My Addiction to Marijuana

I was first exposed to marijuana at the tender age of 13.

I was hanging out with boys 3 years older than me and they had access to it. We all hung out in the garage of one of the boy’s parents – his parents gave the space to him and he converted it into a cool place for us all to meet. It had sofas, a table and chairs and a kitchen bench, and was decorated with Salvador Dali pictures on the wall. I was to spend so much of my time at this place and we were free to do what we wanted.

So, I first tried marijuana and I remember getting a head spin. But it passed and I was ok, so I tried it again and I felt numbed and I liked how it took the edge off life for me. I kind of liked the feeling of checking out from the world for a bit, it gave me a break from the constant tension I was feeling living in a home with an alcoholic father who was angry and aggressive both physically and verbally… he shouted a lot and my parents argued every day without fail. This was normal for us. I am not exaggerating when I say that they were at each other constantly and then that would get transferred onto me, as my dad needed to release the anger on someone.

I can’t remember buying any marijuana until I was 18 but the boys always shared theirs. I worked from age 13 at the local bakery 2 days a week and I also worked at the local farm when I could, turkey plucking at Christmas, potato picking in season, wild oat picking before the harvest, and I had a bingo round where I sold weekly tickets to households in the neighbourhood. My dad was out of work so I had to work to buy the basics, clothes and ‘going out’ money. At that time, Op Shop clothing was cool so I got many bargains there.

Of course, if I was experimenting with marijuana then I was also drinking alcohol too. This was easy to get in those days as you could buy it at the local ‘off licence.’ I was tall for my age and was able to buy cider and cigarettes easily so I had something to trade. I also had my parents’ well-stocked drinks cabinet.

Magic Mushrooms

All this drinking and smoking then led on to us experimenting with magic mushrooms.

I would often look at the Salvador Dali pictures and wonder how he got the inclination to paint like this. After taking mushrooms I understood. They grew at the local cemetery and we picked them and tried many ways to take them, including putting them in tea and on toast. They always tasted foul. The mushrooms made me laugh but it was a bit scary too as you could hallucinate, feel out of control and see things that no one else was seeing.

Depending on the type of marijuana this could have a similar effect. We smoked mostly hash, which is the resin from the plant, rather that the green buds that tend to be the go in Australia and you could end up very wasted and unable to move. I didn’t like the feeling of losing control completely but I loved taking the edge off life and I started to learn how much I needed to smoke to give me this effect. I soon learned that mixing alcohol and too much pot was not a good combination either and would give me a ‘whitey’ where I felt very sick and my head was spinning.

I then started to go to the local pubs and nightclub – smoking a joint before we went in was the norm. I did this so I could numb the anxiety I was feeling about going into these places. I was always anxious about meeting new people too, so it took the edge off this. I learned to roll a very good joint which was always handy, for if you had rolling papers and a lighter you often got a toke on someone else’s joint.

At this time I was plagued with sore throats that would last for days and then turn into a bout of tonsillitis. On one occasion I became so ill I could hardly swallow. The doctor was called and I was rushed into hospital and diagnosed with glandular fever. I was sick for 3 months and had months off school recovering. My body was screaming at me to stop the smoking and alcohol but I didn’t want to listen to the messages it was giving me, so as soon as I felt well enough I went back to checking out of life with drugs and alcohol.

Becoming a skinhead

At age 15 I met a skinhead boy. He was very good looking and he had a motorbike. This was when I decided to shave my head. Up until the age of 11 I had beautiful long blond hair, but I wanted it cut off. I was rejecting turning into a woman and so I ended up looking like a boy! So, my hair got shorter and shorter until I went the full hog and had a ‘number 2’. I kept the fringe at the front and a fringe at the back; this was the girl’s version of a skinhead although at one stage I did shave my whole head for maximum shock factor. I always wore jeans, a Fred Perry shirt, bomber jacket and monkey boots, which were a bit like Doc Martins.

This was the uniform – I felt part of a group and it made me feel included, something I never felt in my own family. I looked tough too, and I got noticed, got attention. Because of the violence at home, it didn’t really bother me seeing people getting into fights etc., and it felt quite normal to me.

After my first ear piercing at age 13, I then pierced my own ears and had 3 earrings in each ear, another statement of defiance. Piercings in those days beyond a single earring were frowned upon.

Becoming a skinhead meant I mixed with a different peer group. Most of the skinheads were from working class families. They were into soccer and I started attending regular West Ham soccer matches. There would be hundreds of skinheads, mostly men with a few girls. Most people smoked marijuana and drank alcohol. Everyone was out for a fight too – the opposing team were the enemy for that day/night and it was a perfect opportunity to let go of the pent-up anger.

I loved the excitement of it all. It was a massive distraction from my miserable everyday life and my issues at home with my family. I felt like I belonged, we were all together, all skinheads, us joined together against the world. I never got in any fights myself but I witnessed and was in the middle of many, with fists, broken glass bottles and in the pubs chairs flying everywhere; they were very dangerous situations to be in, but I was so used to conflict at home that it felt normal to me.

