Thoughts on Legalized Marijuana Use and Unexpected Triggers
Note: Please be advised that this post may be a using trigger, although it does include information on how to manage triggers.
“How to Grow Weed,” was the title of tonight’s news broadcast here on ABC7 in Washington D.C. If you have not heard yet, as of February 26, 2015, in part of the marijuana decriminalization efforts, the use of marijuana has become legal in Washington D.C. The law states: “Under Initiative 71, people ages 21 or older will be allowed to possess two ounces or less of marijuana, use marijuana on private property and give one ounce or less to another person as long as no money, goods, or services are exchanged. Residents will also be permitted to cultivate up to six marijuana plants — although no more than three mature plants— in their primary home. ” (Source: USA Today)
Yes, you read that right. A person cannot buy or sell marijuana in DC, but they can grow it, and smoke it on their private property. So how does someone go about getting pot if they cannot buy it legally? They go to a Seed Swap of course! Included in the $149 entrance fee, you can also learn how to grow it, dry it, and smoke it! My initial thought about this Initiative was that it was absolutely ridiculous!
It has been especially hard to watch the news around here without hearing at least one mention of this new law. Usually there is some awkward smiling and/or laughing as the broadcaster tries to report the “news,” because obviously this seems ridiculous to them too!
Worst yet, I could not stop thinking about it. Intellectually speaking, it does not make any sense that my mind has been so occupied with it. After all, I am a person in long-term recovery. I am also strictly an alcoholic, and (maybe strangely to some,) drugs are not part of my story. However, I know that I can get addicted to whatever – the coffee, the food, the internet, the blogging, you name it. I know this because I have the addictive thinking.
For instance, once I grasped the idea that someone can now grow marijuana plants in their own house, I then imagined growing an entire garden of them at my house! Better yet, I thought about how “cool” it would be to bake some pot brownies, or jus sprinkle that sh!t all over my dinner. Shoot, never mind smoking it, I could just chew on some leaves whenever convenient!
Do my thoughts surprise you? They used to surprise me too, because I have encounter this type of a trigger before.
Several years ago, I entered the Emergency Room with pleurisy (an infection of the lung lining). It was so painful that I could not breathe and the doctor had immediately ordered a morphine drip for me. I remember sitting there and waiting for the “great, big high,” just like I have heard about. I even complained to the nurse that the drip was not working. She asked me if I was still in pain. I took a deep breath and realized that I was not. “Then it is working.” –she said.
I also got triggered last year when I was doing research on heroin addiction and recovery. Some of the articles described what if felt like to be high on heroin. I read that $10 worth of heroin yields about an 8-hour high. I read that many users do not seem high at all, or how we would imagine based on those old documentaries we have seen in high school. Instead, many users actually seem normal, and may be able to function within a normal social atmosphere. Shoot, I thought, I sure have chosen the wrong drug; I was always stumbling, falling down, and being ridiculous, when I could have been functioning and no one would know that I was high. Ha!
So why am I writing about this? Well, honestly to save myself and hopefully to warn you. Yes, I am a person in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol. However, I am not cured. Moments like those described above are my proof. I used to feel ashamed that I even let my thoughts run “wild” like that, and that I sought to feel the high, and that I even romanticized about sprinkling pot on my dinner. Deep down and to my core, I know the truth; I know how it would all go down if I actually went through with any of these thoughts. I also know that one of the first signs that may lead to a relapse is to hide these thoughts within me because we are only as sick as our secrets. I have learned that repeatedly. Furthermore, To Thine Own Self Be True is not only the slogan on the 12-step chip, but a mantra that I must live by every day. I know that if I keep these triggering thoughts a secret, I will eventually pick up.
You are now probably asking yourself how can this be possible after so many years in recovery. Well, I used to wonder about that too, and I used to think that people who shared about their triggers where just weak! Yet, here I am again. The truth is that if I were really considering drinking, I would not tell anyone about it, because I would not want anyone to stop me! However, I am very aware that I am still an alcoholic; my natural response to life is that I want to drink and I have learned that it is normal to have these kind of thoughts. BUT! It is what I do with those thoughts, that is so very crucial to keeping my sobriety. If I harbor these feelings, they will only get worse. But, once I say how I feel out loud and to someone else, I am no longer festering the thoughts and keeping them a secret. I am also then reaching out to others for support, which in turn helps me stay accountable.
Additionally, after talking to a few people in my recovery network, I can clearly see how crazy my thoughts were. I also find that others can relate to what I was experiencing which helps me not feel ashamed or alone, and… we even endup having some really good laughs about it all!
Have you ever experienced an unexpected trigger? How did you deal with it?!
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