My love affair with alcohol was always, always a tumultuous one.
From the time I stole a mixture of scotch/whiskey/gin out of my father’s liquor cabinet (aka the pots and pans cupboard) and poured it into a water bottle; to the time I quit as a result of getting knocked up, we were frenemies, repeatedly getting into trouble together. Actually, alcohol was really just a mistress to my one true romance -- Mary Jane.
From basically the day I started smoking weed at age 15, until the time I quit, I was a daily smoker. I’m 25 now, so basically half my life. Mary Jane never steered me wrong. The only bad thing that ever happened to me while baked was being induced into a comatose-like state watching MTV reruns of "Disaster Date," when I really should have been studying for a midterm, or something. I have no bones to pick with weed. MJ was my friend, and we ended on good terms. I have made peace with my decision, and MJ was cool with it. I am too except...
My spouse is still in his love affair with MJ. In all honesty, at times I feel like my love triangle has become one where my husband cheats on his sweet, loving weed with me, the tumultuous mistress.
When we met, the fact that he smoked weed was a big turn-on for me. I had just spent 7 months working as a stripper on an island where my clientele was primarily military dudes, who, obviously, can’t smoke (but oh did they wish they could). So meeting a "civilian" who loved weed almost as much as I did was a relief. I don’t think I would have seriously dated someone who didn’t smoke weed, just like I would never seriously date a cigarette smoker.
Our "way we met story" was just a really typical one; me, lonely wayward traveling stripper, going home drunk with a guy I just met and then getting his name tattooed on my shin a week later. All that’s missing to make it a romcom is Meg Ryan. Six weeks after we met for the first time, we were living together and I was knocked up. Thus began my enforced sobriety.
And I slowly lost my mind. I may not have gotten physically ill while being pregnant, but I definitely got it hard mentally. I felt trapped. I had no friends or family -- they were all in another country. Our living situation was not ideal.
When we met, he was renting a room in a house with friends, but they ended up being not so friendly. To the point that they would drunkenly bang on our door and yell at us to leave. So I felt literally trapped in this room. I was trapped in a solitary room with someone who smoked weed. While I couldn’t.
And all I thought was -- JUST YOU FUCKING WAIT. Just you WAIT until I pop this kid out, and I will be chilling with a blunt while you change diapers. I dreamed of it. I said, Roll me a blunt as a welcome home present.
I had a baby and SHOCKER SHOCKER READ ALL ABOUT IT!! Things changed. The "welcome home blunt" didn’t happen, for me at least, until about month later. I kept smoking, but it wasn’t the same. I mostly just got tired. I felt very, very weird being stoned around a baby, and not just any old baby -- MY BABY. MY BABY THAT I HAD TO LOOK AFTER EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY FOR THE REST OF HIS LIFE. I had continuous freak outs about this concept. Very soon, this feeling completely overwhelmed me and I vowed to quit for good.
Throughout this entire time, my hubby continued to be a daily smoker. One of the reasons I didn’t quit sooner was because I wanted to be included. He felt he had to find reasons to leave to go smoke. Whenever I would talk out loud about needing, say, tampons or something, he would immediately offer to go to grocery store. And I knew he just wanted to smoke and I knew that he was beginning to feel bad about doing it around me, and therefore felt like he was doing me a favor by leaving. But I felt betrayed.
Doing it when I wasn’t around made me feel like he didn’t want me around. And worse yet, he was going to do something that I LOVED to do, I just felt like it wasn’t right anymore. So not only did I feel excluded, I felt like I was being excluded for doing what I thought was right for our family.
That’s what really makes the whole thing shitty, is that I never had a bad relationship with weed ... unlike alcohol, which I ended up realizing was much more trouble than it was worth, thus a sigh of relief ensued awhile after realizing I simply could NOT, ever, get blackout wasted again. But with weed, all I have are memories of good times with good friends.
It’s that nostalgia that gets me the most. I have only lived in this country for less than two years. Aside from talking to my parents on Skype every once in awhile, I don’t have any connection to anyone I knew for the first 23 years of my life. And weed was such a huge part of my life for so long that quitting really is like losing (another) good friend.
So it has been a year since I quit and a few things have changed. We get along a lot better than we did a year ago, except when I bring up the fact that I am bothered by him smoking weed. He has many, many different excuses. He claims he has no reason to stop doing something he enjoys. He says I am trying to take away all of his fun. He says it helps with his anxiety and panic attacks, and if he quits he’ll need to take pills -- which neither of us want. He says he will quit when he is ready, and why can’t I just accept that and let him take his time?
I want to take away his fun? I WANT TO HAVE FUN! I wish I could just smoke all day -- but I have certain responsibilities now that are more important. I gave up my fun -- but I have fun in NEW ways now. And I hate the fact that I, the former crazy down-for-anything party girl of my group of (old) friends, is now the "bitchy, uptight, responsible one."
Whenever we are out with friends, or at the beach, or whatever, he asks me like I’m HIS mother... “Can I go smoke?” SURE. Can I go too? Oh wait, I have a baby to take care of.
And the part that hurts the most is that I feel like he won’t even give it a chance to be sober. I am spending all of my time with someone who is stoned -- and I’m not. We're on two different wavelengths. I feel like I’m not good enough to hang out with sober. It’s like the old me that just *had* to smoke weed before going to a funny movie -- it just made it so much better and funnier, that I thought it would be lame without it.
I just want him to realize that life is just as good without weed, if only he would give it a chance.
And that’s what I have learned. I went from someone who was so bummed when I didn’t have weed that I felt like going to the movies/eating dinner/going clubbing/doing homework/taking a walk/working out was so fucking lame, to someone who just laughs soberly on a frequent, daily basis. I find joy in all sorts of things. And I realize I never really needed weed. And I am fine without it.
Until my husband comes home from work and I am stressed from taking care of a toddler all day and I’m in the middle of trying to fix us dinner and he asks if he can “go upstairs” (because he smokes weed on our balcony off our bedroom).. and really, he’s not asking, he’s telling.. And then I think about smoking.
See that’s the thing. While sober people may be subjected to drugs in daily life, they don’t always have to be subjected to it in their own living space. But I am. Every. single. day.
I don’t want my son to grow up and think that you need some sort of substance -- be a it weed or alcohol or whatever -- to have fun. Life in itself IS fun. And you know this when you are a kid. Just somewhere along the way, you seem to forget that you laughed just to laugh at something silly, or you ran around and fell to the ground breathlessly just because. You enjoyed life just because life is so damn awesome.
I just wish my husband would give himself a chance to discover that too.