I started smoking weed regularly not long after my dad died when I was 23. It wasn’t a coincidence. I needed an escape.
For years, it felt like a necessary, if not healthy, part of my life. But eventually it soured. I became dependent and I often found myself swirling in paranoid, anxious thoughts.
For years, I knew I wanted to make a change, but couldn’t get there. I kept coming back in times of sadness or overwhelm. I couldn’t let go.
This week marks a full year of not smoking weed. This is a real accomplishment for me, but also – I’m realizing – a real loss. My self ten years ago would barely even recognize me now. In many ways, that guy no longer exists. I miss him.
It’s a reminder that change at any level is a process of welcoming the new and grieving what inevitability is left behind.