I have to take a break in my timeline to talk about something that showed up in my life about a week ago that plagues our youth and young adults. This was not, however, the first time that this showed up in my life – it just found its way back in, reminding me just how much this needs to be talked about, yet sadly it is not usually discussed openly.
No, I didn’t smoke it or ingest it in any other way over the last week – it just showed up in a friend’s struggle. As I thought about my friend, it totally took me back to when I was 18, 19, 20, 21 years old – actually through when I was about 24 years old. And wow, there was a lot that I forgot about during those years!
When I was 18 years old, I tried my first joint with my roommate at the time. This was after I had finished my first (and last) semester at Texas Tech University and was back in my hometown working with a direct marketing company (now that’s a story for another day!). I knew my roommate smoked pot, but I didn’t. I hadn’t ever done a drug in my life! I had smoked cigarettes and drank alcohol (and still did), but had never done drugs! That would be crossing the line for me. And yet, eventually I did it anyways. Curiosity and temptation won.
I remember sitting in our apartment floor the first time I tried it. I wanted to be somewhere that I couldn’t fall down, just in case things went bad. I know that sounds silly, but I hadn’t ever tried it – I really didn’t know what to expect!
What I found, however, was that I actually liked the feeling. So, I did it again – and again – and again – until it became a lifestyle for me. The next 7 years of my life would be somewhat of a blur because of it.
I lived with the same roommate for the next 3 years (from Texas to Alaska and back – again, story for another day), so I always had a supply or some way to get it. When she finally moved out of my apartment, I made sure that I knew her contacts. “Contacts” is a subtle way of saying “drug dealers” without actually saying it – in case you were wondering.
Anytime I ran low, I would simply call him up and in less than a few hours, I’d be replenished. Looking back, the act of buying the marijuana was incredibly dangerous – I just never really thought it through. I would meet this dealer in shady neighborhoods. I would smoke with him. I didn’t know him, other than being my dealer. He was a complete stranger – and I had no clue what he was capable of. He probably even carried a gun – being a drug dealer and all… The scariest part is that I actually let him inside of my apartment on more than one occasion. What on earth was I thinking!!?!
As if that wasn’t dangerous enough, I would smoke and drive – dumb, dumb, dumb!! I would drive around to several of my friends’ houses and bring my little “goodie bag” with me. I was like the pot fairy or something. Ugh! I hate this part of my life thinking back to it!
There was one night when I was living with my oldest brother that he ripped into me because he found me smoking in the bathroom. I thought that if I exhaled into the bathroom fan/vent that it would go outside of the apartment. WRONG! It went straight into his bedroom. Oops! (I hope that didn’t mean that he got other smells from the bathroom floating into his bedroom! Yikes!) He yelled at me and threatened to kick me out! I didn’t even think about how my having marijuana would put him and his apartment at risk. I was so thoughtless and irresponsible!
By the time I was 23 or 24 I very rarely smoked anymore. I would really only do it if a friend had it or if it was around – I didn’t keep a supply. Why? Well, I now had a “real job” working at a bank and I didn’t want to put that job at risk. Don’t get me wrong – I never smoked during the day and never went to work high – I only did it in the evenings. But, either way, I didn’t want to lose my job – it was a pretty good gig.
Then I met my husband and I stopped completely. That was a deal breaker for him. I didn’t really care to do it anymore, but he definitely sweetened the deal. I’m thankful that he didn’t make exceptions for it. I’m thankful that this is no longer in my life. Who knows where I’d be now?
I never did any other drug. I was terrified to try anything else. I was afraid that I’d like it too much or that it would really mess me up. Somehow I was convinced that marijuana really wasn’t that harmful to me – which is simply not true.
Where was God in all of this? Still there… but I wasn’t seeking Him. I don’t think there’s anything I did during that time that was focused on God – except maybe go to church with my family on holidays, but I’m pretty sure that my heart wasn’t in it at the time. If I had been focused on God and truly sought Him with my heart, my soul, and my mind, there would have been no way for this to become a lifestyle for me. And I do consider it a lifestyle because my life revolved around it – how to get it, when to smoke it, who to share it with, how to not get caught.
