- It is possible to become addicted to marijuana?
- Every day about 4,700 American kids try marijuana for the first time?
- In 2002 almost 300,000 people entered drug treatment for problems in which marijuana was their primary drug.
- Since 1991 marijuana use has doubled in 8th to 10th graders and almost half of all high school seniors have tried marijuana and about 21percent are current users.
Weeding Out the Truth About Pot
By Kathy Pride
Don’t think marijuana is such a big deal? Think again. This weed can grow out of control, take over, and ruin your life.
Pop culture tells us it is “only marijuana” and not a big deal. There was a time I bought into that lie but it all changed when our son was court ordered out of our home for “only marijuana.”
When our son Matt was fifteen he started smoking pot. We tried talking to him about it, but our relationship was strained and the conversations did not go well. The next three years were hard and almost destroyed our family. Broken relationships, lying, drug use, an arrest, lousy school performance, loss of friendships, and ultimately Matt having to leave our home were all part of our family’s story.
Not Measuring Up and Feeling Alone
Peer pressure is often associated with drug use. But feelings of NOT belonging, not measuring up and being lonely also can factor in to the decision to try drugs.
“When Chris went to college and Dad was at work most of the time, I felt like I was alone and no one was there for me. Over the past several years I have felt alone, jealous (of his younger sisters) and angry,” Matt said.
Using drugs can dull hurt feelings. But if this approach to feeling better continues it is possible to become dependent and addicted to drugs. Seek out a trusted adult to try to improve communication with your parents.
I didn’t realize that marijuana was addictive and that people entered treatment for marijuana abuse. In 2002, that number was almost 300,000.
Communicate, communicate, communicate…
Communication is important. Usually knowing what parents think is not a problem. Figuring out what your parents think is not difficult. However, communication is a two way process, and I have to admit that I was not always as good at the listening part of the process.
What are you thinking? Do you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts with your parents? Would you tell them if friends offered you drugs or if you tried drugs?
I wanted to have open communication with Matt, but I didn’t really take the time to listen carefully. I wish I had known how ashamed Matt felt, it might have helped me to listen more carefully to what he had to say.
“I thought that I couldn’t express myself to you or that there was no point in trying because it often seemed to me that you were much more concerned about getting your point across than listening to what I had to say.”
“If we can open up and share how we feel with one another within our family, I think we will communicate better and things could be better for everyone. I didn’t want to open up to you (Mom and Dad) in the past because I was ashamed of myself and my actions. I also thought I had control of my life when I was smoking, to deal with my problems. But I was wrong.”
While parents are busy denying their kids are involved with drugs ignoring common warning signs, kids may also be in denial about the extent of their problem, or the degree to which drugs have gripped their life.
“When I was placed on probation last November, I just continued smoking. I told myself that I would stop, but I just didn’t. Within the first month of probation I had one hot urine test.”
Matt’s words state he thought he had control his life when he was smoking, but he was wrong. He was well in to treatment before he wrote the following words:
“My denial is still a big problem. I’m going to try to face it and be vigorously honest with myself.”
Denial can lead to a new definition of low. A common saying in the world of drug use is that the user won’t stop until they have reached bottom. By the time the user hits bottom, options for a bright future may be gone. School failure, an unplanned pregnancy, and living on the street or in jail narrow the future course significantly.
It was much easier for me to spot other’s mistakes than my own. Kids are not much different. Having a close friend who can point out denial when it happens it a big help.
How low can you go?
What is the bottom? I thought Matt’s arrest was his bottom. I have to admit I was relieved when Matt was arrested (paraphernalia charges). I thought for sure he had hit his bottom. I was wrong. He thought he had reached his bottom too, but he was also fooled.
“I thought maybe getting arrested would be enough of a bottom to make me want to stop smoking pot. But when it happened, it wasn’t. This is hard for me to tell you and it will probably be hard for you to hear, but I know I have to tell you at some point, so it might as well be now. At the beginning of summer I traded my snowboard for pot. My board is gone and there really isn’t a chance of getting it back.”
