Compared to most of the posters here the length of time I have been smoking daily is not much at all, but after about a year and a half to two years of smoking everyday I am in a position where I desperately want to quit.
The first time I tried herb I was eleven and up until about a year ago I smoked it occasionally, usually when drunk and always in the company of my close friends whose use of the drug was also very casual. I always enjoyed smoking weed and when used socially always had a great time with it. You can think of me as a “social smoker” I suppose, sort of the way people start smoking cigarettes. Which is probably true for most of the people who post here. At the time I was experimenting with other drugs too (coke, mdma, ecstasy,etc) and always thought marijuana was a healthier (or less stigmatized, at least) alternative to the chemical drugs I was using recreationally with my friends. I always joked that it was easier to find cocaine in a pinch than it was to find marijuana! Consider this: not many drug dealers are going to turn up with a gram of marijuana at 1am, but there was always one who would show up late night when you had a craving for a gram of cocaine. Keep in mind my chemical use was mainly confined to weekends and after about six months of that it became boring; a waste of money and the high was never worth the come down.
The real change came when a person close to me who had always smoked heavily started dealing. In the early days of my drug use he was the one who would supply the occasional joint or gram for parties or drinks with my friends. Suddenly the herb was far more accessible to me and I could get small quantities on a weekly basis. Soon after this I began working shift work as a call center employee for a major Telecommunications Company in technical support. I mostly worked the 5pm-1am shifts or something similar and suddenly I had no social life, plus the work could be very stressful (dealing with peoples weird idiosyncrasies’ while trying to calm them down because their internet wasn’t working again WHILE trying to solve the technical issue could be a lot to have on your plate at once, ahaha!) I worked until 1 am, went home and watched some movies, fell asleep, slept until noon, did simple tasks and then went back to work. Smoking pot after work just sort of made sense… I would get off work, take my dog for a walk and smoke a joint. It felt good to get outside for extended periods of time (even if it was in the dark!) and to chill out after a stressful night at work. Eventually I was smoking weed on a daily basis and the activity that was once reserved for nighttime bonding sessions with my pooch turned into a habit that I was struggling to keep at bay until night fell. At this time, I was still enjoying the marijuana and my boyfriend and I would often smoke it together. We would go for long walks, explore outdoors, paint together and just have a fantastic time in general.
After about eight or so months of heavy smoking I began to notice a change. My levels of anxiety were higher than they had ever been, I suffered terrible mood swings and the paranoia was unbearable. The anxiety was brought upon by the fact that drug addiction has run rampant in my family for many generations and a certain listlessness in my personal life; I was unhappy with the work I was doing, uncomfortable with the fact I had yet to embark on my post secondary education, my living situation was increasingly more volatile as each day passed and my relationship felt like it was headed for the toilet. The same topics were a breeding ground for depression and feelings of worthlessness, in addition to the others that had been accumulating over the course of my lifetime. I knew all the things that were stressing me out so terribly while high needed to be addressed while sober, but it was hard not to just light up and “forget about it all.” But soon I discovered that I could NOT forget about it all and that smoking weed almost forced me to meditate on all the horrible things that were going on, but I didn’t have the capacity to effectively deal with my problems because I was in such a deep haze. And yet, I still raved about weed and almost bragged about how much I smoked, peppered with the occasional statement that I needed to quit or was planning to. I was still excited by the prospect of my hangouts with Mary Jane even though once the initial euphoria wore off I was plagued by thoughts of all that was wrong with my life. Weed was no longer something I did with friends or something that aided my creativity, it was becoming hugely detrimental and I had completely lost my ability to balance other facets of my life with cannabis use. I stopped reading, stopped painting, felt I could not have a good time with my friends or boyfriend unless high and even began feeling very irritable and anxious in social situations and would always retreat to my house alone where I could smoke pot in peace and quiet.
I did have moments of clarity, of course. It wasn’t all bad. I applied for university and was accepted into my program and I managed to make a few compromises that greatly improved my living situation. I still had the occasional nice toke, especially if in the company of friends, and still enjoyed the beauty of the world around me, which I may have only been able to witness if I had been out on one of those long walks. There is something to be said about the way your mind works when under the influence of cannabis.
But it has only been through attending university that I have started to understand just how detrimental my use of marijuana has really become. My memory is terrible, I have a very hard time focusing and my self-motivation has completely gone out the window. I have no time management skills, I am completely drained, and I find everything boring and think I can solve this by being high. Why study when you can enjoy a crisp fall afternoon and blaze? The prospect of university is very significant in my life. Due to my families’ history of drug abuse, I was the first to ever apply and attend a post secondary institute. I had initially promised myself that I would quit once classes were in session, but I have found it exceedingly difficult to exercise enough self control not to.
Some days have been worse than others and it has been a struggle for a few months. I didn’t smoke for the first month of school at all and I was pleasantly surprised with how little I seriously thought about smoking pot. Of course I had moments of temptation, but I was able to reject the temptation. Last night however, I caved. I couldn’t stop thinking about how nice it would be to roll a few joints and go for a walk and maybe watch a movie. I called my dealer and bought a very small amount – I reasoned I would use it in the future on weekends with friends or on days I had designated as “free days” where I didn’t have to work or study. I felt good.
Today, which is Thanksgiving Monday in Canada, was a day I had set aside to catch up on all of my studies. Instead I hit the bong as soon as I woke up and watched my day fade into oblivion. An interesting thing happened however. I had an intense emotional moment where I realized that my lot in life was never going to change until I abandoned my crutch forever. I was pretty hysterical, it was the first time I had actually acknowledged that I was reaching a point of no return – that if I continued smoking I might be headed down a path I wasn’t prepared to resign my life to. I want to be an achiever. I want to deal with the hands I am dealt and the problems I create head on. I want to do well in my studies, I want to my mother, a recovering crack addict proud, I want my relationship to be as fun loving sans pot as it once was. I want to give quitting an honest shot. I collected all my paraphernalia in a garbage bag and walked it to the dumpster. It took me a good hour of battling with myself to actually make it to the dumpster with the goods, but I did it. The high was a nightmare. I was so supremely disappointed in myself, and I couldn’t stop crying. I felt restless and paced my house as I sobbed about inability to commit to quitting cannabis and focusing on my studies. I knew today would not be the only write off, I knew I would continue smoking until I had finished my bag and would probably last a week or so before I caved again. The anxiety was so intense – my heart was pounding, I was having difficult time breathing and I felt absolutely terrified. After the initial wave of anxiety, I decided I wanted to find a way to come down off my high prematurely so I went for a long bike ride and drank an enormous amount of water that did helped.
After I had come down a bit and wasn’t such an emotional wreck I spent the better part of my day researching and reading other peoples stories and I feel really positive. I know I have not been smoking for long (especially compared to this post!), but the side effects have felt very adverse in a short amount of time. I guess I am just happy that I have realized that I have a problem with marijuana use early and can hopefully begin to turn my life around. It is probably lucky that it was cannabis that caught my attention and not any of the other drugs I experimented with because I know I am in the high risk category for addiction and drug dependency. I am actually fortunate that I am currently enrolled in university while I begin to deal with this because my school offers a comprehensive mental health program which I fully intend to use to help me deal with some of the problems that have led to this sort of abuse which I am hoping will help with my “self medication.” I know most of the posters here have been dealing with this for many years, but I am just hoping to learn from you and hoping I can curb this awful habit before it gets much worse. Thanks for reading, writing this has been an extremely cathartic experience for me.