Why do I share all of this with you? Well, as I mentioned, it showed up with a friend of mine recently and all I could think was, “What on earth is this person thinking?” and “How dumb can you be?” Then I thought about it and remembered what I was thinking during this time in my life. “It’s not hurting me.” “It’s not hurting anyone else.” “I kinda like the feeling.” “I can stop whenever I want.” “I’ll stop when I’m ready.” “I’ll stop before I get in trouble.” And on and on…
The truth is, it does hurt you. It’s called a “gateway drug” for a reason. And yes, you probably can stop whenever you want. BUT, given that the drug messes with your ability to think objectively, when will you actually want to? Will it be before you get in trouble? Will it be before you get physically hurt or before you hurt someone else? Not to mention the impact on your short-term memory (what short term memory?… exactly!), impairment to muscle coordination (and I thought I could DRIVE like this!?) amongst other things. To see the short and longer term consequences to smoking marijuana, see this article from Brown University’s Health Promotion.
I remember one time when I was trying to figure out how to pass a drug test with marijuana in my system because I was looking for a new job. If you have to go to all of that trouble, you’re probably doing something you shouldn’t be doing, Heather!! DUH!
Recently marijuana was legalized in several states, including Colorado (where we love to vacation!). One of the primary objectives in legalizing the drug was to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated due to minor infractions, leaving capacity and resources to deal with greater crimes. WHAT!? Are you kidding me? Since it’s a lot of trouble for a small offense, we’ll just legalize it and then it won’t be a problem anymore? That doesn’t make sense!
(Pot was legalized for medical use in 2009 and for recreational use in 2012 in Colorado.)
Well, here’s news for you… The homeless population has increased due to the legalization of marijuana. The number of fatal car accidents doubled in 5 years. In 2013, almost half of Denver adult arrests tested positive for marijuana, a 16% increase in 5 years. Hospitalizations related to the drug increased 82% in 5 years. For more, see 7 Harmful Side Effects Pot Legalization Has Caused in Colorado.
I could go on and on, but I won’t. My point is that if you’re thinking about smoking pot, DON’T. If you’re already smoking it, STOP. If you don’t know how to quit, TALK to someone. The truth is that most people will want to help you. It isn’t about getting in trouble or punishing you for what you’ve done – although there are always consequences. It’s about keeping your life clean so that you can focus on the right things – things that won’t harm you. It’s about God’s design for your life. He can (and will) transform your life.
I truly wish that I hadn’t ever accepted marijuana into my life. It drug me into some really dark times and some very dangerous places (see what I did there – did you like my pun?). If I had only clung to my God during those times and turned away from pot, then I wouldn’t have found myself in those situations. I wouldn’t have introduced it to other people. I wouldn’t have supplied other people. It sickens me to think about how many people I led away from God when I could have been leading them closer to Christ.
I WOULD, however, have a much deeper relationship with my Heavenly Father and it would have started much earlier in my adult life. Who knows, maybe that deeper relationship would have kept me away from some other harmful and hurtful situations I faced. Maybe it would have kept me and my husband from having issues as a married couple. Only God knows fully – but I do know that things would have been much less complicated in my life if my relationship with my Creator was my root and foundation early in my adult life.
Thankfully, God is forgiving and full of grace. Even for the pot-head that I once was.
What I’ve Learned:
- Marijuana is harmful in so many ways and I chose to ignore and overlook them for my personal instant gratification.
- Marijuana kept me separated from God. When I smoked, I couldn’t even think about God.
- If I had kept my focus on God, I wouldn’t have allowed this into my life.
- If I had kept my focus on God, my personal relationship with Him would be much deeper and could have kept me from other hurts in life.
- What is your “pot”? What is keeping you separated from God?
- What is keeping you so preoccupied that you can’t really think about anything else?
- What is keeping you from purging this from your life?
- How can you purge this from your life?
- Who can help you during this time?
- Have you sought God’s help? How can you seek Him?
Need prayer? Need someone to talk to? Contact me privately and I will be a prayer warrior for you.
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