A friend involved with Every Brain Matters asked me if I’d consider writing a paragraph or two on my experience with a loved one with a Cannabis Use Disorder.
My loved one is a good friend, who I’ve watched smoke cannabis daily, then stop for a few days or even a week or two, only to fall back into using. They have struggled, and I have struggled. Sometimes, when they haven’t been using, I wish they would, but then it means interacting with someone who’s in an altered state of mind, while I’m not. It’s a roller coaster of emotions ranging from sympathy, anger, frustration, disappointment, concern for their well-being, and fear. It’s a lot, and it can be isolating..very isolating.
Who do I talk to? Do I talk? What do I say?
What are some of the things that have really helped and made all the difference? Getting support for myself. In particular, a weekly, Saturday morning support group via Zoom. There, we share our experiences, the things that have helped and, as importantly, the things that have not. A wide range of support is available, and I encourage anyone to seek out support and see what fits with you. There’s a saying, “Pain is unavoidable, but suffering is optional”. Don’t suffer in silence, and don’t think you’re alone because you’re not.
Another helpful saying is, “I didn’t cause the marijuana use, I can’t control the marijuana use, I can’t cure the marijuana use.” It was the beginning of detaching with love from my loved one and taking responsibility for myself, not my loved one’s addiction.
At the moment, my friend hasn’t used cannabis for a couple of months, and while I’m pleased for them, I’m also cautious and wary. For better or worse, I simply see them as an “untreated addict.” Whether my friend/loved one is using marijuana or not, my job is to keep the focus on myself, so I’m able to continue taking loving care of myself, and keep giving myself the support I need and deserve.
Ana B., Canada