Sometimes life whispers to us. And sometimes it takes a punch to the throat or the Devil himself laughing in our face for us to… hold on, lemme back up here…
I had almost a decade sober… and I was bored.
The life I had left behind years earlier consisted of smoking weed and popping pills round-the-clock…
… Hydrocodone (Vicodin), Oxycontin, Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, Soma, Morphine, Demerol, Codeine, Darvocet and the occasional 3-month meth or alcohol binge that always ended badly. I coulda kept up with Ozzy.
Burglaries, drug dealing, burglarizing drug dealers, daily trips to pawn shops, crashing cars, jail, rehabs and a monthly rotation of close to 30 doctors—with an equal number of pharmacies—was the only life I knew. This was back before pharmacies were all connected to a database put in place to stop people like me from getting narcotics from more than one doctor.
I was what you would call a “doctor shopper.”
But after kicking my own ass for 15 years I got sober at age 30 stayed that way for quite a few years. Life was good. I had a nice little family, some money in the bank, and built two successful businesses.
But like I said, after a while, I got bored.
And somewhere along the way I got the bright idea that if I could just smoke a little weed—at least just once in a while—I’d no longer be bored. Plus, it would take the edge off that my new-found life as a workaholic business owner was giving me.
Now, never mind that I have one of those addictive personality thingys. Never mind that back before I cleaned up my life sucked. Never mind that for once in my life I had so much to lose.
This time it will be different. I learned my lesson right?
I’ll just stay away from the harder stuff and stick with the ganja.
I knew plenty of successful guys in my industry who smoked weed and had their shit together. Hell, it seemed like having a cute little medical marijuana card came with the job description of being an internet marketer.
Even though they all smoked these dudes were getting a ton of shit done and making good money, and weren’t going off the deep end snorting coke off strippers, wrecking cars and robbing pharmacies.
Now, back when I used to smoke we didn’t have these little medical marijuana cards. And I was fascinated that now you could just go to a doctor and say you have anxiety, A.D.D., or that your big toe’s been bothering ya and you could get a card that said it was OK for you to smoke weed.
Hell, I have anxiety. And I’ve even been clinically diagnosed with A.D.D… so I got that going for me. And come to think of it, sometimes my big toe does bother me a little.
I can smoke weed and not have to feel like a criminal. I’ll be legit.
I’ll just stay away from the hard stuff. No pills, powders, alcohol, or pharmaceuticals for me thank you. Just Mother Natures beautiful little gift to all those who need to chill the fuck out once in awhile—marijuana.
So I went down to one of those doctors who issue the cards, got myself a script and picked up about $500 worth of weed (I got like different six kinds), a brand new bong, a neat-looking little pipe and about 5 lighters. I’ve never done anything by half. If I’m gonna get a little weed, I might as well get a little fucking weed ya know?
And what do you do when you start smoking weed again after such a long hiatus?
You go on a road trip dammit!
I got my weed, my paraphernalia, a full tank of gas and I’m ready to go!
But there was only one little problem with this whole thing. My wife at the time wasn’t digging this whole “I’m gonna start smoking weed again” thing. In fact she was flat-out against it.
She’d never seen me do any drugs, and for years she’d been listening to the horror stories about what a gnarly drug addict I’d been in my 20s.
So we go on this road trip and she’s a little bit (I mean a lot) pissed.
We stop and get a room in Santa Barbara. I decided it was time. With the kids asleep and the wife sitting on the couch just steaming, I go out on the balcony and fire up some bong rips. I was never was a one bong rip man. I need at least 5 or 6 just to get things off the ground.
I sold weed from like age 18 to 24 and smoked the stuff all-day-every-day. So 5 or 6 rips ain’t nothing for me.
However, since I hadn’t smoked in years I had the tolerance of a pre-pubecent Nancy Regan.
Plus the weed I picked up from the dispensary was about 10 times as strong as the shit I used to smoke back in the day that came smuggled up by the ton in bricks from Mexico.
After about the 5th or 6th bong rip I didn’t feel stoned at all. It felt more like I was having a full-blown bad acid trip. It was intense. I may as well have been smoking fucking PCP.
Now, even if my wife had been totally cool with me smoking I still would have been having a fucking panic attack. I just plain-out had too much THC in my system for someone with no tolerance built-up.
The world could have been nothing but sunshine and blow jobs and I still would have been freaking the fuck out.
But with the wife all bent outta shape (and rightfully so), and my shame screaming at me for having thrown away all those good years of sobriety, it fucking suuuuuuucked.
I just wanted to lie down. So I headed for the bedroom and walked right past her sitting there on the couch and I wasn’t even able to look at her. I was too scared!
