Citation: MujoLila. "Quitting After 12 Years: An Experience with Cannabis (exp111386)". Erowid.org. Apr 20, 2018. erowid.org/exp/111386
Quitting Cannabis After 12 Years
It's winter, and I stopped smoking pot daily last spring. Since then, I have occasionally smoked with friends, but am ready to give it up completely.
This report has two sections. The first is what changed for me (and what unexpectedly stayed the same) when I gave up weed, just raw data points. The second is the big fat long depressing story of the isolation that had me smoking weed in the first place.
- More tonus in my muscles
- And more tonus in my bladder. Thank god. Could hold urine in longer, and didn't have to piss as frequently.
- Sweating more. Gross.
- Dreaming much more.
- Felt more comfortable socially.
- Felt a stronger desire to take care of myself and assert myself
- Reduced drawing and painting ability. I'm told this might change in time.
- Increased verbal acuity and writing ability and desire to write.
- No more weird migraines or pseudo-seizures (describe in more in second section)
And that's about it! I thought I would have more trouble sleeping, but I didn't, once past the first month clean, anyway. I thought I would have a reduced sex drive, but no, I just have a crazy intense sex drive no matter what (taoist microcosmic orbit practice is helping a lot on that front though). I thought I would be less musically skilled, but that's stayed more or less the same.
When I first started toking, I was 19, in my freshman year of college. At that point in my life, the only mind altering substance I had ever used was alcohol. I was a problem drinker, and had come dangerously close to killing myself at least twice. My memory of that period of my life is hazy, partially because I don't want to remember it. I drank because I was in constant emotional pain (down the road, I would be diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder), and life had no meaning. I drank because there was nobody in my life I could relate to. I drank because I didn't know how else to have fun, and I didn't care if I died doing it.
But back to weed. I came back to my apartment after work, to hang out with one of my roommates (J) and some friends of his from out of town. It was a bit late, and they had already downed all the booze. But they had a gravity bong and weed.
Oh my god, it was great. I couldn't remember the last time I'd laughed so hard. J's uncle was growing weed in one of the states where the gov gave less of a shit about weed, and he was more than happy to ship some our way. I'd drag myself through class and work Monday thru Friday, and then J and I would blaze up on Friday night and be stoned all weekend.
I would blaze up on Friday night and be stoned all weekend.
Music sounded amazing, and I would get gorgeous CEVs at the peak. I noticed early on that weed increased my already problematic social anxiety, but I felt like such an outcast at that college that I just didn't care.
But ultimately, I transferred from that college to another one, a college famous for cannabis and psychedelic use. Once there, I made a new set of stoner friends, and began tripping. LSD in particular had an extremely positive impact on me, and I found myself drifting away from meaningless hedonism, drinking less and less, taking up yoga and reading eastern philosophy, and trying to find more purpose and direction in life.
I failed. And I kept smoking weed. In fact, because so many of my friends were committed 24/7 stoners, and many of them sold pot to boot, I was stoned more often than not. Sometimes I would get goofy and embarrass myself in class, but other times I would manage to stay on point. Sometimes I would be too stoned to talk to new people, and other times I would be capable of making deep personal connections. Many of my non-toking friends insisted that I didn't seem any different when stoned. I felt I was doing fine. I felt things were going to work out.
Until I graduated and joined the workforce, working forty hours a week for $8 an hour. I couldn't afford to do anything fun, but I could buy pot. At the time, I only smoked about two grams a week, and since I was working so much, I couldn't plunge too deeply into the haze. But when I couldn't get my fix, I would wig out. I would get so angry, and so stressed out, I could hardly keep it together. One of my suppliers saw me at my worst on several occasions, but we were friends, so she kept trying to help me, even if it inconvenienced her.
I was also encouraged by family and close friends to keep smoking. It seemed to do something positive for me psychologically, and helped me build stronger relationships and keep emotionally collected in the face of struggle. But weed wasn't helping me manage my anger. It was just putting a lid on it. A big heavy one. But for a guy who struggles with anger and isolation as much as I do, it was only a matter of time before that lid blew.
It turns out being a fluffy hippie and just going with the flow all the time doesn't really encourage people to respect you. When I was 25, a couple friends of mine (stoners themselves) began leaning on me pretty hard, and we started having a lot of arguments. At the time, I was in massage school forty hours a week, dealing with all that drama. Class was easy enough, but the interpersonal aspect of massage school was completely exhausting. I didn't have patience for my friends' bullcrap, so we fought.
Then one of my family members committed suicide. I was devastated. I couldn't go to my friends or classmates with my pain, so I went to weed. It was the only thing I could count on. It was the only thing that would support me.
But it was making massage school really weird. There is this whole phenomenon in the massage world of taking on other people's energy. When I am constantly using marijuana, my own energetic boundaries dissolve. It becomes that much harder to differentiate other people's energetic garbage from my own. I was getting swamped. I just kept sinking further and further down emotionally, and not even tripping could bring me out of the mud for very long. A couple of older hippie ladies tried to tell me what was happening, but I didn't believe them. They weren't going to support me, or help me with my problems. Weed was.
Finally, I graduated massage school, and got the hell out of town. I moved to Colorado, where I could get a red card (wouldn't be full legal for another couple of years) and soak myself in THC every fucking day if I wanted to. And boy, did I.
I found a massage job, and started getting advanced education in massage on top of that. But the feeling of being swamped with other people's overwhelming energy just grew and grew. I was starting to have weird symptoms, migraines of a sort. I'd get tired and headachy, and trying to process people's words and emotions would be impossible. Instead of registering as an expression, whatever they were trying to convey would just register as pain. The more stupid and selfish their communication, the worse the pain was. When they hit, all I wanted to do was lie down. I didn't even want to listen to music, and I love music more than anything. I was getting one of these headaches about once every five weeks, for pretty much the whole four years I was in CO.
A couple of times I quit weed. But I kept going back. There was nothing else. I didn't have good friendships, or a goal in life beyond giving massage. I had been desperately seeking purpose and couldn't find it anywhere. I had to find purpose. I had to.
So I emptied my savings account, and, shortly after my 28th birthday, went to Burning Man. The whole time I was there, I was eating weed and smoking weed. I wandered around in an introverted little bubble, and made almost nothing of the experience. I felt stressed out, sleep deprived, and angry. I hated myself for spending all that money for nothing.
When I got home, I immediately started seeing a therapist, and a trip sitter. I had been doing a lot of molly and changa anyway, and figured I might as well find a therapeutic angle on my drug use (I've written about those experiences a bit in a couple other reports). The experience did not go well. I bottomed out emotionally and neurologically. I quit my job. Partially because I had damaged my shoulder being a macho idiot, and partially because I just couldn't talk myself into getting out of bed anymore. Soaking up all those people's energetic garbage didn't really help either. At this point, I was smoking at least a gram of weed a day. An ounce a month. And I'm some folks out there might roll their eyes and say that's nothing, but for the vast majority of the human race, that's a lot of fucking pot, especially high powered Colorado pot. The headaches continued, and I started having pseudo-seizures. Energy would build up in my body and then suddenly explode. My limbs would start flailing and my neck would rock back and forth. Usually I would feel them coming and get into bed, but once, a pseudo-seizure hit while I was walking down the hall. My legs went out from under me and I collapsed into the wall. I started having paranoid delusions. It didn't help that my jerk landlord was spying on me for god knows what reason.
As you might imagine, I ran out of money pretty fast. I could no longer afford therapy, or weed, or rent. I had already sold my car. I moved back to the east coast to live with family, feeling like a complete burnout at age 30.
And I kept smoking. A friend of the family growing for a medical program in some other state surreptitiously sent us a healthy quantity of ganja at an affordable price. I had no job, so I just stayed home smoking pot all day. I was making a lot of art at the time, and tried to sell it, but only managed to sell a couple of pieces.
The headaches started coming more often, and the pseudo-seizures continued. I was convinced that weed was not causing them, that weed was helping keep those symptoms under control. I'd had a head injury as a baby, and I have a little bit of nerve damage in my face/head. I figured that old injury was giving me problems, so of course I needed weed to help me. Neuroprotective and all that.
I figured that old injury was giving me problems, so of course I needed weed to help me. Neuroprotective and all that.
And then Trump happened, and Jeff Sessions happened, and our supplier got out of the weed game. Didn't want to take the risk anymore, and I can't blame him. And that was that. My whole family's financial situation kept spiraling down, and we couldn't afford weed anymore anyway.
That's a lot of exposition, I know. But the rest of the world needs to understand why people who drown themselves in drugs drown themselves in drugs.
With Borderline Personality Disorder (which I have had since puberty, even if the diagnosis didn't come until I was 28), my emotions are all over the place. I'm quick to anger, and often feel overwhelmed with hopelessness. Relationships are hard for me. I've never had a long term girlfriend, and most women tell me they can't date me because I scare them. I struggle with roommates, and what few friends I have lose patience with me. Keeping up appearances at work is exhausting. I thought weed would help, but it just made things worse. And yet, it didn't help me manage the pain of being alone.
But then I toked up again with friends a few times after quitting, and I noticed something weird. Pot was no longer making me high-er. It was bringing me down. My baseline had shifted. I had added qi gong and meditation to my yoga practice some years back, and these contemplative arts became the focal point of my life. It's becoming easier and easier to function like a normal person. No anxiety. No rage. Just normal. So that's part of what moved my baseline, but also, I have to say, tripping really did help, especially LSD.
I mean, I still have ups and downs. Life isn't all sunshine and rainbows all the time, but it's not supposed to be. While I still don't meet the impossibly (and hypocritically) high standards of some of my weird new agey hippie friends, I think the average person would have trouble noticing the mood disorder now. I still have moments of intense hopelessness and circling thought patterns, but the contemplative practices can be applied to rein those in. That said, I still haven't been back to work yet, and god knows how I'll handle that when it finally happens.
Having negotiated all this, I do feel bummed out that a huge chunk of my youth was spent freaking out, instead of creating things or building relationships. But on the other hand, I've learned a lot about suffering and coping with suffering. And I hope I can share what I've learned with other people who are suffering, and I hope that my experiences have instilled in me compassion for the human condition. I'm still looking for meaning and purpose in life, but it's entirely possible that negotiating suffering is the meaning and the purpose. So, maybe I'm right on track.
One final thought: life on Earth is not good for everyone. There are people who suffer far worse than I do. And there are people who suffer far less. It is not a fair arrangement. Never ever ever kid yourself into believing it is. The only possible way we can experience a fair world for everyone is to make that world. I don't give a damn about god's will or the laws of karma or any of that. We can't rest until we bring every last conscious being out of the dark and into the light.
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