Jade’s marijuana lifestyle robbed her of the ability to choose between right & wrong
My name is Jade, I come from a nice family, and was born in 1955. My father was a scientist and we had a nice life until he had a heart attack at 34 then died suddenly at 36. Our family was left grief stricken. I was 13 and this was the worst thing I could imagine happening. My mother, brother and sister were all close and alike, but I was a lot like my father, so that left me odd man out. I was unbelievably sad and bereft and I couldn’t get over it. I had been an A student but from that point on my grade point average went down.
When I was 16 I met a boy and we started dating. About a year after we started seeing one another he introduced me to marijuana. I knew my mother would not want me to smoke it, but my older brother had started smoking it about a year after our father died, and he told me it was perfectly safe and wonderful and that Mom and Dad were wrong when they had advised us to stay away from pot and drugs. After breaking up with the boyfriend I continued with my marijuana lifestyle. Of course, that meant when I dated I always chose men who smoked pot, too. I couldn’t smoke pot and do well in college, so I dropped out of when I was 19 and got married, then divorced due to abuse. This began a long journey into darkness. I had a daughter with a boyfriend, but ended up raising her by myself. During the next 8 years I worked, stayed alone, and then began dating again.
If you didn’t fit into my marijuana lifestyle I didn’t want to hang around with you, because you made me feel uncomfortable. I kept working and I always felt like I tried really hard to keep my life together. I smoked pot every single day from the time I was 18 until I was 31. When I was 30 I had gotten back into a relationship with my daughter’s father and it was abusive. I had one husband and 2 boyfriends in my adult life and all were abusive. I couldn’t see that the common denominator was – me! My life had deteriorated badly by the time I was 30.
I never went to jail. I never had anyone threaten to take away my child. I actually worked as the secretary to a lower court judge for a few years, but at night after my daughter had been put to bed I would sit up and continue my marijuana lifestyle. I made sure I never ran out. Certainly there were other “herbs and spices” in my using days, but nothing was like pot, which was my great love. I drank, but rarely got drunk. I thought marijuana helped me “stay sober.”
Marijuana lifestyle led to more incidents of domestic abuse
During one of my relationships I was beaten 12 hours a night and almost killed every single day. My boyfriend was handsome, tall, came from a good family and was very charming. However, he went crazy and drove me over the edge with his abuse. We smoked pot every single day. At the end of the relationship he held me captive for 4 months and I had to negotiate my way out. I thought I was okay but I was crazy by the time I got out of that relationship. I was in way over my head. I tried everything. I went to church. I went to the battered women’s support group, I read books, I went to psychotherapists, psychologists, psychoanalysts, counselors and pastors. I tried everything available in my small town. I knew something was wrong, but I could not figure out what it was. You can’t solve a problem unless you can identify the problem, so I kept running around in circles trying desperately to fix my life. All the while, my marijuana lifestyle continued.
I would sit and try to figure out what I needed to do next. It seemed like things kept getting worse and worse as I got older. My little girl was in kindergarten then first grade; now the pressure was really on, because I had a child observing firsthand what was going on. I did not smoke marijuana in front of my daughter – I waited until she was not in my presence. That doesn’t mean I think it was okay to be loaded all the time – but I didn’t understand that being high was a bad thing. I had been around so many people who got high for so many years it became the norm. At 30-years-old I made a serious suicide attempt. I felt I could not keep my life together. I felt that “life was not worth living.” I went to a mental ward for 10 days then came home to more of the same. At the time I was having problems with my daughter’s father. Our common interest in living a marijuana lifestyle made us miserable together. We made sure we never went without weed. As soon as we bought it we would divide it up and hide it all over the house. Then we would play a game of pretending we didn’t have any then try to coax the other into giving up their stash of weed.
Something was dramatically wrong but what could it be? I had no idea. I felt I had tried everything, but nothing worked. In my mind I was a decent person but I found myself in misery again and again. My life was like a fire sale – every six months everything seemed to go. The house would go, the car would go, the washer and dryer would go, the man would go and I would end up single every two years. Deep down inside of me there was a soul sickness. I hated my own guts, but I didn’t get that. I began to feel that weed was working against me. The marijuana lifestyle I had grown to love was destroying me. When I would smoke pot I would feel lousy, paranoid, jittery, and suffer from bad headaches. I would tell myself to cut down on smoking pot, but by the afternoon I no longer cared. The cycle repeated itself. I would smoke pot even knowing it no longer made me feel good then go through the same misery.
One night we had one fight ending in him fracturing my arm then running off into the night. This was a typical Saturday night at our house. My poor little girl is the real victim here. She has heard all kinds of cuss words, watched her parents sitting around the coffee table smoking pot and witnessed fighting and screaming matches around the living room. After this latest blowout an acquaintance of mine came over to the house and brought me a book on co-dependency, which is when people have a neurotic dependency on others who use or drink. I started reading the book and I felt I could see that I was a co-dependent. Aha! That was the problem. I asked around and found out about a co-dependency program in my town and I went down there to sign up.
