Earlier this year I fell into a severely depressed state, which is part of the reason why I haven’t been blogging as much. I started smoking weed to ease my depression, among other aches and pains and the sort of thing that most people call Life. I will say that it probably is fine for a lot of people, but not all medicines work for all people. It’s not working out for me.
At first, I really thought I was on to something- it seemed like a magical cure-all. Psych meds making me unstable? Smoke weed, it calms you down. Too depressed to do the dishes? Smoke weed, it makes ALL chores fun! Back pain? Weed. Crying fits? Weed. Fight with bf? WEED. Broken tooth? Forget conventional dentistry, we GOT this. Bored and lonely? Weed is your friend. Hanging with friends? Well, everyone smokes these days! About to do something really fun? Hold on, I gotta get high for this! About to go to DMV? This is gonna suck, better toke first.
As you can see, for a brief time it really just became my standard answer for everything, and I started to realize something: By comparison, being sober really sucks. This is a really bad realization for a stoner to have, because the obvious answer is to be high ALL THE TIME. Basically it got to where the only time I wasn’t high was when I had work stuff to do. Obviously this isn’t an economically sound way of life.
Also I was pretty constantly stupid, which annoyed me, but not enough to face my depression and deal with it in ways that weren’t so self destructive. It started as a way to get me through a rough patch when I couldn’t see my doctor to get my meds adjusted, and several months later, I still haven’t followed through on that. I haven’t followed through on a lot of things. I have paperwork to do, a house to clean, projects that have sat untouched, while I used a cheat code to get to the satisfaction that comes when you’re on top of all that shit and actually earning your happiness. I was doing everything wrong.
The thing is, for a really long time I thought it was the depression keeping me from doing stuff, and for a time it may have been. But after really examining myself, I realize that there were weeks worth of days when I would have been doing something to fix my problems instead of patching them over and ignoring them, if it hadn’t been for weed. It was always a better idea to smoke than to sit down and sort my mail, after all.
When something like weed can make you more productive, by taking your mind off the pain etc. etc., then it’s a good fit, but when it causes you to pretty much falter in every aspect of life, then you know it’s got you by the balls and you’re just letting life pass you by. I was slowly and foggily coming to this conclusion over the course of a few weeks, and man, it sucked. But still I continued onward, blazing a trail of absolutely nothing positive or constructive
I don’t know why I decided last night that this was a good weekend to quit smoking weed and cigarettes all at once (I know that my relapse into smoking cigarettes was comorbid with picking up weed and if I want to quit one, I have to quit the other, and vice versa). I could have picked any day before or after today. On the one hand, the problems that it’s been causing have been going on for weeks without really any uptick in intensity, so it’s not that I got fed up in one moment.
On the other hand, the problems it’s been solving haven’t lessened any, either. I didn’t have any divine revelation, my depression didn’t lift, I didn’t get a sudden kick of manic bursting verve for life that made me decide to get my shit together. I think what it all came down to is, I just got fed up with handing my money over to the jolly green giant.
It came out of the blue, yesterday afternoon. I was running low on weed and getting that familiar panicky feeling I get when I know that I’m going to get off work tomorrow and not have a soft hazy cannabis coccoon to fall into. It was Life, staring right down the shotgun barrel into my face; I was going to get off work and be all achy and stressed and just have to deal with it, like I hadn’t been forcing myself to do for months.
Part of me- a big part of me- would have been scrambling to call any and all my friends with a connection so I could get some bud TODAY so there wouldn’t be a dry gap where I’d sit at home after work, bleary-eyed, watching Adventure Time and biting my fingernails, wishing I had my next fix and furiously ignoring the filth accumulating around me. Those days were unpleasant, mainly because they were days where I was forced to think about my problems and how much I didn’t want to deal with them, as opposed to watching the same stupid cat videos on youtube, laughing like a doofus and eating copious amounts of cheese. (I will say for the sake of transparency that, at this moment, this still sounds like a fuck-all good time.)
But there was another part of me that looked at the stoner part of me, and quietly said, “No.” It wasn’t my guilt (which was a pretty big monster by now), it wasn’t my sense of responsibility, my moral code, or my psychological issues. It wasn’t the ghostlike voice of my parents chiding me for throwing my life away, or my sense of urgency about settling up my job situation before the year of relatively cheap housing runs out. It wasn’t my creative side, begging me to stop numbing myself so that I could paint and draw again. These are all reasons that have been nagging me to quit but none of them were quite loud enough; I could always shut them up with a toke.
No, the part of me that finally made me say “I’m fed up,” ironically, was one part laziness and two parts greed. I just didn’t feel like putting the work into acquiring weed that it normally took, and when that joined forces with my growing realization that my money was getting out of my control, suddenly I finally had enough motivation to tell weed to fuck off and die.
Saying it was one thing, doing it is another.
