Most everyone has a desire to escape, relax and reward themselves occasionally. These are essential parts of a high-quality life. However, unfortunately, many who live with an addiction usually don’t know how to do those things without using and abusing substances. The truth is, many of these individuals have never known anything different, and the patterns of behaviors that brought them to addiction’s doorstep were cemented long ago. Cannabis use can turn into something more than “just weed.”
Surviving The Stress of Adolescence
Adolescence is a time rife with stress. It is a time of learning who you are, who your friends are, what matters to you, and how you plan to take up space in this world. At this age, we learn the skills we’ll come to rely on later in life. And without conscious awareness, our ways of responding to and coping with life’s stresses can be swayed by the inexperience of adolescence.
We know how important and how formative the teen years are, which is also when the temptation to smoke weed, take a hit and turn to marijuana to solve your problems is at its strongest.
The challenge inherent in learning how to relax, enjoy yourself and exist in social situations is that it doesn’t always come easy; it takes hard work. It’s challenging, it can feel complex and many of us are looking for an easy solution. Despite the teen years being the time to try out our new skills, to fail miserably within the supportive family network, many do not rise to the opportunity.
We learn instead that smoking helps us relax and fall asleep at night. We learn that it buys our acceptance into a new group of friends, and we learn that when we’re feeling overwhelmed, it helps us forget. It becomes patterned, this way of existing in a world that is stressful and demanding. And as the responsibilities of adulthood settle in, the ache for relief only grows.
Too often, we hear that it’s “just weed” and “really not a big deal,” but the pattern described above goes far beyond its current outcome. Soon will come a day when it’s not enough to help you cope, and filling in the gap is food, sex, or jumping from partner to partner, or cocaine, or oxycontin. As it gets fed, the need to use something outside of yourself to regulate your internal state only grows.
While it may not be a “slippery slope” in how past conversations have discussed it, the pattern underlying cannabis use still points to a deeper concern, and a need to add more tools to the toolbox in terms of how you cope with the stress in your life.
So how does legalization affect us?
Many wonder how the laws and loosening regulations about cannabis use affect our younger generations or the most vulnerable among us.
Above all else, it has changed the way that we need to talk about the role of cannabis in our society. It’s apparent that we will no longer tolerate sweeping judgments applied equally to all substances and that the country is searching for a more nuanced discussion.
While it may not be the root of all evil, it certainly is not “just weed,” and any use warrants a closer look under the surface at the patterns that drive it.
If you’re willing to take a closer look and concerned about the patterns that drive the behavior in your life, reach out to us today to learn more about our programs and how we can support you or someone you love on the road to wellness. Call us today at 888-651-7238.