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Just Say No

When I was a little kid, my mother and step-father were hippies -leather headband wearing, peace marching, “down with bombs” sign carrying, tie dyed hippies. From what I recall, I liked the free-for-all attitude that permeated be-ins, music festivals and crafts fairs which were sort of the staples of our family time. The only part of the scene I vividly recall disliking was my parents’ love of weed.

From my memory, step-dad was a pretty daily toker and looking back I can see it was a lot about checking out. He smoked and worked for hours in his darkroom every day and would emerge with blood shot eyes and a shitty attitude. Other times, when he was pissed (which was a lot) he’d just disappear downstairs to get away and come back with that same look and a mad hunger for pound cake.

My parents’ favorite time to get high was on road trips. Our little French Renaults ( my parents went through series of these cars when I was young) always reeked of marijuana although my step-father tried to cover the smell with Doublemint gum which didn’t work. It only made me despise the smell of Doublemint gum (note to Juicyfruit: we are still friends). There’s nothing like two high as a kite parents driving up the California coast over winding cliffs to leave you car sick and fearing for your life. I can remember cowering in the backseat with no seat belt on just hoping with all my might that I would make it to our campsite alive and not end up a burning ember on the beach 80 feet below.

Fast forward to junior high. My seventh and eighth grade years predated Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign but there was still a lot of anti drug speeches and pamphlets handed out among students. One day I placed an anti-marijuana leaflet on my parent’s bed. They were not amused, more like completely pissed off.

At maybe thirteen, I decided that if I was to stand in judgment of their habit, I should at least know what they were doing so I stole some pot from step-dad’s stash which he craftily kept unwell hidden in a film canister above their bed. My friend and I rolled a joint which I’d learned to do from watching and we proceeded to smoke the entire thing while hiding in the backyard. I didn’t get buzzed but I did get a really bad headache. Turns out, it was some bad homegrown shit. Later I found that ragweed is only good for baking into brownies but not suitable for actual inhalation. I’ve since smoked plenty of good pot and to this day, I don’t know how he managed to get high off of it. Looking back, a bag of good bud would’ve made a perfect Hanukkah gift. He always was hard to shop for.

But I’ve never really liked pot too much or people who smoke it a lot. I don’t appreciate the movies that glorify pot smoking like every Seth Rogan vehicle. When I saw Knocked Up, I couldn’t get past how Katherine Heigl’s character could think there was any chance of a pothead being a responsible person. I also couldn’t get past Katherine Heigl in general but that’s my own prejudice. All that sitting around smoking and thinking it’s cool – I didn’t get it. At all. I once dating a pothead and he wore the same gross corduroy jacket every single fucking day of his life and it smelled like pot. I found myself actually pining for the smell of Doublemint gum.

So, people who use pot to check out? Gross. I judged. I had issues with that. But, in my mind, alcohol was totally different – cool, fun, socially acceptable, much better. Except that I was using alcohol in the same exact way I hating seeing pot used when I was a kid. And I’m glad I won’t be doing that anymore.

This is not to say that I have done a 180 and think drinking is bad. Au contraire. Normal drinking is, in my mind, a great thing to model for your kids. I wish like a bitch I was a normal drinker. I wish like hell I had a glass of wine or even two with dinner and left it at that – a couple on the weekend out with my husband – sweet. But I know I can’t.

Now Vicidon on the other hand…

And to all of you who are wondering or have asked, I’m doing this with outside support which helps tremendously. And to all of you who have suggested I take up knitting…DO YOU KNOW ME? Not going to happen. Seriously.

Two weeks!

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on June 6, 2009 8:00 pmSadie51 comments  

51 Comments

  1. Summer said,

    You are awesome, you go girlfriend. Snap, snap, snap, snap.

    | June 6, 2009 @ 10:13 pm

  2. Aunt Becky said,

    Stef, you're one of my best friends, and if you took up knitting I would so pretend not to know you.

    And congrats, sexy thing. 2 weeks is great!

    | June 6, 2009 @ 10:15 pm

  3. Candice said,

    Good for you. Keep it up. Your kids are gorgeous by the way.

    | June 6, 2009 @ 10:53 pm

  4. Kay said,

    Congratulations on your 2 weeks… that's a great accomplishment.
    I find myself "checking out" more and more lately… justified by chronic pain, prescription pain meds are an easy out.

