Marijuana and Domestic Violence – A Personal Testimony

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Breaking the Cycle of Marijuana and Domestic Violence, a 28-year Journey

I started smoking pot when I was 17. My father died suddenly when I was 13, and my home was no longer happy.  I couldn’t see that I was anesthetizing my pain.  I loved the way marijuana made me feel and I took every opportunity to smoke it. At first I was afraid to try it, but once I put my fears aside and smoked it, I decided my parents had been wrong when they warned me against using all drugs.

Instead of going to college, as my mother wished, I dropped out because my marijuana habit got in the way of studying. I had a bad early marriage and a daughter. I constantly thought about the decisions I had to make in life and felt that I had tried hard to do the best at all times. Somehow it ended up with my life falling apart once or twice a year.  It was very difficult to put together a solid foundation for myself or my child. By the time I was 30, I had been through a failed marriage and two boyfriends, and had been battered in all three relationships.

There is a link between marijuana use and domestic violence.

I was desperate to make a decent life for my daughter and I knew I was dragging her through the mud with me. My life was at a dead end. But no matter how guilty or terrible I felt about what I was doing, I never saw that it might have anything to do with the fact that I smoked pot every single day – naw! It couldn’t have been THAT! After all, pot is perfectly harmless, right? Something deep down inside of me was falling to pieces. I hadn’t been to jail, I wasn’t leaving bars with strange men or failing to feed my child. Nobody was threatening to take her from me. I was working as the secretary to a judge in a small town by then, but at night my life was horrendous. I had gotten back together with my daughter’s father.

After she went to bed at night we would smoke pot.  It usually ended up with him beating up on me, or tearing up the house.  Nobody knew what was really happening behind closed doors, but we had scene after scene in that living room.  There was so much abuse that it is a miracle I am alive– way too much abuse for me to chronicle in this article, or it would have been 20 pages!

For example, one night he had me down on the floor beating me. We we were both high.  Our daughter, 7-1/2, ran out of her bedroom and jumped on her father’s back, yelling: “Don’t hurt my mommy!” He picked her up and ran into her bedroom, locking the door behind them and shouting, “I’m going to beat her a**!” I jumped up and ran to the door, screaming at him to open the door and let her out, warning him not to spank or hurt her in any way. He refused to open the door. I ran outside to the woodpile and grabbed the ax, ran back into the house, and then chopped down her bedroom door. He gave her back to me unharmed, but how much had my child suffered from being in such a scene? Oh well, it didn’t really matter, because the next day we got high again and moved forward in time to the next scene.

Marijuana and Domestic Violence Brought Despair and Hopelessness

I attempted suicide when I was 30 and from that point forward I moved through life like a zombie. I had no choice. All of my choices were taken away. All I could do was move through each day and get high at every opportunity, but of course in my mind getting high wasn’t the problem. I went to the battered women’s group, went to church, talked to a counselor, went to the pastor, talked to my mother, my sister, my brother, my friends and nothing cleared up. I couldn’t figure out what was  wrong with me. What could it be? It was a mystery. I felt I had tried everything, including suicide, and nothing worked.

Early marijuana use is predictive of intimate partner violence, for both perpetrators and victims.

One night in the summer of 1987 I had a huge fight with my daughter’s father and he ran off into the night on foot after fracturing my arm. After a stint in the emergency room of the local hospital, I came back home exhausted and put my daughter to bed.

The next morning I called my mother and asked her what I should do. I said maybe I should take both of our paychecks, which were on top of the fridge, cash them, and try to get a place to live, since we were planning to move away from town. I looked up and realized he had been sleeping in the spare room, heard what I was saying, had pulled my paycheck down and lit one end of it on fire! I grabbed the lit paycheck and he went all over the house tearing up everything and breaking anything he could get his hands on. My whole life was in tatters. He tore the phone from the wall and my mother called the police, who removed him from the house – right in the middle of our planned move.

