Saturday, March 29, 2008


I smoked pot for years.

My first experience of it was when I was 19. I enjoyed it very much, and never saw a reason to stop aside brief hiatuses while pregnant and nursing.

I graduated from college, was productive and successful in my career.

I take that back; there was one reason to stop, and I did, for about 5 years, upon moving to St. Louis. As a mother of a two year old the people I met were parents--my entire circle of friends were parents of Connor's friends--very different from the city I'd moved from. There I'd lived 18 years before becoming a mom, so I had many different circles of friends outside of parents. Among other parents is not really a seemly place for a mom to go seeking sources, which is why I didn't smoke pot in St. Louis.

I didn't miss it.

Upon returning to the Pacific Northwest I resumed friendships with old friends and returned to that former pleasure too. Since I'd stopped easily in the 5 years I was away from it I had no fear of addiction, and I thought I'd never stop again. I enjoyed it and felt no guilt for that enjoyment.

I'm aware that there are others who would see it as a guilty pleasure.

Here's how I used it: for me it was a gateway to the interior. It facilitated my transition into a reflective mode. I did a lot of writing and thinking while stoned. Writing my thoughts was a joy under the influence. Since I was very young, in pre-pot days I'd found that writing created a sense of safety and inspiration inside--a place to find understanding and make discoveries. I've described it to myself as 'getting warmer'. I don't know if smoking pot facilitated this feeling, or made it easier for me to access it--or merely enhanced my pleasure in getting to this place. I do know that I felt safe, warm, and happy.

About a week before I had my epiphany that Scott's school was doing him harm I had a dream. In it I was going to go for a walk with some women friends and asked them if they wanted to get high first. They said no, and their reason was fear that the ember, or 'cherry' in my pipe would not extinguish, and would ignite the contents of my purse. In the dream I didn't think that was much of a reason, since I always knock the ashes out before putting the pipe away.

I told Sharon about this dream. This was during the time that I was in agony about all the different choices I felt I had in front of me, and the sense that to choose one was to sacrifice another. She wondered if the dream might be telling me that smoking pot might be part of what was preventing all the various pieces from coalescing into something coherent. She wondered if it might be a benefit to stop for a while and see for myself if there was a positive or a negative outcome.

Interestingly, it was the next day that I went to visit Billy's classroom at the new school. Now ordinarily, to take a chunk out of my alone time to run an errand like that would have been very painful. To my surprise, though, it wasn't that difficult. When I thought about it, I realized that knowing I wasn't going to be smoking pot made it easier to surrender that time. Then it was the very next day that I took Scott with me to the class and 'the miracle occurred.'

So there was validation, nearly instantly, that there was a good outcome in ceasing indulging in pot. I've maintained the moratorium, and though I largely don't miss it, there is one thing I do miss:

my private writing, my journaling, is not coming as easily. I've been experiencing a restlessness inside that makes it more difficult to settle into my thoughts and feelings so I can deconstruct them and mine what's there. I don't experience that cozy bubble when I write lately.

Sharon thinks the smoking-and-writing was a way of making it easier for me to remain in a situation that's been very uncomfortable. In that way I created a haven that felt safe and made it easier for me to tolerate what's missing in my marriage. Without it I'm exposed to the discomforts that I can either anesthetize myself to, or move away from. She thinks the restlessness is about a sense of readiness inside that it's time to act, make a change.

So I'm considering that. I need to know before I make a move that it's truly growing from my inner experience--not because 'my therapist thinks so'. I do know that I need to continue to allow myself to be exposed to this 'restlessness' so I can learn from it what I need to do next.

It seems important to be honest about this past of mine, in the interests of authenticity and full disclosure. I don't really know why here, or why now, but it is the truth, so I'm going to let it stand here, along with my fear that people I care about might think less of me on account of it.


Lori said...

In case *I* am one of those people, I have this to say:

I appreciate *all* that makes you you. I so enjoy your writing -- the depth and the connections you make. The way I am left thinking. And heaven knows I have benefitted from your calm :-).

As for the restlessness, I think the best way to relieve it is to listen to it. It is telling you something from deep in your soul. I advise against silencing it, because you lose the most important connection of all. To yourself.

excavator said...

Gracias, Lori.

You are ("one of those people"). In fact, a few minutes ago I sat up from my book, thought, 'I wrote WHAT????' and opened my computer to get to the blog--I don't know, to pull it back?

So it was a relief when my e-mail icon animated, and I found your message there.


Suzy said...

Survival, that's all it is.

We all have our tactics. Mine tends to be food.

No judgement. We do what gets us through.



irreverentmama said...

I enjoyed it for a time after my divorce, when I was in my early thirties. I was meeting with a friend who was trying to teach classically-trained me to improvise on the piano. And it just. wasn't. happening.

I'd try, but instead of letting my fingers lead my brain, I was humming a tune in my head for my fingers to follow, and when they "missed" a note, I'd falter.

This happened for three or four weeks in a row. Then one day, he hauled out a joint. "I think this'll help." Why not?

It was amazing. Suddenly, the music flowed out my fingertips, and my consciousness was following, not leading. It was the turning-point for me, the pivotal experience. Now I understood what he'd been trying to get me to do, but which, bound by my consciousness, I'd been unable to allow.

I got visuals, too: a path (which I knew to be the melody/music) with a signpost, and when I found myself taking the unexpected path ... I just followed it. There were pastel-coloured flowers, made from frosted glass that unfurled from each other, one after the other. There was a black-haired woman in a long skirt standing on a windy clifftop overlooking white-capped surf.

Not bad for the first time, huh?

We smoked from time to time therafter. Never got any visuals again, though. We didn't smoke every time we met to jam (he on the guitar, me on piano), because I wanted to know I could do it sober (is that the word?) as well as stoned.

And then one day I had a paranoid experience, and even while I knew it would pass, the anxiety and just-barely-controlled panic put me right off. I'd learned what I needed, I'd accessed and freed the creativity. I didn't need it any more. I haven't had any in, oh, it must be twelve, thirteen years.

I don't miss the pot, but I do remember those flowers with some wistfulness ...

- Laura

excavator said...

*GOD*, Laura! I'm so jealous! I never had an experience like that, no matter how earnestly I sought it (back in more adventurous and experimental days with peyote and LSD.) I guessed I just had too limited a consciousness to soar into the cool visuals.

Still, I'm drooling over your experience.

So it sounds like your seminal experience opened up the neural pathway and you were able to find your way there again and again?

Thanks for posting!


excavator said...

Hey, Suzy!

I'm eagerly awaiting your next post. Have you been getting any other messages from people moaning that the suspense is killing them?

Maybe I'm the only one who's been so impolite!

Douglas W said...

I haven't read any of your pot-assisted writing... at least I don't think I have... but what I have read so far is good. There are always times when things are difficult to express. Times when everything just flows like a mountainstream and doesn't want to stop. Times when we reach log jams and can't get past for weeks on end. But then that's the nature of creativity and expressing oneself... it doesn't always flow evenly and easily. And I suspect there have been other things contributing to the blockage recently.

You write well, you express things well, you cover all kinds of interesting subjects, and I'm enjoying what I've read so far.

excavator said...

If you're reading from latest backward to earliest, then so far you haven't read anything "pot assisted" (:D)

When you get back before mid-January there's a good chance you'll stumble on some 'facilitated' stuff.

*Thank you* so much for your very nice words about my writing. It's a real gift to receive, and makes me smile when I think of it.