By Veronique, Ottawa, Canada, November, 2018
It was an adult who made me smoke my first hashish joint, a man of about forty years who loved little children. I was 15 years old and I didn’t feel anything the first time. It is a funny phenomenon, the first joint that does not do anything. This often happens. By the second joint, I was addicted.
I had always struggled to make friends, but instantly I became part of a group in high school: the “freaks”. I did not even know what it meant, but I was proud of it. Very quickly, I had to smoke every day. I financed this operation by hitch-hiking and accepting the advances of the men who picked me up.
Since I was only doing from time to time, I was convinced that I wasn’t really prostituting myself. I continued throughout my senior high school.
A few years later, at the CEGEP, I promised myself not to go to class stoned. Two weeks later, sitting on the steps at the exit doors of the school smoking a joint with students as lost as I did, I realized that I had a problem.
My Twenties and Thirties
I had moments of common sense in my twenties, even managing to go three years without smoking. Unfortunately, for the most part, I was unable to understand my compulsion to consume THC. My emotional state ranged from despair to euphoria, with no stability in the middle. I am not bipolar, but years of managing my emotions with marijuana had left me vulnerable and without the tools needed to face the challenges of life.
My thirties led me to the bottom of the barrel. I spent eight years driving a taxi because I could smoke while working. A slave to marijuana, I had to smoke a joint every two hours. Beware, if you met me between the second and the third hour. My aggressiveness and lack of control resulted in assault charges and several visits to the judge. Fortunately, I got away with it, without a criminal record.
I do not want to detail my descent into hell. The 15-year-old girl, for reasons that do not really matter, became a 40-year-old woman completely beaten by the seemingly innocent grass called marijuana.
Finally, I went to my first meeting of Marijuana Anonymous. I had been conditioned to believe it was impossible to become addicted to marijuana. Despite substantial evidence spanning more than two decades, I was amazed to learn that I was not alone. Cannabis is not a harmless herb that hippies smoke in groups, bringing on a “high” does not make it aggressive as alcohol. The marijuana we smoke is the product of significant and constant genetic changes aimed at increasing the THC content.
What can be learned from Marijuana Anonymous
Many young people who try marijuana quit before reaching 25 years. But an increasing percentage does not manage to stop even when they try. This observation is empirical and is stated because of the increasing number of young people who arrive at our meetings completely upset to see that they are addicted to marijuana. Those who remain hooked smoke more and more, the rest of their lives.
Many commit suicide, but others find themselves in prison. Richard M., father of two little girls, a daily user, hung himself in his new apartment. Reynald F., a daily user, was found hanging from a tree on Île Sainte-Hélène. Roger R., spent 4 years in prison for attempted murder of a police officer who had harassed him for four days after quitting. Were these people smoking because they were depressed and aggressive? Is it that marijuana caused this infinite misery? It’s the story of the egg and the chicken …
For my part, at 40, I was beaten, but did not wait to fall back. I accepted all the suggestions, and I found a godmother. I practiced the spiritual principles revealed by the twelve steps. It required me to become rigorously honest, courageous and persevering. I am interested in questions of faith and philosophy. I got married and had two children before becoming too old to realize my dream of having a family of my own.
If you read these lines asking yourself if you are mad that marijuana is spoiling your life, I am here to tell you to be careful. There is a test called 12 questions from Marijuana Anonymous that will help you determine for yourself whether you are a Marijuana addict.
Sometimes I am happy, sometimes unhappy. I accept both knowing that everything is going on, and I am grateful to live without marijuana one day at a time. I now accept life as it comes and not as I would like it to be.