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The Curse of Marijuana

BLOG #25, SERIES #8

WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE

THE CURSE OF MARIJUANA

June 21, 2017

We ought to know here in Colorado. Now that it is legal to sell it, grow it, and smoke it, things have not been pretty. Recently, pot-lovers put on a big pot event in downtown Denver. When it was over that part of the city was left in a shambles, with garbage everywhere. The mayor banned them from putting on another for three years.

I know landlords whose renters have so degraded their homes that they never again want to rent to anyone who smokes marijuana.

Another friend of mine, who has known pot-users for decades, declares that marijuana-use over time often takes away all that individual’s highs and lows, leaving them in a “mellow” zombyish state of suspended animation. It takes away the user’s ambition and desire to make a success or career—leaving behind unproductive zeros.

On May 17, syndicated columnist Amy Dickinson ran a letter from a woman who signed herself as “disappointed.” She began with these words:

Dear Amy: My husband and I have been married for more than two years. When we first started dating, I knew he smoked marijuana daily. I slowly grew frustrated being with someone who is out of it and unresponsive.I decided to break it off. . . . He decided that he would stop smoking.

There were many times where I was suspicious that he was smoking again. He had bloodshot eyes, smelled of it, would run errands that would take hours to complete.

But she married him in spite of it. She forgave him in spite of relapses. Continuing on, she wrote:

Amy, I don’t care if people want to smoke weed, but it is something I didn’t want in a husband or the future father of my children.Last night, I was cleaning his car when I found weed hidden underneath the floor mat. I also found eye drops and a lighter.

We talked about it and he told me that he feels like weed helps him. He believes it has healing powers (he has no medical issues). He doesn’t want to stop. I was very clear about my views from the start of our relationship. It isn’t fair that he lied to me for so long.

I told hin I wanted a divorce because I could no longer trust him. He said I was crazy for being willing to throw everything away over a little weed.

Am I crazy?

Dickinson’s response was not hopeful:

People who use weed and get baked will deny how obnoxious and boring they can be, and how big an impact it has on their lives and relationships. It is no fun to try and have a life with someone who is unavailable, unreliable, impaired, and zoned out.                      *Italics mine

* * * * *

In recent months and years, marijuana use has reached epidemic proportions among the young. They justify themselves by saying “Everybody’s doing it – can’t see how it can hurt me.”

Of course, substance abuse is substance abuse, whatever form it takes—be it hard drugs like heroin or meth, alcohol, porn, etc. But all of them are generally considered to be dangerous at best. But marijuana has been promoted by so many as being benign. Though it can be in many cases, depending on the dosage and frequency, anything that impairs our ability to function at our highest level, either in the job world or in the personal world . . . is just plain terrifying. When a stroke takes away part of someone’s mind, that is irreversible. Marijuana’s effects may be just as irreversible. And the mind can be a terrible thing to lose.

A key concern I have with drugs such as marijuana is that it clouds the mind. Anything that does that also degrades our ability to communicate with God. As Americans become increasingly secular and sideline the spiritual dimension of their lives, turning to mind-clouding escapist substance abuse increases exponentially.

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Binge-Drinking

                                                          BLOG #8, SERIES #8
                                           WEDNESDAYS WITH DR. JOE
                                                        BINGE-DRINKING
                                                          February 22, 2017

I’m confident that Amy Dickinson’s nationally syndicated column of February 9, 2017, has caused a lot of Americans to think seriously about the temptations our young people are facing.

Here is how the Denver Post column begins:

    “Dear Amy:
“My wife and I worry about our daughter. She’s a sophomore at a top university…. Since she started college, she’s been cited twice for under-age drinking (minor in possession) and broken her wrist in a fall that we all but know was alcohol-related…. In my gut, I feel we are heading for disaster. How can we intervene before something even worse happens? She has a car on campus and we worry most about her driving drunk.
—Worried Parents”

Dickinson responded with the following sobering observations:

Dear Worried:
“According to a recent government study, 39 percent of college students binge drank within the last month. If your daughter is drinking, it makes her vulnerable to legal consequences (getting caught), physical injury (this has already happened), unwanted sexual contact, fractured relationships, hurting or injuring others by driving drunk, and the possibility of graduating from college with a  serious drinking problem.”

* * * * *

It is highly unlikely that American parents have ever faced a more frightening environment in which their children grow up, attend college and university, and not only survive our current hook-up temptations (sex within minutes of meeting one another), the easy availability of drugs of all kinds, and out-of-control liquor-related socializing—but hopefully somehow emerge from it unbroken.

Thanks to binge-drinking, coeds open themselves up to date-rape, and lifelong remorse for things they do while under the influence.

It’s frightening to see how often one form of substance abuse segues into something worse, and more deadly. Furthermore, the ever-present reality is that no one can possibly know in advance which of us luck out and learn to control our use of liquor and which of us turns into a lifelong alcoholic—by the time you find out which category you end up in, it’s too late! And once you discover you are an alcoholic, there is no full recovery: the price of holding it at bay is weekly Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for the rest of your life.

And we haven’t even discussed the epidemic of alcohol-related violence that we see all around us.

It is anything but easy for a young person to resist the siren call of alcohol.

Amy Dickinson is certainly right there.