I wasn’t always so opposed to the Mary Jane.
I used to smoke the ganja, pot, marijuana, reefer, whatever you want to call it. I started at 15, and it became a quick part of my regimen of wishing away the way I felt in the life I lived. I had my own pipe packed with the green sticky and even spent years selling shake for a family member and earning a bag of my own after I did a few deals in high school. We crushed cans for makeshift pipes when needed, and when I lost the screens in my own pipe I would borrow one from the sink in the bathroom where I worked.
We had pot plants growing in my apartment growing up. I could see the grow lights emanating from the coat closet in our low-income two-bedroom apartment and the blue jugs of fertilizer that stood by needed for the perfect leaves.
We had people in and out buying the buds and packs of joints that I rolled in a joint roller at the kitchen table on my summer break from school in elementary. I knew what Zig Zag rolling papers were and how to weigh the dried plants on a scale. I was informed from a young age, but I swore I would never smoke it.
I saw the people coming in and out buying it and saw them sit around my living room as a kid smoking, taking bong tokes, and coughing up a lung. I thought, how stupid. These losers. What is the point of smoking something and coughing that much and then getting all weird?
I knew that it brought my family income and that was part of what we did. I also knew it was illegal and I couldn’t talk about it with my friends or teachers. I knew we had a secret in our home and it left my parents feeling paranoid and afraid.
Having not smoked yet during the day, I saw another side of the addiction to marijuana. I saw an ornery, angry, moody asshole who hadn’t gotten his daily fix yet and to me, that looked like addiction.
I learned early that people without their drug of choice when in active addiction aren’t fun to live with. I learned quickly and as a young girl to monitor the environment to see if I was safe to enter, engage, or if I should retreat and blend in without being noticed. I learned to read the room so to speak.
My childhood suffered at the expense of this drug. It didn’t stop me from experimenting myself as it was something I knew and made me feel a part of my family of origin, but the consequences soon outweighed the benefits.
I suffered from teenage alcoholism and drug addiction and everything that comes with it. If pot really is a gateway drug, then I followed its lead with coke and meth. Alcohol was already in full rotation.
I was already smoking weed so what was some acid or mushrooms on a weekend?
Life became foggy, and the life I led soon became one where my addiction led me.
My moral compass was stuck and I needed to get off of the ride.
I’ve been in recovery for a long time but recently was triggered when someone asked If I was 420-friendly. I guess you could say I am the opposite of 420-friendly. I have a pet peeve that starts with M and ends with A.
I am from Washington State where it is legal. I hated seeing all of the people on the corner with their signs advertising new dispensaries and pot shops opening all over. I guess you could say I have a prejudice based on my experiences growing up with a household full of marijuana. It’s a drug to me just like any other drug that I work hard to abstain from. It affects my wherewithal and makes me feel different than what my natural body’s rhythm desires.
Someone is probably saying, “Chill out lady, maybe you need to smoke some to calm down.” I digress.
On a recent trip to Colorado after living in Minnesota for the last few years, I remembered how I felt seeing people smoking everywhere I went. Seeing people exchanging pipes and joints and hearing the coughing—that triggered me. I didn’t realize I was still so angry at what pot took from my childhood and my brain cells.
I wonder what I could have done with the years I spent smoking and getting high? I wonder how much more I could have applied myself in school if I wouldn’t have been leaving during lunch to “smoke out” or hotbox the car. I wonder how many real conversations and relationships I could have built if I hadn’t been sitting around laughing like Beavis and Butthead.
A drug is a drug, and as a sober person, I have to tell the truth as I see it. Drugs impair our senses and create a fog around us and the world we inhabit. I know for me, I was so focused on my next drink or drug I couldn’t be in the present moment.
However uncomfortable our feelings become, smoking weed never once took away my problems but it did exacerbate them. I also spent money I didn’t have on my next fix and did deals in shady areas where I could have been hurt. I hung around people who weren’t safe and got in a lot of trouble with people I shouldn’t have been hanging with as a young girl.
Marijuana is a less talked about problem in the addiction world, but there are recovery programs for weed too.
I am turned off, way off, by weed and I am definitely not 420-friendly.
Resources for help with a Marijuana addiction:
Who is a marijuana addict?
We who are marijuana addicts know the answer to this question. Marijuana controls our lives! We lose interest in all else; our dreams go up in smoke. Ours is a progressive illness often leading us to addictions to other drugs, including alcohol. Our lives, our thinking, and our desires center around marijuana—scoring it, dealing it, and finding ways to stay high.
More Resources are available for help with a Marijuana addiction below: