Citation: RussianStar27. "A Warning for Addictive Personalities: An Experience with Cannabis (exp14603)". Erowid.org. Apr 1, 2005. erowid.org/exp/14603
Before I begin detailing my experiences with marijuana, I'd like to explain my intent with regard to the title: This is not, appearances aside, any sort of thoroughly-negative attempt to wean people away from pot. The several blatant references to how wonderfully amazing the drug is should be enough to prove this. What it *is*, on the contrary, is an attempt at truthful, introspective reporting; an attempt, in short, to honestly communicate some personally significant and generally important insights regarding marijuana-- insights that are, unfortunately, not wholly positive.
That said, let's get into it.
I've always had what must be described as an addictive personality. That is, I tend to obsess about anything that even fleetingly captures my interest, be it a piece of music or a movie or a novel. Now obviously, this doesn't always lead to pursuits that are necessarily negative; in fact, I ascribe a lot of prior successes to my natural, probably genetic tendencies. I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that, while in high school, I became addicted to academic work-- and, further, that this 'addiction' enabled me to graduate salutatorian (our valedictorian, I'm convinced, was more machine than man) and to gain acceptance into an Ivy League school. I also credit my interest in several other arenas-- some positive (writing, reading, trivia-mongering), some simply neutral (pornography, the Pittsburgh Penguins who perenially find a way to drive me nuts)-- to this trait. This addictive personality might actually represent a mild case of obsessive-compulsive disorder; whatever the case, I cannot deny that it governs my interests, desires, and ambitions.
How does this all relate to pot? I started smoking towards the end of senior year; however, I didn't truly get high until a summer vacation in Long Island. My friends and I had a beach house, as well as over two ounces of mid-grade. Our goal for the trip was to consume this entire amount. As the admitted lightweight of the group, I was expected to smoke a lot, pick up the slack, and, for once, to get high! I did just this, puffing on a nice joint one morning until I got so blazed that I literally couldn't function-- fearful for my life (this unnerving paranoia seems to be the way of many first experiences), I could only retire to my room and try to sleep it off.
Of course, despite my frightening first high, I loved the stuff. I decided it was like a drunk, only better-- no sloppiness of manner, no muddled-head confusion. I noticed interesting things in my field of vision (specifically, things I witnessed seemed to slow down and move in frames, as if they were motion pictures) and especially in music (in which I swore I could hear the root note of any given song as a constant drone-- pretty interesting). On the five-day trip, we smoked at least twice a day. I remember very little of what actually happened.
I didn't smoke a whole lot for the rest of the summer. The reasons for this were twofold: First, I didn't want to screw up my life; I knew I had an addictive personality, knew also that I wanted to continue to excel in academics, and couldn't find a way to reconcile the use of substances with such long-term goals. Second, I developed a case of mono, and felt too generally terrible to do anything at all for the rest of the summer, including moving from my bed. By the time September rolled around and I went away to college, I was still feeling a bit lethargic.
The last effects of the sickness soon passed, though, and I once again became involved in social life. I made some great friends-- interestingly, and just like back at home, one group embraced the use of marijuana, and the other completely looked down on it.
If there's one impression college immediately made on me, it was that there's a *hell* of a lot of down-time. There isn't as much time-consuming busy-work (thank God). There isn't anywhere to go in cars. And there aren't really any adults (e.g., parents) around. Smoking a lot of pot is in the cards.
So I started smoking my fair amount. This was limited to weekends or late-nights, hanging around with friends when there was nothing much better to do. I didn't actually purchase pot for a while; I left this to my new friends, who were bigger users. As good smokers, they were never averse to packing a bowl for a friend-- and I, needless to say, was never averse to gladly reaping the benefits. Before long, I was smoking probably twice or three times a week.
When I went home for Winter Break, I saw only the group of friends with whom I'd gone to Long Island. We hung out constantly, got high every night, and for a while there, things seemed great. But eventually came the time to go back to school, and we parted ways.
This was harder on me than I'd thought it would be. The first night back at school I got as drunk as I'd ever been, then cried my eyes out listening to a certain Icelandic band. I didn't like being at school, I realized, away from my amazing friends and loving family. This feeling only became exacerbated when I attempted, in the following days, to hang out with my college buddies. Even they seemed a little more openly antagonistic; I felt like the sudden butt of all their jokes, the target for some thinly-veiled abuse. This had never been the case at home; there, I'd always been relatively popular, and never the one in the group to be picked on. To comfort myself, I did what I suppose a lot of people do: Drugs.
Before long I was buying and smoking constantly, spending fifty dollars a week on the stuff. I went from two or three times a week to two or three times a day, and various aspects of my life suffered. I couldn't focus on schoolwork, and stopped seeing the point to all of it. I had to drop a course. I became something of an emotional basket-case, vacillating between periods of contentment and ease with my friends (which, of course, utterly coincided with smoking sessions) and severe and crushing depression (which, again of course, coincided with the come-down or non-smoking periods). I was a wreck, and I knew the pot was only helping temporarily, for periods of two or three hours at a time. But I couldn't stop.
Nowadays the first thing I want to do when I wake up is smoke (An eighth a week). I can't go more than a few hours without doing it, and when I do, all I can think about, all I can look forward to, is when I *will* do it. Pot has become, for me, the only true happiness; it's no accident that my friends and I at school now sometimes refer to it as 'medicine.' Marijuana, it's true, isn't physically addictive; unlike morphine, it doesn't alter your metabolism. I won't go through withdrawal, won't scream and shout and sweat and kick and foam at the mouth, without it. But do I need it? Yes. It's a habit, and who's to say that something that's so habit-forming isn't addictive?
I would urge anyone who has, like me, an addictive personality or obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as anyone with a predisposition towards depression, to stay away from the stuff. It's great, yes-- in fact, it's *really* great. But when I start to use marijuana as medication, or when I simply do it too often and too much, it becomes an addiction, as dangerous in my mind as anything else. Now, when I smoke, I don't automatically feel better; in fact, sometimes the drug only deepens my feelings of self-reproach and -recrimination. This has led me to experiment with other drugs (namely, opium and MDMA) to whom I sincerely hope I will not become addicted. If you tend to obsess, focus that tendency on something productive, an ambition. If you're depressed, seek *real medical help.* Don't self-medicate, and don't let an otherwise-very-enjoyable drug become an addiction.
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