I Am An Addict by Christopher Ferguson
A stunning view of violent behavior and its antecedents, personal transformation by self-medication with cannabis, and the revelation of peaceful humanity at one’s center.
My name is Chris and I am a 26-year-old “pot head.” I do not have any current medical issues but I have been through a lot in my life and I feel that weed has helped me to get to where I am today (no, not in jail). Let me start by giving you a brief history of where I am coming from so you might see my issues more clearly.
When I was four years old, my siblings and I were removed from our biological family. Mom and step dad were needle jockeys and got caught. I was the oldest of four kids who were taken. I was put into a couple of foster homes at first, until my temper got the best of me (about 4 homes in a year or so). I thought I was missing my mom, brothers and sister, or maybe I had a mental condition. Well, to make a long story shorter, my next seven years were spent being shuffled from foster homes to group homes and back again and again. The reason for most of the moves had to do with me fighting, kicking, cussing and running away from everywhere. I went through so many psychiatric tests and so much therapy before I turned 11 – all to no avail. I was thrown out of schools and into psyche units, jail and state hospitals. I’ve been on about 15 different mood-altering, make-you-happy prescriptions and still the violence continued. Most places (mainly state homes) I went through provided an environment that was very nurturing to my violent, outrageous needs for an adult to pin me to the floor in restraint fashion. So, while I was taking forced pills to make me smile, I got in plenty of practice to become the violent adult (like my step dad) I was destined to become. When I was 11-15 years old, I was mostly on the run working at different carnivals to support myself. Steadily I grew more violent to the point I would sometimes plan out murder-suicides to people who had barely ticked me off.
By the time I was 16, I had been through countless institutions because of my temper. I even joined a gang in Chicago so I could be safer, as well as having a steady audience that approved of my psychotic behavior (as long as it was directed toward someone else). Well, after I got out of jail one time, I was with some of my “boyz” and we were going to go jump one kid’s dad for upsetting one of the “boyz.” On the way there, I ran into an older Mexican man who I asked for a cigarette. When he gave me the pack to take one, I kept the pack – what was he going to do? Well, I discovered there was a joint inside with the smokes. I had smoked pot once before, but was too drunk to realize the effect, so I smoked this one out of pure curiosity, since I was sober this time. By the end of the joint, all five of us agreed we were having so much fun that we’d better wait to jump on our friend’s dad. I saw a smile for the first time even from one friend who just two days before had witnessed his sister committing suicide by jumping in front of a train after being raped by their mom’s cocaine dealer. I was in no mood to fight, although I was considered the main gun on this mission. It almost scared me that I had temporarily lost my violent edge, which had become my trademark among my circle of friends. It wasn’t even that I tried to snap off all the time, but I honestly couldn’t help it. I had fun smoking weed that time and I started buying it on my own. I always had access to it but never cared about what it might do for me, so I hadn’t experimented with it until this incident.
Well, over the next ten years I’ve probably averaged a joint a day and none of those days have been spent in jail or therapy or a nuthouse. In fact, the only non-traffic violations I have had since then have been for possession. I no longer think of myself as a rebel or a badass. I don’t have any more violent episodes (and my wife and daughter appreciate that). I’m not on any pills or any other illegal drugs although I’ve tried them all. I just assumed that since the other drugs were illegal also that they couldn’t be any more dangerous than the weed I liked so much. I have also had many problems in the past with my appetite, as well as difficulty sleeping. I hate to say it almost, but marijuana has completely turned my life around and helped me become a productive member of society as opposed to being a threat to everyone. The only problem is that I live in a society that would rather have me sitting in a jail somewhere drug-free and violent instead of letting me have a joint after work every day. Granted, I know the damage it will do to my lungs and brain, but I think a fried brain sits in a skull prettier than a fresh one splattered among the brains of potential victims.
I AM AN ADDICT. I’m not addicted to the THC, which makes me laugh. Nor the stems and seeds, which make me choke. Nor the social gatherings around a joint. Nor the fun I’ve had doing every day things under the influence. I am addicted to the new me. I’m addicted to the fact that I have broken this infamous circle of family violence that I could have easily been a MVP for. I love the fact that yesterday, today and tomorrow, no matter what happens, I will never repeat what I have escaped from. I am addicted to my own inner peace. I love the fact that I have no urge to raise my fist to even the worst of my enemies. I wish everyone could feel the way I do with or without weed. I am a drug addict and I am proud and grateful to God for showing me the way to heal myself.