Saturday, February 19, 2011

What I think about Marijuana

     Okay folks I've been putting this post off but I finally am putting it out there.  A few people would like to know what I think about Marijuana; an addicts point of view.  Simply put I think Marijuana/Cannabis is about as addictive as video games.

     ADDICTIVE?  Yes.  Addictive.  So let's simply define my usage of the word addiction since many will argue over Cannabis' role in addiction.  Addiction to me is a compulsive or obsessive action that is done generally for the purpose of euphoria or pleasure and shows a tendency to impact the course of other actions.  Simply put it's something you like to do a lot and draws negative consequences from its usage.

     With that being said, anything can be addictive right?  Sure.  Sex, food, gambling, even Marijuana.  I'm speaking of this from only my first hand account.  I went through periods of using where the only drug I did was Marijuana.  I did it every waking second, getting high 8 times a day so I could stay baked for the entire duration of me being awake.  I loved Marijuana and loved a lot of the "magic" I felt with it.  Thoughts seemed different, music seemed more vivid, and things overall seemed funnier.  I was in love with the drug almost instantly.

     For me though Marijuana really stopped being fun after around 2 years of constant habitual usage.  I had a major panic attack one time after getting high and it completely killed a lot of the euphoria I felt.  I went on to use over another 4 years and every time I would get high it would be 50% fun and 50% anxiety.  I would feel nervous about another panic attack and it just was never the same.  I was constantly chasing those feelings I had during my first two years of pot usage.

     That's just me though right?  Sure.  Only a few people I ever met who smoked pot, smoked it habitually.  I only met a handful who smoked morning, day, and night everyday.  Clearly not everyone becomes addicted to this substance.  That being said most people who try harder drugs also do not become habitual users though their is a stronger tendency to become addicted.  Addiction lies within the synapses of the brain.  I laugh at people when they say "Marijuana is not PHYSICALLY addictive, only mentally/psychologically".  Do you think Cocaine and Heroin addicts bust back on their drug of choice 6 months of sobriety because they are "physically addicted"?  Do you think it takes on average seven trips to rehab before an addict begins long term sobriety because of physical addiction?  Physical addiction only puts a barrier on sobriety.  You stop using and you get sick, or you get withdraw, etc.  It does not keep users compulsive and obsessed.  All drugs are mentally additive.  The brain is used to those drugs and maintains certain chemical reactions based upon their input.  This is all addiction really ends up being.

    Now clearly the effects of Marijuana on the brain are different than hard drugs (even most hard drugs are different from each other).  That being said, there is a propensity for Marijuana users to use habitually.  I find getting high all day demotivates me and makes me tired and mentally sluggish.  If you find it does the opposite, good for you.  If you find Marijuana stimulating and something that makes you a better person, good for you.

     I don't intend to change anyone's mind with this post.  I only intended to give out my viewpoints and my thoughts on the matter.  If you love Marijuana and you disagree with everything I've said, that's fine.  If you're smoking everyday and think about getting high while sober, there's a good chance there may be an underlying issue present in your life.

(Even Bill Maher mentions daily usage as being potentially harmful.)

     I go back to my video game analogy.  Not everybody plays video games addictively but for some people it completely takes hold of their entire life.  They miss out on being with their friends, miss out on work, and really miss out on life in general.  I find the same things would happen when I was smoking pot all the time.  That being said most of the health hazards for Marijuana are somewhat benign though that doesn't make it safe by any stretch of the imagination.  I am actually FOR Marijuana legalization because I think it's safe enough to allow responsible adults a choice on its usage (though I don't want to get into that here).

     If you like to smoke pot, fine.  Have fun.  I really don't care and I'm not trying to make you quit.  If you find no ill-effects and no negative impact from usage then what is there to say?  Really ask yourself though if it's something that is simply present in your life without being burdensome.  Are you really getting the most of each day with Marijuana in your life?

     With all that said, nothing is going to make me want to go back to using.  I'm done, drugs aren't for me.  I'm staying clean and sober.  I would love to hear what you guys have to say on the subject of Marijuana and maybe throw down a story or two on how it impacts your life.  Sorry for the length of this post, I tried to keep it brief.  Cheers.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Shameful Post

     I got in late last night and was too tired to right a respectful post for today (I usually write my posts a day in advance).  I'm going to write a really long post about Cannabis/Marijuana and what I think about its usage in terms of addiction.  Should be fairly interesting for some people though it may be controversial (depending on your thoughts).

