Jack writes about his journey in stopping marijuana use.
I’ve been a pothead on and off since I was about 15 years old. Began with marijuana. Eventually landed on ecstasy. Even dabbled in psychedelics. The only one I kept returning to was marijuana. I easily let go of all the others. Returned to marijuana so often I’ve defined it as addictive behavior. And I put no blame on the cannabis itself for my constant return. I’m the one with the addictive tendencies after all. Theoretically, I could have gotten addicted to anything from alcohol to gambling or sex. It just so happen to be this because it was the first. It happen while I was the youngest.
I quit for many years. Since senior year in high school until the middle of my college years. When I got back to it I’d only use every couple of months. About a year in it was as frequent as every weekend. I felt creative using it and enjoyed the feeling. It gradually leaked into the rest of the week. Maybe something left over from the weekend would get used on Wednesday. It wasn’t long before anything left over was used the following Monday. As I got more used to doing it regularly it became such a part of the daily routine that I began looking forward to it. Eventually trying to stretch the same amount through the entire week. By this point I managed to get high each day micro-dosing. As my tolerance grew I was less affected and left wanting more each time. I began buying twice as much each week. That kept me stoned Sunday through Saturday. From then on it’s a tolerance building game.
And then I’m getting high to feel normal.
The days I don’t have it I feel anxious. Depressed. Desperate. Bored. I think the boredom is the worst part. It’s maddening. Whenever I try stopping, boredom turns me back around. It’s so easy to access marijuana and instantly make all things fun and exciting. The all natural boredom killer. For a low price have a blast. But I only think this is true. I don’t function sober because what I used to call sober is the state I’ve reached now while high. High when normal, normal when high. I’m paying to avoid boredom withdrawal. The cannabis does nothing but keep me stable. It’s the only way I can be myself anymore… At least it’s making me believe this.
This realization of being normalized by the high scares the hell out of me and I finally see I have a problem. Before then I’d tell myself I did it because I wanted to and liked it instead of the truth which was I felt sick sober.
So I commit to stop. To no longer be under its control out of fear that I’m becoming a slave to my addictive tendencies. This marks the start of a strange struggle.
Before starting I gave myself rules to avoid returning the way I did so many times before.
1. I began the ‘Sober Blog’ to publicize the progress and have the illusion of being watched, thus I’m held accountable for letting anyone rooting for me down.
2. I cut communication with all dealers and active users until I build the confidence to interact without the crave.
Before this point, whenever I stopped the desperation would come but fade when I reminded myself I would come back in the future. It was easier to bare this way. It was an addiction test. This time, the plan was to not come back. To focus on why I kept returning so often and how I felt about that.
The first three days could be described as anxious depression. Nothing was fun or entertaining. I didn’t want to do anything. I was highly irritable. Very snappy. And this reminded me of an excuse I told people for why I used. I claimed constantly that the marijuana made me tolerate people more. When I had trouble sleeping I remembered telling others it helped me sleep. I felt I wasn’t being creative enough and remembered telling people being high made me more creative.
Every day I wrote on the Sober Blog about my state of mind and it would force me to reflect on the behavior. This helped a lot in dividing the truths from the self deceit brought with the addiction. I spent a lot of time around people and walking outside during the day. I became more aware how wanting to be around weed kept me from wanting to be around people or I would be around people with weed. Needing the high kept me inside and complacent. And now the fresh cold air from the coming winter did a great job fighting off the cravings.
The days rolled by and the cravings gradually faded. But on day 10 something amazing happened. I had a dream. Only then did it become apparent I hadn’t been dreaming for months. Maybe years. The dream itself was total nonsense but the fact I had one at all brought me joy. The next day I was so excited about the dream that I forgot about the cravings all together. The following night I had another dream. And then another.
I began to feel more normal. The same feeling I was getting high to stay at. I reached it sober. As the days went on it became easier to deal without getting stoned. I began to write stories again. I hadn’t notice I was stuck writing poetry while high. Being sober brought back the narrative ideas.
Two months in, I checked my social media and was welcomed by a pleasant message from an individual thanking me for publicizing the process. They went on to tell m how hard it is to find people struggling with addiction to marijuana or staying clean from it. Something about that gave me even more strength.
What I’ve realized five months in is that I’ve developed fear of using. Whether rational or not, I get anxious thinking that if I ever do it again I’ll get roped back in. And my mind being a slave to anything terrifies me.
Now… I’m not entirely sure what the point of me writing this is. I’m not sure why I want to tell this little story about the journey I’ve been taking. But it felt important. So here it is. I am still an addict. That doesn’t change. I just need to catch myself abusing any activity before it gets out of hand. Things aren’t addictive. People are addicts. And I am an addict. It just so happen to be the marijuana ritual, but I’m sure it could have been anything else.
I’m not even sure what the point of this is. I don’t know how to end it.
I did a thing. Yay. The end.