Citation: Shruming Human. "15 Year Addiction: An Experience with Cannabis (exp38917)". Erowid.org. Jun 11, 2007. erowid.org/exp/38917
Background: I am a graduate student studying science, in my mid-thirties. I first smoked pot when I was 16, and started smoking everyday when I was 17. I have been addicted to pot ever since then.
During these 15+ years of addiction, I have accomplished things, both spiritual, intellectual, and artistic, that many people can only dream of, whether or not they are sober. I have learned to speak two extremely difficult African languages completely fluently, and lived in two countries in East Africa for almost 6 years, and spent 6 months in South America. I have learned to play the drums and the guitar quite well. I have gotten my Master's Degree in a difficult field, and am almost finished with my PhD. I have written hundreds of poems, many of a very high level, IMHO, and published a few. I have had only two romantic relationships during this time, one for 5 years and one for almost 10 years, and both have been stable, loving, committed, and successful relationships. Everything about my life seems exceptional from the outside. But throughout it all, I have accomplished what I did despite the fact that I was addicted to pot.
I'm not saying that marijuana hasn't given me anything. On the contrary, it has given me many precious experiences of love, happiness, clarity, and insight, as well as some timely all-important openness. It has helped me be honest, creative, spiritual, and has even helped me with getting the bigger picture with some of my scientific research. But I have smoked and smoked, even when I promised myself to quit. It's true that I went months without smoking several times, but I didn't forget about my love for pot. It's true that I controlled myself and only smoked once or twice a week for about half of the 15 years, but once I made my rules, to only smoke on weekends, I would look forward to the weekend, and definitely smoke then, no matter what - regardless of whether I was tired, or other circumstances made it better not to smoke. I have forgotten, in many ways, how to have fun without pot - that's one of the main dangers of it, that it's so fun that it makes other ways of having fun seem lacking. I have done many other drugs during this time, including drugs that have given me even more than pot (mushrooms, LSD, mescaline, etc.) but I keep coming back to pot, again and again.
When I lived in one country, the penalty for possessing pot was death. I didn't know anyone there who smoked, and I moved there despite the belief that I would be giving up pot for a year or two. Doesn't sound like I was addicted, right? But I found some growing, and collected it, smoking carefully by myself for a few months, until I found a supply of high-quality hash that was cheap. It's true that I was buying it on the black market, from strangers, and risking my life each time. From then on, I smoked often.
I had the chance to go on vacation to another country at one point, via airplane. It was only a two-week trip, but I considered smuggling some hash in my shoe for those two weeks. I finally decided against it (this was before 9/11, when things were simpler). When I arrived at the destination airport, they asked me to take off my shoes, to check for drugs. That's the only place they checked. I considered that a message from life not to fuck around too much, and gave thanks that I hadn't brought the hash.
I smoked every day when I was doing my master's thesis. It helped me in some ways, slowed me down in others, but I kept smoking.
The problem with being addicted to a substance is that I lose control of my own will. That may not sound so bad, but let me tell you that it is. If I do not have control over my own will, I have lost everything. How can I summon your will to heal from a serious illness if my will isn't used to being controlled by me? It turns to me when I call, and says, “Are you talking to me? You don't give the orders; I give the orders around here. That is how we always do it.” Do you see what I am giving up by being addicted? I am giving up the ultimate control of my own being. Not by smoking pot, but by being addicted - that's the key. Pot is wonderful medicine, but, like any medicine, one must take it carefully, only when needed.
I struggle with my addiction every day, and end up smoking a small bowl almost every day. It is not a problem financially; it is not a problem health-wise (at least, not yet; I generally only take two or three hits each time, and often smoke only once in a day, and I almost always smoke through water). It is a problem spiritually, such that I cannot control my own will in this way. Spiritually, it has helped me see some of the faces of God that I had previously denied, it has helped me look myself in the eye and confess my feelings after weeks of hiding them, it has helped me pray and meditate and focus in many ways. But it hurts me spiritually, psychologically, it hurts me every day when I can't remember how to have fun in any other way, when I give up my will for the feeling. It does the most damage when I say that I won't smoke for a week, and then I find myself making excuses two days into it, and 'just smoking a small bowl.' How can I work on my self-esteem, my self-trust, when I'm selling them again and again for a high?
I am deciding on my own drastic measures, again, but since I am used to breaking promises to myself, what makes me think that I can be true to my word this time?
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