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.