Partner starting to use marijuana?

Partner starting to use marijuana?

Postby duckfiasco » Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:03 pm

Hi, all.

I'm a practicing Buddhist and my husband of seven years is not. About two months ago, he began experimenting with marijuana. As time has gone on, he's began using it more and more. At this point, he uses it nearly every night. He views it as harmless, just a way to de-stress after a hard day at work, and not addictive. Basically, that it's not actually a drug.

What I see though is that it may be becoming a patterned way of handling stress. So it may not be addictive in the same way as nicotine, but in terms of actual use, it looks like addictive behavior. Recently, he said it was like a kind of mindfulness, and spiritual in a way. I couldn't disagree more. What I see is that the marijuana seems to put him on a sword's edge between total absentmindedness and giving in to the very neuroses he's trying to escape. I've seen it go both ways. And since the stress that drives him to use it never seems to lessen, it's not of any lasting help.

My personal view is it's hard enough to cut through our own crap as is, let alone when we throw a mind-altering drug in there. But I respect that we don't follow the same path. Our attempts to talk about it so far have been unsuccessful. Something about the way we talk, either his or my own clumsy approach, elicit defensiveness. He may interpret my reasons for not joining him to be some kind of moral high horse that I look down on him from.

I know this is the bare bones and nobody here really knows me or my partner in any depth. But what is your impression of this? Have any of you been in a similar situation with a loved one's drug use?

I can see both sides: I'm worrying over something trivial and shouldn't control his decisions, and trust in his ability to manage his life. Then on the other hand, we are married, and I do have some perspective on his behavior by now. I feel this is the latest way to numb himself to several long-standing issues. I don't want to be controlling, but I feel he needs a kick in the ass. No idea how to do this skillfully, though.

Note that if this were only occasional use, I wouldn't care. But it's nearly daily now.

Thank you all very much.
Please take the above post with a grain of salt.
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Re: Partner starting to use marijuana?

Postby tomamundsen » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:44 pm

The first question I want to ask you is: what is your motivation for wanting him to stop? Is it out of concern for him or because you just don't like it?

I have the experience of being in a relationship where this was happening, except it was me that was the daily cannabis user. Granted we were probably younger than you and the relationship didn't last too long (about 2 years).
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Re: Partner starting to use marijuana?

Postby duckfiasco » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:18 pm

I think you and I are about the same age possibly :) I'm 26, he's 25.

Two of my closest friends smoke marijuana, and it's never bothered me. I suppose the main thing is I don't like the effects in this instance.

Aside from the minor things like "I'll be in there in a minute" and an hour goes by, I worry that it's becoming his go-to for stressful days. The stressors are building and it seems like there's a karmic snowball with his job and our own issues fomenting while left unaddressed, and when all that stinky smelly juiciness of the situation is right there screaming "look at this suffering! help!" he's instead choosing the escape of marijuana. The intention seems very different from simply smoking weed to have fun or get some ideas for art. He also has a deeply rooted sense of self-consciousness. I've accidentally triggered bad trips down that road before. Not to mention it's becoming a source of secrecy and shame. He can tell I'm worried and want him to cut back, but instead of talking about it, he's been waiting until I go to bed, then smoking and staying up until 3 or 4a.

It's so weird to me that something like this is happening from a thing that really is not an issue 90% of the time. It's like being addicted to sitcoms or something. Yeah, it's weird and maybe a waste of time, but harmless... until it becomes an escape and a thing to feel shame about and hide from others.

I suppose the main reason I'm blathering about all this is I'm hoping for some insight into my own biases and some ideas on how to skillfully approach this. I am secondarily responsible for the stigma that's building around it in my husband's view, but I'm at a loss for what to do differently. My gentle, loving speech apparently isn't so gentle or loving! Or it's ineffective.
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Re: Partner starting to use marijuana?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:21 pm

Pot is a weird thing.

With most people's worldview they will tell you that the substance isn't harmful, so it's all ok, as if the substance is somehow the issue at hand. As you pointed out though, the substance itself is meaningless, the obsession with it, the need to have it daily to deal with simply being alive is not.