Introduction of speed

We also attended many concerts where we got drunk or high on hash. I was then introduced to speed (methamphetamine). It meant you didn’t get tired and you could stay up later. But it was an issue when the night ended; everyone went home and I would be sitting in my bed talking to myself, wide awake and unable to sleep, so I needed to smoke marijuana to bring myself back down. It was a vicious cycle. I didn’t like the fact that you couldn’t turn it off either, and the come down the next day was not good as I had not slept, so I usually felt very down after taking speed.

My body was running on the fight-flight response most of the time, on high alert ready for attack. I was living in constant protection and I hardened my body by building an energetic armour around it. This meant I was usually very tired at the end of the day. I was living on adrenaline which is only designed for short bursts to get you out of a dangerous situation, so running on this form of energy all the time was exhausting and I really needed my sleep. Speed deprived me of this and made me very moody and angry for the next few days.

Running on adrenaline also meant I was always hungry too; I ate a lot of food and never put on any weight. I boasted that I could eat anything I wanted and never got fat. This was not good; it meant something was not right. I also learned to self-medicate with food, and I consumed between 9 and 12 Weet-Bix a day – 3 or 4 in the morning, then morning tea, then a cooked lunch at school where I had seconds for mains and dessert, another 3 or 4 Weet-Bix as soon as I got home, then dinner with dessert and then 3 or 4 Weet-Bix just before going to bed. I now understand that wheat and gluten numb the body and I was numbing myself to avoid feeling the tension I was living in at home. I was also eating to fill myself up as I felt empty inside. Learning this was a revelation to me.

Smoking marijuana also gives you the munchies. It can make you very hungry. This was an issue for me as I was always hungry anyway and I got very irritable when I was hungry (hangry, I used to call it).

After leaving school, I ended up studying graphic design and at the same time I finally decided to grow out my skinhead haircut. I got myself a job from an exhibition of my work at the college. I then went on to work at an ethnic minority publishing house in London where I met many Caribbeans, so smoking marijuana down the fire stairs at work with them became the norm.

The abortion

At this time I met a lovely guy; he was a few years older than me and he absolutely adored me but I didn’t know how to handle the love. He saw my essence, the true vulnerable me under the armour, but I was not able to go there – it felt too scary and unfamiliar. I fell pregnant to him and that was the end of our relationship. I didn’t want to have the child, I was only 17 and I was scared I would end up trapped on welfare so I had an abortion. He was devastated. So, I pushed him and the love away.

I continued to party, smoke and drink for the next 4 years, but I also managed to hold down a job and got promoted to studio manager. I always had this feeling that I had a responsibility to hold down a job to support myself, so I teetered on the edge of wanting to numb and take the edge off life, but knowing I also needed to be responsible too.

I then met and went out with a guy that was a tool maker and he built a metal joint holder that could hold 4 joints at once, so you could smoke them all at the same time; needless to say we got extremely wasted with this device. We also started to attend the early Rave scene in London. Again, smoking was an integral part of this culture. At this time my health was starting to suffer; I was getting regular bouts of severe stomach pain and the doctors diagnosed me with irritable bowel syndrome. I had no idea at the time that eating 12 Weet-bix a day could have been aggravating this (many years later when I decided to stop eating wheat and gluten my health improved immensely). My body was telling me that the way I was living was not working but I was not listening and at age 21 while at a nightclub the pain got so bad I ended up in hospital and they removed my appendix, (another message that something was not right), but I just carried on living the same way.

Travelling to Australia

Soon after this I decided to travel the world and had the added bonus of putting some real distance between myself and my parents; it was also one big excuse to party long term. In Cairns, I got a job as a bikini car wash girl at the local BP service station and all the local bikies would come to get their bikes refuelled – they gave me weed on a regular basis. I have a photo of myself at the backpackers with four joints in my mouth ready to smoke. So the whole dormitory joined in.

I then settled in Perth and lived with 5 others sharing a house; we all partied hard and smoking weed was a normal part of life. But I did start to get terrible migraines. My health declined and I was getting terrible stomach pains too and continual urinary tract infections – my body was giving me messages to change the way I was living. The doctor gave me antibiotics and told me to stop drinking. I went to a naturopath and she told me my body was toxic and struggling so I went on a detox, but this was short lived. I slowed down the drinking but I was back smoking weed soon after.

The RAVE scene in Sydney

This lifestyle continued for a few years… I travelled a great deal and I ended up contracting Hepatitis A in Thailand so I had to slow down the drinking for a while as my liver could not tolerate the alcohol. But as soon as I felt better I continued with smoking and I then ended up smack in the middle of the Rave scene in Sydney for 18 months. I loved it and hated it at the same time. I loved the so-called ‘community’, but I really struggled to stay up all weekend even with the drugs to force this to happen. I was still smoking a lot and to extremes, sometimes until I was comatose. I realised I was in trouble when I got the sack from my job for the first time ever in 12 years of working.