    You're doing an amazing thing for both yourself, and your kids.

    | June 6, 2009 @ 11:06 pm

  5. divamommy said,

    Two weeks! You are awesome! Congratulations!

    | June 6, 2009 @ 11:47 pm

  6. The Freaking SugarPlum Fairy said,

    Awesome, Possum! Two weeks is no small thing! Major kudos!

    | June 6, 2009 @ 11:54 pm

  7. merlotmom said,

    You go, girl! Congrats. And "I" never said knitting. "I" said yoga. Namaste.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 12:03 am

  8. Uncle Mikey said,

    See, I never connected the weird obsession with Double Mint Gum to the pot. Learn something new every day.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 12:07 am

  9. Isabel Princes said,

    Congrats on the two weeks!
    Self medicating is self medicating whether its pot, alcohol, cigarettes,or sugar.
    I've been through three of the four.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 12:09 am

  10. Daddy Files said,

    Good job on the two weeks.

    But I have to disagree with you about potheads not being responsible people. Some aren't, I grant you. But many are. Call them "functioning potheads" if you will, but they're able to function on a high (pun intended) level just fine. And for the record, I don't smoke so this isn't me getting defensive about smoking weed.

    But your point about alcohol was a fantastic one, and it speaks highly of you that you recognized the similarities in your personal situation.

    Keep it up.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 12:53 am

  11. eden said,

    I never got smoking pot. It made me hide in paranoia under my bed … from myself.

    Good on you for the two weeks, and outside help rocks.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 1:21 am

  12. Jen said,

    I love that picture! Congrats on the two weeks, you're doing so awesome!

    | June 7, 2009 @ 2:06 am

  13. wheelsonthebus said,

    i cannot imagine how hard this is for you, given the humor in your books that deals with alcohol. and that's why i admire your willingness to go public.

    happy 2 weeks!

    | June 7, 2009 @ 2:59 am

  14. Jill said,

    I have tried to smoke pot exactly twice in my life and both times were before Bill Clinton became President, do I could totally relate when he said he didn't inhale. Because, dude! Neither did I! Because apparently I can't. I tried smoking cigarettes exactly twice also. Same result.

    Congrats on two weeks!

    | June 7, 2009 @ 3:08 am

  15. Shannon said,

    Awesome job Stef! Having been through this with Ben the last year I know it is not easy, but the result is SO worth it.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 4:02 am

  16. Beth said,

    Congrats on 2 weeks!!! :o)
    Addictions are do difficult — no matter what the addiction is. As a counselor, I've worked with a lot of people who are definitely psychologically addicted to pot — even though they say it's not addictive. Anyway…

    LOVE the photo of the girls! They are SOOOO gorgeous!!!

    | June 7, 2009 @ 4:31 am

  17. surcie said,

    When I was in 7th grade, I breathed second-hand pot smoke and broke out in hives. That's the closest I ever got.

    I tried knitting. It made me want to drink.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 10:20 am

  18. Kizz said,

    Love this post my Kizzle. I, too, despise the pot smokers. Irritating! It makes me sad that your parents put you through this. All the more reason that your choice was a good one for you…it gives you even more distance from a childhood your survived! I wish you never had to feel that way. You are brave and strong… and kind and sweet… and a brilliant writer and a wonderful friend. But even more… you are a big ole' whore. I love ya.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 3:28 pm

  19. WA said,

    Yay for you! (And you're just as hilarious as always.)

    Do you think if I liked pot, I'd like Seth Rogen movies? Nah, not a risk I'm willing to take.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 4:20 pm

  20. Anonymous said,

    Hmnm, sorry, going to disagree with you here. I find potheads much easier to deal with than alcoholics. But then again, I think either are fine in moderation. I don't like puritanism as much as I dislike pure hedonism. Whatever happened to moderation?

    I don't smoke weed anymore, but when I did, it was once in a while. It actually improved my mood, and lessened my anxiety. Now I just take prescription pills. How is that any different, besides the legality? (answer: it isn't, but I digress…)

    That's awesome that you are sober, but please remember that not everyone becomes addicted or drinks/smokes to excess.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 6:31 pm

  21. Becky said,

    I recently read an article about how something in marijuana does something to breast tissue and can make your boobs grow. Looking back to my early 20's, I was one pot smoking girl. If I was awake, at work, at the mall, at the bar, etc, you could pretty much bet that I was high. Did my boobs grow?? Nope. I also read that bearing children, breastfeeding, etc, can make boobs grow…..not for me. I'm still a measly 32AA. Yes, when I tried breastfeeding, my kids starved.