Weirdly I think I have always been on the opposite side of this, even with being a Buddhist I have always had a more difficult time with substance dependencies, and general unhealthy addictive behaviors than my wife. In this situations I found it very helpful when she pointed out my behavior provided a kind of short term happiness, but in the long run habituated me to an expectation of being stoned all the time.

The thing is that most people don't think a small amount of daily intoxication is harmful..I have no idea how to convince someone with a different belief system than me that it is.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Partner starting to use marijuana?

Postby tomamundsen » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:33 pm

duckfiasco wrote:I think you and I are about the same age possibly :) I'm 26, he's 25.

Two of my closest friends smoke marijuana, and it's never bothered me. I suppose the main thing is I don't like the effects in this instance.

Aside from the minor things like "I'll be in there in a minute" and an hour goes by, I worry that it's becoming his go-to for stressful days. The stressors are building and it seems like there's a karmic snowball with his job and our own issues fomenting while left unaddressed, and when all that stinky smelly juiciness of the situation is right there screaming "look at this suffering! help!" he's instead choosing the escape of marijuana. The intention seems very different from simply smoking weed to have fun or get some ideas for art. He also has a deeply rooted sense of self-consciousness. I've accidentally triggered bad trips down that road before. Not to mention it's becoming a source of secrecy and shame. He can tell I'm worried and want him to cut back, but instead of talking about it, he's been waiting until I go to bed, then smoking and staying up until 3 or 4a.

It's so weird to me that something like this is happening from a thing that really is not an issue 90% of the time. It's like being addicted to sitcoms or something. Yeah, it's weird and maybe a waste of time, but harmless... until it becomes an escape and a thing to feel shame about and hide from others.

I suppose the main reason I'm blathering about all this is I'm hoping for some insight into my own biases and some ideas on how to skillfully approach this. I am secondarily responsible for the stigma that's building around it in my husband's view, but I'm at a loss for what to do differently. My gentle, loving speech apparently isn't so gentle or loving! Or it's ineffective.

I see. Yea, well this is a difficult issue. On the one hand, you don't like his changes in behavior or the person he is becoming. On the other hand, he probably has some instinctual reaction against your disapproval as he feels it isn't harmful.

IMO, which shouldn't be taken seriously, he probably does need to stop or at least cut back in order for your relationship to heal. Or you would have to accept being in a relationship with a pothead; that is the other solution. He likely will not stop because of anything you say. He will have to actually want to stop; and it will probably have to be for his own reasons and not just because you want him to. I should caution though that throwing ultimatums at him will probably just result in more drama and hurting instead of resolving anything. At least that is my personal experience.

He might actually just stop or cut back if you tell him how and why it bothers you. I would first start out by letting him know very clearly how you feel and why.
Last edited by tomamundsen on Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Partner starting to use marijuana?

Postby Jesse » Mon Nov 12, 2012 11:34 pm

Sounds like the real problem isn't marijuana then, he is choosing not to deal with his stress & the problems causing it, and he could do this in 1000 different ways. So the marijuana is inconsequential, and imho marijuana does help with stress, many people use it specifically for this.. sure it's not the healthiest way to do it.. but would you take it away from people who can't or don't have a better way to cope?

perhaps accept his marijuana use, and instead try to help him work out the things causing him so much stress, (and perhaps accepting his use will help with that), and if that's impossible, perhaps try to motivate him to include other ways of dealing with it in addition to the marijuana. (exercise etc)
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Re: Partner starting to use marijuana?

Postby Thrasymachus » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:13 am

Well no one can give you advice of what to do, because simply they are not you.

However all my friends tend to be big into the drugs and alcohol culture and I wanted to distance from that behavior and lifestyle, so I just distanced myself from them and started hanging out with them much less. From my experience people who are into drugs, for them just smoking marijuana is an event, something to do, and they won't do something, anything else. One thing you failed to mention is his frequency? How often does he smoke and for how long? With most my friends alcohol and drugs is all they tend to do socially, if given the chance. Even someone who only smokes for 10-30 minutes a day, if they work full time, they are spending a large portion of their remaining free time under the influence.

