Even though I am not a marijuana smoker, I am not one to judge people for the outlet they choose when they want to relax or even the lifestyle they choose when it comes to mood enhancers. I can’t be two-faced about it because I am a social drinker and love to party one day out of the weekend. Even though smoking pot is illegal and drinking alcohol is not, they both affect our moods, reduce our inhibitions, and have the potential to ruin lives.

However, I believe there is a huge difference between smoking an occasional joint on the weekend versus puffing one every single day. The same goes for drinking hard liquor one night out of the week versus having a few of those drinks every day. I can go one step further than that and make this bold statement; I have friends and family members who occasionally smoke and those who routinely smoke pot, and guess what? The ones who are addicted are consistently the least productive by a wide margin. You may have a different opinion on this. Heck, you may be a pot addict who fully disagrees because you are successful and have a happy life. I know it’s not likely but possible. Either way, for the vast majority of regular pot smokers, there is no escaping the truth.

One thing is for sure; if you abuse alcohol or marijuana, your life turns into one great mudslide that you may find difficult to escape. Marijuana abuse is a well-known DEMOTIVATOR. So is alcohol abuse. For someone who smokes pot recreationally and occasionally, there is probably no conflict whatsoever with their productivity  as human beings. But for those who are addicted, numerous studies have easily shown these people will never reach their full potential in anything in life unless they recover from addiction or change their habits.

young-male-smoking-potI am sure there will be many pot smokers who read this who will smirk and say, “Jonathan, you are full of crap. I smoke pot regularly and I make more money and am happier than any of my friends or anyone in my family.” To those, I say this, “As with many things in life, you are the highly unlikely exception. As long as you are not hurting any one and this includes family members and friends, I am happy for you.”

If you smoke reefer regularly, here are 7 signs you are sabotaging any hopes for a happy and fruitful future:

  1. You are constantly tired and sluggish. This is something you can’t get away from because the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in marijuana screws around with the receptors in your brain and the usual result is you simply want to sit down and “chill”. This is why so many regular pot smokers are allegedly couch potatoes. Now, let’s be honest; if regular pot smoking alters your brain for up to a few hours after taking a few hits, that’s at least 2-3 hours a day, everyday of your life where you are not really yourself. If you smoke it before going to school or work, it is highly unlikely you are ever going to be able to accomplish or reach your goals as efficiently as if you were not smoking it…….which leads us to the next sign.
  2. Your work or academics are being affected. You wouldn’t believe how many young adults who never laid eyes on a joint while in middle or high school start smoking pot while in college due to peer pressure. You also would not believe how many of those starry-eyed youngsters lose sight of their dreams that go up in flames, clouded by the pungent smell of their addictive behavior which can oftentimes be the gateway to other drugs such as Mollies and LSD. If you are continually showing up late for work, that’s not normal behavior for someone who is supposed to be responsible. To make matters worse, after smoking that “doobie” in the car on your way to work or school, if you find you are not very productive during the first 2-3 hours of work or school, you are fooling yourself. Many pot smokers and alcoholics are fired every day in the US; not for their addictions which can oftentimes be addressed through employee assistance programs. They get fired for not being productive enough. They simply cannot function well enough to get the job done right.
  3. You are engaging in or at least considering committing crimes. I’m not talking about smoking pot on the way home in your car which is probably a first-degree misdemeanor just about everywhere. I’m talking about falling into the trap of selling weed for profit. It’s easy to become a drug dealer. I’m talking about letting yourself getting talked into committing criminal mischief by going out with your friends and taking a tire iron and smashing a few car windows while everyone’s sky-high on pot. I’m talking about a person who has just lost their job, is blaming it on everyone else except themselves for being a pothead, and going out and robbing an old lady’s handbag as she limps across the street! Well, maybe I’m exaggerating but you get the idea. Weed alters your brain chemistry so you are not really yourself. It can also make you hallucinate if you “smoke the good stuff” and do things you would not normally do. All it takes is an idiot in your group to  say, “Hey why don’t we….?” This leads us to sign #4.
  4. If you have been arrested and taken to jail after smoking or dealing pot. I know…there are many people who think, “Damn, don’t these cops have something better to do than stop and arrest me for weed?” The cops aren’t the bad guys here. They are simply doing their jobs and many (not most) will show discretion at times and leave you alone. Bottom line here is you know it’s against the law in almost every state in the U.S., so why are you smoking it out in public (your car is in the public) and risking your freedom? A simple misdemeanor conviction can sidetrack your life for a couple of years and cost you tons of money in lawyer and court fees. A conviction for possession with intent to sell will stay on your criminal record until the day you are lying in your death bed telling everyone gathered in the room, “Please don’t be as idiotic as I was. I threw away my life because I took Cheech and Chong too seriously.”
  5. It’s affecting your relationships with family and friends. Your buddies who smoke with you aren’t likely to be concerned; they are just along for the ride and want to have their fun even if it means your world is crumbling around you. Your girlfriend, boyfriend, wife or husband is having a difficult time dealing not only with the nasty smell on your breath and clothes, they are wondering when you are going to start looking for another job after you failed a drug test and were fired. Perhaps your friends are tired of picking up the tab for everything when you guys go out or have a barbecue at someone’s house. It may be that you are sick and tired of all your friends and family members referring to you in a belittling and demeaning manner, calling you a pothead who will never get his or her life together.
  6. You can’t pay your bills because you need money for weed. This one is self-explanatory. Buying and smoking a nickel bag  for someone who is addicted to pot is no big deal. Yet, they are throwing away an extra 150 dollars a month on their habit. For many, you can add to that a pack of cigarettes a day at 7.50 apiece. With both, that’s a close-to-400-dollar-a-month habit! Wow!
  7. You feel guilty and/or ashamed of your present condition. People who have never had firsthand experience in dealing with addiction themselves or having a relative with addiction probably don’t fully understand how helpless addicts can become. Almost always, an addict will need intervention and rehab before they can at least have a fighting chance to overcome their addiction. If you are addicted to pot and you need and WANT help, please get it! For heaven’s sake, it you are a friend or family member of an addict, please try to help them. In my experience, the only way someone can recover from addiction is if the addict really wants to recover. You can be the best friend in the world but if they don’t want it, it will never happen as long as they have this mindset.  Some psychologists will say, “Yeah, but we can help them change their mindset.” This may be true, but again, in my experience and opinion, their changed mindset will only be temporary if they don’t want it bad enough.

