I have stood by both of those convictions ever since.
In 2005, my weed need was exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina.
Before becoming a real and true pothead, I fought ferociously with my long-term college girlfriend -- a fiery girl herself who was prone to throwing punches.
Like my mother, I had trouble getting along with everyone.
“We all smoke here,” admitted the flustered guitar store manager. ”Years later, I passed a drug test at New Orleans downtown public library with the aid of an orange drink called Vale, and then I began counting down six months of probationary days until the second test.“I know if I try it, I will like it too much,” I remember saying — perhaps the only smart, true statement I would utter for many years to come.The hardest friend to lose was a guy I’ll call Kevin. He got me playing guitar, which continues to provide me with happiness and social adventures at the age of 39.Unfortunately, my library bosses loved me so much that, after five months, I arrived at work to news that they wanted to make my employment permanent immediately: “Just walk around the corner to the clinic and get the stupid drug test out of the way, and you’ll be ours forever! Despite first ducking into Walgreens and purchasing a tiny bottle of bleach to hide between my butt cheeks (I’d been told bleach confuses piss tests), I lost that job. Humiliated, sad and broke, I nonetheless refused to quit smoking, vowing to never again apply for a job that required drug testing.I’d also, by that point, realized I should never, ever try any “real” drugs (“I know if I try it, I will like it too much”).Without Kevin’s musical influence, I surely wouldn’t have moved from Florida to my beloved New Orleans after college.I worshipped Kevin until junior year, when he began smoking weed and abandoned me and my antidrug bitching.Some people plant themselves on the couch with snacks. I think of weed as a relaxant, a simple inverse of coffee -- and not just because I smoked every morning for a long, long time. If asked, doctors might claim I suffer from ADD, although I’ve mostly lived by the advice “never ask a barber if you need a haircut.” I did visit a counselor once in hopes of replacing weed with a nonsmokeable drug that my daughter couldn’t see me take and that wouldn’t get me arrested.I told the counselor we could skip all the talking if he could refer me to a psychiatrist with a prescription pad. He nodded, confidentially agreed, then gave me a number I never called.My doctors never showed surprise and never gave me any real warnings, which I took to be further proof of pot’s innate harmlessness. And, unhappy with the angry intensity of my “real” personality, I did as instructed.I never tried to quit, but whenever I ran out, it would only be a matter of hours before I’d end up in a loud argument with my girlfriend-now-wife or with an editor or with whoever else had previously pissed me off but had eluded my wrath when I’d been too stoned to care. The birth of our daughter in 2009 did nothing to curb my use -- not even when the baby would find and bring to me my dirty one-hitter, announcing, “This is yours!