     That being said, I'm far far away from any drug on Earth and I'm simply still living clean and it feels fabulous.  Here's a little song I found when I was watching Conan one night.  It's from "Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros".  I thought it was kind of pertinent to my life because when I first watched it I think I was around 40 days sober, and the song was called "40 Day Dream".  I used to think drugs were my dreamland but I now realized sober life is where I want to be living.  Drugs were simply a nightmare that I convinced myself was magical.  Kudos to all my followers.  Look for my "Pot Post" tomorrow.  Adios.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Drug Addiction around the Globe

     I thought this was a very interesting video.  It covers the lives of addiction in Pakistan after funding for drug rehabilitation programs were cut.  It's interesting to see that drug addiction can creep up in any country on Earth; that we are all indeed human and share many traits.  I find it quite sad and discouraging that a government could let addicts who were actually getting treatment become infected by simply using dirty needles.  Even in a very strict nation like Pakistan drugs are still a major social issue.  Seeing grown men wasting away like dying animals is quite a sight indeed.

     I think we don't do enough for drug addicts in the United States.  At some point we have to recognize drug addiction for what it is, a medical disease.  Throwing drug addicts in prison only prolongs the addiction.  They may be clean for a few months to years but there is no real treatment.  There can be no hope to the future while being trapped in a cell with strangers everyday.

      Tell me what you think about drug addiction across the globe and in your home country.  Do you want to eradicate all drug addicts?  Is addiction a disease?  Let me know.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

My Heart Aches for Lonely People

     Some of you have seen this video before, others maybe not.  It was a short A&E "Intervention" episode chronicling the life of an old semi-famous boxer who became addicted to crack.  I look at this video and I see a man who has been lost in a jungle of despair and agony for so many years that it's unfathomable.  I really don't think I've ever felt so scared in my entire life than after watching this video and seeing in this man everything I felt.  Only this man felt it for many, many years.

     I can't imagine ever putting my family through any of this.  This man is so lucky to have a group of people who loved him enough to tell him that he needed to get help.  I've never been so grateful for my family; the people who were there for me and still loved me after all I did had come to pass.  They were there to pick up the pieces and guide me toward a brighter future for myself.

     I don't want to ever put any of my future children through my addiction.  You can to this man's kids and hear the anger and frustration and sadness.  It's really chilling, it's really human.  At the end the man lets out a sad moan that is just heart wrenching.  Most people laughed at this and it become kind of an internet joke but I've never heard a sadder cry.  He was trying to not let anything come out but all the years of his addiction came belting through his voice.  It's like hearing a lamb being slaughtered or hearing a human being being tortured.  I don't ever want to see this... I don't ever want to be this....

     I haven't had any cravings to go back to drugs, and watching videos like this really effects me to the point where the thought of any type of drug sickens me.  I'm going to stay safe and strong and I'll hope you'll all do the same.  Love your family, love your friends... you never know when you'll have to depend on them and whether or not they'll be there for when you need them most.

Monday, February 14, 2011

The Rise and Fall of Addiction.

     I have done lots of stupid things while drunk or high.  It would be impossible for me to list them all (or even remember most of them) on a single blog entry.  I feel so depressed sometimes when I have flashbacks to insanely stupid stuff I said or did while I was out of my mind.

     I remember I was always the guy at a bar or party who was messed up.  I was always the guy everyone had stories about and laughed at.  "Oh you!".  Everyone liked me, I was always a fairly amicable guy (or so I thought).  I remember one time I went to the bathroom while completely wasted on an apartment balcony... I passed out halfway through and was sitting down with my "junk" hanging out for everyone who walked out of the apartment complex to see (at least 25 people walked by).  I only remember it vaguely but it is terribly frightening to remember.  They all just laughed, nobody really cared.  It was a humiliating experience and it could have been much worse depending on the situation.

     I posted these Steve-O videos because I always felt like him.  I always tried to impress people with crazy antics.  I wasn't that kind of kid growing up, but after I found drugs and alcohol I always loved being the center of attention.  I would continue to use when I was alone and by myself sometimes just to hide the shame of the embarrassing things I did the night before.

     I take this all as a learning lesson though.  I don't sit and wallow in my own regrets and misery.  I get up every time I fall down, and move right the hell on.  I don't let people's opinions of me hold me back.  I'm not the goof ball they saw me as.  I'm not the man they think I am... ("I'm a Rocket man!").  I hope others can relate to this because sometimes I really do feel like a jerk (much like Steve-O).  Comment if you feel the urge, let me know if you know people like this (I'm sure we've all seen many).  Cheers.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tough Love.

     Is it right to detain a drug addict against his will?  Would you want a van full of men to come and grab a friend or family member and take them to a forceful rehab center?  I think most people would want this if someone they truly loved were facing an addiction that was spiraling out of control.  I agree with this video in many different ways.

