Introduced to Pot, She Got Used to It

Question: I believe I need help. When I first came to California eight years ago, I was introduced to pot. At first when I smoked it I would pass out. My boyfriend told me I needed to get used to it. Since then I have smoked all the time. My boyfriend said I was funny and a joy to be around.

Now I am married and have two children, ages 6 and 3. When I don't smoke I'm hard to live with. I am snappy and short with the children.

I see a therapist who asked me not to smoke pot if I want to continue seeing her, but I haven't been able to quit. As a matter of fact, a few times I've gone in so stoned that I didn't even know I was there. She mentioned that I've really opened up in those sessions. I don't like lying to her.

On the other hand, I don't want to be so hard on my family. My husband has tried to help me cut down, but I only get upset with him. He hardly smokes at all now. I crave it all the time. I've gained more than 100 pounds since I started smoking. I wish I could stop--if I did we'd save a lot of money that I put out on dope and food.

Answer: Please do this for yourself: Tell your therapist what you've just told me. Ask her to help you locate a Pot Smokers' Anonymous group in your community or a drug rehabilitation center that can treat your addiction while she treats your other problems. If she's wise enough to have made therapy conditional on your quitting pot, she's wise enough to know she can't help you work out your other problems while you are on any drug (nor can you help yourself). Please tell her the truth now and please let me hear back from you.

Q: Could you give me any advice as to where people living in Virginia could go for help in getting off medication to which they have become addicted?

About nine or 10 years ago my brother lost four fingers and his knuckles nearly up to his wrist. At the time I know he suffered greatly, which is why he started taking the medication.

He has been on several prescription drugs. Now he is in such a state that he cries if he tries to talk. He was a machinist and knew nothing else. He is 63 years old and has quit driving, singing and many other things he always enjoyed. He doesn't have any money, only enough for food and shelter because he had to quit work so long ago.

Is there any place he can get help? It seems to me he is so depressed. There is no mental illness in our family. My brother's doctor is in Roanoke. I hope you can find him some help.

A: I am so sorry your brother suffered this terrible accident. He doesn't have to keep suffering, however. There is plenty of help out there to help him adjust to his disability and still enjoy life.

I think the best way to get him the help he needs is for you to visit him and help him find it. I agree that he sounds depressed, and depressed people are often too disabled by their depression to get the help they need by themselves.

Start with his doctor. Tell him everything you just told me and ask him to help you find rehabilitative physical therapy, mental health and drug addiction services for your brother. Don't give up until your brother is in treatment. And good luck to you both.

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