Friday, 22 July 2011

It's Good To Talk

Dear Kate

My partner regularly smokes cannabis and whilst on one hand I do not see this as a big deal as many of our friends do the same and have done for years, on the other hand it seems to be becoming more and more of an issue of late. When he smokes he is clumsy in a funny sort of way and really quite loveable. He seems funny and happy but recently his clumsiness does not seem so loveable any more. For me it’s turned into something that I had found amusing and endearing into something which is annoying and selfish.

Then when he doesn’t smoke for the first few days he seems to return to his old self, more on the ball, more dynamic and much better company, however after the first few days of giving up he then turns into what can only be described as miserable, selfish and rude, to the point where I almost want to tell him to go and get some more because useless and hap hazard is preferable to moody and angry.

My question is how can I make him see that he is pushing me away and that he needs to stop or at least cut down considerably or our relationship is in serious jeopardy. Of course this is also made worse because though we have friends here they aren’t the same as friends back in the UK so both of us feel very dependant on each other.

Yours confused – San Rafael

Dear Confused

Firstly thank you for your e-mail, you have brought up a subject which I see a lot in my private practice and though cannabis is not considered a “hard” drug, it can have more of an impact then people think, not only for the user but also those close to them.

The first thing to say is that I empathise with your situation, it can put a lot of pressure on any relationship when taken out of its comfort zone i.e. home and the expectations and hopes you both naturally place on each other can create difficulties when they are not met. However as much as you are in a couple you have to focus on yourself and what you can or cannot put up with.

Your partner may or may not give up smoking but he is the only one who can make this decision and he is the only one who can stop. Yes you can ask nicely, angrily and give ultimatums but at the end of the day he has to decide that he is going to stop and only when he does this genuinely and authentically for his own reasons will he have a chance of doing so successfully. He simply might not want to stop or cut down no matter what you say and there is also the possibility that he might try for you rather then because he believes he wants to and this is also not an ideal reason to stop or cut down.

You do however have some choices that you can make for yourself and they may seem simple on paper but I understand that in reality they are harsh and hard. All you can do is decide, if at the moment given what he is doing, you can live with it or not. If you decide you can live with it (it being his continued smoking) then we need to look at ways for his smoking to impact you in a less negative way then it is at the moment and that is a whole other area, which if you would like to contact me about, we can look at in more detail.

If however you decided that what is going on is unacceptable to you then you have the choice to leave the relationship or at least tell him of your intention so he can make some choices as to what is important to him.

Remember though smoking cannabis is an addiction and whilst many argue that it is not as addictive as hard drugs or even nicotine, it is still easy to become dependant on it and form a habit, which is hard to break. There are various support agencies on line and on the island so if you would like some more information then please do get in touch and I can give you more details.

I wish you all the best with whatever choices you decide to make.

Kate -

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