A Story of One Addict’s Struggle With Pot and the Road to Recovery

By Brent McCluskey 01/21/15

Susan Shapiro suffered many dark lows during her 27 years of marijuana addiction.

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Marijuana has already been legalized in a number of states and its use is becoming increasingly socially acceptable. The trend towards the once-illicit substance is changing, and while the drug brings enjoyment to many, it also brings darkness and heartache to at least one.

Susan Shapiro was addicted to pot for 27 years. During that time she struggled with deep depression; she also found herself in a number of compromising positions, including making early-morning pot purchases in the “bad neighborhoods,” confronting drug dealers, and smoking a cocaine-laced joint.

It wasn’t until Shapiro received some words of wisdom from an addiction specialist so many years ago that she was finally able to break the hold pot had over her.

“The years I toked, I struggled with love and work, sometimes feeling suicidal,” Shapiro said. “The brilliant addiction specialist who helped me give up pot a dozen years ago taught me that addicts self-medicate because underlying every substance problem he’d ever seen ‘is a deep depression that feels unbearable.’ One-on-one therapy helped me untangle what I was getting wasted to escape.”

Shapiro now recognizes how pot negatively affected her life, and worries that “user-friendly laws” and the glorification of weed in the media may encourage today’s youth to pick up the habit.

“Nearly 17% of those who get high as teenagers will become addicted to marijuana, according to the 2013 edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,” Shapiro said. “The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that up to half of daily marijuana smokers become addicted – an estimated 2.7 million people in the U.S.”

While Shapiro suffered many dark lows during her pot-smoking days, her successful road to recovery proves to be a bright beacon to those looking to follow her example.

“Being drug-free saved my health, marriage and career. Within a year, my income tripled. I came to believe my doctor’s adage: ‘When you quit a toxic habit you leave room for something beautiful to take its place.’”

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Brent McCluskey is a Social Media Editor at International Business Times as well as a Jedi with Sith tendencies.  He is also a reader of books, slayer of dragons, and level 80 mage.

“Yeah, I have a broad skill set. If I had to pick between being a Divergent or a wizard, I'd pick a wizard.”  His wizardness can be found on Twitter and Linkedin.