Living with a marijuana smoker – it’s not natural

Living with a marijuana smoker – it’s not natural

I thought marijuana was harmless and natural, until I lived with someone who smoked it.

I had tried it in college but it did nothing for me except make me feel sleepy and render my then partner no longer able to beat me in chess. Alcohol was my preferred drug of choice but I had no problem with people smoking marijuana, although I found them a bit dull and boring and silly when they did – I thought ‘dope’ was an apt nickname.

When I met the father of my children he was clean and sober, as they say. He told a long story of having been addicted to drugs, including dope, but said that he was no longer doing any of them and was now on the path of being a healer.

He was living in Byron Bay at the time, and we met when I went on holiday there. I fell in love with the place and then with him. We fell pregnant very quickly and I moved to Byron Bay to raise our family.

It rapidly became apparent that we were not well suited and the relationship was not easy or harmonious. We were isolated from family and friends and living in quite a remote part of the country on acreage, which is something he had insisted on, although I would have been quite happy in amongst it, having lived in the inner city for many years.

His behaviour became increasingly moody and erratic and then exceedingly angry when I caught a whiff of something unpleasantly sweet with my very keen nose and asked him if he had been smoking dope, which he angrily denied, accusing me of being paranoid and untrusting.

He would have moments of glassy-eyed happiness, which smelt and felt unpleasant to me, and then hours of moodiness, especially with me. I was always the problem . . . if I could just be more relaxed, more happy, more fun, a better cook, a better lover . . .

We lurched from day to day in this way . . . I had our baby and went back to work as the primary breadwinner while he stayed home and looked after our daughter.

He became less and less helpful around the house and more and more angry with me. Everything that I did (which was most things) was not good enough for him or somehow my fault if things did not go his way.

I was the one with the problem

He said I was the one with the problem and because of my already low self-esteem (which was falling lower every day) I was willing to go along with him, and kept focussing on trying to fix myself. I realise now the trouble was that I didn’t believe I was special and I didn’t feel special, so in an awful way it made sense to me that he didn’t think I was special either. As he was not willing to see he had any part in our problems, I figured the only way we would be able to stay together was if I changed myself.

Our problems escalated when I fell pregnant again . . . I was working, exhausted, with two little children. He had only just been coping in caring for one child but could not manage two, so I placed them in long day care while I went to work, leaving him home free to do as he pleased.

We had moved several times by now . . . he would always fight with the landlord over something and we would have to move again, always to remote acreage so he could have ‘space’ to put up his tepee and do his healing.

By the end, our days looked like this . . . he would be sleeping off the night before (if he was there) while I got the children ready for day care and me for work, trying to keep us all quiet so we did not wake him. We would leave the house early and I would drive them to day care, go to work for the day, then buy food on the way to collecting them from care, arriving home late with tired and hungry children. I would cook for us all, clean up, bathe the kids and get them ready for bed. If their father was there, there would usually be an argument or a full-blown fight somewhere in amongst all this.

He started to get angry with the kids as well. One time he pulled my two-year old daughter’s little elbow out of its socket, trying to get her to come for a bath when she didn’t want to. Another time I was so tired I rolled over onto my sleeping son (who was sleeping in my bed) and he started crying and I did not wake up straight away. His father was sleeping in another room by then, and he just lay there yelling at me to wake up, as we were disturbing his sleep.

The final straw

The final straw came when we were fighting one day and he pushed me over and my daughter started crying. He yelled at her: “You’re a miserable bitch, just like your mother!” and I was done. Somehow I could justify him abusing me, but I could not allow him to abuse her anymore.

I left him and our home that day: the police said they would not be able to keep him away from the house if I asked him to leave even if I took out an AVO against him, as his name was on the lease and they could not protect me or my children if I stayed there.

