I’m a freelance copywriter - I’ve been living here for more than a year and can see myself staying put a while longer. My first few months were characterised by random hook-ups and a lot of weed-smoking. I was really into it in college and I guess I fell back into the routine. Anyway, about six months ago I started seeing a girl and things have turned serious. She’s an overachiever - motivated career-wise, popular, and very smart. My life, by contrast, is a bit of a mess. She hates my smoking - and has issued me with an ultimatum - her or the weed. I just turned 30, and she sees that milestone - as perhaps I should see it - as a time when I should be past all this ‘stoner stuff’. I don’t see it as a real problem - I only have a couple of joints a day, and it helps me write. But I really don’t want to see this relationship die.
Do you think she sees love in your bloodshot eyes? Do you think your yellow-toothed smile melts her heart? It’s one thing to have the occasional joint, but there’s no way that you can be a functioning perma-stoned lover.
Look at it from your girlfriend’s perspective. The two of you are supposed to go out dancing, but you’re drooling, clumsy, glassy-eyed, laughing at shiny objects and your own semi-coherent jokes. Or you’re lethargic, drowsy, spurning her advances, making rambling statements that you think are poetic admissions of love. If she hasn’t already, she will end up seeing you as a pity case, not a boyfriend.
I went through those college days, toking morning, noon, and night and eventually got involved with a girl who sold the stuff. We rarely went out – always stayed home, smoking, staring in profound wonderment at her flickering television set. When she left, so did my supply. After a few desperate days smoking pipe gunk, I became sober enough to behold a tattered academic career and personal life. You say your life is a bit of a mess. Have you ever put your pipe down long enough to contemplate why?
Marijuana advocates often claim that pot is not addictive. Perhaps, chemically speaking, this is true – but psychological dependency can be very real. Most devastatingly, the drug saps motivation, hence the deadbeat stoner stereotype. That’s the first reason you need to cut back - not just for her but also for yourself. This is not helping you professionally or socially.
You say marijuana can be a creative tool, but chronic pot-smoking kills brain cells. And I’m sure I don’t need to remind you of your poor, tar-heavy lungs. Your being permanently baked is probably having serious affects on your ability to display intimacy, both emotionally (it’s hard to access a stoned person – they’re in their own hazy world, after all) and physically (shortness of breath affects sexual performance, and chronic marijuana use has been linked to erectile dysfunction) – which I doubt you realise...because you’re always stoned.
Start with taking a day off. It’ll be hard. Day two and three will be easier. If you can’t control yourself in this land of cheap and plentiful weed, why not take a week-long trip to somewhere where you can’t find it? Perhaps ask your girlfriend if she’ll take a romantic vacation with you to Japan? Who knows? You might even like being sober.
Relationships are about balance and compromise. If you can demonstrate to her and yourself that you’ve really shaken your drug dependency, perhaps she won’t mind if you hit the occasional bong with friends. If you find yourself backsliding, though, you need to quit - you need to stay in control. And who knows? You might realise that she’s not for you once you emerge from the haze. Cutting back or quitting will only do you good.
Or, if all this fails and you think the pot is really that important, perhaps you ought to park yourself at a happy pizza place and find yourself a stoner girlfriend to help you smoke your troubles, life, and, ultimately, mind away.
To put a question to Jackson, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.