The Road to Recovery
I was interviewed by a young guy who had to grow a beard so he wouldn’t look like a 15-year-old. He asked me the strangest question: “How many drugs and alcohol have you done in the last five years?” I thought, “What a crazy question! How would anyone know how many drugs and alcohol they have done over a five year period?” We began to talk it over and we decided we would come up with a daily average. Of course, marijuana was the great love of my life, as far as mind altering substances go. I had a few drinks a week and I would do other drugs if I could get my hands on them, but the majority of my use was the daily smoking of marijuana. We came up with a daily average, then multiplied it by 7 days, then 52 weeks of the year, then 5 years, to come up with a number. The intake counselor then said, “I think you would benefit more from the co-dependency program if you got sober first.” I was shocked. I was really surprised! I decided, what the heck, I’ll try it.
The first seven days were the worst. I could not even imagine staying sober for seven days. Just getting through each day was a miracle. It was so hard that it gave me a respect for the addictive qualities of marijuana I had not realized before I got sober. I was like a feather in the wind. Nobody in my family was happy. My daughter’s father and I broke up and he went his way – I went mine. I stayed sober and he did not. My brother and sister ridiculed me. My mom and step-father wondered why I would do such a thing. People would ask me, “Why are you going to those stupid meetings?” Mainly they would just walk away from me since I wasn’t going to sit there and smoke a joint with them or have cocktails. My marijuana lifestyle was changing into a sober one. I looked around the outpatient rehab and looked around the 12 step recovery meetings. I began attending these meetings and examined the people I met there who had long term sobriety. They certainly seemed to be doing better than I was, so I took a deep breath, made up my mind, and dove into it. I made a decision to believe in the process. I gulped and admitted, “I am an addict.”
I stayed sober for three months and I detached myself from my former life. At three months my ex called and asked me how I was doing. I told him I was soooo happy! I had gone back to college and had gotten straight A’s on my first report card, even though I was taking about 18 units. I asked him how he was doing and he responded with “I feel like I am under a mountain.” All I could think was “I’m sure glad I’m not under that mountain with you, buddy.” I had no interest in getting back together with a man who used. Now that I was sober I could think again and do well in my classes! I could now afford to pay my bills without a marijuana cost in my monthly budget. I now felt I could handle my problems. I began to realize God had saved my life by showing me that I needed to get sober. The thought of getting sober hadn’t occurred to me until I tried it and loved it! It felt wonderful to drive down the road and not worry about whether I had a roach in my ashtray or a bag of weed in my purse. It felt wonderful to always be sober and know that when I was out in my truck I was driving properly with my little girl in the passenger seat. It felt great to drop her off at school and know that her teacher wasn’t frowning on me anymore.
At the time life was pretty rough but I kept with it. I didn’t have much money but I stuck it out and went to meetings, paid my rent, went to the grocery store and kept myself clean. There was no way I was going back to a marijuana lifestyle! When I was one year sober I found out that my daughter’s father had abused her on a visitation – another little gift of being a pothead and a druggie. I stood up to him and I refused to allow her to stay with him again. We moved to a university town 1 1/2 hours away and I started my junior year at college. The next summer, a few months before my 2nd sobriety birthday, I found out my ex-husband had been kidnapped and murdered. Both of these setbacks – the abuse of my daughter and the murder of my first husband, could have knocked me out of sobriety, but I knew by then I would be lost if I didn’t stay sober.
The longer I stayed sober, the more I realized how bad it had been for me to smoke pot. I hadn’t realized how bad it was for me while I was doing it – the realization came as I stayed sober. My head cleared up more and more and I remembered the stupid things I had done. At first when I got sober I felt like a victim – a victim of the abusive men I had brought into my life. As I stayed sober, though, I began to understand that if I took responsibility for my part in the choices I made, I could keep getting better. As long as I thought it was somebody else’s fault I was doomed to repeat the same mistakes. By taking responsibility for the dumb things I did – especially smoking pot – I could sort of laugh at my dumb self and vow to make better choices. As long as I smoked pot, I was doomed to be on “pot smoking woman auto-pilot.” Marijuana robbed me of the ability to choose. Anyone living a marijuana lifestyle needs to understand the drug strips your ability to think straight, so you make really dumb decisions.
I don’t mean to say that it was okay for men to beat up on me. What I mean is that I chose those men to be in my life because I was a marijuana smoker. I kept picking the same type of pot smoking louse over and over again. The moment I got sober – the moment my head cleared up – I no longer found that type of man attractive.
