I had a weed dream the other night. It was a strange flight in the inner-sleep experience. I have only ever smoked marijuana six or eight times in my life and not once in over 30 years. I was a drunk, plain and simple. Other kinds of intoxication interested me little. Alcohol was dependable. I knew the effects and the results. I did awful things and lost control, but I resolved the problem by staying at home drinking by myself.
So, while there was little logic to my drunk life, there was this: I just couldn’t control marijuana. There was no standard dose. There’s bottles and shots of tequila, scotch, and rye. Beer comes in cans, glasses, and pitchers. I always lost count of my drinks, and I really did try to count. I would wake up the next morning and go back through the night by the numbers. I thought I was pretty good at estimating how much I had to drink.
But weed came in all kinds of strengths and amounts. Bongs were all different sizes, as were pipes and joints. There might be a little THC in the ditch weed someone bought off the street for cheap or a whole lot in a scientifically home-grown bag. I just was never sure. Since my habit was to drink as much as I could as fast as I could, I knew no control when it came to pot. I might get a little high huffing someone’s pipe empty or I might get through the high in a flash and then be stoned for a little while before wandering into horrific hallucinations.
Then, other, out-of-hand shenanigans happened when I smoked weed. It did things to me I didn’t like. It made me paranoid and itchy. It slowed time down to a crawl. I couldn’t eat enough when I smoked dope. If all that wasn’t bad enough, it made me an evil sexual predator. Plus, there’s two ways to ruin a good drunk. One is eating. The other is smoking weed.
So, I didn’t smoke pot after I was about 23. I’d tried enough and none of it provided a good experience. After that, I used to slam beers while the pipe made rounds of the room. At parties and home sittings, joints went this way and that, I gurgled down vodka and whiskey. And then while everyone sat around mellow and smiling, I would totter off to the back room to lay down and pass out. I was a drunk first and last.
Thus, the dream was odd to me. Almost every sober drunk I’ve ever talked to has experienced the drunk dream. It’s a fantasy flight into the old behaviors and ways of thinking. The dreams for me almost always begin in a foreign or new situation. There’s plenty to drink and I drink it.
These dreams come in degrees—intending to drink but not doing it, having been drunk and having to face my friends, putting on a slight buzz, or falling into intense intoxication. They are frightening. In the worst case, I sometimes have to sit on the edge of the bed and smell my breath to make sure that I really am not waking up after a long, over-the-cliff drunk. The overarching feeling the dreams leave over is that I have transgressed and will have to go through all the terrible feelings and withdrawals again, that I will have to start over, having lost what I have built up over the last 28 years.
Those are drunk dreams and they happen occasionally. I get have about once a year, though I have gone through periods when they hammer me nightly for a couple of weeks. I’m glad to say I haven’t had a drunk dream for months. It’s been so long, in fact, I can’t remember the last time I had one.
Then came the weed dream, my first one. I was well-dressed in business attire. I remember that I’d pressed my shirt and pants to make sure I had good creases along the arms and down the legs. My shoes were shined. I was with a group of people I didn’t know or know well. I can’t remember if there was anyone there I knew. We were standing around an island counter in a kitchen and there was a pipe going around the circle of people.
I could smell it. I could taste it. I felt the signature burn in the lungs that spread a fuzzy warmth out from my chest into my arms and neck and back of my head. I felt high, not stoned or over the edge, just high. I kept thinking to myself, well, this isn’t so bad. Maybe I could take this up and stick with it. It’s a damn sight better than losing everything with a drunk. Yeah, I said to myself, this is OK.
When I woke, I didn’t feel the effects of the high as I would have experienced the stuffy sinus and heavy pit in my stomach that comes with a drunk dream. I laid there for a second, thinking about how silly it was to think I could ever get away with anything like smoking weed in a nice, orderly, controlled way.
First, it never happened. As I mentioned, I didn’t know how to smoke weed and never was just high. Getting high always led to increased alcohol consumption. The two things go together. Getting high and getting drunk alter my inner reality. My inner reality changed my outer reality. Things grow bad and get worse in just a short time. I know there is no halfway for me. I know me well enough now to realize that if I started getting high, I would wind up getting drunk.
Second, the whole event was a reminder of what’s waiting for me out there if I decide to drink. Yes, it was a weed dream. But the mindset, the idea that I could get away with something and come through it unscathed, grips me. It was the way I used to think. If I could just do this where no one would catch me and no one but me would know, I’d be just fine.
I spent who knows how many years with that mindset and it only brought me to a bare-bulb apartment, broke, sick, and ready to fall off the edge of the world. The last thing I need to do is get high.