MY PARTNER, CANNABIS & ME

HEALTH, MENTAL HEALTH

Regular readers will know that most often these lists are reflective: written as someone comes to terms with an aspect of their life. This one is different, the author (who wishes to remain anonymous) is in the thick of it, her partner’s use of cannabis is very much a ‘now’.

  • I didn’t know my partner had a drug problem when we met, he covered it up well – mostly with alcohol. It’s common for one addiction to go hand in hand with another.

  • It took me a long time to realise the extent of the problem even when it was right in front of me.

  • When I finally joined the dots it was both liberating and destructive.

  • I started to research about cannabis and it’s affects, and I felt relief in a way.  I was relieved because I realised that this wasn’t my fault and addicts can be very manipulative people.

  • Lots of people say ‘oh, it’s only weed!’ but I don’t believe there is any hierarchy when it comes to addiction, if it’s affecting you and those around you then it’s a problem.

  • To be clear I’m not talking about a recreational habit, I’m talking about smoking it every day, from first thing in the morning before work and then 3-4 joints each evening. More at weekends.

  • I made excuses for his habit in the same way that he and his family did and continue to do so.

  • “He hasn’t got a problem because he goes to work, he’s hardworking, he’s a great Dad to his kids, he’s accomplishing ‘life.’  Surely if he had a drug problem he’d be a lazy idiot sitting at home wasting his life away.”

  •  That’s where I was wrong, there are functioning addicts just as there are functioning alcoholics out there – and they are everywhere, people hide it well.

  • But I know what goes on behind the scenes and that’s someone who can’t go a day without smoking, goes to work but only just gets through the day, and can’t really handle the regular strains of adult life.

  • At first I thought I did think I was at fault, because addicts are very good at making you feel that it’s you with the problem, not them. They come up with excuse after excuse, sometimes they sound so convincing you start to believe them and question everything that you believe and know to be true.  Eventually you end up doubting your sanity so much that you feel like you’re going crazy.

  • The worst kind of people are the ones who say, ‘but you always knew about it, didn’t you?’ Well, yes, I did know about it after a few months of knowing him but even then I didn’t know the true extent of it – that was to come further down the line when moved in together and I was already pregnant with our daughter.

  • Call me naive or maybe just plain stupid, but I believed what he told me.

  • He ‘enjoyed it’, he could ‘stop whenever he wanted’ and ‘it’s not a problem at all.’  I had fallen in love with him, this kind, funny, caring man couldn’t have a drug problem.  So, I believed him, although I knew in the back of my mind his usage wasn’t normal.  But I did believe one day he’d cut down or stop.  I didn’t realise the seriousness of it and I didn’t know as much about addiction as I do now.

  • There is research out there that suggests addicts (whether that be drugs or alcohol) stop maturing at the age they start using a substance, and I believe this to be true. At times, my partner approaches life like a 15 year old boy which makes talking about problems and living together very frustrating.

  • I don’t trust much of what he says. I have uncovered his lies too many times now, addicts are good at lying but they’re not so good at covering their tracks.  I suppose it’s like any kind of lie, you want to find out the truth so you know you were right, but when you do your world comes crashing down because the lie is destructive.  I used to think he was trying to hurt or upset me, now I know he’s not, it’s just what they do. He believes his lies and is totally powerless over the drug.

  • I have been crazy at times, and it wasn’t until someone said to me that I didn’t deserve this and my daughter doesn’t deserve a crazy Mummy that I started to realise I had let it take a hold and I had to sort it out.

  • It’s taken us a very long time to be able to have a calm conversation about his drug use, without arguments, tears, accusations and threats to leave (mostly him in anger).

  • The rows were like a volcanic eruption, the anger like lava spilling and spitting out of us both with no consideration for the damage it may cause.  Whilst at times things are calmer, the conversations still don’t always go smoothly as I’m so bitter and resentful.

  • The challenges it throws up as a parent are the things that have kept me awake at night. What if social services find out and my children get taken away? We have had to come home from family days out early because he needs to have a smoke (he wouldn’t admit that but it’s obvious) we haven’t been able to go on holidays much due to money but I know he’s not keen for obvious reasons – he’d never say that of course.