    Adorable photo of your girls. They look so happy!!

    | June 7, 2009 @ 7:04 pm

  22. Redsy said,

    Knitting and scrapbooking are both tools of Satan.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 7:17 pm

  23. Petunia Face said,

    I am pretty sure you are my sister because surely we had the same parents. I once wore an alligator roach clip in my hair in the second grade. My teacher told me not to borrow my mother's barettes anymore.

    The only difference is that my dad was also a raging (but silent) alcoholic, my mother a bit of a pill popper with a healthy dose of quaaludes tossed in for the both of them and later, some speed for my dad. *sigh* The only was I had to rebel was with disliking all of it.

    Anyway, you are awesome. Honestly truly. Eventually my parents wised up and stopped the drugs and alcohol, but not until I was 20 or so. Good for you for doing it while your kids are still small (and freakishly adorable). You're a great mother.

    | June 7, 2009 @ 10:02 pm

  24. Kendra said,

    I had friends in college who refused to drink alcohol but smoked tons of pot, who refused LSD but were always on mushrooms. And these were not people who were functioning well; they were failing out of school, never leaving the house, unable to keep a job–but their drugs were natural, so it wasn't the drug's fault.

    I smoked some pot in college, but definitely never made a habit of it. Fortunately (for me) I was surrounded by cautionary tales.

    It's hard to recognize that your assumptions (that alcohol is so different from marijuana, for example) may be wrong. Congratulations on the 2-week mark, and way to go getting support too. Your girls look beautiful–and happy!

    | June 7, 2009 @ 11:19 pm

  25. CaraBee said,

    I'm going to have to agree with one of the other comments and say that I would take a pothead over an alcoholic any day. I much prefer the laid back stoner to the unpredictable, often dangerous drunk. Not to defend pot, because frankly I don't *get* it either (hungry, tired, paranoid – why?), but I grew up with one of each and I know who I avoided.

    Which isn't to say that alcohol is all bad, anything in moderation, right. Nor is it to say that you were an unpleasant drunk, just my personal experience.

    Good for you and two weeks!! You should get a new pair of shoes or something. That's what AA is missing. Footwear as motivation.

    | June 8, 2009 @ 1:37 am

  26. Heather said,

    Congrats on two weeks. I was married to someone in the program until he dropped out. I'm in my own program and I have to say the outside help can be a life saver!!

    | June 8, 2009 @ 2:48 am

  27. Threeundertwo said,

    I love checking back in here – two weeks is awesome!

    But now I'm going to have nightmares about being in the back of a car careening off the coastline. . .

    | June 8, 2009 @ 3:32 am

  28. Undomestic Diva said,

    Congrats!

    And your girls? Ridiculously cute.

    | June 8, 2009 @ 3:42 am

  29. sarah said,

    Congrats on two weeks!! That's huge!

    and yes, about Katherine Heigl. Just yuck.

    | June 8, 2009 @ 5:51 am

  30. Rebecca said,

    Congratulations!

    And to the commentor who mentioned functioning potheads – there are also functioning alcoholics (or any other drug too probably). Sure they can go through the motions of every day but in truth they are not emotinally present for themselves or their loved ones. Their lives are just as wasted.

    | June 8, 2009 @ 8:00 am

  31. MereCat said,

    You are rockin'! Good going. And can I just say, Elby is such a big girl! Look at her hugging that baby sister. I just love this picture.

    | June 8, 2009 @ 11:49 am

  32. Wicked Step Mom said,

    Two weeks? You rock!

    I think people doing anything to check out of life should stop doing whatever they are doing to check out. Otherwise, it will be a bad habit that could have dire consequences.

    | June 8, 2009 @ 12:03 pm

  33. Adventures In Babywearing said,

    This post is incredible.

    Steph

    | June 8, 2009 @ 2:08 pm

  34. Jenny said,

    This post and the others about quitting drinking are such a laser beam to my gut. I've been doing exactly what you were doing for about a year now, and I'm pretty tired of myself. I'm scared that I can't quit, but I'm trying. It's been one day so far. Thank you for your candor on this journey.

    | June 8, 2009 @ 2:28 pm

  35. Catwoman said,

    The whole driving high along the cliffs mention in your post? Practically made me poop my pants. I remember my parents driving down that highway perfectly sober and I was terrified. I can't even imagine…

    You got to do what's right for you and your family.

