plumbing fixtures and a plastic salsa bottle stolen from a local Mexican restaurant.
As I lifted the bong filled with brown, crumbly schwag (bottom shelf weed) to my lips, I saw my friends look at one another, silently questioning if I would actually do it.
My friend, Travis, struck the lighter. As a newbie, my coordination wasn’t the best.
“Cover the air hole with your thumb and slowly suck in when the fire hovers.”
I took his lead, inhaled, and watched as the bong slowly filled with thick white smoke.
“Ok, move your thumb!”
Unblocking the air hole, I pulled the cloud into my virgin lungs. I held it in until my throat started to burn, then coughed and gagged as my friends clapped and laughed at my first attempt.
I didn’t get high, of course. Pretty standard for a first-timer.
So, the next weekend I tried again.
This time, behind a dumpster at an apartment complex of my other friend’s home – because if you’re gonna do drugs, you gotta start by doing them right.
Smoke Weed Every Day
Before I knew it, I became a career smoker.
I used weed as a means to entertain myself. As if day-to-day life was too easy or boring, it was a way to add challenge and a little edge.
It became a barrier between myself and others. I floated through life in a delusional world.
Any activity – going to the grocery store, gardening, cleaning the house – was an excuse to get high.
Then, the worst part, I’d attach to negative thoughts and feelings that I otherwise wouldn’t think twice.
Doubting my self-worth and my relationships, I had so much anxiety that my heart would beat irregularly. I eventually went to a doctor to figure out why.
Of course, I didn’t tell her I was smoking so much weed and washing it down with piping hot cups of joe.
Me: “I get these weird murmurs in my heart occasionally. It really freaks me out.”
Doctor: “Well, sometimes freaking out is the cause of irregular heartbeats.”
That’s when it hit me.
Paranoia and doubt had become such a part of my life that I didn’t know how to exist without it.
It turns out, paranoia will actually destroy ya.
It most definitely destroyed me.
Dear Weed, I Miss You
But the strange part is, I miss it.
I miss the ritual of finding weed and buying it.
Opening the bag and smelling it.
Inspecting each bud then stuffing a glass bowl.
Searching for a lighter (Where the F is the lighter?! ) and the relief that came when I found it.
Lighting the bud and inhaling the smoke.
The burning sensation of holding it in.
The pressure in my head that meant I would be high soon.
The moment of happiness before anxiety set in. The crippling bliss that eventually became an identity.
My name is Elizabeth Rose and I’m an addict.
I cringe to think that for half my life I existed as a stone-cold stoner, but after seventeen years in this abusive relationship, I finally called it quits.
We all struggle in life, some more than others, and I’m not saying my struggle is over or that it’s my only one.
If you said to me years ago that I would live in a state where weed is legal, and I wouldn’t smoke, I would have spilled bong water while laughing in your face.
It’s been about a month since I’ve smoked weed and I still think about it every day.
But knowing I’ve gotten this far in life with it, I’m hopeful to think how far I will go without it.
UPDATE: As of November 2018, my struggle continues.
UPDATE: As of October 14, 2019, I haven’t smoked in over a week.
Do you smoke weed? If so, what’s does your relationship with it look like? Please enter in the comments below!
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