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Marijuana… My “Gateway Drug”

Marijuana… My “Gateway Drug”

Ryan Bettison

Sitting writing this in the year 2017, 15 years having passed since entering my first of twenty rehabilitation centres for input, guidance and direction on how to try put an end to my crippling, soul-destroying addiction to most predominantly Heroin – Satan’s Poison, The Devils’ Drug. My thoughts are not, nor have been for all these years, geared towards “If only I didn’t stick that first needle in my arm,” but rather “I wonder if things would have been any different if only I did not smoke that first blunt.” And as much as I would love to be able to provide an answer to it, the reality is that I will never know.

What I do know though, is that with that first pull on that Joint in the year 1996, my mind was opened up and I suppose, “introduced”, to the wonderful world of a false reality – it was not about the substance itself, but rather about what the substance itself offered me. And once this little seed of escapism had been planted and then watered, the excitement of wanting to, almost yearning to know what other narcotics possibly offered, became my sort of ‘sick obsession.’

For many years I tried to fool myself into the belief that Heroin was my sole downfall, my reason for my life falling down around me and all the carnage and havoc I wreaked. Yet I cannot help but laugh at myself now, remembering the exact same destructive behaviours and thought patterns playing themselves out with Marijuana. The many, many times I tried to put an end to my use of Heroin through substitution with Weed, the exact same acts of theft, deceit, manipulation and disregard of others’ boundaries and personal space would creep back in. One term keeps on imprinting itself at the fore of my mind when I think back to these times – “Medicinal Madness!”

I ridiculously envied the many others who somehow managed to keep their activities to just smoking the “Reefa”. I am also aware that whilst their acts may not have been, what you may term as ‘criminally inclined’ as mine – the loss of sanity and self which I have been witness to on many occasions in some way supersedes this. “Marijuana is natural; God gave it to us to smoke; It’s a plant” and whatever else I was told and told others maybe, possibly could hold some weight. But then I would have to be ignorant enough to believe that Opium, Coca, Khat and the endless others are themselves “naturally, God-given” plants for me to self-destruct with.

I wish I had listened that first time I was told that Marijuana is the gateway drug. I wish I had listened that first time I was told that it might just take away all my dreams and aspirations. I wish I has stopped that moment before things got out of control… I wish I had… I wish I had… I wish I had… But I didn’t.

I, instead, had to find out the hard way through experiencing my own somewhat unfortunate journey that Marijuana was just that – My “Gateway Drug.”

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