I was hunched over my dorm room desk when my roommate walked in. “What’s that smell?” he asked. “It’s marijuana,” I replied, as I ground a sticky nug into green frosty flakes. Something felt wrong about the way he quickly left the room without saying a word, but my apprehension was interrupted by three short knocks on the door. I let two police officers in and seemed to watch the scene from outside my body as one of them bit handcuffs into my wrists and told me to watch my head as he put me into an SMU PD cruiser.
Four years later, I’ve finally cleared those arrest charges from my record. But they haven’t yet left my mind. I stopped smoking weed that year, after the arrest, but it’s not why I quit. Here’s another story.
The last cross-country race of my high-school career was dusty, hot, and hilly. Hundreds of runners from across the nation gathered on a once-green, now brown-trodden field under tents of so many colors that the racing grounds looked more like a traveling circus. As my teammates stretched before the final race, I crouched in a porta-potty on the edge of the field with a little glass pipe and BIC lighter. “I can’t do this unless I smoke,” I told myself.
As ridiculous as this sounds, I didn’t think that I had a problem. I thought that weed made me a better person. I didn’t realize that I was missing something weed couldn’t give me. Okay, one more story.
One year ago, I attended an open mic event to face my fear of singing in front of people. Before I went up, my friend suggested that we smoke a little. I politely declined. All I needed was a guitar, a microphone, and myself. As I finished and walked off the stage, I remembered why I quit smoking: the feeling of complete independence was infinitely more fulfilling than any high ever had been. There’s nothing like the feeling of carrying everything I need and will ever need within myself.
It all comes down to one thing: self-love. I can smoke all I want, but someday the weed or my money or my tolerance will dry up. The only thing that will never run out is my love for myself. It may not be as easy, it may not make me laugh so hard my sides hurt, it may not make breakfast burritos at 2:00 am taste better than anything in the world, but I am the one thing that will never leave me, so I am the one thing I will never quit.