So along came my knight in shining armour: an ex-boyfriend arrived in Sydney looking handsome, tanned, buffed and very healthy with his surfboard under his arm. He came out for a drug fuelled night with me and asked me to marry him and to go and live in the UK and I said yes. Here was my escape from this scene. We were married a few months later and I really slowed up on the drinking but continued full speed with the smoking.

We returned to Sydney and eventually bought a house but by this time my health was not good: I had severe period pain, later to be diagnosed as endometriosis, and I had chronic migraines. I was also getting more allergies and intolerances to foods including dairy and gluten but I continued to smoke weed.

A baby and still smoking while breast-feeding

After surgery for endometriosis I was told I may struggle to get pregnant and it could take years, so we decided to start trying immediately even though we were not ready. We were in shock when I found out I was pregnant 8 weeks later. The night before I found out I had been absolutely wasted on the sofa from smoking weed, so I was mortified. I then stopped smoking weed for the pregnancy (which was a struggle) but started again soon after the birth, kidding myself that if I smoked 2 hours before a feed the weed would be out of my system before I breast fed. A year later when my relationship with my husband was very volatile and not going well, I found out I was pregnant again. This was bad news to us; I had no idea how to parent one child, let alone two. I had received no real love myself as a child so I had no idea how to parent another. I did not have any of those loving feelings towards my baby and felt exhausted all the time, so I just smoked more to numb and check out from life.

This carried on for 4 years. We then started growing weed in the garden so we had our own a continual supply and hash cookies became a thing for a while.

The bomb of breast cancer hit me

In 2005 at age 40 a bomb hit me. I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I realised I needed to change the way I was living. This was a big wake-up call. My kids were age 4 and 6. Soon after this, I decided to leave my husband – we sold our house and I lost my job too, due to ill health. I was at rock bottom.

I stopped drinking and smoking for a while to do the ‘right’ thing and went searching for some alternative therapies. I began to realise that these ‘therapies’ were just pushing the core issue deeper in the body so I appeared to feel better for a few days, but it was just a band-aid.

The anger I had felt all my life just kept popping back up so I continued to smoke to take the edge off, even after getting breast cancer. I knew it was wrong but I need something to help me cope with life. I was even waking in the middle of the night and having a joint to get me back to sleep.

In 2006 I met my second husband. He was very different to my first husband; he did not take my anger and my need to control the world personally and therefore he did not feed my reaction so it had nowhere to go. This was very powerful and meant I had to wean myself off the arguments and conflict I was so addicted to.

Over the next few years I studied to became an alternative therapies ‘practitioner’ but I continued to smoke. I realised the teacher was talking the talk but not walking or living it at all. I also realised that my clients were returning to me with issues popping up in other areas of their bodies, so major doubt set in about the value of what I was offering.

So how did I stop smoking Marijuana after 33 years?

In 2012 I started to go to Universal Medicine Therapy sessions. To say this was life changing is to underplay the shifts I felt in my body and life. I started to understand that the anger I had been feeling all my life was a mask so that I did not have to feel and connect to the underlying sadness, plus I was using the smoking to also fill the emptiness I was feeling within. I just assumed I was an angry person and that it was my personality.

With Sacred Esoteric Healing sessions, I worked through my early childhood trauma and hurts and the practitioner facilitated me to safely let go of these issues from my body for good. This cleared a great deal of tension and anxiety from my body too and I started to feel that I no longer needed to self-medicate by smoking weed to numb out the feelings because they weren’t there so much anymore. I also felt safe to re-connect to feeling my body and I was able to listen to the wisdom it was sharing instead of numbing it, pushing issues down, or ignoring it.

For the first time in 33 years I did not feel I needed to smoke or drink any more. I had known for many years this was not how I wanted to live and my body had screamed at me to stop and even with the diagnosis of breast cancer I was still not able to because I had not dealt with the offending energy.

I had seriously believed I would not be able to cope with life without smoking to self-medicate, but this has not been the case at all. I now know I will never smoke another joint or bong again – ever. I am so different now; the angry me has gone and I now understand this was not me, just a defence mechanism I had learnt to use to cope in the world.

Sacred Esoteric Healing does not fix you. The sessions assist you to let go of what is not you (the mask) and the offending energy so you can re-connect to your essence and the amazing being you innately already are.

I now have a purpose in life; I feel empowered and joyful just for being me, a beautiful self-acceptance, the armour and hardness are gone, I have learned to say no to abuse and I am also learning to let love in, and out. I no longer have any anxiety about the future and or a need to control my world, but rather an allowing to let it unfold in a surrender and I am now reflecting that it is possible to live another way.

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AddictionAlcoholDrugsLifestyle diseasesBreath

  • By Anonymous

  • Photography: Matt Paul