  • We have three children between us, two are his from a previous relationship. I think about the impact it’ll have on them as they grow up.  Inevitably one day they’ll find out.  We look to our parents to set a good example, will they think it’s acceptable to use drugs & alcohol to get through life? But he doesn’t view any of these as problems, in fact he doesn’t understand how it affects me at all which is probably the most frustrating part of it all.

  • I usually drive when we go out as he will have smoked before we leave the house – no matter what the time of day – and I won’t allow him to drive with our kids in the car whilst stoned (something he doesn’t see as a problem).

  • He tells me he’s doing it less, and he wants me to be proud & supportive. Years of lies and emotional abuse have meant I completely shut down and cannot be proud or happy of his achievements, most of the time I don’t believe him anyway.

  • I can only confide in friends & family so much, it’s hard because ‘least said soonest mended.’ Some of them now find it hard to be around him.

  • When things were really bad, I confided in a friend who introduced me to a 12 Step programme with the same principles as recovering addicts & alcoholics. I went to one meeting and cried the whole way through.  I could relate to all the people in the room and I felt safe to share how I was feeling.  Life started to change for me at that point.

  • To some people, it sounds like a strange cult. Its actually just a group of people supporting and helping each other.

  • The 12 Steps have changed my life and I consider myself in recovery from what I have been through with him. Through meeting alcoholics & addicts who are now sober, it gives me a tiny bit of hope that he may change one day.

  • He is a good Dad, he provides for us and has fun with the children. He is caring and always makes sure their needs are met.  But that’s not enough for me to live an unhappy life.

  • Then there’s the issue of the effect on his body & mind. Since having our daughter, I have tried to be even more health conscious than I was look after myself more because I have a responsibility to her, but he tells me he doesn’t care about what he’s doing to his body.  I suspect he does but if he faces up to that it will mean stopping using.

  • Life as a single Mum is one I’ve thought long and hard about. Leaving him is my comfort blanket, a life on my own – albeit with the struggles of co-parenting – is a fantasy I return to again and again.  Often when I wake at 3am, feeling anxious about the future.

  • Any addict who believes they are in control is wrong, drugs control people. My partner still thinks he’s in complete control but it couldn’t be further from the truth.  Again, addicts are in denial.

  • Some people I’ve met at meetings say they are glad they had/have the addict in their lives because it taught them so much about themselves. How to be truly happy themselves without letting someone else and their actions affect them, which when you are living with an addict takes tremendous strength.

  • Some friends who know are horrified, shocked and saddened that I’m in this situation. Why don’t I leave? I don’t know.  Whilst we’re still together I can control the situation to an extent.  I can make sure he doesn’t drive our kids around when he shouldn’t, I can ensure it’s not brought in the house.  Unfortunately, I’m a control freak and being with a man who is so disrespectful of your wishes is hard, especially when it comes to your children.

  • I own a successful business, have a fantastic team working with me and I know my life will be amazing with or without him

  • But still, I cling on. To the hope that maybe he will change, he will stop.  That I’ll find the person I fell in love with again.  There are days when I desperately wish someone had a magic wand, or a crystal ball and could tell me what to do.

  • The cliché ‘love is not enough’ couldn’t be truer for me in this situation. But I have to accept that change comes from within and in this case it’s completely out of my control.

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13 Comments

  • Reply A December 30, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    I’m not sure why the writer fantasises about leaving but doesn’t. Fantasies are usually just that because they’re not possible to do. I hope that she does leave and have the life she wants without him, she clearly isn’t in love with him.
    I get the worries about being in control but if she’s that fearful for her daughter spending time with him then don’t give him I supervised access.

  • Reply Carol December 30, 2019 at 8:31 pm

    I have been where you are truly I have. It was only when I gave up trying to change my partner and really did try to change myself. To accept, to be truly compassionate, to be truly supportive of their efforts but not to enable their addiction and also get myself support – that things really changed. We’re 18 years down the line, sometimes it’s still a struggle, the 12 steps helped us both enormously. Knowing our limits and not trying to fit in with society are big things for us, we each have to dance to our own tunes and exercise has been a saviour and channel for my partner. It’s still tough sometimes, it will always be a thing, but we’re both trying and my partner has been clear for 5 years and it’s still such a gift. I’m not necessarily telling you to stay, but that whatever you decide there will be light at the end of the tunnel. Sending you much love. Xxx

  • Reply Nic December 30, 2019 at 9:04 pm

    Reading this post with interest and a little dismay.
    I am in a similar situation in that my partner smokes weed every day. He has done since I met him, 10 years ago. He works from home and doesn’t drive so no issues there. He has smoked for so long that he doesn’t get high anymore, he is very functional. As I have known since I met him that he was a habitual smoker it has never bothered me. I understand it is a part of his life, he genuinely loves everything about it and he will smoke until the day he dies because it makes him happy. And I would never dream of asking him to stop.