Being associated with him, will entail being associated with his marijuana habit, even though you seem to have made it go underground by confronting him. Ultimately if you don't want to be associated with such activities yourself, and if he has no intention of quitting, you will have into look into a divorce. Or you could stay together, but deal with marijuana use and likely other drugs later on. You cannot force people to change, but you can control if you are in or not in their presence. But I guess on some level you may have noticed this as you write about your marriage failing in a subsequent post. If you don't have kids with him, and are not financially dependent on him, that may be the best bet. The last point is big, because Westerners often try to underplay the financial dynamics of the family structure, in this Podcast a Marxist gives a class analysis of the American household:
Richard Wolff applies his Marxian class analysis to the US household, noting that more and more adults are rejecting the traditional (feudal) model of domestic exploitation

Wolff says that in the 1970s is when wages starting falling for American workers, and when women had to start massively entering the workforce. That is also when the divorce rate started exploding, because the traditional unspoken deal of the quasi-feudal American household was that the man earns the living for the family, and in turn the woman reproduces with her surplus labor the effort to maintain and feed the rest of the household. When most men couldn't earn enough, there was no longer incentive to stay unhappily married if you had to work anyway.
Last edited by Thrasymachus on Thu Jan 31, 2013 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Partner starting to use marijuana?

Postby Karma Dorje » Thu Jan 31, 2013 6:42 am

Address the root cause that the pot use is symptomatic of, as a few other posters have suggested. It sounds to me like you are taking him for granted, as you respect your friends who smoke pot and it bugs you that he does. This almost inevitably happens as you come to rely on a person close to you. You treat them as an extension of yourself. If you practice sending and taking or the four boundless meditations, make sure that you spend extra time focusing on him so that you are being truly loving in your approach.

While you definitely have his interests at heart, some of this comes across as being annoyed. Marriages are not about what you get, they are about what you give. I think it's much more likely he needs a hug and for you to listen to him than he needs an ass-kicking. The world gives us all an ass-kicking enough, by and large. It may take time to get through to him, but it's *worth* it. If he can't open up to you and he persists in his behavior even knowing you don't like it, then you can have your Come to Jesus discussion with him.
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Re: Partner starting to use marijuana?

Postby alpha » Fri Feb 01, 2013 11:03 am

duckfiasco wrote:Hi, all.

I'm a practicing Buddhist and my husband of seven years is not. About two months ago, he began experimenting with marijuana. As time has gone on, he's began using it more and more. At this point, he uses it nearly every night. He views it as harmless, just a way to de-stress after a hard day at work, and not addictive. Basically, that it's not actually a drug.

What I see though is that it may be becoming a patterned way of handling stress. So it may not be addictive in the same way as nicotine, but in terms of actual use, it looks like addictive behavior. Recently, he said it was like a kind of mindfulness, and spiritual in a way. I couldn't disagree more. What I see is that the marijuana seems to put him on a sword's edge between total absentmindedness and giving in to the very neuroses he's trying to escape. I've seen it go both ways. And since the stress that drives him to use it never seems to lessen, it's not of any lasting help.

My personal view is it's hard enough to cut through our own crap as is, let alone when we throw a mind-altering drug in there. But I respect that we don't follow the same path. Our attempts to talk about it so far have been unsuccessful. Something about the way we talk, either his or my own clumsy approach, elicit defensiveness. He may interpret my reasons for not joining him to be some kind of moral high horse that I look down on him from.

I know this is the bare bones and nobody here really knows me or my partner in any depth. But what is your impression of this? Have any of you been in a similar situation with a loved one's drug use?

I can see both sides: I'm worrying over something trivial and shouldn't control his decisions, and trust in his ability to manage his life. Then on the other hand, we are married, and I do have some perspective on his behavior by now. I feel this is the latest way to numb himself to several long-standing issues. I don't want to be controlling, but I feel he needs a kick in the ass. No idea how to do this skillfully, though.

Note that if this were only occasional use, I wouldn't care. But it's nearly daily now.

Thank you all very much.


Unlike everybody else above i can't give you any advice.
But i want to make an observation.
When dealing with loved ones ,relatives,etc,....it helps to be aware of the fact that they have a different world view than ours.
And whatever they do in their lives reflects how they understand their condition.

We quite often assume a lot and try to imprison the other in our own world view.
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