     I do wish the state had the right to intervene sometimes in people's lives.  I know that I may have been on the path to recovery a lot quicker had something like this taken place for me.  If an addict isn't causing any real harm or threat to himself or others what can be done?

     No addict is going to want to go to rehab in general.  Telling an addict that he/she has to now go away from the drugs that are filling in deep gaps between fissures in their personality is dreadful and gloomy news.  I remember hating ever thinking that I was more than an arms length from a pile and drugs and alcohol at any time.

     Like the video says (I love Dr. Drew, he is the real deal), most addicts do end up getting arrested by the state.  They get locked up in prison, become forced to remain sober, and their treatment can at least begin a treatment programTrust me however, you don't want to go to prison to have to start drug treatment (especially if you're going to be sick from withdraws).

     It never came to this point in my life.  I got help voluntarily after just getting fed up with the whole addiction cycle.  I definitely would have wanted this though at particular stages in my addiction (in hindsight);  it would have saved me a lot of time and a lot of sadness.  I'm still struggling to fill voids in my life caused by drugs but I am very glad to be on the road to (hopefully) successful long-term recovery.

     Would you detain a love one and send them to a rehab where they were chained down?  Would you want the state to intervene for addicts?  Leave me some comments if you can, I'd like to see how others feel about this.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Am I really an addict?

I didn't know I was an addict.

     I didn't know I was an addict for a really long time.  I always thought addicts were people who were on the street everyday selling their bodies and their souls for a piece of a euphoric drug.  It never really came to that point for me and my addictions.  I do see now though how I was addicted without realizing it.

     For me, I would always tell myself how I wasn't addicted.  I would always use some relative comparison to show how better off I was than someone else.  "I don't sell stuff to buy drugs."  or "I don't rob people."  were my big "...So I'm not an addict."  premises.  I was killing my life though.  I realized after many years of drug and alcohol addiction that I was losing good friends and doing things that weren't setting myself up for success in life.  It finally came to a point where I just said "Enough, you're an addict.  Get help.".  I really don't know what caused this but at some point I woke up after being passed out for many hours and just was sick of it.  The euphoria and magic drugs gave me was gone and I was just a shell of my former self.  It was a real eye opener for when I asked myself "If I were supervising the management of my life, would I say I was doing a great job?".  If I were another person looking at my life choices, would I call them great?  Would I approve of them?

Here's a list of the analysis I used in coming to terms with my addictions.  I'm not telling anyone they are or aren't an addict of something with this, I'm just stating some methods of thinking that made me realize I was an addict.

Are you successful?:
     No really, are you?  Would you call yourself a success?  Do you try your best everyday?  What's getting in the way of  your success?  Are you at the job you want?  I couldn't say I was a success as an addict.  I knew I wasn't reaching my potential because of my own stubborn laziness.  It's hard to do anything well when you're high or drunk all day.  I would try to manage my chemical usage but it never worked.  I could never do everything I wanted to do and continue to use drugs and alcohol.

Do you get mad if I tell you to stop?:
      This is kind of an interesting question.  I thought about it this way... I eat at a particular restaurant often and eat the same thing.  I know this restaurant and this particular meal aren't healthy for me, but I will eat it occasionally because I enjoy it.  If someone told me "Stop eating there, you're addicted.  It's bad for you.", I wouldn't really care.  I could take it or leave it and it wouldn't really upset me.  However, if you had told me "Stop drinking everyday, it's ruining your life" I would get defensive and very angry quickly.  "HOW DARE YOU TELL ME WHAT TO DO!".  I would come up with lists of people that would drink or do drugs and still be successful in life.  "Do you know Ben?  He gets drunk every night, smokes pot all day, and has a 100k a year job.  I think I'll be fine.".  Saying that though was so pointless when I knew I wasn't fine.  I wasn't managing my consumptions and I knew it.  It pissed me off that I couldn't be an addict and also be successful.  I had to come to terms with this before I ever had a chance of getting (and staying) clean.

Are  you hurting relationships with friends and family?:
     This is a hard one to admit.  When I would ask myself this question, I would say "No".  I knew I was actually destroying my relationships with my friends and family because I was too drunk and high all the time to talk to them.  What I convinced myself was "I don't NEED friends and family, I JUST need drugs.".  This is a sad and shameful thing to admit, but drugs really replaced the need I had for them.  Without the drugs I would have to face my crumbling relationships and send myself right back into my cycle of addiction.  It's terrible to see how many people I hurt because of my actions.

