Yep, I’m addicted to weed. I haven’t touched the stuff for more than a decade, but to this day I can still say I’m addicted to weed. If I were to smoke it one time, I’d go straight back to being a power user again.
I got addicted a while back, in my college days in Northern California. I transferred up there from a school in L.A.’s Inland Empire. I wanted to transfer so I could escape my falling grades in a major I hated. I also had a secret that I myself was only half-conscious of. If my secret wasn’t behind the binge drinking I’d been doing, it certainly wasn’t helping me keep my shit together either. Maybe I was running away from the binge drinking too, but the real reason I wanted out of that small school in the Inland Empire was the secret, which I hadn’t even fully revealed to myself yet. What the secret was isn’t important for this article, but suffice it to say that instinct more than any specific reason told me that the Bay Area would be an all-around better place for me. The reason I gave for transferring schools to everyone else was that I wanted to graduate from a better school. Though it was a much better school, I didn’t care about that at all.
So I moved up to the Bay Area, which made me feel like I’d been wandering in the desert for three days when a gallon of water magically presented itself. I was instantly thirsty, overwhelmingly so, and I became more thirsty the more I drank. Weed presented itself–it’s almost as available up there as water–and I quickly became thirsty for it. My binge drinking petered out, but within months I was planning every single day around getting stoned.
From the very start of my time in Northern California, I noticed that I was different than my school friends and acquaintances. They were engaged with their studies and future careers. They had ideas about what they wanted to do with their lives, even if those ideas were vague and subject to change. Meanwhile, I was engaged in nothing except becoming a pothead, a goal I doggedly accomplished within one semester. My friends thought about their future, but I couldn’t bring myself to care much about anything except maintaining my supply and getting high. Even then I knew that the apathy I exhibited towards my studies, career, and future wasn’t normal. But more than realizing it wasn’t normal, I knew it was sad. I had been handed an opportunity to shape my future, a gift so many kids are never given, and I was throwing it away. During the time of my life when good decisions and hard work could’ve made huge strides towards future goals, I was getting baked in my room by myself all the time. It was sad then, and it’s still sad now.
Fast forward six years. I had graduated from college and got my first full-time job as a loan processor. From the very first minute of the very first day I hated that job. I couldn’t stand my coworkers and work environment either. I thought loan agents were gross before it became popular opinion. The mortgage banking ethos and environment was about as far away from who I was (and am) as it could have possibly been, but weed enabled me to do a job I hated. I shuffled from company to company processing loans for about six years. As long as I had weed waiting for me when I go home, I could white-knuckle it through the day. And getting high, of course, was the main event of every weekend, so I always had that to help me get through the week. It wouldn’t take long for the manager and people I worked with at the different places I worked to figure out that I was calling it in (not to mention screwing up stuff and acting spacey). When my manager would make it clear that it wasn’t working out, I’d just go and get another loan processing job like some sort of loan processor zombie.
This story may not seem like a tragedy. I didn’t graduate to hard drugs, I was able to hold down jobs, and I didn’t flunk out of college. Still, career-wise I suffered and continue to suffer the repercussions of being so dazed and confused at the very time I should’ve dug my feet in, figured out a solid path, and worked hard towards a future I wanted to live in. I would’ve been a lot happier a lot quicker. It’s not a major tragedy, but it remains a sad thing for me. So much so that I’m trying to help people avoid making the same mistakes I did. If it’s too late for that, I’d like to provide support and help to those who are experiencing something similar. If I was able to quit, you can do it too. I never want to handicap myself that way again. And yet. And yet the truth is I’d like nothing more than to get high. I’m addicted to weed, but I won’t touch the stuff.
I used weed so I could tolerate something I wouldn’t have been able to tolerate otherwise. If I hadn’t used weed, I would’ve been forced to figure out solutions to my issues instead of tolerate them. I knew pacifying myself with weed wasn’t a tenable long-term strategy, but I was so addled from being constantly high that I couldn’t figure out another direction to take, much less the place I wanted to end up. Eventually, the mortgage banking industry figured it out for me. I’d worn out my welcome. Word was out about me. I would need to do something else to pay my bills.
Weed put everything on hold for eight years, and dredging through the issues that’d been backlogged for that amount of time while simultaneously figuring out what I wanted to do with my life was going to require a lot of c.p.u. power. Weed had to go, but that was easier said than done. I had a bitch of a time letting it go.
It’s been a long time since then, but I still have my regrets about those eight years. So much so that I’ve attempted through this site to share what I’ve learned about addiction over the years and what ended up working for me. I hope it can be of use. I define myself as an addict even though there’s not a lot of agreement on the definition of an addict, which is the topic of the next article. In general, labels are rarely important. Physical or psychological dependence, addicted, not addicted, whatever–a problem is a problem. Don’t stress on the label. Just deal with the problem.