The man of my dreams appeared when I quit the marijuana lifestyle
After two years of sobriety, during which I attended regular recovery meetings, I met a sober man at a dance one night. He was not the type of man who would have held my attention in the past, but now I found him to be very personable, smart, brilliant, sexy and attractive. We remembered the things we said to each other. We fell in love at first sight. The beginning of our relationship was difficult because I was used to being with bums. Now I was with a guy who owned his own business, owned his own home, was responsible, and didn’t hit women. We have been together for over 26 years now. I’ve been sober 28 years. He has been sober 33 years. It’s funny but we turned out to have the same sobriety date – July 15th – before we met each other.
He adopted my little girl and became her daddy. I started working at his store and it became our store. We’ve been in business all these years. I’ve gone to meetings all these years. I got a sponsor, a recovery mentor, and she died of old age when I was 20 years sober. I sponsor 6 women in the program today. I still love to go to meetings and talk to other people about recovery. Life has been so exciting! I knew when I got sober there would never be another problem I would face that I couldn’t get through with God’s help – and that has turned out to be true. My mother died in 2008 and my younger sister and I took care of her while she died. We were both so glad we were sober so we could be there with her. Our older brother, the marijuana smoker, decided not to hang out with mom while she was dying. When she was on her death bed we called him but he refused to see her as she left this earth.
Our daughter has grown in to a beautiful woman and has a good life. How sweet is that? It’s funny but I know that if I had kept it up with pot I would have ended up glued the sofa as she completed school. I watched it happen to her friends’ mothers and it was so sad for them.
I’m so glad I got sober. God handed me a life on a silver platter the day I stopped smoking pot and started working a program. For me, this has been the easier, softer way. It’s so much easier to live a good, decent life, wouldn’t you agree? People who smoke pot think they’re free, but the truth is they are slaves to weed. Weed makes them think they’re free and sober people are slaves, but the opposite is true. When you smoke marijuana you have one choice: do what other marijuana smokers do. The older I get and the longer I watch what is going on in the United States, the happier and more grateful I am that I have chosen a life of sobriety. I have begun to advocate for freedom from marijuana because of what I see going on with people smoking pot today.
A sober lifestyle without marijuana
I am actively involved with a program of recovery so I interact with people from a wide range of ages. There are young people who have already self-destructed and older people who have been using mind altering substances for their entire adult lives; both present their own sets of problems. Among the younger people I see an attitude about marijuana inherited from generations of marijuana use within families and groups of friends. They don’t have a clue that marijuana is considered to be a mind altering substance. They may stop drinking, pills or an illegal substance but their life doesn’t get better because they’re still smoking pot. They continue to smoke pot because they think it’s safer than tobacco.
When I grew up my parents knew that smoking marijuana was a bad habit to get in to. Can you imagine what it would be like to grow up in a house where parents smoke pot with their children? We are now seeing people getting sober who have grandparents who smoke pot, so of course the kids, now grown, don’t have a clue that pot smoking has consequences. I live in Northern California and we have young people who get a medical marijuana card the moment they turn 18. Their parents have raised them in such a way that they think you are crazy to be sober. To be a sober person means you are stupid or crazy, while the potheads are the reasonable, sane members of society. Does that make sense?
In our area there are untold thousands of people who grow “medicinal marijuana” and from what we hear about it, they make about $45,000 a year in tax free income from it. A family member of ours offered us $5,000 a year if we would get a medical marijuana card and let them grow marijuana for us on our country property and sell it. We declined. The way things are today marijuana is so beloved, popular, and thought of as a medicinal herb that is good for people. If you don’t smoke pot you are considered to be a loser. If you are a pot smoker who never moves out of Mom and Dad’s spare room, has no job, no education, and can’t carry on a conversation or write a complete sentence, then you’re the norm. There are so many pro marijuana people in Northern California today that have overwhelmed public sentiment with their set of “facts” and disbelief in anything addiction experts or doctors have to say about the detrimental effects of marijuana.
Living a marijuana lifestyle has no redeeming qualities. Certainly there are some people and some children who can be helped with cannabis as a medicine, however the overwhelming majority of medicinal marijuana card holders are just marijuana addicts who are conning the public and gaming the system. After what has happened to the United States during the recession of the last few years we cannot afford to have 50 million people regularly getting loaded on pot. We need our nation to be producing strong, capable, clear-minded citizens who can be a part of the solution, rather than part of the problem. I thank God I get to be part of the solution – and it’s only because He saved my life.
*Jade is 59 years old and has been sober for 28 years. She got in touch with us through Facebook and agreed to share her story on our blog. We believe her story can help thousands of other people struggling with drug addiction. If you have a story to share please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on Facebook.Stop Pot 2016 is a California focused, non-partisan grassroots campaign started by citizens concerned about the damaging health effects, both physical and mental, of marijuana. We are also concerned about the impact of marijuana on the environment.