The Marijuana Addict. Post #423.

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“The grass always looks greener when you are really high.” -A commercial airline pilot

 

Like any other addict, the first thing he thought about when waking up in the morning was getting high. “Waking and baking” had become one of his favorite activities of the day. In the mornings he would have less anxiety when using marijuana. He got out of bed and made his coffee. He sat down in his chair or went outside and took his first hit of marijuana for the day. It felt good. It helped to wake him up and put him in a less grumpy mood. He drank his coffee and enjoyed feeling the combined effects of caffeine and THC. He would then read or exercise or do some domestic chores. Being high made it feel much more enjoyable for him to do these ordinarily mundane things.

Whenever he felt the effects of being high begin to wither away he would smoke again. This way he could hold back the tiredness, boredom, lack of interest and slight depression that comes along with no longer feeling high. He often made sure that he did not get too high. He just wanted to maintain a slight marijuana “buzz” to take the edge off while getting through the day-to-day. (Sometimes he would get immensely high, so high he did not want to move. But this was only on weekends or after a hard days work was done.) The marijuana just made things feel easier, more enhanced. Made the mundane much less mundane. Made the things he did not want to do much more enjoyable to get done. Being high seemed to take away the more unbearable aspects of his being.

He was able to be productive when high. It seemed like he could be even more effective at doing certain things (especially cleaning). Sometimes he felt like the marijuana gave him more focus and creativity. It opened his mind and made him want to do things. Everything he did seemed to be done with more interest and enthusiasm when high. The existential pain and banality that daily life often created, were alleviated by marijuana. Suddenly he was happy doing whatever it was that needed doing (which was often nothing). Even going to work felt fun. Marijuana sometimes made him feel like an accomplished Zen practitioner but without the Zen practice.

When high he went about his life in a happier state. He often felt like a better person than when not high. He would convince himself that marijuana was his medicine. This is why he needed to be high all the time. Things just felt better.

But sometimes this was not the case. Sometimes being high would not work as well for him. He would become paranoid that other people knew that he was high or thought that he was acting dumb. He would wonder if people thought he was a loser and this would make him distance himself from them. Sometimes he even felt bad about himself for being high all the time. He felt like he was doing something that he knew he should not be doing. But he would tell himself that this was just conservative social conditioning kicking in and then try to let these more shame-filled thoughts go. He was just a better person when high is how he really felt.

Sometimes he would begin to freak out because he feared that he could stop breathing or lose control at any second. It felt terrifying. Maybe the marijuana was poisoned? He felt his heart beat and he would become suddenly aware of the very fine line between life and death. His anxiety would spike and he would be unable to get rid of a sense of impending doom. Maybe something was seriously wrong with him? Maybe he should call an ambulance? Sometimes when this would happen he would drink beer. The combination of beer and marijuana seemed to balance out the more undesirable effects of being high. Sometimes the beer would get completely rid of the anxiety caused by the marijuana and this would allow “highness” to be so much more enjoyable. Often times he would drink beer when smoking marijuana. Often times he had to drink beer when smoking marijuana.

Sometimes marijuana would also cause him to become easily angered. More reactive towards things he would not normally get so angry about. When high he would sometimes lose control of himself without any say in the matter. It was just a sudden lose of self-control. When not high he noticed that he had more self-control over his reactivity, but when he was high if even the slightest thing made him mad he would react. The paranoia that he did not know he felt caused so many things to be blown out of proportion.

The more he used marijuana on a regular basis, he noticed that these negative effects of marijuana would often mellow out. The anxiety would still occasionally be there but the paranoia and anger seemed to dissipate over time. But he had to remain high all the time in order to have this more desirable outcome. But so what! Life was better high! Music was better. Television and film were better. Being creative felt easier. Sex was better. Sleep was better. Focus was easierLife no longer felt so dull. The pain was gone. Yeah he gained weight as a result of always needing to be munching on something delicious and drinking beer, but life was just happier when high. The belly and love handles were a small price to pay.

He had a hard time accomplishing things. Marijuana allowed him to be more content with his life in the present moment so there was not as much of a need to be ambitious about getting things done with a future purpose in mind. His future ambitions seemed to lessen and he didn’t mind that he was getting less done. Society was a trap anyways that he wanted to drop out from. Everybody was controlled by “the forces of mediocrity” and marijuana allowed him to become very aware of how narrow people’s minds had become. Timothy Leary’s saying: Turn on, Tune in and Drop out become his motto. By smoking marijuana he was liberating himself from the more socially conditioned workings of his own mind.

He always wanted to be high. When he was out of his house it was a bit more difficult. He felt some paranoia when interacting with the world. The world that he wanted to drop out of made him anxious. Being in cars or public places made him anxious when high. Being social made him feel uncomfortable. Uneasy. He much preferred the quiet and calm of his home when high. The home environment was much easier to control. So he became more isolated. Spent more and more time at home and in his head. He preferred being lost in the stoned meanderings of his own mind rather than engaged in social interactions with other people. Being social with others was just too hard when high.

