28 DAYS LATER
I survived. I’m sober for the first time in 18 years. I’ve been sober for this entire month and when i asked my fans if they noticed anything different about me, they only said good things. My facebook numbers only went up and I was still able to make a stupid joke and get a laugh. I got rid of my paraphenelia, every pipe and one hitter and my volcano, dropped it off at my roadie’s house and I haven’t looked back. it was hell in the beginning but it didn’t last as long as i’d thought and now life feels like heaven. i went to a party last weekend even where folks were smokin and didn’t relapse. I finally feel as if I have control over what i do and how i act. i know have control over the grief of my father’s passing and can now manage the daily nonstop stress of life. here’s what i’ve noticed.
the CONS (what i don’t miss)
-the rage waiting for drugs or the rage caused by micro-crisises while high is really what made me want to stop. how could this hippie drug turn me into a raging asshole? it left me with an overwhelming inability to deal with anything that would come up. and my tolerance for chaos or disorder would be so very low that anything could set off a panic or rage. on tour this became a problem, leaving me in a heightened and stressed out state at all times.
- i would yell at people in my own life, fans, strangers. i told myself misanthropes were cool, but they’re not. you really want a handle on your emotions. while i was high anything could set me off. how can i get a phone call from my lawyer or my brother NOW of all times?!? don’t they know i just got high and i’m trying to do nothing right now??!
-the paranoia, besides that thought that someone is going to kill me, i’d always forget if i locked the door or if i left on the stove, even if i hadn’t cooked. also paranoia about if i would succeed or if i was doomed forever.
- the money. i was spending up to 13K a year, now that money can go to a house or a kid, to bills, to savings. i can put it to good use instead of throwing it away. i started using a volcano which is better for you but it can grind up your cash faster than you can make it.
- the munchies, specifically a sweet tooth, constantly having to tend to an unquenchable appetite made me fat and hurt my teeth.
- losing my train of thought made me avoid interviews and press which is bad for business. i started to depend on my fiancee to tell me what i was thinking or what i had just said. my short term memory was fucked which made it near impossible to remember whatever i was just told, like names.
- the procrastination - like they say in jackie brown, it robs you of your ambition. i honestly think race wars would have been better, a lot of my music would have been better if i hadn’t been so lazy about working on it, or about writing a song. some tasks seems insurmountable so i just procrastinate. two years after raising money on kickstarter i’m now able to follow through on my obligations. and i can now make songs at a regular clip. which makes everyone happy.
- because weed gets the blood pumpin i would find myself hornier than i needed to be. it’s nice to have control over your sex drive. masturbating all day is fun and all, but it’s also a huge waste of time. porn can be a bottomless pit you can fall in and now I feel like I have more control. porn can depress who you’re with. now it’s a rarity and i’m taking part in my life which is better. real life is always better.
- a constant distraction - because it wasn’t just a few sessions a day, and because i was never able to moderate, i’d be high all day. and that’s difficult to maintain. someone is going to feel left out and overlooked. and someone did. now there’s more focus on the relationship and less on the addiction.
- it’s still illegal. i got thrown in a texas holding cell for like 8 hours. and that was by far the worst day and the worst feeling I’ve ever felt. there are places like colorado and the west coast, but there still are a bunch of assholes out there that see it as a perfectly good excuse to fuck up your life permanently. traveling with weed was a no no but after a show it could still find its way into your pockets and bags, sometimes it was hard to remember where it all was. traveling without is a relief. you don’t have to freak out every time you pass a cop. it’s nice not be to not be scared of getting caught. that can still happen some places.
- it made me suck at performing and it became a crutch. it also made me lose my voice pretty much every tour. i could blame it on colds and whatever but really it was my having to smoke before a show to deal with being nervous. because it is nerve wracking to have hundreds of people stare at you night after night while you try to come up with something fun to watch. i would forget lyrics, what song i was on, how to tell the joke.
- i worried that it kept me from killing myself or drinking (been off six years) but my therapist got me over that and proved to me that i would be ok if i quit. he pointed out that i had been to london and dublin, where the bars spill out into the streets and i got through it without drinking and without smoking (i couldn’t find any.) you think you won’t be able to handle it or the withdrawal, but you soon find that it is possible. and not the end of your life which was my honest fear. i also thought my relationship wouldn’t last if i didn’t have weed to calm me down, but it was amping me up.
- it’s a depressant. that cry face could probably been avoided, the panic attacks that came with the feeling that the world had turned on me could have been avoided. yes my father died and everything, everything was making me cry, but i might’ve been able to not experience so many triggers constantly if i was sober. crying can be good. but every day? i felt like i was just gonna be sad forever. there’s a general sadness that coats your life with weed and you just kinda cozy up to it and take it as the norm. but it’s not normal to assume the worst at all times about everything. to have no faith in yourself or others. my father died of cancer, yes, but there was still a life to be lived with good times in it. i wanted to end these unnecessary feelings and try something else.
- i lost weight i had gained after my father’s death immediately, fifteen pounds. that was one winter coat i couldn’t wait to take off. it felt great to have my old body back. thc is stored in your fat so if you smoked like i did, for 18 years every day, it can take a while to not feel high. i felt high without smoking for a week after i stopped. my body had a lot of toxins to process. one time when i was moving some books around (reading and cleaning up was a great distraction from withdrawal symptoms, others try working out) i started straight up tripping. but i just lied down and closed my eyes and it passed. now there’s no more snacking or sweets or sodas. i started drinking tea more but i hope to wean off that as well in time. water really is the best thing. have lots of water ready to go.
