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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Dream-Like State of Addiction

By Cassandra Violet Murphy

I grew up alone, desolate. I was the result of a passionate love affair between my parents, which ended shortly after I was born. My mother sent me to live with my father when I was ten years old. My father lived in Mexico City, while my mother lived in Hawaii. I had close to nothing while growing up in Hawaii, there were times when I’d helplessly watch my mother frown as she searched the kitchen, looking for something to eat. I’d hear her cry to her mother at night on the phone, lost in the uncertainty of our fate. Me living with my father seemed logical. He had a stable job and his company paid for housing and my education. I went from poverty to being served lunch by a housekeeper when I arrived home from a prestigious private school.

While I understood that I was fortunate for the opportunities that were being presented to me, I despised the isolation they brought on me. The city was dangerous, a clustered jungle of insanity. I was bound to our apartment where I would spend the days alone, my mind my sole companion. I longed for attention, for friends, but my new world was so strange, so vastly different from all I had known prior. I found it hard to relate to the people around me. Most found me awkward. I was an alien, I was a sailor stranded on land, tied down by ropes of which I could not untie. The ropes ripped at my skin, discretely torturing me while I danced to the madness of the beat of my internal cries. While I eventually adjusted to circumstance, I was anything but happy. My depression was a hole being dug deeper with each dreadful day.

My senior year of high school I found a way to hide the stabbing pain that my heart thrust into my chest. I began to drink heavily at night. My state of mind was rarely sober and I found that when I was in such a state I was aggravated, depressed and lost. It started on weekends and as I got older it progressed to weekdays. My dad slowly began noticing bottles from the cabinet emptying themselves. He heard the door to the bar outside open in the middle of the night, as I would cautiously slide the glass doors aside to enter my heaven, my means of escape. I suspected that he knew, but I locked the thought in the doors of my subconscious mind. I clung to the key of those doors every night.

The first week of summer, after I graduated high school my dad finally exploded in fury. He came home to find me drunk and alone in the darkness of my room. His eyes glared, like blinding headlights. I wanted to run from the room, to hide from the world. He told me what I needed to hear, but it wasn’t enough. He told me he couldn’t wait until the day I moved out because he was so sick of me. He told me he couldn’t wait to watch me grow up and realize how much I had going in my life but how I was going to end up with nothing because of my addiction. I cried for hours. I drank more. That summer I spent working in Hawaii. The independence proved to be disastrous. I worked so much that I could drink to my hearts content. I drank almost every night. I drank because I was bored, because I wanted to feel alive. I drank because I was lonely. I drank because I was lost.

When the time came for me to go to college I assured my father that the summer I had spent working in Hawaii had been good for me and that I had worked through my problems. I avoided drinking the week before I left to gain his trust. He believed me. As he embraced me and we parted ways he told me he was proud of me. My heart sunk, pulled down by an anchor of shame. College turned out to be anything but a good influence. I went from drinking at night to waking up drunk and sneaking sips of alcohol before class. I was a mess. My attendance was horrible, I had no job, I was completely broke and I was failing half of my classes. Several times I showed up to class so drunk that I passed out in the middle of class. It didn’t end there though, it only got worse.

I woke up one morning shaking and craving alcohol more then I had ever before. I was sick to my stomach, but the burning sensation of alcohol pumping through my throat made me feel better. My entire body ached. My throat was sore from shots, I was sick to my stomach and beyond everything else, for the first time in my life I was worried that I had a problem. As I looked at myself in the mirror, at the bags underneath my tired eyes, the redness of my face and the stringing of my limp hair I saw myself clearly for what I was, an alcoholic. I threw out all of the bottles in my room and refused to drink for a week. It was the most difficult week of my life. I was irritated, depressed and I couldn’t stop shaking. After a week I couldn’t’ take it anymore and drank myself to sleep.

