I’ve never been into pot; it’s never been my drug of choice. Of course I partook when it was around, but meh, not my style. However, it’s been around my life for over five years.
I ran into an old friend last summer at the Women Sponsoring Women workshop I attended and this cute bubbly gal was someone I knew from the rooms before we both moved away a few years ago. We became friends who connected here and there, especially in the Facebook world. My Facebook life had me traipsing up and down the East Coast while hers was in NYC, Spain and Morocco.
She walked into the workshop distraught and upset – she had recently moved back to San Diego and went on to share with me that she isn’t doing well and has been relapsing off and on for a few years on hashish-pot. She feels gut wrenching disgust and annoyance with herself. She has anxiety, worry and that itty bitty shitty committee in her head telling her all the wrong things. I hugged her and told her everything will be ok and that I’ll do whatever I can to help her on her journey. Then I told her something that I don’t share often with other folks outside my inner circle. I shared with her that my husband, whom I met at a meeting, has been relapsing on pot since we got married. She was shocked and garnered the “Wow, I had no idea” response. Well of course not, it’s not something I openly share or post on my Facebook. I think it made her feel less alone and more in tune with others in their struggles, as another lady (who was listening to our discussion – eavesdropping if you will) shared her struggle with pot for the past few years and while how she’s quit drinking, she just can’t quit the pot. Same with my husband.
I’ve been going to Al-Anon for the past five years and I’m not happy about it, but I have to go to save myself from anger, resentment and rage towards my spouse. The way I felt when I found out that he was using. I felt betrayed and like a pushover, as well as all these other feelings and emotions for someone who “thought” she was marrying someone clean. He was until we got married.
The past few years have been up and down and I’ve learned so much about myself and how I’m not his God and how I need to stop thinking I am. You need to understand that I have over a decade of strong recovery and I do the steps, I’m connected, I work with a sponsor, I sponsor other women – I’m almost too recovered if you will, and I’m sure it bugs the crap outta him. He’s told me so. Initially my sponsor told me (and mind you I’ve had four different sponsors in the past five years because of us relocating so much) that I should only talk to her and go to Al-Anon; which I did. When folks found out he relapsed, I felt judgement and others telling me what I needed to do. Off I went to Al-Anon and let him work his program. He’s been able to grab a year here and there, and he’s had some good recovery. Moving isn’t easy for him, reaching out to other men isn’t easy and letting other men get to know him doesn’t come easily either. He’s been to treatment, sober living homes, out patient and been a regular attendee at 12 step meetings. He’s trying and I can see that. One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is that I can’t wish recovery on someone, nor can I try to control it for them. We both have a path and they’re quite different.
During the first couple years of our marriage, I wasn’t managing my Al-Anon program very well, because of my anger – I thought it was perfectly normal for me to go through his phone, emails and even follow him when he left the house! Apparently that’s frowned upon – who knew? The Al-Anon’ing for me didn’t happen overnight and it’s still a work in progress. I’m human and I too have made mistakes along the way of loving and supporting him. Here’s the thing though, with pot it’s almost like, “Oh yeah, it’s almost legal, and he’s not going to die of a marijuana overdose.” However, the more people I talk to whom are addicted to pot, the worse it seems with this blasé attitude. It’s rampant in the rooms and it’s getting worse. I know folks that stay abstinent from booze for years, but never give up the pot. They just don’t tell anyone. Because it is legal in a number of states, folks just treat it like alcohol. We live in California now and its legal here – but I can’t worry about that. If I do then I’m not taking care of myself.
The thing that got me over the hump in accepting his disease and realizing that I too am imperfect was when someone said to me, “What if this was you? What if you couldn’t stop drinking/using and kept relapsing? Who are you to sit on your spiritual perch and judge him?” That one stopped me in my tracks.
He’s been struggling lately, and some days it’s really hard. All I can do is love and support him and try not to push a program on him. When I’ve done that it doesn’t help either one of us. So as my Al-Anon sponsor used to tell me, “Mind my own business and keep my mouth shut.” Some days it’s easier to do than others – but I’m just grateful that he has a God and I’m not it.