"I Used to Smoke Weed Everyday..."
- a Testimonial by RaLyn*
*Name has been changed for privacy purposes. I received this testimonial from a dear friend who went through a relapse and found herself beginning the Quit Weed program. She has since completed it and was so impressed with the end result, she shared her story with me.
I found myself in the corner, staring my religion down. Was I to continue down the same path or seek redemption for both myself and my faith?
There are a lot of stigma surrounding being or having been a weed smoker, especially within my own community. I was a chronic, everyday user from high school until after I graduated college. I wasn't the most relaxed teenager and the stresses of becoming an adult were a little too much to handle, or so I believed. I was young. I felt, by smoking, I could find relief from those burdens. But there were also all of these preconceived ideas about what weed was and what path it led each user down. It was one of those things that people around me whispered about quietly. In my community, wearing the wrong underwear can land you in boiling waters. Smoking, at first, was a reward for me. If I managed to get a good grade on an exam, I would "treat myself" over the weekend and relax. Finish a project… smoke a bowl… onto the next challenge!
It was this system that led me down the path of turning my rewards into excuses. If I had a bad day, I found myself calling upon my little green friend. If I didn’t sleep much the night before, I'd wake up and smoke a little so I wouldn't be grumpy. I started being unable to handle critiques on projects, so… a pattern evolved, obviously. College was more difficult than I expected, but coming from a family deeply rooted in religion… there were expectations I needed to fulfill. By sophomore year, the pressure was strangling me, making it hard to breathe every waking moment.
I wanted freedom, though, and something always led me into a world frowned upon by my loved ones. They have no intention of moving away from that little town in Utah anytime soon. Around there, we're told how to live, walk, and talk. Sometimes the standards change, but rarely to the benefit of anyone like me. Paying respect and shaming were part of daily life around here.
Weed was a connection to a place full of happiness for me. It made life seem easier; relationships felt stronger and more meaningful. I didn't yet realize that was just the shiny surface. I just wanted to feel accepted, as I felt I hadn't been for the last portion of my life. Living with self-shame that didn't change day in or day out... I craved an escape. Smoking weed gave me a sense of deep relief... taking me away from the problems in my life.
But, the problem with problems is...
They will still be there once the smoke clears.
I had a slight epiphany... I was beginning to develop a cough, which was very noticeable in my home. I started to realize the act of smoking weed wasn't actually making anything better. The reality that I sought to escape was always right outside my door whenever I came back from a secret smoke break.
After more than five years of avoiding the real issues,
I decided to face my fears.
Though it was daunting, I managed to eventually dig my way out. I fell and stumbled (a lot) at first, not having the pick-me-up that I was used to. Those bad days made sparking up tempting. The first few days, (week, really) were the hardest on both my body and my mind. It was difficult to wind down and settle my thoughts most of the time. In moments of weakness, I sought other resources to numb myself. I had to keep myself from dipping into sadness when things became difficult at school and at home. I realized I couldn't do this completely on my own, I felt too weak and powerless. I needed motivation and support. I finally came across a wonderful course on addiction known as the Quit Weed program. I didn't have to do this alone, but I also wouldn't have to be seen in public! No public shaming for me and my problem! I couldn't contain my excitement. Here we go, I thought!
I don't want to get too graphic, but I went through a lot at first. I was aggressive, groggy, and very sad at first. Horribly sad, really. I had a lot of trouble sleeping, but there were videos for me to watch. After about a week, I realized that temptation was really tough to battle.
Alcohol was a crutch that I saw others using to "smooth out the rough edges" but it seemed to only exacerbate their issues. I had to try and force myself to stay the course. I've never had an overabundance of willpower.
I needed to dive deeper into my positive resources, I realized, if I wanted to get better.
It saddened me that turning to family and friends didn't seem to help. I had grown to believe smoking weed would help me to "improve my environment..." but I was high. Realizing it's time to say goodbye to certain things, people, and places can be difficult. In a very real way, smoking helped me find out things about myself...
It during the quitting process I finally discovered the pieces of myself that I thought were lost for good under layers of hazy smoke. Things became clearer for me. Decisions I made became more of an activity instead of a reminder to do it later. Becoming a stereotype is never something we set out to do, but sometimes we become prisoners to ourselves anyway. Sometimes we lose track of our goals. The releasing of inhibitions and the lack of responsibilities that we assume while smoking weed (especially at a young age) takes away from our motivation and self-worth we so desperately tend to seek later on.
During my cleanse with the program, I happened across this website and loved every word I read... because it's so real. In more ways than one!