He remained high for years. Years. All in all it was not a regrettable experience even though he does not really remember much. Several times he tried to give marijuana up or smoke it less frequently but his attempts almost always failed. After a week of not using marijuana he told himself that he could just use it more recreationally. But once he got high again he wanted to be high all the time. His own company and solitary activities were just so much more fun when high. The boredom was gone. The grass looked greener. Things just felt better, so he was back to being high all the time again and again. He was not as worried about what he was going to do with his life. Money was no longer as important. Everything was just fine when high. He did not need anything more than what was right here. He was all good. Everyone else was too uptight. But in the back of his mind he knew that he was going nowhere. He knew he was not living the life he really wanted to be living. He knew he was throwing his full potential under the bus. But that was ok. Such is life. He was right where he wanted to be. What a wonderful weed!

When he finally did manage to stop using marijuana it was not so easy. The first week or so he felt very anxious. Uneasy and on edge. He was tired a lot of the time. His mood had become depressed. He would become depressed when using marijuana as well (those times that he would not be high were often filled with a low-level depression). The cravings for marijuana were strong and constant. If he just used marijuana again all of this would go away. He would feel better again. But he stuck with it and just dealt with the cravings. His thoughts told him he could use marijuana recreationally. He remembered how nice it was being high and somehow managed to forget about all of the less advantageous aspects of using marijuana. It was as if his brain was continually trying to talk him into using again. Come on. You will be fine. But this time he was determined to not give in. He knew that if he went back and got high just one time, he would be high all the time.

The boredom returned. The mundane feelings returned. Cleaning or being creative was no longer nearly as enjoyable. His job became a drag again. He seemed to slow down and become less enthusiastic about basic things. It felt like he had to rebuild from the ground up. Normal life returned. Now he had to do what felt like really heavy lifting without the medicated feeling helping him out. But gradually things improved. The paranoia went away. He was much better at controlling his anger. He became reactive much less. The depression seemed to dissipate. His ambition gradually returned. The fine line between life and death began to feel much thicker. And even though things did not feel nearly as enjoyable as they did when he was high, gradually he felt like he was doing much more with his life. Now he was not stealing Zen. He was actual practicing it.

He still thinks about getting high each and every day. How nice it would be to be back in that stoney space where everything feels more enhanced and fun. With one puff to be able to eradicate the boredom, stress and mundane nature of day-to-day life. It is a continual temptation. But he also knows that boredom and the mundane are matches which light the fires of ambition. Without the matches, nothing can catch fire. He no longer wanted to drop out. He did not miss the paranoia, anxiety, angry reactivity, shame and continual need to buy more weed that seemed to accompany his perpetual dropping out. He still wanted to turn on and tune in but now he had to put in the effort that was needed to create these inner states for himself.

Spell Check Error!

To my subscribers.

Please excuse the spelling error in the first sentence of Hot Soup On A Hot Day. I spelled “rarely” correctly but for whatever reason spell check changed it to “early” without my say so. I had sent out the finished piece before noticing the unintentional error. Here is the first sentence in it’s corrected and meant-to-be form:

Please learn from my mistake, even though I realize this rarely happens.

Thank you for your understanding that sometimes, in rare circumstances, spell check can work against us despite our best editing efforts.

Best,

Randall

Hot Soup On A Hot Day (Post #422)

Please learn from my mistake, even though I realize this rarely happens.

I don’t know why I did it. It’s been a long process to return to normal. I never appreciated normalcy as much as I do now. Many years ago, while seeking treatment for a certain health condition, an Ayurvedic doctor told me to never consume hot liquids on a hot day. He said that this was the worst thing a person could do to their health. I listened, up until last week. Then I forgot.

When a person is hungry and there is very little food around, eating for the sake of health no longer matters. Eating to be healthy is a luxury that most people in the world can not afford. I made my self hot soup only because there was no other food to eat in my house. I had to be at work within the hour, so I had no time to go out for food. I had to eat what was left in my pantry and since there was only one can of minestrone soup and I was starving, I ate it without thinking.

I had not been outside yet that day so I was not aware of how hot it was. I suppose I should have been since normally I check the weather on my iPhone. But that day I did not. Had I known that the day was going to be so hot I probably would have eaten the soup cold. This is a common human problem- only realizing what the correct thing to do is after doing the wrong thing. I am human.

I brought the soup to a boil in one of my pots. I then added a few tablespoons of cayenne pepper to make it spicier. I prefer all of my food spicy. Non-spicy food bores me. It lacks soul. I also added some garlic salt along with a few raw cloves of garlic. I then took out a tablespoon and began eating the soup right out of the pot. I don’t enjoy doing dishes and avoid using dishes whenever possible. My wife often gets frustrated that I eat my meals right out of the pot they were cooked in. Since I am the one who does the dishes in our house, how could she understand?