    Whether your partner feels the same I don’t know? Your comments about him being a ‘drug addict’ I believe are uncalled for. Cannabis is one of the least harmful drugs on the planet. It is not actually a physically addictive substance, although people can become addicted to how it makes them feel. Almost certainly within the next 10 years it will be a legal ‘drug’ like alcohol and tobacco in the UK. Does that make you feel any differently about it? I would also like you to know that even though you think it is not ‘normal’ to live like this, in my life (as a 30 something) I know a lot of people who do smoke every day and it is very normal. Cannabis has been demonised for years and we have all had pre conceived ideas of ‘drugs are bad’ drilled into us through schools and the government. Please don’t worry for your children! Cannabis is an incredible plant and I urge you to learn more about it.

    One thing I do not understand is why you are still with this man when you have such a huge problem with how he wants to live his life. He will not change. It is a lifestyle and if you don’t want to be part of that then please do what you think is best for you and your children as you will never be happy if you force yourself to live a life you don’t want.

    Best of luck to you x

  • Reply Caitlin December 30, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    This piece really moved me. Knowing someone close to you is an addict is extremely tough. For me it was the badly thought-through lying that was the hardest to deal with… And all the while they’re still the person you love, just with acres and acres of sh*t covering it up. I can’t imagine what trying to co-parent is like in that situation. There definitely needs to be more awareness of “functioning” addicts out there; unless you’re really close to a person who abuses substances (or gambling etc.) You don’t see the damage it’s doing. The person close to me who is an addict was “functioning” for years… They were the life and soul of the party to friends and colleagues, but to those closest to them, we always saw the damage that was happening; a life falling apart, bit by bit. And I always thought if they hit rock bottom then they might address their problems. Well, they hit rock bottom (homelessness, joblessness, living an horrendous life) and still they can’t or won’t do anything about their situation. I’ve been able to step away from this person – hard though it is – with relative ease in my day-to-day life. But my heart breaks for you trying to raise your children in this situation. I have no words of advice, other than there are many of us who know how incredibly challenging dealing with an addict can be.
    X

  • Reply Jill December 31, 2019 at 6:52 am

    I urge you to consider leaving if he does not want to change. Your children will become more and more aware, damage to relationships will happen, have already happened. A parent under the influence is unpredictable resulting in more anxiety in those around them, over time they will have their own coping mechanisms for this anxiety which could be in many different forms.
    If you do want to leave consider contacting woman’s aid to help you, I only say this as I don’t know the full extent of your husband and sometimes the threat of leaving or leaving is a dangerous time. To say leaving is a fantasy you have makes me so sad to hear, your scared to lose the control over contact, that’s what social work are there for.
    I hope you get the peace you need. No one needs to be controlled by this and it seems to be ruining your life and your children’s.

  • Reply Alex Velzian December 31, 2019 at 10:57 am

    This was my life, only difference, I have a son instead of a daughter. And now my relationship is over.
    The abuse I accepted for so long, in hindsight was horrific (all emotional, but I think one day would have become physical). I was meant to marry who I thought was the love of my life in 2020 – now he is off doing the same thing to someone else, any one who will have him and believe his lies. I couldn’t do it anymore, I didn’t want my son growing up thinking mummy was always angry or sad.
    Reading this was a real eye opener, I ended this exact relationship in April this year and it has been HARD. The hardest thing I have ever done, I love him – but he loves weed and alcohol more.

    Only now am I at a point when I am ready to let go and to move on (it helps he has no contact with me or our son) but I have been bitter and angry for too long.

    I hope the author finds strength to do the same. It is the hardest, most liberating thing to do.

    I have lived this, I’ve held on to the glimmers of hope and the thought of what could be if he could just be “normal” – it never changes.