I think there’s a saying that goes, “Quitting cigarettes literally causes bad things to happen to you, within mere hours.” I used to say in Stop Smoking Class that there’s never a good day to quit so it might as well be today, because you can’t quit in a vacuum- Life keeps happening around you, and no matter which day you choose, you’re going to be stressed out and every little thing is going to be a crisis and you’re going to scream “WHY TODAY” to the heavens and potentially run out and buy another pack. I used to think it was just a matter of perspective- the day you quit is always going to be the worst day ever, no matter what happens.
I now believe that is a lie and quitting actually forces a black hole of negativity to open somewhere in your spleen, which creates a field of bad luck which draws all potential bad things directly towards your face. I think this is governed by the same science that makes Murphy’s Law tick, but it hasn’t been proven yet.
I have been working at the same hotel for months, and aside from one or two minor incidents near the beginning (and the Night of Vomit), every night has been smooth as butter. Not last night. Within hours of smoking my last cigarette, a car literally sped off the median, flipped, and crashed, right in front of the hotel, on Market Street, causing chaos and far too much interest from my tenants. After convincing them the apocalypse was not nigh, I settled in and hoped that was the excitement for the night, which it was far from. Someone snuck into the hotel and was stealing money from tenants, one of my tenant’s guests started breaking house rules left and right, and I got yelled at and written up for forgetting to make a phone call. (I’m probably actually in a lot of trouble for that, and probably won’t hear back about it till my work meeting Wednesday.)
It was right about the time that I was through getting cussed out over the phone that I realized it was a classic moment for a cigarette. All these nights I’d had a pack with me for just moments such as these, and been taking smoke breaks to keep from getting too bored. Now that I actually needed one I had literally just smoked my last cigarette a couple of hours prior. I got to sit and let my stomach churn for hours, wondering just how fired I was going to be come Monday when my boss got in and saw the reports.
I had a couple of choices. I could fold and get a pack and say that IT was my Official Last Pack, since clearly this quitting idea hadn’t been planned well. But I steeled myself and figured, if I can keep my resolve on a night like tonight, then the rest is cake.
And so, somehow or another, I got off work at 8am in a good mood (luckily the desk clerk who always relieves me, and hates my stinking guts, was out sick this morning, so I got to report my wrongdoings to a temp, and I believe that is an example of the negativity field temporarily lifting after the first 8 hours. He was considerably more forgiving than the woman who, for example, basically threatened to report me for not moving one sheet of paper from a clipboard to its proper binder before she came on shift.)
Somehow, I made it to the bus stop without making a certain phone call to a certain guy who would surely have the goods, somehow I made it home without stopping at the corner store for more Death Sticks. As I said I was actually in a pretty good mood, and had the idea to come home and start blogging about my quitting experience. I got a little excited; I thought I’d do a blog a day for 30 days, with a little drawing depicting how I feel each day. Since this whole weed thing has been eating my creativity, it seemed like a good step.
I got to the bus and started to draw a hilarious, melodramatic PSA-reminiscent montage of a giant evil weed leaf stomping around a town, literally smashing buildings and destroying lives. I got about ten minutes into that drawing when I realized I totally fucked up the legs and the city looked stupid and I’d never hated a drawing more in my life. I despaired of the whole project, ripped the drawing out angrily and crumpled it up, feeling defeated. Ten seconds later, I opened my sketch book again, determined to come out with at least a simple drawing. I decided to take the evil weed leaf montage and run with it, but instead of stomping buildings, I thought I’d do him with his foot on my chest and me laying on the ground in defeat- still melodramatic but simpler.
I literally got ten seconds into it, starting with the face, when I realized that drawing heads upside down is not my forte and in a fit of rage I ripped the second drawing from my book, feeling like a failure at life and everything I hold dear. When did I lose my ability to draw everything? It came out looking kind of like this face, only upside down and ten times derpier:
I would show you but I already threw them away out of shame.
So for now I’m just going to do the blog posts, because apparently drawing is still too much of a challenge for my fragile brain. I thought about just drawing a sad smiley and calling it good as a placeholder until tomorrow, when my creativity will surely return, but that’s too much of a cop-out for the first day. Maybe I’ll draw more later today. I don’t know. All I know is, I’ve made a lot of impulsive decisions in my life, and the impulse to quit without really thinking it through can’t be all that negative. We’ll see how this goes.
LAST NOTES: Again, for the purpose of transparency, you should know I’m not quitting cold turkey. I’m taking a week off, but next weekend at FanimeCon (which is the event I’ve been waiting for since the last time I got to attend Fanime like 4 years ago), you bet your ass I’m going to party it up- my last hoorah. You see, it’s easier to quit at first when you tell yourself you’re only quitting for a week. Then you get your closure, and after that, you can say to yourself, I did this once already for a week, I’ll bet this time I can do TWO weeks. And then you just keep going. You have to play sneaky tricks like this on your stupid brain to get around addictions and bad habits. I intend to blog on those days too so it should be entertaining. Stay tuned.