I always eat as if someone is about to take my food away. In retrospect I now realize I should not have eaten the hot soup so quickly but I needed to be at work. I burned my mouth and my gut and probably began the process of some sort of abdominal or esophageal ulceration. When a person is hungry and in a hurry all health considerations go out the door. I finished the minestrone soup quickly, put the empty pot and tablespoon in the sink, picked up my things and left the house. From the start of eating the soup to the time I left my house, no more than five minutes elapsed. It really is not a good idea to do anything in a hurry.

The moment I got into my car I noticed an unusual amount of perspiration on my forehead, chest and underarms. I thought nothing of it. It was just an effect of eating hot soup and would pass quickly enough. I turned the air conditioner on HIGH and drove to work. During my seven minute commute, the perspiration turned into a full blown sweating attack. But I still assumed it would pass.

While at work the sweating did not cease. It became relentless. I had to take off my button down shirt and use it to soak up the sweat coming out of my pores. I hated doing this since the shirt was new, expensive and I had just received it as a birthday gift. Sweat was dripping from my forehead onto my desk and crotch area. My entire black t-shirt was soaked. What the hell is going on? was all I could think. My tan pants were also absorbing a large amount of sweat from my leg and crotch pours. After an hour at work I was completely drenched in my body’s sweat. My sweat filled the room with the rancid smell of digested garlic. It looked as if I had jumped into a pool with my clothes on. This is when I began freaking out. I use the word freaking literally. I panicked.

I left work without asking or letting anyone know. I just ran out the front door and went directly to my car. As I ran I could hear the soaked cotton sound of my pants rubbing together at the thighs. When I got into my car I looked at my face in the rearview mirror. I was drenched. My hair and forehead were dripping with sweat. I considered going to the emergency room but decided to drive home and figure things out instead. Other than feelings of panic I felt fine. I was just sweating profusely and it would not stop. I had my car’s air conditioner on HIGH as I drove home, all the vents pointed directly at my chest and face. It is strange that I was thinking this because I have often heard people say things like this but suddenly I was the one thinking, Why me? Why do things like this always happen to me? I wanted to cry.

Once I made it home I took off all of my clothes and turned my home’s air conditioner on HIGH. I considered texting my wife and letting her know what was happening but I did not want to worry her. In the nude I walked all around my house waiting for the cold to kick in and trying to calm myself down. I got bath towels out and carried them around with me in order to absorb the massive amounts of sweat. I opened up the freezer and stood in front of it. I even stuck my head in the freezer with the freezer door closed against my back. None of this seemed to help. I continued to sweat.

I took a cold bath, rubbed ice cubes all over my body, ate a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. I laid down on the kitchen floor and covered as much of my naked body as possible with packages of frozen vegetables that we had kept stacked for years in the freezer in case the apocalypse struck. As the packages of frozen vegetables thawed and the air conditioner roared away- I continued to sweat all over the linoleum. I had no idea what was going on.

Should I go to the hospital? Should I let my wife know? What if I sweat so much I just melt away? All kinds of thoughts ran through my mind. I thought up various ways that I could try to stop the sweating. Climb into the freezer and shut myself in. Build a tent over the air conditioner vent and stay in there with packages of frozen vegetables duct taped to my body. Fill the bathtub with ice and soak in it (we did not have enough ice for this, I would have had to go to the liquor store down the street and was in no condition to be seen in public). As I was searching my mind for solutions to stop the profuse sweating it was then that I remembered the Ayurvedic physician telling me to never consume hot liquids on a hot day. I then remembered the hot minestrone soup. “Shit,” I said out loud.

When my wife returned home later that day and saw packages of frozen vegetables duct taped all over my naked body, she began laughing hysterically. I often did these kind of pranks to lessen the stress and banality of normal life. When I was finally able to calm her down, convince her this was for real and tell her about the severity of my situation, her laughter turned into deep concern. The sweating lasted for several days and my wife helped me out in whatever ways she could. I do not know what I would have done without a loving wife to help me. She kept me hydrated, she made me delicious cold gazpacho soups, she bought me powdered electrolytes which she rubbed into my body and kept fresh bags of ice piled on top of me as I rested in bed. Most importantly she continually calmed me down by telling me that everything was going to be alright. This helped my mental state so much because when the sweating would not stop for days, I really believed I was going to melt away.

The sweating ran its course and I have thankfully lived to tell this tale. It was a terrible experience that I am sure will traumatize me for the rest of my time on earth. Sweating that profusely for so many days was something that I would not even wish upon the most terrible human being. It was the single most awful experience of my entire life, even though I did enjoy the attention and care that I received from my wife. For months to come I will have to take mega doses of supplements and drink a lot of coconut water to return my bodies potassium and magnesium levels to a normal state, but this is fine. I am just happy that I did not melt away.

Most lessons are learned after the mistakes have been made. I realize that very rarely do us humans learn anything without experiencing the consequences first, not matter how much someone tries to teach or warn us. This is a fundamental human flaw and we just have to accept that some things don’t change. As far as consuming hot soup on a hot day is concerned, I will never do that again. I realize I can’t stop you from consuming hot soup on a hot day, but for what it is worth, I wanted to try.