“Jimmy” was an average boy who grew up in a small town. He was the product of divorced parents but stayed with his Dad who later remarried. Jimmy was the oldest of three siblings. He was very bright but had problems finding his niche in groups at school; that is until he began using alcohol from his parent’s liquor cabinet. The alcohol allowed him to be the class clown and since he readily provided it to others, he became quite popular in middle school. He could take or leave alcohol but found that it was easier when he “took” it. His parents disagreed. When they found out, they thought they’d teach him a lesson by forcing him to drink a pint of whiskey on the rocks. It didn’t work.
At 14 years old, he was introduced to marijuana; Jimmy was in LOVE. Marijuana allowed him to have all the fun with none of the repercussions; or so he thought. He had always been a hard worker and felt that Marijuana gave him energy and unlike the alcohol, he could hide it. He may have felt it gave him energy but within 2 years, he quit school and began experimenting with other substances.
Even though he tried many other substances (and there were a lot) throughout the years, he always came back to alcohol and marijuana. Jimmy’s first health problem due to his drug use came after a cocaine binge. He had a heart attack at 41 years old. The doctors accused him of using cocaine but he adamantly denied it. Since that first “heart problem” he’s had 13 stints put in his heart but adamantly denies that marijuana could be the cause; After all, “it’s not like I smoke cigarettes.”
At the age of 43, he was diagnosed with tongue cancer from the years and years of over 400 degrees Fahrenheit temperatures being inhaled. Jimmy had 2/3 of his tongue removed. He was able to stop using for a while but without a support system or adequate coping mechanisms, denial took over and he convinced himself (again) that this was not caused from marijuana or worsened by his alcohol intake.
Flash forward 15 years and 2 divorces, and Jimmy had a stroke. He collapsed after being in the bar for most of the day and then smoking a bowl on the way to help a friend. Jimmy survived and is actually doing better than they predicted he would. His left arm is paralyzed but he is able to walk without a cane now. He stopped smoking weed and drinking for a while but his family has been unable to convince him he needs professional help. One year later he figures substance use probably didn’t cause the stroke….Must have been something else.
According to the Big Book of AA, addiction is a “cunning and baffling disease”.