By Kerry Kore
People say you can’t get addicted to weed, but trust me, you can.
I started smoking it five years ago, something to help me feel creative. I thought it was a wonder drug, the medicine of the gods — and in some ways it is. However, after becoming a single parent and battling with anxiety and depression my need to smoke became like my need to breathe. I could not fight it. I became a crazed zombie looking for my next fix. I kept ‘friendships’ that I should have severed long ago, all because these people could supply me with the good stuff.
I went from being someone who would have a cheeky little smoke on a night when my son was tucked up in bed — or at his fathers, to a woman who smoked as soon as she got home from the school run and spent all weekend in a different realm, not leaving the house, not washing or eating properly.
I felt ashamed and scared of being caught, but not having a smoke meant feeling suicidal. I didn’t know how to break the cycle. I stopped writing, I stopped looking in the mirror to avoid seeing my slitty eyes. I lost my self-respect. Most of all, I hated myself for being a mother who needed to get stoned just to make it through the day.
Because there were no Marijuana Anonymous groups around here, I attended a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. I felt immediately comfortable there, listening to peoples stories of overcoming addictions to cocaine, heroin, meth. It gave me hope that if they could kick a habit like that then I could surely kick the weed. But it turns out that many of them were using weed as a recovery tool. I must have seemed like a joke. I never went back and my abuse of the herb continued with gusto.
I attempted to quit many times, and always ended up picking up again as soon as I felt stressed or sad or lonely. It’s been one month now since I even smoked a cigarette. What finally did it? One comment from my ex, the one who is still smoking every day. He called me one day when I was laid in bed after the school run – I hadn’t smoked for 3 days and felt depressed, exhausted and just wanted to sleep until it was time to collect my boy – we had been trying to kick-start the relationship (after a three year break) and I truly thought he had matured. Instead of asking me if I was okay, you know, being kind — he messaged: “Aw what’s the matter? Got no smoke? So sad”.
Something clicked. And I knew then that I was ready. I would not live my life like this anymore, I would not let this have power over me anymore, and I would show that fucker that actually, I don’t need it, or you, or any of the other toxic shits I’ve been letting manipulate me for so long.
It might just be weed to some people, and it might well be legalised in the UK eventually, but I for one am glad I know the dangers and am so thankful I managed to get out the other side before another 5 years slipped away in a haze. Today I have gone through old notes and have collated some bits that I wrote about my addiction, maybe you will relate. Maybe it’ll help someone else out there know they aren’t the only one suffering with an addiction to the world’s greatest medicine. It ain’t a medicine if you’re abusing it people. Take it from me.
Notes I wrote to myself (in no particular order):
- I don’t feel I can take myself seriously until I stop smoking weed. How can I write with a clear conscience when I’m hooked on this drug and seem to fall apart emotionally when I don’t have it? I can’t keep finding excuses to continue. It’s holding me back from my dreams, sitting all over my motivation like a dead weight.
- It’s about letting myself be uncomfortable I suppose, of riding those waves of discomfort, letting them pass through on my own deep breathes — letting myself know it’s okay, and saying to each thought ‘I feel you, acknowledge you, and release you’. Maybe when I’ve got to the end of that set of waves I’ll get to a point where I don’t think instinctively of smoking a joint. Instead I’ll sit in Buddha position and deep breathe, or come to the page and write about how fucked it all is, how horrid I feel. It all comes down to self-respect. I want to say I’m an Ex-addict. I want to say I came through it.
- I’ve let myself go. Become a stoner. Literally, sit like a stone. Listening to my own messed up rambling thoughts, even though my quest was to quiet them down, to not be focused on them, to release them out of me — to BE in the present moment. Weed just brings me face to face with them.
- My brother has been trying to ring me for the last hour. I hear the phone vibrating, look at it, feel the tension in my body rippling, wait for it to go silent. I love him — care about him, have fond memories — would hate to no longer be able to talk to him when I want to, but right now in this little home stoner sanctuary, a rainy-foggy day, sea air blowing in my living room — I don’t want meaningless conversation with anyone.
- I’m sitting in my dressing gown still, it’s 11.30am and I’ve been awake since 7am. I’ve watched drumming music on YouTube, street drummers, musicians of all kinds — lost in their passion of music, rhythm — innocent escape. I’m the stoner of all stoners. I feel disgusting. I need to get a grip but I don’t have the energy to fight, to motivate myself, to stop smoking weed.
- Praying I need to do more of. The things I learned before but blew off in the hope of an easier way (smoking weed), were ‘conscious breathing’ — present moment awareness of the breath. Music — it’s ability to transport me out and away from bad thought storms. Prayer — when there’s nowhere else to turn, a loss for what to do next, and nothing to smoke — a feeling of utter hopelessness and dread, the only thing left to do is get down on my knees and pray.
- I’m repulsed by the truth that I unravel without my smoke, MY PRECIOUS. I smoke at the cost of looking like a druggy. I convince myself it gets me through the day and gives me a more bearable perspective. But as soon as I smoke I feel paranoid and a failure.
- It stops me being irritable and connects me back to joy — doesn’t it? No, not anymore. It now has me comatose on the floor, unable to crawl into the kitchen to see which cupboard my three year old got into. Has he got the bleach? Is the top on properly? I don’t know because I’m too stoned to move.
- Once you’re addicted your house starts going to shit, no energy for washing up, bills go unpaid, cupboards go bare, the grass grows too long, bins stop getting taken out. The misery of your environment means you dread getting out of bed — seeing another day ahead of the same old lifeless shit. The only motivation you have is to get your next ‘fix’ to take awareness of all this shit stuff away. Make you forget. And on it goes.
- I’ve just thrown it out towards sea-with the intention of smoking no more…after this last one. One time it’s got to stick, when I realise it doesn’t give me anything I haven’t already got — only a reason to sit and do nothing. My muscles wasting away while I slowly die inside.
- Weed — are you really helping me? Are you poisoning me? This reality I keep returning to — is it for the best? What should I do? I feel everything so much it hurts. So I avoid everyone and everything. I hide behind the weed, take refuge in it. But I’m imploding. I’m either half dead or so alive I can’t breathe.
Looking back over those notes I feel proud because I didn’t think I’d ever be able to stop. I’m sitting here, with a coffee, in front of my laptop near the window. I’ve brutally blocked everyone in my life who is still using — not only because they might tempt me, but because these people were never good for me anyway (I’ll be writing some tips for dealing with betrayal very soon).
I can finally look at myself in the mirror and feel some semblance of love and respect for myself. My home is cosier, warmer and my son is thriving. I’m the first one there at school pick up time and I no longer feel paranoid or shifty. Yes there has been days where I’ve felt the pull to smoke but it is not worth it and I know it. My power is from within, not from smoking a rolled up herb in secret.
[This was originally written in October 2019. Unfortunately I did relapse a couple of times, usually after stressful changes in my life, but I am happy to say as of writing I have been clean for months and will be writing a fresh post as to what I think finally made it stick. I post this for my benefit as well as yours, to see how far I’ve come since then.]