For those of you who don’t smoke marijuana and want to have a future; beware if you feel like you are falling to peer pressure or have the desire to try out smoking marijuana. You may love it or hate it once you experiment with it! However, you need to know the truth; it is one of the biggest demotivators in life and you will be lucky if you don’t become addicted to it. If you are approached by a friend or someone else and pressured into smoking it, please resist until you can sleep on it. Then, that same night before you place your head on your pillow, take a moment to reflect on who these people are (the ones pressuring you) and where they are in life. Chances are, they are headed nowhere fast. Do you want to be like them?

A few times in my life, I have had young adults ask me what the secret is to having a happy, fulfilling life? Even though I have had quite a few bumps in the road just like anyone else, I am the perfect candidate to answer this question. My reply is, “Work to live (not the other way around), find ways to love and NOT hate (your stress level will thank you for it), live within your means but shoot for the stars with your career and financial goals, love and respect your family and friends, and when it comes to leisure/party time; don’t drink alcohol or smoke pot during the week so you can maximize your productivity and reach all your goals. Instead, work your ass off 5 days a week and look forward to the weekend so you can party your ass off responsibly if that’s what you like.”

I’ve done it this way for years and it works for me! That’s my secret. You may have one of your own. Hey, whatever works for you if it doesn’t interfere with your productivity and happiness.

In my opinion, if you are stoned or buzzed every day of the week, you are in a place where you can’t face reality and you’re looking for an escape route. You will never realize your full and true potential in your professional or personal life. You won’t have the energy! If you think you can, you are only fooling and hurting yourself. If this sounds like you, imagine how much better that drink will taste or that joint will make you feel if you look forward to doing it safely just one day out of the week? If you smoke one or two joints every day, what in the world do you have to look forward to when you have a couple of days off? What are you going to do on your days off; smoke four joints instead of the two you smoke every day?

Imagine not feeling so tired all the time during the work or school week. Imagine looking forward to hanging out with your friends on Friday or Saturday night and enjoying your fair share of pot or alcohol responsibly while having all the energy in the world to have a great time. Imagine knowing you can recover the next day and face the following week feeling energetic and as strong as a horse! Imagine how you will be looking forward to having a great time again the very next weekend.

I am certain marijuana supporters will disagree with some of the points I have made. That’s alright, everyone has their own opinion. But I doubt most of them are smarter than scientific data and I bet many are young, inexperienced, and full of their own short-sighted ideals. The world is full of thirty-something losers in life who look back and say, “Gosh, I wish I could have made better decisions when I was younger. I wish I would have listened to my loved ones. I thought I knew what I was doing and I thought I cold control it.”

I’m not here to say marijuana is bad for you. But if you are not careful, it can ruin your life for good. You may have an addictive personality. If that’s the case, you may not stand a chance once you start smoking pot. I have seen weed ruin too many young promising lives. If you are a pot smoker and vehemently disagree with this, you are running around with blinders on! I challenge you to take inventory of your family members and friends who are pot addicts; you will no doubt see how a few of them if not all are wasting away.