     I don't know if anyone else is an addict and everyone has to come up with their own conclusions about themselves.  Nobody can force you to get help and most addicts would hate it if they were told to do so.  It's really about being able to sleep at night with your decisions.  If you do anything obsessively with lots of compulsion and euphoria involved, you simply need to be ready to accept whatever consequences come with that.  That being said, once a person does realize they are an addict they do need to go to an AA or NA meeting promptly (or like me, go to an out-patient/in-patient treatment center if you can afford it).  There's help out there, I found it, and I'm enjoying getting back on my feet again and rebuilding my old relationships.

Also THREE MONTHS CLEAN.  Honestly feels good.  Here's hoping to continued sobriety.  I encourage you all to better yourselves daily (even if you're not an addict) and try to push yourself to be the best and most successful person you can be.  No hate, just love, and never settle for mediocrity.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Life after Drug Addiction... again

     Sometimes we all just want someone to say "Everything is going to be alright" (Even if we don't believe it). I feel like this everyday. I hate the uncertainty of life and I hate the lack of guarantees. Everything seems extremely chaotic around me, everyone has a story that makes me cringe and think "That could be me". When I hear from people about how hard their life is I just want to give up and throw in the towel; Does it ever get easy? I know people who do everything right and still are unable to obtain their goals. I've made so many mistakes in my life, why should I think I'll EVER be successful if the most disciplined people around me can't seem to have any luck either? Why do I deserve anything?

     Drug addiction has been apart of my life for the past 6 years. It will be a continuing influence for the rest of my life (Yes... the REST of my life) and I certainly can't be anything but sober. I can't do any intoxicant even once. One puff, one sip, one pill and I'm gone. You won't see me again for months until I come crawling back begging for help. Every spiral I've had down into the depths of daily drug use began with a "I got this, I can control this" attitude. It's the longing for just a little induced euphoria; just a little happiness. It never works because I AM an addict. I don't do things halfway, I do them everyday, all the time, or never.

     Through these past 6 years though I've had periods of sobriety (longest was about 8 months or so). I'm on again off again and it hurts. I build up my life, get things going, do one hit or one drink and BOOM I'm addicted and looking for ways to score. It's a continual rebuilding process. I've moved towns to escape the shame and embarrassment that I've imposed on myself and lost countless networks of friends. Everyone remembers me as the guy that had everything going for him and then lost it all on drugs. I'm the weirdo, I'm the guy that makes other people feel better about themselves ("I've got it bad, but at least I'm not him!").

     The worst part is the wasted time. Time. I can get sobriety back but I can't ever get back the long hours, days, and months of being high and doing nothing. Time, COMPLETELY WASTED. I wasn't working, I wasn't socializing, I was sitting through long stretches of being drunk and flying high as a kite. None of it was worth anything, nothing became of any of it except suffering and sadness.

     My first step towards long-term recovery came after I couldn't take it anymore. I didn't want to do drugs anymore. Well that's not true, I wanted to do them but I didn't want to face the consequences from their usage. That was the key: I hated the consequences. I couldn't control myself anymore and needed someone to tell me how. I did 3 months at an in-patient drug rehab program and I saw my life without drugs for the first time. I was convinced I was going to be getting high all my life, getting high completed me. I had finally seen that life was okay without getting high, that you could live life sober. This was the turn around for me; before this program I couldn't stand to be sober for more than a few HOURS. I was then able to face sobriety for months though addiction seems to keep creeping up on me when everything is going fine...

     I made this blog to throw down some of my thoughts and stories on drug addiction and offer some comfort to individuals struggling like me. I don't want anyone to feel helpless anymore. I don't want to tell anyone to do anything, take what you will from my rantings. I know some things have worked for me and some things haven't, and as such they may work for you or not. I'm in the process of rebuilding after a very long binge of drugs and alcohol. I've been sober for 3 months and I am using this blog to journal my recovery process and hopefully get some feedback from other addicts on how they manage to survive. I'm going to continue to touch on other topics of addiction with this blog; maybe someone will benefit from my thoughts and words.

     You and I do deserve better though, I don't care what we've done. We are humans and you have to struggle to get what we want, even if our actions seem worthless or our situations hopeless. We aren't animals and we aren't ghosts. We exist and we thrive and we get tossed down but we get right back up. We carry packs of shame wherever we go but we don't let them weigh us down. We use shame as a tool, as learning experiences. We may have regret but we only look forward. We are no better nor worse than anyone. We never quit. Everything really is going to be alright and our suffering now will come to pass. We are addicts and we need love. Love yourself. You deserve it.