(I don’t think most of my regular readers smoke weed, but I feel compelled to put this out there.)
The other day, I had a very real conversation with a 24 year old who really wants to stop smoking grass. That’s the kind of thing I never would have discussed with a pastor because pastors tend to stand on the moral high ground and look down on you. But since I have been where he was, I was able to motivate him toward doing the right thing without resorting to the Christian rhetoric of condemnation that tends to make people go deaf.
I’ve been a weed head in my life. Now that I’m married with 2 kids, a full time pastorate, and dreams of helping millions of people grow spiritually, I have managed to put it behind me. So I’m not just prattling on about something I don’t know about, or telling him to quit when I haven’t quit myself. I’ve been there, and it wasn’t 20 or 30 years ago.
One reason I was able to speak to what this guy was going through is because we’re in the same generation. We grew up listening to the same hip-hop artists talking about getting high and influencing us to do the same. But the fact is most of those rappers don’t smoke as much as you might think.
Ever heard of Dean Martin? He was a major performing artist in the 20th century. Anyway, people loved him, and part of his charm was the fact that he always had a drink in his hand and often appeared drunk on stage.
People would emulate him. He was always drunk, always the life of the party, always charming the ladies, so countless young men grabbed their Jack Daniel’s and tried to be just like him.
Then, after he died, we come to find out that most of the time, it was just apple juice in his glass. He was being a showman. Sure, he drank. But alcohol didn’t consume his life the way he had us believe it did on stage.
I submit that many rappers are doing the same thing with weed today.
“I-I-I be on it, all night, man, I be on it all day…”-Big Boi
“I’m in the court with marijuana eyes….sorry judge.”-Jim Jones
“…Gnarly, dude, I puff Bob Marley dude, all day like Rastafaris do…”-Jay-Z
Do these guys smoke? Probably. But they’re not 24/7/365 weed smokers, even if their songs make it seem that way. What happens to impressionable youth is that they hear the songs and they think, “I, too, can wake up at 6 in the morning and smoke a blunt before school….for 100 consecutive days….” We shouldn’t let showbiz take us away from reality. Those guys say a lot of things they simply don’t mean.
One thing my 24 year old friend and I agreed on is that when you smoke weed, you miss a lot of opportunities for advancement. An opportunity for a job or to meet someone important will fall into your lap, but you can’t follow through because you don’t want that person to smell the smoke on you. Your grandmother will call and ask you to do her a favor, but you can’t because your weed dealer said he’d meet you in an hour. You’ve already been waiting 90 minutes, so your life is on hold until you manage to connect with him.
I promise you that if you stop smoking marijuana, the rest of your life will advance the way you want it to go much faster. I understand that it’s a habit. It will be hard to go to the movies or do your laundry or any other activity that you’re used to doing high, but you’ll be better off. You probably like yourself better when you don’t smoke. Nothing wrong with that. You won’t be happy until you fail a drug test or get arrested? Pathetic.
Besides, you know deep down you need to quit, or else you wouldn’t still be reading. There’s a voice in your head telling you to stop. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is week, I know. But ignoring the voice is like walking down a street and seeing a sign that says “turn around,” but you continue for a few miles. When you fall off a cliff, it’s your own fault.
Understand that there’s more to smoking weed than just getting high. Marijuana, or any addiction, has a spirit behind it. It’s not just about getting high: it’s about the smell of the green in the bag, it’s about the nervous feeling and hoping you don’t get caught; it’s the act of rolling it up; it’s the way your voice sounds when you’re talking with a puff of smoke in your chest; it’s the way food tastes when you have the munchies–there’s an entire spirit behind it, and that spirit can inhabit people. It will probably always exist, but it doesn’t have to always live inside of you. It wasn’t a part of you when you were 4 years old, you let it in later, and you can kick it out.
To quit smoking weed: Get rid of everything related to it. It’s one thing to say, “I won’t smoke anymore.” You’ve said that, and it hasn’t worked. It’s something else entirely to throw out your prized bong and erase your dealer’s number from your phone. Then, tell some people that you have quit and ask them to hold you accountable. If you can’t be honest with them, don’t do it. But when you’re really ready, God will give you the strength to take the necessary steps. And your life will be better as a result. Of course that may be hard for you to see now, your vision being clouded and all, but I still love you.