Is it really worth losing the ones you love?

Anne has been affected by the drug use of family members.

Anne has been affected by the drug use of family members.

3
Have your say

Cannabis, also known as marijuana or weed, can have devastating effects on the lives of people around the user. Anne, a 62-year-old from Marton, tells us about her life of misery with a partner who was addicted to the drug - and why these addicts need as much help as those who take harder drugs.

ANNE’S STORY

“Lying next to Dave in a bedroom that resembles a room in a hostel, it feels like there is a wall down the middle of the bed.

I had so many hopes and dreams for us but now I look at him with disappointment, not love and affection.

I also feel sorry for him as he is a good kind man, just a victim of the dreaded weed.

When I met him 22 years ago, I was divorced, a little vulnerable and although a bit dishevelled, he was good looking, funny and he made me laugh, which is what I needed.

His brother said to me ‘you know he smokes weed’. Oh he gave up ages ago, I said naively.

It was something that had never been in my world, even as a teenager in the 60s. I could drink my own bodyweight in Brandy and Babycham. I had never tried weed or really been in contact with it.

I was no angel but preferred a night in the pub.

Of course I wanted to believe him when he said he didn’t do it any more as I didn’t want anything to spoil our relationship.

When I look back it was a quick relationship before our wedding but I wanted to settle down and make life happy and secure for me and my two children from a previous relationship and it felt right.

On the honeymoon I couldn’t understand why Dave got incapable after a couple of drinks. We had gone out for drinks together before but this time it seemed to affect him quicker and he seemed different. A few days into our honeymoon I noticed more and more this vacant expression on his face, the stoned, doped look I would come to know well.

Of course now I was beginning to find a few things out.

He had been sacked from the Merchant Navy for smoking weed and it would also lead to him leaving another job at the Pleasure Beach as they do regular drug testing and he knew he would fail it.

But we carried on building a life together. We bought a guest house as my auntie had passed away and left some money to me.

Unfortunately by this time his Dave ‘look’ was causing arguments. I would say for God’s sake you’ve been on it again. His reply was don’t be stupid, I haven’t had any for years. Cannabis users become accomplished liars.

I gave birth to a son. It was a precious moment. Unfortunately the magic was taken away as Dave was stoned when he came to the hospital to visit me.

As a non-drug user (I don’t mean to sound like Mother Teresa) the feeling I got looking at him, at a time when I wanted him to be a strong new dad, made me sick.

My three children are my life and I have tried to make the best of things for their sake and to make it appear life is OK and normal.

Dave has been a tolerant stepfather, as helping to bring up someone else’s children is not easy, but they did have some good times with him.

But he was not really bothered a lot of the time – weed robs you of energy and enthusiasm. I gave up asking to do activities as a family.

I feel cannabis users should look for partners who do the drug as well. Then they can both go into a floating, problem-free, dopey-looking world together.

It doesn’t work when one wants to take on life, plan good things for the future, and the other is lethargic and has that ‘look’, a look which actually can be a bit embarrassing – especially when my older children began to notice.

When I first started going out with Dave, we went for a drink with my grandad. When Dave went to the loo, grandad said ‘he looks half asleep – what’s the matter with him?’

Sometimes I wish I had finished the relationship there but I thought it was a one-off.

We started to hit problems with our guest house, cracks appeared and foundation instability was detected. We had to close and take in lodgers and a whole world of weed opened up.

Some of the residents we had taken in smoked it, which Dave cottoned on to, made ‘friends’ of them and of course spent time getting stoned with them instead of helping to fight the closure of our business.

One thing I have learned is that getting stoned turns you into a person that doesn’t really care what is going on around them.

Ultimately our business closed with a loss of £40,000.

Dave was still buying and smoking dope – while I was trying to keep our heads above water, he was away with the pixies.

It was about this time that I found a piece of cannabis so huge I was unsure of what it was. It looked like a piece of brown rock but of course the smell told me it was cannabis.

I asked Dave about it and he said it wasn’t him. I threw it at him and it missed. He retrieved it saying he would find out whose it was. I asked one of his fellow smokers and he told me Dave had bought that piece and it would have been £75 – loyal mates these dope-heads. Dave doesn’t smoke a joint as much now (God how I hate that word joint), maybe once every few weeks. But to be honest I don’t get so upset about it any more, I am trying to move on.

Unfortunately my son started to smoke it aged 14. He’s my son too and so I don’t blame his dad. But it certainly didn’t help when he said ‘well dad does it’. Family and friends have had some terrible things to cope with – a very close friend losing a son to cancer, a family member having a mastectomy – so I have to try and keep things in context. But I could see my son getting the same look as Dave and it was affecting his school work and attendance, causing mood swings and bad temper.

Mostly as a mother it destroyed me that the money spent on it could buy clothes and DVDs that he could enjoy, instead of money wasted on getting stoned.

I tried to keep my son away from the people that deal in it, taking him to Taekwondo lessons and various other things to keep him occupied, but in vain. After leaving school one of the worst times was when he was unemployed and I tried to help him. I gave him phone numbers of people who could help. He wouldn’t phone them, and these organisations always say ‘he has to make the call himself’.

Thankfully he’s now a lovely bloke – 22-years-old and only smokes a joint very occasionally. He works full time and is happy. He can see now what a waste of time and money it is. Unlike Dave who has smoked it since he was 17 and is now 57.

I feel sorry my son hasn’t had a father that could have helped him more. Dave hasn’t even got a bank account through getting in debt with an overdraft. I tried to get him an account at my bank but when I said he didn’t have a passport, driving licence or any ID whatsoever they said ‘does he actually exist?’ I said some days I’m not sure .

Don’t get me wrong, my son loves his dad and they enjoy each other’s company. They will have a game of pool and a drink together. But that doesn’t help you through life.

I am 62 this year. Although broke and living in an undecorated council house with second hand furniture, I am going to carry on being there for my children, but going ‘out there’ and enjoying a cannabis-free life wherever it is. The point of my story is to try and make young people see that cannabis does affect emotionally and financially the people around you and you run the risk of losing the ones you love. Drugs v Life – it’s a battle you can win with the right help.