Drugs have more impact than we think

I have been in college for six years and I have another year to go. It’s a peculiarly long stretch of time, especially noting that I’m still in my undergraduate years. To make a long story short, I failed and dropped out of over a dozen classes. I also changed my major more than a few times.

Whether I was in the nursing, education, liberal arts or the business program, in community college or staying on campus at the university, something that all six of these years had in common was drug and alcohol use. Marijuana, often referred to as “not even a drug, man,” was definitely my drug of choice. I preferred it over alcohol. I mooched off of whoever would let me, but I also bought bags of it more times than I can count.

My place of employment before I even came to live on Eastern’s campus had found out about this habit and sent me to rehabilitation. Yet even after all of the appointments with my social worker, group meetings, drug tests and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, I had exited drug rehab with one question: “Where da weed at?”

It was how I built friendships. It was a trait I looked for in friends and partners alike. I saw it as a way to bond with people. Marijuana made me feel vulnerable and I assumed that that’s how it affected the other person too - but so many factors make this not the case: tolerance, brain chemistry and what they reported back - needless to say, it was rarely what I was feeling.

Though my therapists knew about it, they didn’t see it as much of a problem. I was quite honest about how much I used and how often. It was only when I went on binges that they were concerned because then it generally affected me the next day. I can’t blame my therapists for not being too concerned about my drug and alcohol use because it affects everyone differently.

Recently in December, something really interesting happened: I snapped. After behaving in a very withdrawn way, begging my friend to take me home, crying to Taking Back Sunday songs alone in my dorm and riding an emotional rollercoaster, I decided I needed to get back the control I hadn’t had over my life, thoughts and emotions since the earlier portion of my seventeenth year.

This decision I made was recent, but I’m already starting to feel the effects: I’m more balanced, I’m aging more gracefully, I’m sharper, my memory is better, I’m more outgoing and creative, believe it or not, I feel strong in many different ways and my friendships feel more genuine, making me feel less lonely.

I believe that this is the semester that I’ll achieve a hitherto unachieved 4.0. The motivation I had for school before I started smoking marijuana is back.

Sobriety has been doing wonders for me. I think the major reason I had kept my use up for as long as I did was because I felt like everyone was doing it. Looking back I think that I knew deep down that not everyone was doing it, but the fun/cool/daring factor led me to blind myself into thinking otherwise.

Going sober is possible. You can still have fun by going to concerts, bars and parties, but you don’t have to use substances. You won’t be a nobody and you will be surprised by how much respect you’ll receive after making the switch. Some of my heaviest drug-using friends gave me support and understanding.

Sobriety isn’t easy especially after you’ve even so much as dipped your toe into getting high. As I write this, the time is 4:19 and my addiction is shining through radiantly. I can’t help but glance at the time and think of the old retort, “Well just look at the time! Got a minute?” I ultimately think that going with and really sticking to sobriety is something to consider even if one thinks that they don’t have a problem.

I remember in middle school how everyone was “straight edge,” and now that we’ve turned the tables in the name of rebellion, a majority of us doesn’t know where the party begins or ends. We thought we were going against the grain when we picked up underage drinking or illegal substance use, but imagine how rebellious and successful you’ll be as a sober college student.a

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