I stuttered very severely as a child. That greatly limited my
social interaction. In addition, I had a very anxious mother who cautioned
against everything while at the same time encouraging me to do more things,
which caused all kinds of inner conflict and self-doubt.
I went through grade school, high school, and college pretty
much without saying anything in class, ever. I never had a girlfriend. My
self-image was pathetic, and although I was a "success" (i.e. I
got a good job and was self-sufficient), I my social life was non-existent
and I was quite unhappy.
I got a roommate (this was around 1972), and only after he
moved in did I discover he was a marijuana user. I discovered other people I
worked with, seemingly very "normal" people, some of them
extremely intelligent people, used marijuana. Of course I still believed
marijuana was the "killer weed," but it certainly didn't seem to
be turning any of those people into babbling criminal vegetables.
One day I asked my roommate if I could get stoned with him.
Unlike some people who report no effect the first few times, I got VERY
stoned. I saw the world and myself in a new way. It was a release of 29
years of anxiety, fearfulness, and basically unhealthy ways of thinking
about myself and the world.
From that I began to develop a real social life, thanks in
part to marijuana letting me see things in a new way, thanks in part to the
social rituals surrounding shared marijuana smoking.
I kept smoking marijuana for about 4 years; then I decided I
had gotten about all I was going to get from the experience. It was now
hindering more than helping, so I stopped. Now, some 20 or so years later, I
think my life is pretty good.
I don't want to credit my improved socialization entirely to
marijuana. At about the same time I started both speech therapy and
psychotherapy, and I worked really hard in other ways to improve my life for
the better. But I think getting stoned was what really jump-started the