Unfortunately the bottom wasn’t hit until he was court ordered out of our home. Even trading his snowboard for pot was a new depth (ultimate low). Matt is a passionate snowboarder, and he saw his board go up in smoke.
Not me you say? I would never trade my snowboard (guitar, computer, other expensive material possession) for pot? Never say never. What was once important becomes unimportant.
If this pattern starts to develop it is more important than ever to talk to someone before options start to deteriorate. Chances are it won’t be your parent. Is there another adult who understands and can bridge the communication gap?
Don’t stop caring…
Often when drugs take over as a primary motivator not only do motivations and activities change, but friends change too.
One of the biggest problems with marijuana, besides the fact that it is illegal and also serves as a gateway drug (meaning once it no longer satisfies the user’s cravings they move on to stronger drugs) is that it totally zaps one’s motivation. It is easier to hang around others who are making the same poor choices. Matt had been a top student and athlete and over time those people and passions became less important to him.
“When I started smoking pot I started hanging out with different kids. I gradually spent more and more time with people where I could smoke pot. Over a one-and-one-half-year period, my main group of friends totally changed. As I started hanging around my new group of friends, I gradually started to become more like them. I stopped caring as much about school and my activities.”
Sometimes the changes happen gradually, only leading to more denial. Sometimes the changes are rapid and noticeable, much more difficult to rationalize or explain away. We were all frustrated and angry.
“When I was sent to rehab I felt a lot of anger towards my parents for sending me. I held deep resentment towards them after that.”
There was a lot of learning, healing, and forgiveness that had to take place.
I recognized the importance of asking Matt for forgiveness for things I said and did. It was not a one way street of demanding forgiveness from him without extending it also. Communication is always a two way street.
“I now know that they were only looking out for me and that they were trying to do what was best for me because they love me.”
It was a long, hard road. One I wish we could have avoided. It’s harder than it sounds, but there is a lot of truth to, “Just say no.”
If Matt had said “no” there would not have been the fractures in our relationship, thousands of dollars spent in treatment, an arrest, and time away that will never be recovered.
Need help saying “no”?
- Keep the lines of communication open. Your parents care.
- Keep this saying swirling around in your head, “If in doubt, don’t.”
- It is easier to not start in the first place than have to dig yourself out of a hole.
- Find an adult at school or in the community, even a phone hotline you can talk to.
- Keep your long-term goals firmly in mind.
- Focus on one decision at a time.
As a parent, I never thought my kid would get involved with drugs. Did I think he might try marijuana? Yes. But I never imagined he would become addicted and court ordered out of our home.
What about you?
Maybe you have also gotten into things that you didn’t really intend to do, and now you are out of control. Maybe you are wondering, "How in the world do I get back?" Well, the Bible says, "When you seek me with all of your heart, then you will find me." You may be thinking, "Can this really be for me? Can it really happen?" The answer is yes. From your innermost being you can change.
Whatever you currently have this compulsive desire for -- whether it is drugs, alcohol, pornography, or something else -- it can all be taken away. You too, can have peace. Christ wants to set you free today.
Here are the words of Jesus, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I’ll come in.” (Revelation 3:20) Is that for you? Are you hearing His voice right now? If you are, all you have to do is bow your head and pray a very simple prayer.
How to Give Your Life to Christ:
1. Admit you are a sinner and need forgiveness.
2. Believe that Jesus Christ died for you on the Cross and rose from the grave.
3. Through prayer, confess that Jesus Christ is the only way to God and commit to live for Him for the rest of your life.
What to Pray:
Dear Lord Jesus,
I know that I am a sinner and need your forgiveness. I believe that You died on the cross for my sins and rose from the grave to give me life. I know You are the only way to God so now I want to quit disobeying You and start living for You. Please forgive me, change my life and show me how to know You. In Jesus' name. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, please send us an e-mail to let us know. Or you can call our CBN Prayer Counseling Center at (800) 759-0700. We would love to talk with you and send you some resources to help you begin your walk with the Lord.
Copyright © 2007 Kathy Pride. Used by permission.
Kathy Pride is a nurse, patient advocate, parent educator, and mom who loves to encourage people. Please visit her at www.tapestryministry.com.
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