I was a “late bloomer” and started smoking pot when I was not quite 29, after having tried alcohol (the only drug available a zillion years ago when I was in high school) and given it up as “not my thing.” Pot was definitely “my thing.” After all, it was a natural herb, not processed or manufactured, and it didn’t make me slur words, stumble, or throw up. What a lovely drug! It took nearly twenty years of using to finally realize that I was no longer in charge—the drug was. It hadn’t started out that way. I once thought of it as a very comforting solution to my life’s problems. In the end, nearly twenty years later, it had become a very important problem in itself.
My life’s problems were essentially fear and lack of self-esteem. I was one of those people who felt like everyone in the whole world had been given a “How To” manual when they were born and somehow I didn’t get my copy. My parents divorced when I was not quite three and they each used me as a tool to hurt the other one. I really don’t think they had any idea how much damage they were doing. They were both determined that the other would not get custody of me, so from the age of three I lived with friends, family, paid caretakers and in boarding schools. Being the center of the universe, I kept wondering what I’d done to cause all this. My childhood friends wondered what I’d done too. I realize now that my situation must have been a real threat to them. (What did you do wrong? Why doesn’t your mom love you?) Because if there was no cause and effect for my situation, it meant their world could fall apart, for no apparent reason, like mine had.