Confessions of a Chronic Stoner
An ‘addict’ tells us their side of the story
I came out of sixth form with straight A*s/As, and now am an average-to-good student at the University of Cambridge.
I am on several committees, do a lot of volunteering during the holidays, and generally have jam-packed days during term-time with very little free time. And I have been addicted to marijuana for over three years.
I realise that sentence is likely to cause an outrage in itself. “You can’t be biologically addicted to marijuana!” cry the medical students. “It’s liars like you who give weed a bad name!” resound the stoners/occasional pot smokers.
And maaaan, if my name was on this article, there’s a hell of a lot of friends from home (and here, actually) whom I would lose.
Yet I stand by it. I am completely and utterly hooked on the herb.
Being a stoner is a strange thing.
I guess it’s a phase lots of teenagers go through precisely because it’s such a social milieu. Even now that I’ve seen its insidious harmfulness, I’d still say that there’s no better conversation starter than asking for a lighter, no better way to celebrate finishing an essay, and no better way to get to know someone and have a great time without getting wankered and having to deal with the hangover/injuries the next day.
Everything just becomes so fucking great. Everything’s so superbly funny. Food tastes ten times better than usual.
And the best part? All those niggling little thoughts, dilemmas, anxieties just float away in the hazy smoke.
And there’s your problem.
I started smoking weed before I started smoking cigarettes — 5 years ago, because I fancied myself a bit of an Effy Stonem.
For a while, it was just something that happened most weekends, because someone at the skatepark would always have weed — because at the tender age of 15, it was so much easier to get than alcohol.
No ID needed: just a phone number and a willingness to sit around waiting in the park for chronically tardy dealers.
Things changed when shit hit the fan at home.
Weed became something I would start craving whenever the arguments and pain got too much.
I started picking up by myself, though it would be a year or so before I began to smoke by myself, just to stifle those thoughts that never let me sleep.
By that point the depression had well and truly sunk its claws and then it was the sadness that I had to get away from. Anything but the dull desire to be dead, or asleep.
I got out of that slump, but by that point I was surrounded by stoners, and going out with one.
Smoking draw was what we did after school… then what we did at lunchtime, then what I did along with my morning coffee — ‘just a little pick-me-up’.
Sobriety became a strangely fast-paced, clear-sighted, boring world that I’d occasionally surface into, shake my head at, and plunge back into the comforting haze of smoke.
Two years. Two years of living in the clouds, of simple, stupid contentment. On holidays abroad, I became a bloodhound with one skill: picking up, wherever I was, whatever language I was meant to be speaking, within 24 hours of entering the country.
Then came Cambridge.
Our school’s Oxbridge coordinator spent the first information session lecturing us on all the big hefty theory textbooks we should have read over summer.
The only book I’d read in 2 years was ’50 Shades of Grey’, swallowed in one night when all my dealers were dry and I had nothing better to do.
But I had the grades, so I thoughtlessly gave it a shot, and scored.
When that letter of acceptance arrived, I vowed to do all I could to make my parents proud: to start reading, to start doing homework, to start giving a fuck… to choose life.
The hardest part was waving goodbye to all my stoner friends. Once I’d given up the green, we had nothing to do together any more — my will-power was too weak to handle sitting in a smoke-filled room watching them blaze, so I upped and left.
Looking back on them now, I can see how weed has absolutely and totally taken over their lives. Most didn’t go to uni, but spend their time working tills or bars in order to afford their expensive habits.
Few go out or do anything social apart from blaze-ups. I view their lives as something repellent, slug-like, so damn slow and stupid and ignorant of all the amazing things that the world (and, though I can’t believe I’m saying this, academia) has to offer.
And yet, it’s still a struggle. I still pick up, sometimes, especially when drunk.
It’s literally just classical conditioning now — somewhere in the back of my mind there’s still something that equates a spliff with total, perfect happiness.
Normally I keep that thought locked away, but alcohol brings it out — the two go hand in hand.
Do I regret it? Absolutely.
I’m so angry that I lost those two years wherein I didn’t pick up a single book.
I’m so angry that I’m so much dumber than I could be. I’m so angry that the paranoia, anxiety and insomnia I picked up along the way are still such massive, unyielding parts of my personality.
I’m so angry at the thousands of pounds I spent, at how much I let my parents down.
And yet, even as I write this, I know that this weekend I’ll be smoking draw with my boyfriend because that’s just a natural counterpart, for both of us, to a night in with films and food.
I know that the next time I come home wasted, I’ll go straight to the stash.
I know I’m so, so, so much better than I have been, but I’m scared this habit will never go away.
Don’t believe the stoners, guys. Weed is malignant as fuck, and the worst thing is you won’t notice till it’s far, far too late.