When I got in the bedroom I turned the light off and got in bed.
Blazed out of my mind (and not in a good way) the guilt, fear and shame ate away at me like vultures.
After about an hour or so of what I can best describe as living fucking hell—and with the wife still out on the couch in the little family room area—I got up to pee.
I left the lights off; turning them on sounded way too intense. In fact peeing sounded pretty intense too, but I’d done it at least 138,000 times in my life and was pretty sure I’d live.
It was dark in the bathroom, but there was a little light creeping in from the alarm clock that was in the bedroom—just enough so I could see the toilet and catch a glimpse of my silhouette in the mirror.
I looked in the mirror and right there before my very eyes I transformed into fucking Satan. The guy the preachers are always warning about. Lucifer. CEO of Hell. Lord of Darkness and all things bad.
I had turned into the fucking devil.
I grew horns, my chin and goatee become pointy, my forehead got all big, I grew a fucking cape, flames came outta my asshole… well, there were flames behind me, not sure where they came from actually, but my asshole seemed like a logical place… the whole fucking deal.
I wasn’t all red like in the comics. I was black—not Samuel Jackson black, but black like charcoal or tar or something.
And the flames behind me were dark… more of a deep red mixed with black instead of orange. The whole bathroom looked hot and emanated some kind of dark light… probably from the flames that were shooting outta my butt.
In the mirror, the Satan me, started laughing like crazy. Like “Ha ha ha, I got you now motherfucker! Ha ha ha.” All sinister-like.
I’d fucked up and I knew it.
After about a minute I turned back into regular ol’ Chris in the mirror. Just a dark silhouette of a middle-aged guy freaked out and needing to go pee.
So I peed and got back into bed scared shitless. Just-saw-the-Devil kinda scared shitless.
After spending a few minutes completely wigged-out my wife came into the bedroom, looked at me laying there face down moaning and whimpering and goes “What’s wrong with you?”
“I just saw the devil”
Being a lifelong devout Christian, she says “You need to go to church!“
Now, I wanna make it clear here that I am neither religious nor against marijuana.
This post ain’t about that.
It’s about signs.
Life talks to us and lets us know when were off course.
It may be a gut feeling, a strange coincidence, our conscience saying “Don’t do it man” or visions of Lucifer, Michael Myers or Puff the Magic Dragon.
If we’re tuned in and open enough to hear the whispers and take heed, then we can usually stay on a pretty good path.
But if we ain’t tuned into ourselves, or are being selfish or stuck in non-stop ego, well, sometimes it may take a knuckle sandwich (or 50 of them) to get us back on course.
To me, that devil in the mirror was my addiction. Was it just an hallucination from the weed? Probably. But a pretty damn ironic one.
The whole time I was planning my little relapse I knew in my gut that there was no way in hell I should be doing this.
But I didn’t listen. So my conscience came to life in the purest form of fear possible.
And it should’ve been a clear sign that I got no business smoking weed. I’ve got an addictive personality, had a lot going for me, and, while lots of people can smoke weed and not have any problems from it—possibly even benefit from it—I am not one of them.
And the sinister laugh had a such an “I got you now” evil-twisted-vibe to it that even while it was happening I knew that’s exactly what it meant—”I got you now mother fucker!”
I’d opened the door back on my addiction and shit’s about to get real.
‘Cuz for me, glorious thoughts of smoking a joint and chilling out to some Bob Marley after a hard day’s work is never the extent of it… in my life, it’s always ended up taking me to dark places. I just have that addictive wiring.
So what did I do the next day?
I smoked some more fucking weed, that’s what I did.
But I knew in my gut that I was heading to a bad place.
And I eventually ended there. Bad Place California. I’m just grateful I made my way back.
And what did I learn from all this?
Well, actually not a whole lot at the time.
I had the choice: listen to what life—my soul—was telling me… or don’t, and wait until it knocks me over the head with hammer a few times before I get the point.
Which is what I did. I waited. Until those blows hurt enough that I came crawling back on my knees with bloody lumps all over my head.
Eventually I ended up losing everything but I did make my way back
Here’s a few posts that go more in-depth on what happened and the journey back:
Fortunately our gut doesn’t just talk to us about the bad shit. If we listen close enough, it talks to us about everything….
… Who we should get to know, what we should do for a living, where we should go, what calls we should make, what activities we should take up, what books we should read, what path we should take, and… well… everything.
In my Stranger Than Pulp Fiction Post, I give some pretty crazy examples of serendipitous stuff that’s happened to me when I’ve been open and willing enough to hear life when it whispers, and other times when it had to scream at me.
Hopefully you’re listening for the whispers instead of waiting for the screams and knuckle sandwiches.
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