I always thought I loved getting drunk, but once I started to pay attention, I realized I didn’t really like boozing all that much. I never drank so much I would lose control, but I was often 1-2 beer away from feeling sick. It took forever to get drunk, cost a lot of money, and made me feel shitty the next day. As a bonus, I often acted like an asshole and was embarrassed that I had been overtly sexual to people. I was definitely in the market for a better, more predictable ‘high’.
I was late to the marijuana party when I began smoking regularly in my late 30’s. I used it as a way to relax, read and focus. I loved the way I could absorb more information, and I liked the way it made me think complex thoughts about the material. I would read and think, and then go to bed. Sometimes I meditated when I was high, and that was great too. And there were lots of physical benefits. There was literally no down side to marijuana from my perspective. For me, it was a bridge to concentration and learning.
Pot kept my mind very busy. I began to notice parts of myself that I didn’t recognize in my sober life. There were really interesting, complex-thinking parts, creative parts, and also a few nutty parts. For a long time, it was easy to control what parts presented. If I was reading, only the professor part was interested in being present. ‘Thinking’ too much, bored many of the other parts. When I meditated, there was a very ‘zen’ part of me that liked to participate. The Artist was usually down for any interesting ideas or discussion, and would always develop interesting theories and ideas for projects, which we would rarely follow up on. CrazyTrain loved our marijuana use, because it loved us to follow the wild theories of thought it would send us on.
Marijuana gave an audience to thoughts that were usually unconscious, and allowed my parts to become more conscious. I began to see how diverse and complicated my thoughts were. At the time, I was unaware that the parts were separate from me, but I was aware I didn’t always think the same way, or even have the same opinions about things all the time. I also became aware that my thoughts often took on frightening subject matter, and fantastical beliefs. I was learning a great deal about myself, and some of it was a bit unsettling.
Pot induced far more feelings of comfort and security, than it did of paranoia and fear, which made it easy to keep using it. I would swear it off, and then find myself missing its healing influence. I always felt like it helped me access my sadness, and work through all of my fears, even if it scared me a little sometimes. It never scared me enough to make the lessons not worth the price of admission. It did help me heal. And it pushed me further into fear.
It was an exhausting loop. Feeling happy and more rested while smoking, then a bit paranoid and fearful, and afterward feeling bad and guilty for enjoying something that felt good, and legitimately helped my body feel better, but was obviously ‘very bad for me and probably addicting and maybe making me crazier’. The fragments of me wanting healing were at war with the fragments that were afraid to get better, and everybody was terrified.
The fragments that didn’t want to get better thought they would lose themselves, if we became whole.
Some fragments became more bold, sharing co-consciousness. There must have been some realization that I wasn’t aware they were separate from me. This understanding may have facilitated the desire of the ‘parts’ to become fully co-conscious.
As a collective, the fragments began to see the benefits of becoming healthier in every way. The braver parts were excited to become co-conscious, and they announced themselves in ways that were most fitting to their personal relationship to me.
It seems like my subconscious had been afraid that I would find out that I was a collection of parts, but it was a surprise to the collection that I wasn’t at all unhappy about the news. The dawning realization of my dissociated pieces frightened me, and gave me comfort. As they surfaced, every part of my life began to make sense.
As far as I can tell, marijuana allows me to easily ‘switch’ between fragments. It seems to physically restrain the system that keeps everything locked up and away from awareness. I believe it relaxes my body, which allows my Gatekeeper to bypass the usual alarm system that keeps the fragments back. The Gatekeeper negotiates with, or is the bridge between many of the others and my awareness. There isn’t usually a direct channel, except when I am highly engaged in something, or when I am high and turning my awareness to the interests of a particular fragment, or on the infrequent occasions where I lose control and am fully embodied by the consciousness of another fragment.
It feels like some of my fragments are physical: For instance, my body seems to have a fragment all to itself that operates only in servitude to it. The same is true for my ‘mental’ self, my ’emotional’ self, and my spiritual self. Some fragments cross boundaries between selves and are operated by more than one aspect.
That’s my big confession, and one I have been wanting to put in writing since I started this blog. I use pot. Not all the time, or every day, but I do use it, and it makes me feel better. Marijuana has the reputation of inducing paranoia, especially in the population of people with mental instability. This is absolutely true in my case, but it wasn’t without its benefits. It was a relatively easy way to stand up to my fear, and learn to fight back.