The Island

By TimAcree 05/29/19

It always starts with "just weekends.” A kid experimenting for god knows what reason.

Maybe your parents argue a lot and you need an escape. Maybe the intense pressures of modern

high school are driving you insane and you need an outlet. Or maybe you are just curious.

Regardless, it begins. 

Adrenaline. Inhalation. Elevation.

You see the world reborn, maybe have some giggle fits with friends. Food is an explosion of

flavor; masturbation, an explosion. Trees and sunsets look like HD popup books. You realize that

Pink Floyd isn't just "some old guy" your dad likes, but an otherworldly ensemble who

transcends the human experience. Euphoria and melancholy take hold simultaneously, like the

sound of a harmonica. Beauty is all around you. For the first time, Mary sticks a toe into the

waters of your soul.


A few years pass and all is well for the most part. You're more into smoking now, you've got

some nice glass and say things like “dank” and “res-y ball”. Maybe you kept up good grades, or

maybe they slipped a bit. You love weed. It's part of your identity. You even attribute it to a lot of

your best qualities: your creativity, your insightfulness, your acceptance of others. It's not

intrinsic, it's the weed! The flower of the Gods.


Time moves forward, as it tends to do.

Maybe you’re in college now, or maybe you’re working a steady job.

Maybe you’re just eating ice cream and watching MILF videos. Maybe all of the above.

You smoke daily now. Always at night, sometimes in the morning. The epiphany-producing,

mildly-psychedelic highs have been replaced by something more... medicinal. Weed is no longer

a trip. It’s meditation. It’s ceremony. Once in a while a part of you starts to wonder if smoking is

holding you back, if it’s changed you somehow. But those are questions for another day. Because

today, we have Kush.


You’re a bit of a marijuana aficionado now. Maybe you’ve got a fancy medical card and get $18

grams of Banana OG or Romulan any time you want. Or maybe you’ve wisened up and starting

buying by the ounce. Either way, cannabis is an everyday part of your existence. And come to

think of it, you can’t remember the last time you went more than a day without smoking. It was

probably on that four day vacation a year ago. Man, you were irritable on that trip. Weird. You

wonder if... naw...


You’ve probably smoked enough for one lifetime at this point, but can there ever be enough? By

now, some of Mary’s downsides have become obvious: your bank account is suffering, you have

terrible discipline regarding 2am Honey Bunches of Oats binges, and frankly, you kind of look

like shit. You do your homework while stoned, and only half-assed, so you can be done and get

more stoned. Maybe you don't do your homework at all. Maybe you go to class high sometimes.

Maybe you go to class high all the time. Maybe you even took a test high, or gave a presentation

while high. Maybe you got high before dinner so you’d have an appetite and it would taste better.

Maybe you got high before sex. Maybe it made sex amazing, or maybe it made it awkward and

hard to connect. Maybe you don’t have a girlfriend, because smoking has made you socially

awkward, tweaked your hormones, and decimated your confidence. Maybe you get high at night

so you can sleep. Maybe you get high in the morning so you can reach equilibrium and start your

day. Maybe your parents are supporting you financially while you spend all your money on

weed. Maybe weed has compromised your morals and integrity, and you are buying weed with

your parents money. And maybe, if you are honest with yourself, there is nothing in the world

you would rather do, than have a week of complete freedom with a huge sack of weed, and

smoke and smoke and smoke. And then smoke some more. Maybe a part of you knows that is

true. And maybe a part of you is crying out for help, begging to be released from torment. Maybe

you hear the cries. And maybe you silence them.


You’ve started making lists of drawbacks to smoking: costs lots of money, lowers motivation,

encourages poor eating, increases social awkwardness.

You’ve done a few trial runs without it. Even lasted nearly a month one time. It’s no heroin, but

the withdrawals are very real, and the symptoms strike like clockwork: insomnia, complete lack

of appetite, irritability, maybe some nausea, maybe some panic attacks (if you’re one of the

cursed ones). But the worst part of it all is the overwhelming feeling that something is missing.

Your mind feels like a bowl of cereal without milk.

Not feeling up to par, you have a brief daydream of smoking and it hits you: smoking would

make that feeling go away. If you smoke, your well-being will be whole. Your cereal bowl: lush.

And that’s what always gets you. It’s not the irritability or the insomnia. It’s the passage of time.

Enough time to clear your mind of cobwebs, but not enough time to restore water (serotonin?

dopamine?) to the harbor.

And you crawl back to Mary. Or maybe you jog. Only this time, reluctantly.


Your life has become... muddled. You are bouncing back and forth between two diverging paths.

After going on again and off again, the drawbacks of smoking are crystal clear: it robs you of

your natural spark and enthusiasm, weakens your motivation and discipline, scrambles your

memory, lowers your intelligence/wit, depletes your bank account, makes you feel all crusty and

pasty when you wake up in the morning, gives you social anxiety, and reduces your athletic

prowess. Not to mention, you’re inhaling burning plant matter. It may not be a cigarette, but it’s

not kale shots. And despite now being keenly aware of all the negative consequences, you

continue to get drawn back in. Sometimes you are clean for a few days, sometimes a few weeks.

Hell, maybe you even went three months. Your grades improved in that time. It even feels like

your experiences with friends were more meaningful somehow. But at some point you sail by

that familiar island, and the siren song beckons, and once again you become lost in bliss— or at

least some kind of sedated pseudo-bliss— and all thoughts of the crew and the voyage fade into

the horizon; an odyssey no more.


Damned if you smoke, damned if you don’t. Guilt and shame and regret eat at you constantly.

You smoke to escape, which leads to more guilt and shame and regret. You can’t even think

about how much money you have spent, or about that brand new camera you got for Christmas

and sold at the pawn shop so you could get a 1/4 of Blue Dream at the dispensary.

You owe more apologies than you can count. Missed deadlines, unreturned phone calls, maybe

even broken promises about smoking. Your circle of friends is a circle of stoners. The others

have mysteriously drifted away...

Your brain is full of cobwebs, your body full of toxins. A 1,000 mile bike ride would do you

some good. Maybe you need to move to a new town? Fresh start, fresh place. Something needs

fixing. Where did you go wrong? Why can’t things be like they were when you were a kid, full

of wonder and joy? Now you are full of fog and melancholy. You are lonely but don’t want to be

around people. Something needs to be fixed. You need to be fixed. There is only one friend who

is always there for you. You call on Mary. You smoke. And smoke some more.


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