During this time I had gotten multiple violations for my partying. I had been caught drinking and smoking in my room and was in debt for having done so. The first few years of high school I had smoked a lot of pot. Marijuana relaxed me, it calmed me down and made me feel perky and peaceful with the world and myself. Eventually though, I found that I craved something more, something to help me escape entirely.

When I went home for Christmas break I stopped drinking so much, but only because I could finally afford to smoke more. Marijuana prices in the U.S. are obscene. I had never seen anything wrong with smoking weed, I felt like it relaxed me while alcohol merely allowed me to become indifferent to the world around me. Marijuana allowed me to embrace my emotions, to feel passionate about life. While the last year of high school and the first semester of college I had begun to forget that life was beautiful and worth living, that Christmas break brought me to realize all that I was putting myself thorough. I only drank four times that month, instead I found myself smoking every day. I went through two packets of rolling papers in one month, but with each joint I smoked I found myself understanding all that I had done wrong, I found myself preparing for coming change.

When break ended and I came back to school I decided that smoking helped me in ways alcohol never could. Marijuana slows down the racing thoughts that rush through my head. However, I found that while marijuana helped me understand my addiction and what had caused it, it only substituted my dependence on alcohol. I had replaced drinking with smoking. Eventually I begun to feel depressed every time I smoked. I did not feel this way because of marijuana itself, but because I longed to feel useful and productive. Instead I was always stoned and confused in my own little world. I created a bad image of myself, I was known as a lazy stoner. Further, I found myself spending more on weed then I never had on alcohol. It was when I hit my ultimate low that I woke up and finally begun understanding life and my purpose in it.

I was caught smoking in my room again, however, I was informed that I would either be put on housing jeopardy or I would be kicked off of campus permanently. The next day my phone was turned off because I had spent all of my money on pot instead of paying for the bill. I couldn’t afford to smoke for two weeks. The first few days were aggravating, but then I started to feel happy. It had been so long since I had been sober that I had forgotten how the smallest things could make me happy. I had to find myself all over again, I had forgotten who I was.

I made a list of goals and things I wanted to accomplish. I begun writing more and meeting up with friends for little things like lunch and study groups. I had started drinking to feel alive, to feel like I wasn’t alone in the world. I had started smoking to help me understand my problems and myself. Being sober though, was the greatest high of my life. The feeling of natural happiness that hummed through my veins was overwhelming. This transformation took place only six weeks ago, but already I have been birthed into a new world. My current world is not always sober. I still drink with friends from time to time and I enjoy smoking occasionally, in fact I encourage smoking! There is nothing wrong with drinking socially, and marijuana has proven to be very beneficial to ones emotional health. The point of this story was not to encourage the world to be sober, but instead to let the world know that life is hard, but hiding from your problems only makes them worse. Intoxication should be experienced in the right moment, when life is beautiful, but you want to enhance your experience just a little bit more.

There are going to be times when we are painfully bored to the point of tears. There will be times when it will be hard to get out of bed, when darkness will stalk our souls. There will be moments when we think that we’ve lost everything, only to lose more. This is life, this is natural. We’re imperfect creatures. We are meant to experience and learn, to find ourselves and our place in the world. My problems with alcohol negatively impacted my life to the point of destruction, but if I hadn’t gone through that harrowing experience then I wouldn’t be the strong person that I am today, a person ready to face the world.

I realize now that I don’t need alcohol to be happy and I don’t need pot. These things I instead use to occasionally enhance the happiness I already feel. I find that when I do use these substances I enjoy them more now because I’m using them for the right reasons. The realization that happiness comes from within has done more then allow me to live my life. This understanding has saved my life; I have unburied a forgotten soul. A butterfly has merged from the cocoon of my heart to dance in the coming summer sunshine. I am at peace with myself at last and I am happy. Life is merely winds of change, currents of pounding obstacles, but if you can overcome them and remain true to who you are then your life is worth living and I hope that you live every moment in pure, ecstatic bliss.


  1. Massachusetts needs to legalize cannabis and make sundays and holidays cannabis consumption only days then watch the crime rates go way down on those days


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