Let me get this out of the way immediately: I am not against the use of recreational marijuana.
You can disagree with me, but I’m not going to lecture anyone on the myths associated with pot or why our states should legalize it.
I will say, though, that compared to a lot of other recreational drugs out there -- including alcohol -- the negative side effects of weed pale significantly in comparison.
It can make your food taste better.
People are funnier.
Movies are a lot more interesting.
It’s extremely appealing for sure.
So why, then, would I have a problem with my boyfriend smoking pot when I am cool with its recreational use?
You can't tell me weed isn't addictive when I have seen it with my own eyes. I understand it's not addictive in the same way cigarettes are or heroin is.
Rather, its addictive qualities are similar to that of alcohol: Not everyone will get addicted, but some people will if they abuse it.
Nonetheless, I have seen its addictive powers, and have reached out and connected with others who have experienced the same situation.
My boyfriend and I went away for the weekend after Thanksgiving.
He is a hockey coach, and had to coach a tournament in Delaware.
Going into the weekend, I already felt uneasy about his excessive pot use.
I had been in serious denial about the issue before, but I was not about to be the girl dating a drug addict.
When I met him, he had been about a year sober from alcohol. I was aware that addiction was something he could easily fall back into.
But he was recovering. Or so he told me over and over again.
The word rolled off his tongue with ease and sounded so sweet in my ear.
I was so proud of him: He had taken control of his substance abuse, and worked hard to make a better life for himself.
I could relate to his struggle, and I admired him for it.
However, the gravity of his pot use became more obvious as we started spending more time together.
He’d be chasing highs morning, noon and night.
I’ve seen him smoke before coaching a 9 am game.
He smokes when he plays video games.
He smokes before he goes to see his parents.
He smokes before he goes to sleep.
He smoked before our first date, and presumably before every date we’ve had since.
It occurred to me once that I see him high more often than not, and I haven't been able to shake the uncomfortable thought since.
He is a smart, charming and insanely funny man. He is also caring and loving.
He is a good friend, and a very good person.
But when he’s high, he’s only a fraction of who he is when he’s sober.
His high self can’t even compete with the person he is in between those moments of chasing that high.
When he smokes, all of his words start to feel insincere.
He is not fully present with me (or anyone).
He smokes a bowl and puts his life on pause, forgetting all the guilt and shame he built inside after years of being an alcoholic.
It became very clear to me that I'm dealing with two people: one who I may love a lot and one who I don’t care to know.
I am struggling to accept that these two people exist in the same body.
We agreed to spend one weekend away as a makeshift anniversary getaway.
On Saturday afternoon, while we were driving, I finally confessed to him that I didn’t like how he acted when he was high.
I told him that he sometimes hurts my feelings, and can be a little rough around the edges.
He told me I provoke him, and accused me of just being "extra grumpy" when he smokes.
He was on the defense, gaslighting to make me think I was being oversensitive.
I was hurt, but I let it go.
That night, after we had brought dinner back to the room, he announced he was going to go for "a drive."
In other words, he would pack a bowl, hit the highway and get high away from the hotel to avoid the lingering stench of Mary Jane.
I was furious. I offered shower sex, lingerie and basically anything else to get him to stay sober.
I took my clothes off and jumped on top of him, asking him to stay just a little bit longer.
He left, and I cried in the shower.
I was angry at the rejection. I was angry and scared about how desperate I felt.
I was angry he couldn’t see how he was affecting me.
When he got back, I could barely look at him. I didn’t want to interact with him.
I told him I was hurt that he chose to get high over being with me. He told me I was being dramatic.
My heart felt instantly heavy.
He was not allowed to tell me my feelings were invalid.
I told him I was waiting for a sign for him to show me he wouldn’t be getting high constantly for the rest of his life, but he came up short.
He told me I didn’t grow up with him. I didn’t know his life.
But I do know how it works.
He is an addict.
If it’s not alcohol, it's pot. When it’s not pot, it will be something else. It might be prescription painkillers, or drugs far more illegal than marijuana.
I didn’t tell him to quit. I know better than that.
There was no ultimatum. I don’t make deals with the devil.
I simply let him know that his continued behavior would eventually tire me out, and I’d let myself out if it came to that.
“I feel like I’m losing you,” he said to me in the car that day. I didn’t respond because he was right.
I have gone through my own darkness more than I can count. I know it well.
I have come back from it every time on my own. I am my own hero.
I know the hard work it takes to tackle your demons.
I know how delicate the word "recovery" is, and I don’t use it lightly.
My boyfriend is a wonderful person, and part of me could have fallen in love with him.
But the person standing in front of me -- whose brain is swimming in THC -- is not someone I'll allow myself to fall for.
Things will play out as they're meant to, and I won’t force it either way.
Either he will recover, or I will grow weary of the reoccurring arguments about his drug use.
It makes me sad to think of the pain he must feel in order to constantly need to get his mind away from it.
I wish I could take away his pain so he wouldn’t feel the need to get high anymore.
I wish being with me was enough motivation to make him stop.
But I know addiction doesn’t work that way, and life doesn’t either.
This is his decision and his life, and he can do what he wants with it, regardless of what I think.
My only hope for him now is that he will get the help he so desperately needs.