The writers here weren't afraid to point out both positives and negatives to any type of marijuana use. I felt understood without speaking a word. Reading the posts here and watching the inspirational, motivational films the program offers has helped occupy my mind a great deal. When you hit a wall and the temptation to spark up hits, it’s nice to be able to do a simple search and immediately receive the support that you need. I started to realize how dim the world was when I was self-medicating.
I found inspiration again! (Which is what most chronic weed smokers believe they're already doing -- I only found laziness, though.)
When I smoked, I was mostly hiding from something... my religion, my family, my friends. I evaded responsibilities I didn't feel capable of. I feared failure. I was full of shame. I felt unworthy to be seen by the eyes of my family, loved ones, and my church.
When I successfully quit, I gained back all the power I had previously let slip through my fingers. I was in control of myself again. I had the ability to work and save money... it was now becoming possible to get out of the house I didn't feel was home!
My life was becoming my own. With that in mind, I only needed to realize that time doesn't slow down. We created it to go forward, not backward. Lighting up a joint, smoking a bowl, or taking a dab is only going to make you believe you don't need to make a change until you're not high again. The lightbulb above my head was finally lighting up! This was the chance I'd been waiting for. Now I could begin to take back what I traded away for a few short moments in oblivion.
I matter, you matter, we matter... our health matters. Maybe I was unhappy with my life because I'd been chilling in a hammock instead of an RV, so to speak.
But, in order to be successful in life, aren't we required to actively participate in our futures? If we want money, we can't get it by giving the majority of our paychecks to our weed dudes. If we want to land a new job, we shouldn't be stuck on the couch. If we want to be respected by everyone we meet, we cannot allow ourselves to be easily manipulated. We can't just want to make everyone happy and agree with things we don't agree with. We can't smoke weed, knowing our children could be taken away, and be completely at ease.
Never mind the side effects, the horrors of withdrawal, or the whisperings of anyone that may notice your journey.
The first person we should be concerned about is ourselves. If we have held ourselves back, we must set ourselves free if we want happiness. Our worlds cannot function without us in them, so would you rather influence chaos or calm? Happiness or sorrow? Restraint or freedom? Spirituality or religion? I couldn't fully answer those questions, myself, before.
After a year of being weed-free have I felt confident enough to publicly claim that I have found my own inner motivation and strength!
It isn't easy, by any means. It takes dedication, but if I managed to power through it, so can you. I have, in my year of sobriety, also moved out of my parents' home. I moved out of their state, actually. I took a job while I was recovering. Sometimes I treated myself to a day on the town, but I mostly saved every bit I made. I needed to make something of myself. Anytime I was about to get in the car to visit my dealer, I got in, got my money out, and got back out of the car. I "spent" that money at my own house, by placing it in my secret cash stash.
This was the stash that granted me my true freedom.
It took about a year to feel I had enough saved I could comfortably remove myself from Utah and not look back. I lined up another job across the country and got to know people in the area via social media. I had searched thoroughly for the perfect place to stay, found it, scheduled an appointment, and packed my things. I warned my family about a month before I left. I told them all of my plans and dreams, and as I expected, they didn't understand. They shook their heads and frowned upon me, but for once in my life, I didn't care.
I worked hard to get to where I was. I slipped, stumbled, and fell. I picked myself back up, detoxed, and moved on. I had my own best interests in mind, something I questioned in the past. I finally felt free. I paid them a fair amount of money for one month's board, to give myself a sense of closure. To make myself feel okay with leaving and not looking back. At least I didn't trash the place, which is what I had originally foreseen.
I paid them a fair amount of money for one month's board, to give myself a sense of closure... to make myself feel okay with leaving and not looking back. At least I didn't trash the place, which is what I had originally foreseen. I hugged everyone and told them I loved them on my last day (because I guess I always will love them)... then I took a cab to the airport.
I didn't get the place I hoped for, but I had another appointment the following day and the funds to get a room in the meantime. Old me would've lost all hope and ran back home, but I calmly found a solution. It ended up being better than my original choice, too! I found out the pictures hadn't done it justice. I had found my new home. I may go back and visit my old one, one day. But for now, I'm happy. I'm away from my personal hell. I started my new job a week after I moved. Turns out, people think I'm funny! (Probably because it doesn't take me over 30 seconds to come up with a good comeback anymore.) I love it. I'm loving my new life.
The next big decision in my life is whether to travel the world (and hike an awesome trail in each place) or to settle in here and consider dating. Silly to some, serious for someone like me! I'm just thankful to have found the Quit Weed program and this companion site. Without both of them, I may not have believed I could've done much about my situation.
Thank you for taking the time to read this personal testimony. We hope it touched you, as it has us. Good luck on your recovery and never forget the power you hold!