2 February 2008

nature's medicine

Nearly a year and a half ago, I wrote about my struggles with an addiction to marijuana. Recently I thought of doing a follow-up post, and today I was spurred into action when I noticed on the stat counter that someone had found my blog when they googled 'my pot addiction'.

I would still consider myself an addict. It is all too easy for me to fall back into the addiction.

I still smoke, by the way. But I don't smoke often, and I don't smoke much. I managed to smoke in every country I went to in Europe. I smoke whenever I go back to Hometown. But the cravings don't return with a vengeance when I do. I can go to Hometown for two weeks, smoke every day while I'm there, but as soon as I step off the plane in Newtown I forget about it. I can go days, even weeks, without a craving.

Occasionally I think 'hmm, a smoke would be nice right now'. But I'm long past the point where I search desperately through the house, hoping the pot fairies have been and left something hidden in a place I've searched a hundred times before. And I don't go to the lengths I used to, just to get a smoke. About a month ago someone said she thought she'd be able to get me some, as she thought she was getting more than she wanted. It turned out she only got a very small bit, but she offered me a token as she knew I was going through some stress. But I don't really know the girl, and although I thought it was a sweet gesture, my pride made me tell her that I'd already found some, even though I hadn't. She didn't have much for herself, and I just didn't want to appear desperate in front of someone I didn't know. A few years ago I would have jumped at the chance to get any, and who cared whether I seemed desperate. I was! It made me realise that I don't need it so much to deal with stress, and that my self-respect has finally become stronger than my addiction.

But there are some things which have become clearer to me. Over the last two years I've managed to sort out exactly how pot has affected my life. I have a much more accurate picture of the influence it has on me. Giving it up has been worth it for that.

What's really interesting is how clear it is that pot really is medicine for me. I always knew I used it to control the symptoms of my mental illness, even long before I knew I had one. When I used it every day I made do with only one prescribed medication. Now I have up to six different medications, just to control the things that were previously controlled by pot. Even Partner has said how much he can see that pot is actually good for me. It's funny, in a way, because so many of the people I know with mental illnesses really can't tolerate it at all. They have a smoke and you can see the negative change almost instantly. With me it's the opposite. You can see, very clearly, as soon as it takes effect, that suddenly I am calm, less agitated, less scattered in my thinking, less irritable. It brings me up when I am down and brings me down when I am too far up. I function at my peak with judicious use.

But judicious use is the key. Although it is an effective medication, I am still an addict. If left to my own devices I would do nothing but smoke all day. I find it difficult to limit my use to that which is medicinal. And the problems it causes only exist when I overdo it - I become de-motivated and less inclined to interact socially. Partner and I have discussed it, and figured I would be best if I had someone else controlling the keys to the stash, and doling me out only a bit every day.


fifi said...

hmm. Interesting.
That stuff is way too scary for me though. I wouldn't dare. Interesting that it keeps you in the middle.
I have always wished I was one of those naturally "in the middle " type persons.

We all have our addictions: mine is endorphins. If I don't get my fix from a hard swim, I'm toast.

hasarder said...

Yeah, being naturally in the middle would be nice.

I feel the same as you about pretty much every other drug - way too scary. I dabbled a bit when I was young, but now? Just not interested in recreational drug use at all. Hell, I don't even drink!

fifi said...

Oh, I do drink. Red wine every other night.

Suppose that's a drug of sorts.

Hope you can fill your day with good things so not to be tempted.

BTW I am very envious of the twenty aeroplanes. Lucky thing.

Charlie said...

I just dropped in to say hello from Stinky's blog—I took the ten question quiz and realized that I should be back in third or fourth grade.

Commenting on this post, I was an active alcoholic for 25 years, but in about 3 months I will have been recovered for 20. I, like you and most addicts, use drugs (and booze is a drug) to self-medicate a deeper problem(s). Mine are depression and mind-blowing panic attacks.

I take psych meds which suck, but at least I'm not on the alcoholic merry-go-round I once was.

I applaud your openness and your self-revelations; unfortunately, a lot of good folks never figure out what you have.

One other thing. Does dweeb in your dictionary really mean salad fork? (Marius joke) ;)

hasarder said...

Hey there Charlie, good to see you!
Congratulations on the twenty years. Maybe if you'd spent the previous 25 years thinking instead of drinking you would have done better on the quiz ;)

Alcoholism, like other drugs, can be such a vicious cycle. Like the drinker in The Little Prince:

"Why do you drink?" asked the little prince.
"I drink so that I may forget," said the drunkard.
"Forget what?" asked the prince.
"Forget that I am ashamed."
"Ashamed of what?"
"Ashamed of drinking!"

And Marius is completely wrong about the salad fork. A dweeb is actually a particular kind of instrument for measuring the amount of crocodiles in the river before you go fishing. ;)

Stinkypaw said...

Happy to read that overall you're doing good and seeing what can help (or not) you. I guess it's like everything else: moderation is the key.

A friend of mine just realised that she shouldn't mix pot & Effexor - the effects on her depression are way worst when she smokes, and she's only starting to be willing to see it...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
hasarder said...

Anonymous - what the fuck was that about?

You do not need nature's medicine. You need anti-psychotics. NOW.

Terry Wright said...

Cannabis is a tricky one, Hasarder.

Cannabinoids act as a bioregulatory mechanism for most life processes, which reveals why medical cannabis has been cited as treatments for many diseases and ailments in anecdotal reports and scientific literature.

The claims of it curing cancer have just had a boost with lab mice showing that Cannabinoids can slow down cancer growth by 40%, which is huge. This allows other drugs to work before the cancer can take over. Human trials are next on the plan.

So, what I an getting at is, if it works in moderation for you, why not use it? Like all medications, getting the balance right is the key. You hit it on the head when you said that the effect to most people with mental health issues is negative but it's the opposite with you. Remember that many medications are prescribed without knowing exactly why it works. Doctor's will experiment with various types of medications until they get it right but because everyone is different, they often don't know the exact reasoning. Their goal is the well being of the patient and if something works, it is balanced against the side effects and long term effects.

Good luck with it all. Just remember that if the religious/moralists weren't so obsessed with stopping people enjoying drugs, that cannabis and other illegal drugs wold be used much more often in medicine.