Addicted to My Cure: Outpatient Impatience

“I’ve been clean for 33 days.  This is my first intensive outpatient counseling session.”

There has been talk of legalizing the recreational use of marijuana in my home state for some time now.  Adults, aged 21 and over, will be able to grow, purchase and possess up to one ounce of Mary Jane. According to various media reports, legalizing marijuana could bring in anywhere from $300 to $700 million dollars in revenue for the state annually. All from marijuana.

What would the state even use it for? On the education of our youngsters? Substance abuse prevention and treatment for the opioid crisis? For Alcohol abuse? State-wide programs to help individuals seek mental health programs free of charge? Ironic if you take a moment to think about it.

On the other hand, finally…the cure will be legal and shame free.

The legalization of marijuana would enable any adult to freely walk into a medical dispensary and purchase a medically induced strain of their finest cheeba, for whatever reason. Pain, insomnia, anxiety, cataracts, whatever. Yes, finally…

Did I mention my son was just released from an inpatient substance abuse center for abusing cannabis? The facility, which he called home for over 30 days, is located about an hour and a half away from our home.  An hour and a half away from his parents.  An hour and a half away from me, his “Ma”. An hour and a half away from his siblings, his school, his grandparents, his shoes, his phone, his room, his bed, his life.  An hour and a half away with only one visitation per week and only one phone call per night.

An hour and a half away is so fucking far.

Before he was admitted, his habits included leaving the house every day at 7am for an early morning wake and bake session, whether school was in session or not. If we were lucky he would come home right after school, high, of course, but at least we knew where he was. If not, he’d be getting high with his buddies. If he was awake, chances are he was getting high.  If he was asleep, chances are it was because he was too high. And that’s it. That’s all he did. Was get high.

It became worse when stealing money and selling items that didn’t belong to him became routine.

You would think he was on crack cocaine, or heroin, or pain killers.

Nope. It’s only weed.

It’s only weed.
It’s only weed.

He was the one who suggested rehab, not us, not his parents.  I didn’t even know kids were shipped off to rehab for having an addiction to weed.

But marijuana is not an addictive drug and nobody really needs it.

Just ask his “Ma”.

Good thing I’m not an addict. I can stop at any time.  I guess the only question is, do I have to stop smoking now that my son is considered an addict?  It makes me a terrible mother for even asking the question, I know. But seriously. Do I have to stop?

Anger issues, failing in school, hanging out with a bad crowd, a sleeping disorder, potential learning disabilities, nagging parents, rules, responsibilities, no coping skills, etc., etc., etc.  I can go on and on for the reasons he started abusing.  Funny thing is I can also go on and on for the reasons I started usingStress, anxiety, depression, back pain, headaches, mood swings, just because.

Sounds like I’m blaming him for ruining everything for me, I know.
I know how I sound right now.
Because that’s exactly what I did.

I blamed him for getting addicted to a drug that’s not meant to be addictive.  “You can stop at any time”, I would tell him.  “There are no side effects when you stop”, I would say.  But that’s not what the counselor said last night at our family group outpatient session.  Apparently stress, anxiety, depression, headaches, mood swings, fatigue, and irritability are all withdrawal symptoms of cannabis.  Déjà vu this list sounds painstakingly familiar to me.

I felt guilty the entire time sitting next to my son wondering why he had to endure 9 hours a week of group sessions when I’m guilty of doing the same damn thing.  Looking around the room at the other parents and their kids I felt like screaming, “Get the fuck over it! It’s only WEED!”

It’s only weed.
It’s only weed.

Even my insurance company didn’t approve the inpatient treatment. The representative stated “We’re just worried that he will be around other children with much worse addictions.  The exposure to harder drugs can be dangerous.  I’m sorry, but cannabis is not on our list of approved reasons to receive inpatient services”. This is going to sound stupid, but thank goodness he was stealing to support his habit. Because of this, the substance abuse center gave us a discount on his stay. Without that, we wouldn’t have been able to afford it.

And I didn’t take one puff the entire time he was away. In fact, I’m still impatiently waiting for my “Ma of the Year Award”.

But I do feel like smoking even more so now that I’m required to sit for three hours each week and listen to other families tell their stories of weed woe. The anxiety and impatience I feel at these meetings is groundbreaking.  I’m screaming at everyone in my head while the others around the circle shout out ways to curb the urge to abuse as the counselor writes them on the white board.  “Exercise!”, one parent suggests.  “Running!”, another one raising her hand offers.  “We’re not in school and exercise and running fall in the same fucking category”, my mind screams. I shout out “smoking cigarettes”, but the counselor neglects to jot it down on the board. One addiction to cure the other, I guess.  On break I see one of the other parents step outside and light up.  I can’t help but smile at the bullshit.

My back hurts from sitting in the same chair for so long.

And I’m stressed about having to come back next week.

And it’s so late that it’s dark outside already.

And it’s only weed.

It’s only weed.

Have I mentioned that my son was sent away for 30 days for abusing a drug that will probably be legal in my state any day now?

It should’ve been me in that facility.

But I’m an adult, remember?  I can stop at any time.

But I don’t want to.

Because legal or not, marijuana is a mind altering substance providing instant gratification to those who use and abuse it.  Plain and simple

I learned that little tidbit at counseling last night.

But it’s my cure.

“I’ve been clean for 33 days. This is my first intensive outpatient counseling session.”

After my son said his line, it was my turn to say mine.

“My name is ‘Ma’, and I’m here with my son.”

******
Thank you for reading.
Please feel free to contact me at pennamemom@gmail.com or find me on Instagram @mandie.josephine

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