I stayed as long as I did because I did not think I would be able to look after the children without him. In fact, I found it much easier without him . . . it was tough, but it was simple, and it was what it was. No one was accusing me of being or not being anything, of doing or not doing something – I was just faced with myself and my own reflection in my two beautiful children.

In all of this I was facing my own demons, as I started drinking alcohol again after many years of not, to try and cope with what was happening. But I was under no illusion that I was ok, that my behaviour was ok, and that drinking was ok. I knew I was drinking to cope. I did not believe that what I was doing was harmless. I knew it was not. I knew I was hurting myself and my children; I just did not know what else to do.

As I write this, I can feel how much hurt there still is in me from being treated like this by someone who believed that they were all right and I was all wrong, and how much hurt there is in me for valuing myself so little that I allowed it.

I always knew what was true and what was not, what was loving and what was not, but I did not hold myself in the love I knew and I did not hold him in that same love.

I allowed him to make it about right and wrong, and to make me wrong. And to be honest, at some level this suited me. It fitted in with how I felt about myself, and allowed me to stay small and feeling bad about myself, and holding him responsible for how I felt, rather than taking that responsibility for myself.

The blaming is the hardest thing to deal with when you live with someone who smokes marijuana – the “sacred herb”, “weed”, “grass”, “ganja”, “pot”, “mull”, “it’s natural”, “what do you mean, it’s organic” and all the other names we give it to try and make it seem like it is a harmless and natural thing to do – because in that smokers are adamant that they are always right or somehow justified in their behaviours and the rest of the world and all the people in it are the problem. And we in turn tend to martyr and pity ourselves and blame them and their habit for everything that goes wrong in our lives . . . it is a blame-blame situation, and everybody loses.

There is nothing harmless about smoking marijuana

There is nothing harmless about smoking marijuana. It is numbing and deluding and creates a massive ignorance and blindness to your own weaknesses, failings and undealt-with hurts, and an arrogance that you are ok and the rest of the world is the problem. At least, that has been my experience.

Since the 1960s, marijuana has been portrayed as somehow clean, natural, harmless, and now it is even being touted as having medicinal purposes.

  • But are we looking at the big picture here?
  • Are we seeing the whole effect of the drug or focussing on the part that suits us?
  • Are we just looking at the happy high, without allowing ourselves to see the carnage it creates?

For when a drug user comes down off drugs, or cannot get their stash of hash, marijuana smokers are generally not pleasant people to be around.

Living with a marijuana smoker is not natural, because when they smoke, they are not themselves.

Cannabis and indeed all drugs, open us up to the energies around us and render us less able to discern whether those energies are loving or not, and less able to hold ourselves so that unloving energies don’t affect us. Taking drugs is abusive to ourselves and this in turn opens us up to be abused by and to abuse others, whether we are aware of it, or not. If you really love someone, who wants to live with that abusive energy? And if we truly love ourselves, why would we put up with abuse?

What we as partners of people who smoke dope have to ask ourselves is: what our role is in all of this? What is our responsibility?

Making life all about love

If I had my time again, I would love myself to the bone, love him the same and speak to him with deep care about how much I loved him and loved being with him.

I would share that he was not the same person when he smoked marijuana, and it did not feel natural to me at all when he smoked it, nor did it feel lovely to be with him then. I would offer him the choice to continue smoking, or to be with me, but not both. And I would leave at once if he chose the drug over love. Because now I know I am worthy of love.

And this is what I did when I met my now husband, who also smoked marijuana when I met him. I told him that I would love to be with him, but could not, for all these reasons, if he continued to smoke. So, he stopped. And he, in turn, asked for the same from me with alcohol.

It was not easy to learn to live without our crutches, and life was not always smooth sailing, but with a willingness to deal with our past hurts and our current problems, and to make life all about love, first, foremost and always, we now have a very steady and harmonious relationship, free of drugs and alcohol, and filled with love.


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ChildrenAddictionAlcoholFamilyDrugsBreak up

  • Photography: Matt Paul