It seems like most people start getting a little overconfident in the early stages of the quit game. Usually within the first 2-4 weeks, as soon as we have a good night’s sleep or the irritability begins to wane, we think we have this thing licked. It’s way more complicated than that. To assume that after 10-20 years of daily pot smoking, we will simply walk away once the decision has been made is making light of a true addiction.
I know the word “addiction” is still hard for many to swallow, especially for smokers who still function day to day, and may even appear to excel in some parts of their lives. In fact, there are many people addicted to substances who still get up every day and go to work, tend to their children, and participate in various social activities.
When we say the word addict, our minds typically picture the bum sleeping under the overpass bridge with no hope, no family, and no job. That scenario is actually the most rare depiction of a common addict. The common addict is the one sitting next to you in church, a member of your local Rotary club, a close family member, or maybe even you.
Addicts aren’t bad people…they just have a bad problem. I still squirm a bit when I have to admit that a drug had so much control over me that I had to refer to the word “addict.” No matter how high of a pedestal we place marijuana on for its so-called benefits, it still has negative consequences. There are consequences with our health, motivation, memory, etc. This is applicable to the simplest definition of an addiction…”use in spite of negative consequences.”
Certainly, marijuana is one of the lowest on the totem pole in terms of negative consequences. But, to deny that they exist is purely delusional. A pot smoker would not have any problems saying that a person who smokes two packs of cigarettes per day has an addiction. Unless, of course, they are the ones doing the cigarette smoking. The addict, most of the time, conjures up very clever ways of justifying their use. Obviously, this leads to the second most common description of an addict…denial.
I recently had a conversation with a reader of The Secret Addiction who, by the way, is an everyday pot smoker. He was upset that I continued to use the word “drug” in the book to refer to marijuana. In his opinion, marijuana is seen as more spiritual, medicinal, and “nutrition” for the mind and body.
I will not dive into the spiritual debate in this article, but the argument of “nutritional” does not fit into any of my perceptions of what proper nutrition is, or should be, for the body or mind. And using the argument of “medicinal’ has to imply that the user possesses an ailment of some sort that the marijuana is intended to be managing or correcting. This is not the case with the vast majority of so-called healthy marijuana smokers.
I will continue to use and can easily defend my use of the word “drug” and “addiction.” In fact, the mere definition of the word drug supports this position.
1. a chemical substance that affects the processes of the mind or body.
2. any chemical compound used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease or other abnormal condition.
3. a substance used recreationally for its effects on the central nervous system, such as a narcotic.
The bottom line is that marijuana is a drug, and it does have the potential to suck people in to the point that the word “addicted” can become a part of their personal vocabulary.