Marijuana and Domestic Violence Breaking Out of the Cycle of Dependency and Abuse

It was at this point that an acquaintance told me about Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous and handed me a book about recovery. I read it and immediately signed up for a 30-day outpatient rehab program. I stopped smoking pot, drinking, taking any mind altering substances or living with men who were addicts on July 15, 1987, and I have been sober ever since. It wasn’t easy, but I stayed with it. I put 100% of my effort into getting and staying sober from that day forward and I now have 28 years of complete sobriety. I’ve gone to meetings all of these years and the program of recovery has helped me to rebuild my life based on something much bigger, better and more sacred than smoking a joint. A researcher team from the University of Florida published a study about marijuana and intimate partner violence.  (To read the sequel to my life since my sobriety began 28 years ago, read Part 2. I wish to be anonymous.  Everything I say about my journey is not meant to represent the opinion of Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. )

We published Part 3, which she wrote two years later, as she celebrates her 30 years of sobriety.

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18 thoughts on “Marijuana and Domestic Violence – A Personal Testimony”

  1. I do not “lobby” for the marijuana industry, I support the medicinal treatment it provides to those in need of it. I don’t believe (nor will I ever) that “alcohol makes people aggressive” & I acknowledge more often than most- “decriminalizing everything” is not always the answer.

    Asking questions, noting crucial omissions in the story, and/or freely stating ones own opinion, is a right we all have.

    All I ask, is that if you are passionate enough to take a stand for something and put it out into the universe for all to read-
    Please do so with complete & cohesive stories that include supportive, science based research in addition to the personal experience. This will only help others.
    Advocating should never come across as Poor Influence or outdated Propaganda.

    Plus, most people know that the early years of life can & will determine ones entire outcome, for as long as they allow it. Good or bad.

    Before anyone makes assumptions, know that I was heavily addicted to hard drugs (yes, all of them) for 15 straight years, w/10 years time, drug (& alcohol) free. But this is not a story about me…
    I only wanted to say-

    The problem is never the substance and it will never BE the substance.

    1. This article was under the category of TESTIMONY. We divide our blogs into personal testimonies and those that are explanatory. This was personal testimony. We have 200 articles on our website. From one on domestic violence and the studies related to it:
      “Studies on family violence in the US prove that substance abuse issues are involved 50% to 80% of the time, as reported by CASA Columbia in 2005. Sources in Ed Gogek’s book, Marijuana Debunked point to “70% of abused and neglected children have alcohol or drug-abusing parents.” (We think 70% is a safe estimate.)

      Fortunately there’s a network of domestic violence shelters in the United States. The shelters will impact positive change by linking substance abuse to their advocacy work. Terrible issues of violence against women and children will go unabated, if shelters fail to make this obvious connection. Addicts don’t have control over their actions until they make successful efforts to quit the substance, even if “it’s just weed.” Substance abusers blame others as their world falls apart. As their brains change, some addicts descend into sexual abuse and other depravities.

      Addiction is the power which hijacks the brain, which takes away the will of the person, whether that person is the abuser of another person or the victim of domestic violence. Why would anyone fight for power over another person through violence, if that person hadn’t lost power over oneself through addiction?

      A longitudinal study showed that frequent, early, frequent marijuana users are 2.08 x more likely to be victims of domestic violence, a violence that will spread to their children. (They’re also more likely to be perpetrators of violence.) Academics from the University of Florida determined that, “Consistent use of marijuana during adolescence was most predictive of intimate partner violence (OR = 2.08, p < .001) in early adulthood. Consistent marijuana use (OR = 1.85, p < .05) was related to an increased risk of intimate partner violence perpetration. Adolescent marijuana use — early, persistent use throughout adolescence — is associated with perpetration or both perpetration of and victimization by intimate partner violence in early adulthood.” Please look on our website under the topic Violence.

