Tuesday, 13 January 2015

On not buying dope - impulse control and all that

Mag's back now. Her trip away was cut slightly short after all, but it was an early return rather than a late departure. In the old days - the days that are supposed to be behind me - that would have caused me a good deal of worry. 

This time it was fine. I'm an ex-cannabis smoker. Sort of. Mag believes me (I think) to be an ex-cannabis smoker. That just means I'm don't smoke it while she's around. That's bad isn't it? One of the three aims I wrote on a card for my counsellor, the three things I was going to gain from sobriety, was honesty. (Honesty, independence and health were my aims, though I've long ago lost the card.) 

Mag left on Sunday evening, probably at about 6pm. I rushed through the work I had to get done, chose to fire up a pizza rather than cook a proper meal and, after eating it, I got stoned. 

As usual, things started to slide as soon as I slid. I've got into a good routine of washing up after every meal - gone. I never smoke anywhere in the house except the kitchen - gone. 

OK, it's not the end of the world. It's not good though. I'm not addicted to cannabis in the way that I am addicted to alcohol (though I know people who are, or at least have told me they are). 

Do you know what the worst of it is? I don't even enjoy it. I've drunk so consistently through my life that I've rarely experienced cannabis sober. Now that I do, I'm at war with it. As soon as it starts to work I confine myself to one room, staring at over-familiar DVDs on the computer. I'm awfully paranoid. That's guilt as much as cannabis, but I hate it. I always end up going to be early, lying there hating myself, sometimes rather obsessively reading my two self-help books. It also triggers terrible alcohol cravings, the drug that would balance out the downsides. 

On Sunday night I ran out of cannabis. No problem. I can get more as easily as sending a text message. That thought was in my head throughout Monday. But I didn't send the text message. I'm not going to turn myself into some sort of martyr - and thinking of recovery as a denial of pleasure is not encouraged in the reading I've done - but it was a struggle. 

Of course I survived. And of course my world was much better as a result. 

On Monday night I cooked properly. I enjoyed the house. I watched a bit of TV. I washed up. I went to bed early, but so I could read. Mag's return wasn't accompanied by the usual panicky airing and air freshener spraying. My walk to the office this morning was anxiety free.

Almost everything is achieved in small steps at the moment, but they remain in the right direction. Like many of the addicts I've met in and around treatment I've stuck to the belief that "a bit of weed" is pretty harmless. Maybe it is, but, for me, it's become a burden and one I feel glad to shed. 

Now, I need to take the strength I felt as a result of not sending that text message and use it to help me make more changes. I have a couple of targets in mind, broadly to do with work, and I'll work on them this week. 

If you spent it, thank you for your time. Please leave a comment or drop me an email if you have something to say.