  • Reply Youtookthewordsrightoutofmymouth December 31, 2019 at 1:49 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I can relate to nearly all of it, except that I keep his cannabis use a secret from my friends and family. His family know and facilitate his using. They all believe it is normal and he is in control. He isn’t. It controls him. I lost it this christmas and hurt him with my words and opinions but I couldn’t keep it in any longer. It’s not normal and it is an addiction. I don’t know where we go from here as he is scared to live without it and I am scared of a future with it dictating everything we do. Good luck to you and I hope we can both find happiness in whatever form that might be.

  • Reply Chloe January 1, 2020 at 8:14 pm

    I was with an addict. Believed him when he said he didnt want that life anymore which I still believe he doesnt. Found out I was pregnant and had abusive behaviour from him whilst he got his head around the fact we had made a baby (he already has a child from a orevious relationship) he then went on a 5 day crack binge. He smokes cannabis daily and takes cocaine weekly too. I split with him and held out the branch for him to seek help for his addiction and anger issues before he forms any sort of relationship with our daughter for her own safety. She is nearly a year old and he has never met her, he wont get the help to better his life. Its so very very sad that addiction can grip people like that.

  • Reply Ihateweed January 4, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    I was with someone very similar to this, all the signs are the same. I made excuses, never told my friends or family (isolating and made me feel ashamed) and again his family turned a blind eye to it/let him carry on. He was nasty, manipulative, and weed came before anything else. It took me ages to get back to “me” and realise this was not how I should be treated. He will never change, you can blame the drugs but if you have children he is willing to put at risk you need to get out ASAP. It’s sad that there seem to be so many men that are like this.

  • Reply Doppelgänger in Aus January 9, 2020 at 12:09 pm

    I’m currently reading this from my bed at 10pm at night next to my snoring husband and when I started reading this I thought someone was playing a sick joke and describing my life. Although we don’t have children, the situation and the person described above is also my life at the moment.
    I strangely get some comfort out of reading this in the fact that I now know I am not alone and that this is a fight being fought all over the globe.
    When I confided in my mother in law about the issue, she said that anything that helps him be calm and not so angry isn’t so bad and suggested we go to a marriage councillor.
    I also have dreams and fantasies about leaving but mine are more about disappearing and never resurfacing to anyone- not even my own family.
    Thanks for sharing and allowing me the ability to feel not so alone in this.

  • Reply Chezza August 21, 2020 at 9:50 am

    I was with my partner for fours years, and I didn’t know he was doing Cannabis. I thought he was having a sly cigarette in the garage. However he had a mental breakdown, I can’t forget the hospital saying, brain scan clear, Cannabis positive. I know now, 30 years of substance abuse, which impacts mental behaviours…which contributed to this.

    He lied to me from the outset, he said he didn’t smoke, but forget to tell me he used Cannabis. His sister supplied it to him.

    The betrayal from everyone has been devastating. He is now recovering from his breakdown, we are still trying to discuss this; somehow I feel there will be a lot of unanswered questions, and two broken hearts.

    I was never allowed an opinion in this. My relationship was based on the premise of a lie. Ultimately, it’s illegal, it has adverse health effects and it’s not my lifestyle choice.

  • Reply Pamela Parker January 11, 2021 at 8:59 am

    The effects of weed do not pose the kind of immediate health threats that other drugs do. However, when combined with incompatible substances, pot can be quite dangerous. Those who do choose to use weed should carefully take inventory of what else they put into their bodies. If you’re going to get high, please be safe. Think twice about mixing marijuana with alcohol and other drugs.
    http://www.addictionrehabcenters.com/

  • Reply N grant November 13, 2021 at 7:14 am

    Legalisation has created illusion cannabis is benign. But level of THC in UK weed, produced and sourced illegally is fuelling a mental health timebomb. I split with my partner after ten yrs of struggling to free him from weed. Sometimes successfully. But he can’t face his anger and distorted personality without it. I sometimes wonder whether it causes a mental health condition or if people with one including undiagnosed develop a bigger problem. Experts tell me that is unknown. But nowhere in the media is a link being made between cannabis addiction as a symptom of mental health condition that is treatable. I would have loved him to learn his issues could be managed safely instead of relying on a substance that offered temporary relief, but left him unmotivated, self pitying, angry and nasty within a short time of using. It is beyond frustrating that links with poor mental health and cannabis are largely ignored. Unless you have lived experience of cannabis dependency no one would guess the jekyll and Hyde personalities it creates.

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