I sign my kid in at preschool, and then stroll back to the parking lot with a big, goofy grin on my face.
Today’s the day I’m finally going to start writing my Facing Addiction story, so I won’t smoke again until . . . Friday?
As I enter my car, it hits me that Friday is three days away.
I know I can make it. I’ve done it before.
Glancing from side to side out of habit, I notice things like how far I am from other cars, the angles of nearby apartment windows, anyone on the sidewalk (and where they happen to be looking)…
It really is a beautiful day. I know what would make it even better.
Wednesday’s probably not the best day to start something new, anyway, right? I should probably just smoke through what I have left, and then Monday can be my official day to get clean and start writing my story for sure.
Of course Monday would be better.
What difference could a few extra days really make?
I lift a dented can, lighter, and prescription bottle from a fancy black box that rests on my passenger seat like a silent friend. Bending low across the center divider, I spark up the lighter and slowly inhale, watching as rings of flame spiral through the green that covers a series of small holes poked in the seared aluminum.
I do the same at lunch.
It’s now night.
I tell everyone I’m heading off somewhere to write.
Instead, I sit hidden in my parked car again, smoking and half-listening to podcasts.
It’s Thursday morning.
I realize I don’t have enough left now to comfortably make it through the weekend.
Since I’ll have to get more, I might as well just quickly smoke the rest of what I have.
Covertly puffing away, I slowly drift along a network of little side streets toward work.
Desperate as I make my way to a dispensary, I hazily attempt to map out exactly what I’ll need for the weekend.
At the dispensary, I choose three edibles, a gram of a particular strain, and a pre-roll (joint) made from whatever strain seems most unlike the gram.
At the register, I dip into a roll of precious bills I’m saving for projects.
It’s okay. This will be my final blowout.
The weekend goes one of two ways: Either I burn through everything by Saturday night, meaning I’m ready to unroll another crisp bill from my savings come Sunday morning; or, I make it through Sunday night with a little left to spare.
Either way, it’s now Monday morning.
I dimly wonder why all my dreamy ideals about finally sharing my experience and beating addiction seem so foggy and far away.
I have a little left over from the weekend, but I’ll just hold on to it. After all, my goal is to learn to be in control, right?
It’s Monday night.
I should probably just finish off what I have so I won’t be tempted.
It’s Wednesday (or later).
Well, this week’s lost, but that’s okay. I’ll start for sure this coming Monday.
Better head to the dispensary to get ready for my final blowout weekend…
The week I just described was almost every week from early 2011 through much of 2014. That’s almost four years’ worth of “final” blowouts.
It’s funny how I honestly never stopped believing something would be different—I always expected myself to somehow follow through on my intentions when Monday came.
I once wrote this while high:
“I’ll plan to hold on to some weed for a while, but it’s always gone in a couple days. Then comes another final blowout weekend to get ready for.
“It’s almost like I use the idea of a final blowout to trick myself (on some level) into getting high even faster and harder than usual, telling myself it’s so I can stop sooner.”
Here’s another high thought about one of the many perfect opportunities I had to start controlling my addiction and go public with my experience:
“This is a good position to be in. I have plenty of weed to last if I don’t blow through it all.
“So when do I start going public?”
I was always looking for some sort of official start date to stop smoking and start sharing my story. It was a day I planned for often, but one that remained fixed forever in the not-too-distant future.
Eventually, I started to wonder if it might be better to forget about official dates, and just start sharing my experience while still getting high compulsively.
Here’s what I wrote (while high) when that idea first occurred to me:
“When I go public, I might not have to make plans to stop getting high right away.
“I feel like I should just start putting my story together and see what happens—to publically state my intentions and start, and then let getting high or not getting high basically take care of itself.”
Much of this story is about how that particular notion has played out.
Are addictions something you can ever get out of your system by binging?
Tomorrow: how much several years’ worth of final blowouts actually cost.