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Let’s talk about smoking weed in sobriety. The last time I relapsed I thought that I could smoke weed and still be okay not drinking. I was drinking again less than a month later. It’s a slippery slope. The “marijuana maintenance plan” did not work for me. Here’s why I stopped smoking weed for good.
I know now that I can’t do anything in moderation, including smoking weed. It went quickly from an “only on the weekends” thing to an everyday thing after ONE WEEKEND. I was smoking every day again very quickly. Hmm, imagine that.
Why I stopped smoking weed:
Marijuana is a depressant and it makes me MORE sad
The first time I relapsed I just smoked weed and didn’t drink. Drinking always made me do insane things like drive drunk or talk to random dudes–two things I don’t like doing when sober. I thought that weed just helped me relax and made watching TV more fun. However, I had so many sad and tragic things happening in my family life that, in fact, smoking intensified the feelings, making me cry incessantly and feel horrible. My mind was racing a million miles a minute and I couldn’t relax at all. Plus, I didn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. I’m totally an extrovert and usually hate sitting at home, so people close to me knew something was wrong. Smoking makes some people feel happy and relaxed, but that is not the effect it had on me.
Marijuana is a mood and mind-altering substance
I can’t be high and sober at the same time. The point of sobriety for me is to not escape life anymore. I used drugs and alcohol to numb negative emotions for YEARS. I had an incessant need to get outside of myself. Smoking weed is another way to escape my emotions. Anything that takes me out of myself (marijuana, booze, etc) prevents me from addressing the discomfort that I have with myself.
For a while, weed accomplished the numbness that I wanted, especially when I was hungover or sad. I could finally take a sigh of relief! But towards the end, that sigh of relief didn’t come. Smoking weed actually ended up amplifying my emotions tenfold which was very frustrating. I couldn’t get high enough to stop thinking about what was happening in my life. I tried everything, but I couldn’t escape. Little did I know that the answer was to stop trying to escape life and to face it head-on. Thank goodness for therapy and sobriety, y’all.
Marijuana makes me lazy and not want to do anything
The number of tasks that I can get accomplished in a day now that I’m sober is amazing! I spent years smoking multiple times per day and choosing friends solely based on whether they lived the same lifestyle as me. Now, I look back on all the time wasted literally just watching TV or funny YouTube videos high. There were plenty of good times. I don’t even know how to describe them to people because that was literally all we did. Except for the time that a group of eight of us had to take my cat to the vet when we were stoned because we squished her in the pull-out couch. College was fun.
I used the excuse, “It makes me more creative.” However, I knew it wasn’t true for me because I didn’t want to do anything productive when I was high. I would start a new project and not finish it because of all of the thoughts running through my head.
The women that I want to be like don’t smoke weed
I thought a lot about the kind of woman I wanted to be when I first got sober. When thinking about my role models, none of them smoked weed. For example, I spoke at a local event during my last relapse. My family and successful women surrounded me. One of the women that also spoke at this event was Tami Sawyer, who is running for mayor of Memphis this year! If she wins in 2019, she will be the first black woman to be mayor of Memphis, TN. Inspirational women that were moving the city forward also spoke at the event. That night, I felt very conflicted thinking, “Are these other women going home at night to smoke weed and drink wine?” Maybe they are and they can be successful. But I did not feel like a successful woman that night. Honestly, I felt like a phony.
I strive to be a better person in sobriety. I realized that to reach my full potential and obtain my dreams, I needed to stop using all drugs and alcohol. These substances were holding me back from my true self.
Instead of using another drug to numb, I looked at why I wanted to numb myself in the first place
I asked myself this question over and over while reading, meditating, going to therapy, journaling, and having discussions with friends and family. My morning routine has been instrumental in helping me stay calm and happy throughout the day.
Truly working on getting my life back on track involves lots of work. Since smoking weed makes me not want to work, I understood that it could not be a part of my life anymore and why I stopped smoking weed.
What is the “marijuana maintenance plan”
The “marijuana maintenance plan” is a plan to use cannabis to make staying sober from alcohol easier. Many people trying to quit their “main” drug of choice, use smoking cannabis to help with alcohol or other drug withdrawal symptoms. While researching for this blog, I didn’t find anyone who actually used this “plan.” I’m not sure if this is a real thing or just a phrase that is tossed around about people who smoke weed while they are battling another drug.
A Different Perspective:
A friend on my Instagram reached out when I posted my thoughts on an Instagram post. Dannan Burns smokes weed consistently and has a different viewpoint: she still considers herself sober and sees weed as “a partner in crime for me, rather than a crutch, as alcohol was.” For her, alcohol brings her to a dark place, while weed helps her to combat wanting to use it again. She explains that she and marijuana are, “comrades fighting the good fight together, whereas feelings towards alcohol have always felt like I’m being pulled towards the darkness by something evil and more powerful than myself.”
As Dannan and I talked, the way that she described her battle with alcohol, was how I struggled with smoking weed. She said, “With alcohol, it didn’t matter how in debt I was, at the end of the day I was going to be drunk and nothing was going to hold me back from that. However, my day is not consumed by the thoughts of ‘When am I going to smoke next?’ It is there when I want it, but it isn’t an all-consuming part of my day.” When I read this, I immediately had a flashback of being at work wondering who I could hang out with after work that would have marijuana to share.
I enjoyed hearing more about Dannan’s viewpoint on this subject. She honestly shared that she did not feel like she had a problem with weed and that it helped her with her anxiety. Most importantly, it has helped her stay sober from alcohol: “I don’t plan to stop anytime soon, but I also don’t plan to continue smoking for the rest of my life. I don’t really have a plan for it at all, I’m just taking it day by day and doing what feels right for myself. Smoking weed got me to quit drinking and stay sober for 51 days, and right now that’s what is working for me.”
It is an individual decision
Some people can smoke weed and still be a functioning member of society, but that is definitely not me. Cannabis is less dangerous from a legal standpoint if you live where it is legal. For some people, it also leads to less destructive decision making than drinking alcohol.
I listened to the podcast, Armchair Expert, episode with Dax Shephard, where Shephard interviewed Seth Rogen about how he smokes weed and writes screenplays. It was FASCINATING. Rogen is an example of someone who smokes weed regularly and is able to work and create while high. Not only could he work, but he co-wrote all of his most successful screenplays high, like Superbad and Pineapple Express. Just like how some people can drink in moderation and work normally, many people can smoke in moderation and still function without it inhibiting their everyday life.
Again, I understand that many people can consume cannabis in moderation (or not and they don’t mind!) or use medical marijuana for health issues, but that is not my experience… That’s why I stopped smoking weed. Recently, I shared my story at a rehab facility, and haphazardly mentioned that I felt that I was addicted to weed and alcohol. A woman came up to me afterward and said, “That’s how I feel too! I’ve never heard anyone else share that before!” Now, I feel like I should share more about this subject. More states are legalizing marijuana, and more people seem to sweep excessive use of it under the rug as “not so bad.”
This post is honestly the first time I’ve laid it all out there when it comes to why I stopped smoking weed. I’d love to hear y’all’s thoughts and experiences in the comments.