    And you knitting? Bwa haha!

    | June 8, 2009 @ 3:26 pm

  36. GingerB said,

    You rock! Two weeks is aweseome. You have made real haedway to recognize that the bahavior is the issue, not the drug of choice.

    That being said, say I were going to a huge music festival like Telluride, I'd rather go with the pot smokers than the drinkers, or for hell's sake, the meth users, but still . . . there is no reason to rob oneself of motivation the way the pot smokers do.

    Um, I love knitting. Maybe I'm just not cool. Again.

    | June 8, 2009 @ 5:45 pm

  37. Amanda said,

    Yeah! You rock! (as always.)

    | June 8, 2009 @ 5:48 pm

  38. Eliz said,

    Not an easy thing, nice job.

    | June 8, 2009 @ 10:52 pm

  39. Beckie said,

    I am right there with you. Will be three months for me on June 26th, and I feel exactly the same as you describe. Keep it up! So nice that you have the support that you do. I think some of my friends were more upset than I was that I stopped…

    | June 8, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

  40. Raquel said,

    congrats on two weeks! my mother was, and still is, an enormous pothead the entire time i grew up. and i've never been fond of it much either.

    ps, i love the picture, especially how Sadie appears to be running up in the background to be picked up as well.

    | June 9, 2009 @ 2:44 am

  41. Deb said,

    Wow. I clicked on your blog, somehow, through someone I don't even know, but THIS post was something I NEEDED to read. Thank you.

    | June 9, 2009 @ 2:45 am

  42. Raquel said,

    congrats on two weeks! my mother was, and still is, an enormous pothead the entire time i grew up. and i've never been fond of it much either.

    ps, i love the picture, especially how Sadie appears to be running up in the background to be picked up as well.

    | June 9, 2009 @ 2:45 am

  43. Kari said,

    Congratulations Mama!

    …and could your kids be more gorgeous? Seriously.

    | June 9, 2009 @ 6:14 am

  44. an admirer of your honesty said,

    Thanks for sharing that story with us. I have in-laws who can't give up pot, and it's sad to see people that age stuck in an addiction (and still not recognize their use as addiction). I'd say it's addiction when your kids are ashamed of your behavior and you can't go the day without it. Having their grandchild is going to bring this all out in the open again. The sad thing is that they wouldn't quit for their own kids, so there's not much hope they will quit to fully enjoy their grandkid. I can't stand the movies that glorify this behavior nor the people who try to say marijuana is harmless. There are numerous kids like you, Steph, who were hurt by their parents' use.

    | June 9, 2009 @ 1:01 pm

  45. Tricia Moran said,

    So awesome! You go girl. You have no idea of how many people you are probably helping right now – it's a difficult topic and one most people are in denial about. (if they do have an issue with it). You are a great example to us all!
    Tricia :)

    | June 9, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  46. California Christine said,

    Thank you for your honesty on all fronts. Your post especially touched me as I worry about my brother – pothead for over 25 years! I worry about his beautiful girls and the opportunities he is missing because of his need to dial out. He and his wife are in denial that the children don't know – I hope these girls find peace with it one day.

    Two weeks ago, I went home to arrange for nursing care for my mother because my brother 'dialed out' of giving her the care she needs. When I was home in the height of the emergency, I wanted a glass of wine, but knew (as you know) that it was not the right answer. You have to face the good and bad life has to offer. It is important to care for your family – no one else will! I hope we come out of this situation as a family in the end, but pot and alcohol won't be part of any resolution I am involved in.

    Best of luck to you and your family!

    | June 9, 2009 @ 10:42 pm

  47. Mom101 said,

    Am so so proud of you.

    That is all. You know the rest.

    | June 9, 2009 @ 10:48 pm

  48. jenB said,

    I cannot get past Katherine Hiegel either. Also, pot makes me seriously anxious and way paranoid, so I avoid. Ok, I have avoided it since my 20s.

    Also, yes!!!! you are awesome!

    | June 10, 2009 @ 2:45 am

  49. Heidi said,

    Imagine Janet and Howie stoned. Can't do it can you? If you could, you would surely lose your mind.

    | June 10, 2009 @ 6:46 pm

  50. ByJane said,

    I never got the pot thing either. Alcohol was just so much cleaner–except, of course, when I was puking from "overuse." I actually flipped out one time on pot…saw the men in white coats, got wrapped in a straitjacket…metaphorically, of course.

    | June 12, 2009 @ 7:11 pm

  51. kids4sale said,

    Very moving. Good luck.

    | July 9, 2009 @ 6:26 pm

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