DAY 17 | When will I start? #2 (slicing off your bottom lip)

A few days after recording the high thoughts I shared yesterday, I picked up some hash from a local dispensary. Hash is basically just a stronger, more concentrated form of marijuana. It’s put through a process that makes it resemble little globs of dough.

The hash I bought that day was the best, most powerful I’d ever had. It was also an impulse buy, probably on a day I’d told myself not to use (since most days were).

I didn’t have my fancy black box of weed paraphernalia with me, so I stopped off at a gas station to grab some essentials: a lighter and massive can of lemonade.

I’ll never forget frantically chugging that big lemonade can as I swerved through traffic trying to scope out a quiet spot to stop and covertly smoke.

I came to an empty lot behind some office buildings, and pulled up under a few leafy trees. Then I stabbed the lemonade can with a pen to fashion myself a crude pipe.

I took this pic just before I smoked (I must have bought an edible and joint as well, since you can see them in the background):

facing-addiction-when-will-i-start-2After a zany smoking session (and probably eating the edible), I went for a walk with the same pencil and pad of paper I mentioned yesterday. I was excited about the idea of just capturing more thoughts while high.

As well as a few key insights on my struggles with addiction, I ended up writing down several crucial ideas for another story I’m working on—ideas that essentially brought the whole plot together.

Basically, I became a walking contradiction: My conscience was bothered because I was high on yet another day I’d told myself not to be; but the high itself seemed to be providing important missing pieces to my own inner puzzles.

And I was really high…

I mean, some of what I wrote that day reads like bizarre nonsense riddles, though it probably made perfect sense to me at the time.

For example, one of the first things I wrote was:

“I’d planned to stop. These are ideas from the last night. They came from hash from a makeshift can.

“This is a final revelation. For I’s eyes -_-”

I’m sure “I’s eyes” sounded pretty clever to me at the time; but that session was certainly not my “last night” of weed use. Neither were the ideas I jotted any kind of “final revelation” . . . at least not that I can tell.

As usual, I was somehow thoroughly convinced I’d never use compulsively again after that—that I’d sober up and find myself suddenly able to obey the full weight of my conscience for the first time.

Ironically, the next thing I wrote was:

“Forcing myself to change has never worked.

“Wisdom is revealed by her children. What wisdom would be needed, then, to result in balance and control?

“I don’t know.

“I don’t know how to do what I believe I should.

“Well, here’s a foolproof method to quit smoking: Slice off your bottom lip.”

Now, that’s NOT advice (kids, don’t try this at home).

My point was just that quitting weed must technically be possible, since I could always resort to cutting off my lip if I simply had to keep myself from smoking.

As for “wisdom is revealed by her children,” I take that to mean you can only know whether an action or idea was wise by examining its results.

I mentioned yesterday that the comforting notion of all my past failures being woven into some grander, more transcendent process only ends up being true if that process results in me actually being in control of my addiction.

Here’s more of what I wrote that day (while walking high on hash):

“The most essential highs could be those I told myself not to have.

“If I’d stuck to any of my plans not to use, imagine all the high ideas and experiences I might have missed.

“Would I have missed them, though?

“Maybe it all would have come about some other way, I don’t know.

“I know making plans to limit my weed use has never been effective.

“The answer can’t be to try and change myself into something else.

“But…

“Okay, imagine you’re a young person that uses some substance because you like to have fun (or for another reason). Then you see yourself taking it too far. You feel like you’re losing control of your life. You admit to yourself and others you’re addicted…

“But you didn’t start out as addict. You started out as someone using something for a particular reason.

“No matter why you started using, you didn’t start using as an addict.

“Forever taking on the identity of the addict you became would probably be better than always losing control to addiction.

“But what if balance and control were possible?

“In 12-step groups, you first admit you’re powerless to change—that you need the help of a higher power; then you trust that higher power, begin making amends and things…

“The basic understanding is you’ll never be able to control yourself when it comes to using what you’ve been addicted to.

“And that’s actually true just as a description of the way addictions play out: Unhindered addictions will naturally progress to take everything else from your life until they become your whole life.

“I’m just not sure I agree with the 12-steps’ interpretation of what seems to be an accurate description.

“Notice how the end result with addiction is the reverse of how it starts: Instead of you using a substance for fun (or whatever reason), the substance ends up using you for its fun.

“But you don’t want that.

“In 12-steps, members are accountable to each other to work the steps.

“I believe going public with your experience harnesses the same power of accountability for motivation; but the accountability comes from being forced to see your life and intentions from the outside.

“In essence, you become accountable to yourself when you go public . . . not so much to those you’re actually sharing with.

“Yet here’s where my different interpretation of addiction’s destructive tendencies comes into play: If the goal can be control or balance, then instead of a group that keeps each other accountable to not use (because addiction is so dangerous and naturally all-consuming), what if we kept each other accountable TO use, but to use without compulsion?

 “Imagine a support system where we encourage each other to work, to save, and to follow our dreams so we can make the experience of using whatever we’ve been addicted to the best it can possibly be (instead of something shameful, unsustainable, and unfulfilling).

“It’s funny, but I don’t think anyone needs to create a world where that kind of support system is possible.

“I don’t think there needs to be a new organization or club or anything.

“We already live in a world where anyone can go public with their experience in whichever ways best suit their personality, desires, abilities, passions, etc.

 “I think it would be easy and would require no infrastructure to create a culture where we all share our real experience to hold ourselves accountable to the lives we truly want.”

I don’t want to start some new organization or whatever—meetings, borrowing for overhead, conferences, advertising…

The ideas I’m sharing are really quite simple and free for all to make the most of in whichever ways work best for each individual.

Just share your real experience however is most natural for you, and others like you will connect.

How did you find this story?

Well…

So, that was my zany hash day. I felt ashamed and discouraged going in, but by the end I was smiling. The experience felt irreplaceably valuable.

Tomorrow: Either sharing your experience really can hold you accountable to the life you want most, or this is all just one big lie I’ve been trying to convince myself of for years so my addiction can prolong its own existence through me.

We’ll see : )

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Intro, DAY 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37, 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52, 53, 54, 55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 70, Afterword


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