I had this epic plan to only get high ten times in 2013. I’d even staked out all the most inspiring, beautiful spots to do it. There was a duck pond at a local community college, under a freeway overpass, at the beach, staring into the lights of our Christmas tree…
By mid-2012, I’d been getting high all day most days for about a year. I had this massive document on my laptop (about 60,000 words, or 150 pages) packed with high thoughts, story ideas, and advice to myself about addiction. My plan to only get high ten times the next year was basically a summary of all the self-advice in that document.
The basic idea was that, by only using ten times, I’d be getting the most out of each experience.
I’d failed every previous plan to reduce my weed intake at all. I’d watched addiction steadily consume more and more of my life, robbing me of time with loved ones, money, and all sense of balance.
The difference with the Ten Times Plan, I thought, was that it was basically the essence of all my plans in one, incorporating each of my core motivations into a single point of focus. It seemed to stem from a much deeper place than all my former, lesser, knee-jerk plans to change.
I believed the Ten Times Plan would be the plan that would finally make all the difference.
Here’s something I once wrote while high just before the Ten Times Plan was set to start:
“I’ve failed every attempt at controlling my addiction so far. But if I don’t follow this plan now, none of anything I’ve told myself will matter.
“It’s all riding on this.”
I’m sure you can guess what happened: 2013 came. January went particularly well. I spent hours writing each day. I didn’t get high at all.
By the end of March, I’d used up four of my ten allotted weed sessions.
I decided I wouldn’t get high at all from July through September, still determined to only use ten times that year.
By April, I was burning through more weed than ever before . . . as if making up for lost time.
Do you ever make plans? What would you do if you knew the plan you’d just failed had been the perfect plan?
In the face of your own inability to change, you could decide to spend the rest of your life running from all signs of what you’ve been held back by. That would, in essence, be to conclude that balance and control after addiction are impossible.
But I believe in balance and control. I believe you can become the person you’ve always wanted to be, and that your transformation can occur about as naturally as weather changing in season.
What I had to learn was that no plan I could find or come up with had any real power (in and of itself) to change me. It didn’t matter how perfectly the pieces fit, or how well the plan reflected the best possible way I could see myself getting to precisely where I knew I needed to be.
Plans, alone, are powerless to change you. They have to be transformed into something else, which we’ll come back to soon.
I recently discovered a bunch of lost journal entries from right before the Ten Times Plan was set to start. At that time, I was just beginning to connect the pieces of my own addiction experience together. I still had no idea how or where I’d share any of it.
Tomorrow: why reading through those forgotten high journal entries again years later was a huge learning experience for me.