      If we examine the root causes, and root out substance abuse, greater progress can be made in ending domestic violence, child abuse, sexual abuse and rape. Prevent Child Abuse America and Futures Without Violence will be spinning their wheels unless they align their work with the National Alliance for Drug-Endangered Children. Help children!!!!

  2. Of course you trust the writer to set the record straight.
    You DELETE any comments that don’t agree with your agenda!

    That turns a ‘discussion’ into a one sided lecture, also known as PROPAGANDA!!

    You MUST be proud!

    1. Rich, YOU are going to lecture sober people on propaganda? Ha! If you want to see real propaganda you need look no further than Big Marijuana, who blow smoke up the rear ends of the gullible on an epic scale.

  3. Isn’t it fascinating the way marijuana advocates climb on to these stories to try and refute any bad experience noted with pot? Here is a website with stories of people who have had children die or who have almost died themselves from problem marijuana usage, but these stellar citizens respond by trying to tear down the truth and replace it with their nonsensical views.

  4. It sounds like to me there was alcohol involved that she failed to mention. There is probably millions of domestic abuse cases… where there is no Marijuana involved at all…and just Alcohol involved. Alcohol causes some people to be aggressive … I’ve seen it a thousand times. You can’t judge all by one… and keeping something illegal that people are using anyway doesn’t make sense to me… and it sure is not… helping especially in these situations… because had she not of had pot in the house she might would of called the cops a bit sooner on that evil man she reproduced with… but the Law against her having pot… probably played a roll as to the reason she didn’t call the cops…. if the cops found pot in the house it liable to have caused her daughter to have been taken by CPS. Dig dipper and see that prohibition doesn’t prevent use … nor does laws against it help….. Some men are just evil … abusive.. possessive… to start with… no matter what substance they might use.

    1. See the long-term study of 9,000 + which links domestic violence to regular marijuana use, 2x more likely to be a victim and almost 2x more likely to be perpetrator. We suspect that those who commit acts of domestic violence also are not honest about it……so when asked, do they deny it? Even men who use daily cannabis are more likely to be victims of domestic violence. So you wish to declare some men basically evil, and not let them get off of substance abuse? No one tries to say alcohol abuse doesn’t make people aggressive or bad drivers. They are trying to claim that marijuana makes people less aggressive and that it doesn’t affect their driving. Stop the deception!!!

    2. We trust the writer to set the record straight. Since marijuana is so common in California, CPS would not have taken her daughter away from her just because they found pot. Read Part 2 of this testimony to see how much her life improved after she got off pot!

    3. Light alcohol involved on occasion – marijuana every single day. Marijuana was my drug of choice. It was the first illegal substance I ever did and led me to do other substances. To be crystal clear, marijuana was my great love and I made sure I always had it in the house and never ran out, unlike all other substances. Please don’t try to change my story to suit your own viewpoint.

  5. Sounds like this person spent half her life making REALLY bad decisions. I hope she stays off drugs. You can’t just blame marijuana for all the dumb things she did though!

    The story has nothing to do with marijuana, save for the fact that it probably saved her, life since marijuana does, as stated, help you cope with problems and feel better.

    ANYTHING done in excess is going to cause problems!

    If marijuana was as harmful as this website portrayed, would it be ‘decriminalized’ or legalized, state by state, city by city, county by county, as it currently is? NO!

    If you folks focused on HARM REDUCTION or education or fought against truly harmful drugs like ‘Spice’ or ‘bath salts’ your efforts might actually do some good!

    1. We do focus on Education and you are missing the point of our website if you don’t acknowledge that fact. Read Part 2 to see how she brought her live back together by getting off marijuana; she is 28 years clean.

      The best harm reduction can come from never starting to use drugs, and our government has done a terrible job educating!

      1. There is no point in arguing with people who lobby for the marijuana industry. They know they are right and if you don’t believe them, just ask them and they’ll tell you. The same brain they are using to make decisions is the brain they have damaged with THC, so they can’t see the forest for the trees.

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