- i now ask everybody in my life their name, folks at the diner i frequent or the comic book store i go to. i also don’t have a problem with wishing fans happy birthday. before i was like what makes you so special you asshole everyone was born at some point. now i’m like HAPPY BIRTHDAY! folks ask why and i tell them, i’ve come out of fog and i want to take part in my life not just float through it. i’m taking my life back.
- i can focus on a song or research and get it done in one sitting rather than having it take a week or months. things happen faster because there isn’t something calling me away at all times. and i had turned into the guy that has to smoke before anything, a meal, a movie, video games, a show. everything could be heightened with weed, but really i was just avoiding those first few prickly moments of withdrawal. withdrawal took about one week. it felt a lot like quitting smoking cigarettes. hot flashes, no patience, claminess, loss of libido and appetite. but it all comes back. my girl and i just got under the covers and watched 30 rock and sopranos. the first day she commented, “you’ve never just sat with me like this for hours. it feels good.” it did.
- your hygiene improves. sometimes it can feel like there’s an obstacle course between you and your shower or your toothbrush so you’re like fuck it what’s the point? but feeling clean feels good, and having a clean mouth feels good. not having anything get in the way is amazing. there is nothing in the way between you and what you want to do.
- it doesn’t mean there won’t be any weed songs (i have three planned) or i won’t smoke again. i could very well smoke after a few months. but i just became so interested in not smoking and being sober, it had been so long, i had no idea what it felt like. it does become a new drug and you do feel like you’re tripping for the first few weeks. but it feels good to clear your head. i know the red hot chili peppers and aerosmith started to suck after they sobered up. but i don’t see that happening with me. i saw my music starting to take a dip in quality and now i feel like i can take the reins back and get back to who i was before. whoever that is and that’s something i’m discovering now. i feel like i can really use my entire brain whereas before i was only using a little bit and not really meeting my full potential. i’m about to go into production on the mc chris cartoon. i wanted to be present and in the moment. i wanted to relish every day and not be caught up in a state of panic or impending doom. the moment i got off the weed is when i started thinkin that this could be not just a good show, but a great show. before that i was filled with doubt. doubt is your worst enemy.
- it’s easier than you think and life doesn’t start to suck. you actually become happy, and dare i say it stoked. i ran out of money after paying taxes and the crisis that should have been was taken in stride knowing full well that i’d land on my feet somehow. i never thought i’d get through withdrawal before going into it, but it just made me into someone i wanted to be. instead of feeling jealous of everything and worried about being overlooked, i now have faith in myself and love who i am and what i make. I have faith in my show and my fans and my audience. if someone tries to get my goat or troll me i can easily delete it or ban that person, i don’t have to take the bait. sometimes it looks like i’m taking the bait but really im just inspired to state how i feel. rather than be misinterpreted i can now sit down and defend myself point by point and that feels a whole lot better than just flipping out and crying. it’s when i want to do it and it isn’t my life.
- i can now see the positive and count my blessings instead of focusing on every detractor and every little thing that’s out of order. i can pick my battles and often times now, i choose not to fight at all, because there isn’t this endless keg of rage ready to pour out my mouth. now i’m at an even keel and not looking for a fight.
i’m sorry for the times my addiction made your experience not awesome, and i know there were times when that happened. i was angrier than i needed to be and i couldn’t handle the chaos, now all i want is to get on the road and show you how i’ve improved. i feel like i have a new engine and i want to take the car for a spin. i want to show you who i really am. mc chris was always justified in my own mind as my inner child, my id. but i’m a grown man now and i can control all that a lot better. i don’t have to immediately go to the word cunt. i don’t have to immediately throw someone out. now i can deal with life as it comes. you might all have a better handle on life than i did, but i didn’t and i’m not ashamed. i would be ashamed if i never dealt with it or if i just let it keep going. i don’t want to upset the love of my life or my family or my fans. you all give me so much love and the last thing i want is for you to feel anything other than that in return. again i’m sorry for all the times i wasn’t great. that’s all i want to be for you all. and i’m not giving up.
i still think weed is the best drug out there. i still think it’s your best chance of self-medicating yourself and surviving. i never thought of it as a gateway drug. i tried other things but i really feel like weed was the one thing that worked for me. and it might work for you. but pay attention if you’re always depressed or if you aren’t getting anything done and don’t want to. take breaks and get your mind right if you have to or try quitting like i did, just to see what happens. you’re going to a have a lot of money alluva sudden what will you do with it? if now’s not the time, that’s perfectly ok. i started smoking when i left illinois. i had a hard time with my family and how our time in that state ended. we broke up and went our separate ways and i now see that was really traumatizing for me. and moving to new york was too much to bear. it was too big a city and felt so cold in so many ways, i felt meaningless. weed kept me on this earth and got me through it. sometimes you have to self medicate. alcohol just isnt the answer for me, i definitely almost died many times while drunk. and folks that commit suicide are usually intoxicated. with those other drugs they’ll either kill you quick or slow. weed seems to be something you can do and enable you to stick around without causing permanent damage. it worked for me and i hope it can help you rather than pills or powders. and i hope you can stop when it’s time, because that time will come, even if it’s just for a little while. i never thought i would break out, but i did after 18 years. and now i feel nothing but optimism and hope. i can’t wait to make mc chris foreverrr and the mc chris cartoon. i can’t wait to prove to you that i am more than my addiction. there was someone there that was amazing. he just lost faith in himself. now the faith is restored and he’s ready for another go. stoked even.
thanks for listening. we all have our own path. good luck on your’s.
i’d like to thank my therapist and my fiancee for being there for me this past month, and for being so gentle, non-judgemental, congratulatory and encouraging. i couldn’t have done it without them.
ps. if you haven’t ever done drugs. you CAN skip it all together. that is always a very sensible option.