Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Have You Considered Marijuana?

I posted a brief conversation I had about weed about two years ago that is similar to this one I had recently:

Him: So, John...have you thought about smoking weed?
Me: Yeah, I shouldn't.
Him: I mean after you're off probation. I get why you don't now...
Me: Two things happen when I smoke weed. First, it makes me acutely aware of all of my past failures in life all at once, and I become full of anxiety and uncomfortable as hell.
Him: Yikes.
Me: And the second thing? It makes me want to do heroin again.
Him: ...probably shouldn't smoke pot, then.
Me: You think so? That's too bad.

At your next national pothead convention, you guys should really reconsider who you send out as spokespeople and recruiters. Really...I'm 40 years old and I have lived in Austin for about 15 years. Asking me if I've considered weed is right up there with asking me, "Have you heard about Jesus Christ?" Yeah, thanks, I've heard the name. I have been around the pot once or twice.

Let me make it clear that I think it is ridiculous that marijuana is illegal. However, I am very much a supporter of legalizing it because I just want people to shut up about how pot should be legal and how great it is.

"It grows naturally on this planet!" Yes. Yes it does. You then naturally harvest the bud, naturally break it up and roll it with paper, naturally set it on fire and naturally inhale the smoke. Then you naturally sit back and watch Adult Swim before naturally running to Jack in the Box.

You may notice heroin addicts don't argue about how poppies grow naturally on this planet, too. Granted, that's because they're usually too busy making a mental note of all your valuables in case they get into a bind later, but still. Also, there is no Heroin Times magazine with centerfolds of black tar. This is more than likely due to the publishers nodding off and missing deadline after deadline...but that's beside the point. I guess I just find some potheads to be a bit obsessive and annoying.

Sorry. I am getting off subject. I'm aware there are many of you who smoke weed and don't mention 420 via Twitter and Facebook every day.

What I would like to focus on in this blog entry is the concept of smoking weed in recovery...as in, an alcoholic or heroin/meth/cocaine addict using "marijuana maintenance." I have been asked several times, "What do you think about smoking weed as part of recovery?" My short answer is, "I think it's a bad idea."

BUT...I can't go with the short answer, because it goes against my belief that everybody has to follow their own path and not to be completely dissuaded by "it can't be done" in your life. Maybe you're the one that "can do it." So let's go with the long answer.

I know several people who had severe addiction issues that they have overcome and now just smoke pot. I also have met many individuals in treatment centers and sober houses that tried to just smoke weed, and they relapsed big time. Pot did not help me, that's for sure.

Many of us addicts have legal issues...and we're on probation and/or being monitored and drug tested. Smoking while on probation is stupid. It's very very stupid, and you are risking getting your ass handed to you by the county and getting locked up. You shouldn't even consider it until you are off paper.

The main reason I would tell someone not to try weed if they asked me is this...if you are hesitating in doing it, you may have already made it a big deal in your head. You may mindfuck yourself into a position where you handle being high on weed, and then you think, "fuck it, I can drink." Then you're racing off to hitting a new bottom. Marijuana may be "natural", but it's still altering your perception, reason and decision-making...and if you're prone to saying "fuck it" as I have been, weakening your resolve naturally or unnaturally is probably a bad idea.

In my opinion, the people I know on the marijuana maintenance trip successfully do so because it's not a big deal to them at all. They worked on themselves and fought to get their lives back, and the question "should I smoke pot" probably never came up...and if it did, it was probably met with, "why wouldn't I?" If it's not a big deal in their heads, it doesn't rule their thinking and their lives...and they make it work. I could be completely wrong about that, but that's what I think.

Here's the deal. For me at least, only a small part of recovery is being clean and sober. Recovery for me was changing my life...finding a reason to live and to care and working to change everything that my self-destruction and self centeredness turned to shit. I can't change if I'm wasted. I stay sober so I can keep working on me.

AA people have a term called "dry drunk." Essentially, it's someone who uses personal willpower to stop drinking but doesn't do anything else to better themselves. Their desire and thoughts are still at the bar or the liquor store, so they just go through their lives miserable people. Unfortunately, hardcore AA people throw this term around too much, sometimes labeling people who quit drinking outside of a 12-step program a dry drunk when they are not. That doesn't mean it's bullshit. I've seen it...miserable bastards who honestly would be better off if they just started drinking or using again because they were making everybody around them miserable too.

I think a lot of addicts can't just stop doing their drug of choice. They need to change, repair damage, and find life again. Some don't, and instead they replace their addiction with something else, never addressing the real problem...why were they escaping reality in the first place? Many replace that addiction with one to AA or NA. Some become obsessed with a hobby or with fitness. I think switching to weed from their drug of choice will do the same thing...it's a nice temporary fix...until something big comes along that their new "thing" doesn't help them deal with, then it's "fuck it" and back to what has previously helped escape reality in the past. (My "new thing" in the past was codependency.)

Someone close to me said that they didn't have a problem with weed at all. It makes them enjoy cartoons and sleep. However, they are working on themselves and find that getting high deters them from doing what they need to do on a daily basis to remain alcohol free, healthy and happy. That's their path.

If you have addiction issues, maybe your path involves marijuana, maybe it doesn't. I think you truthfully know whether you can smoke or not. If you have to question whether it's a good idea or not, it probably isn't.

I can't. Period. So stop bringing it up to me, ya hippies.