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Mark Manley
Mark Manley, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience:  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Over 15 years exp. Married 30 years and happy.
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Hello. Ive been with my husband for 30 yrs. He has always

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Hello. I've been with my husband for 30 yrs. He has always been a daily pot smoker, and although I have objected and fought it much of the time, I have joined him and given up on the idea of him ever quitting, and me too. Then recently our 19 yr old and 23 yr old confessed they have been smoking since high school, and now my husband thinks it's fine to smoke with them. I joined them for awhile, but had so much guilt I stopped. We have a good life, and our daughters are in college and doing well. Every time I make an issue of it, things get ugly between my husband and I. Don't know if it's worth divorce, and not sure anything will work so I'm feeling trapped and angry. Any suggestions. Thank you.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 2 years ago.
From your perspective, what is wrong with smoking pot?

Sincerely,
Mark Manley
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
My 23 yr old thinks I care too much about what other people think, my 19 yr old says it's the stigma and judgement of others, and my husband thinks I have control issues, and can't stand being out of control. There is truth to all that.
Personally I believe my issue is with having any kind of an addiction, or anything that is relied on for happiness. I had accepted it until my daughters became part of the I'm concerned that they will be pot heads and rely on it for their happiness. Personally the pot causes me to become a recluse, and I feel that I have given up many opportunities as a result. My husband is very productive and happy. My daughters are still too young for me to tell what price they might pay. As a mother, smoking with my kids makes me feel like an irresponsible parent. My daughters assure me that they are fine and use it responsibly. I know from experience that it may start that way, but eventually it can control you and you miss out on things you are not even aware of. I just want the best for my kids.
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 2 years ago.
Great answer, very comprehensive and clear!

You be the change you want to see in your family. You will need to stay off it, and then use your example and influence to assist the rest of the family. It is hard to be the only one not using a mood altering substance in a close knit group (like your family). Say what you want but the users feel self conscious and the non-user feels left out and/or silly. It would be nice if every body would stay off, then you wouldn't have the tension you describe above. I am afraid you are going to have to wait a long time for him to make that decision. So you will be the odd man out for a long time.

One more thing to add to list you made above is that chronic use short circuits the emotional process and therefore the relational process among family members. Example: Conflicts get smoked away (temporarily masked) instead of worked through and resolved. Instead of sweeping things under the carpet they get lit up in a joint. Cultures that rely on daily pot use have a much lower level of family functioning.

You may need some support to maintain your non-use and to be the odd woman out. You might think about Al-anon, Narc-anon. or something of the like.

Be strong.

Sorry it is painful.

Sincerely,
Mark Manley

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I thank you for your input, and agree that I must be the strong one. I suppose the truth is that I'm just as bad as they are in regards XXXXX XXXXX with lifes problems by ighting up.

RESULTS ON QUITTING
Our 21 day quitting experiment ended early, and everyone is back to the smoking, including me. For the 17 days that everyone was completely without smoking, the big plus, was feeling better because of control over eating junk. Normally we eat healthy until the munchies set in. My 19 yr old and husband are always trying to gain weight so for them it's mixed because of the loss of appetite without smoking. They all say they will smoke much less after seeing how much better they felt when off it (food abuse).

I didn't mention this before becaue I didn't know how much I could get into since this type of therapy ($19) obviously has it's limitations. I will mention it now, but understand you may not be able to address much more.

HOW IT STARTED
At a party a couple of years ago my husband and I discovered all the younger generation were smoking pot. Two nephews and our older daughter, all 21 at the time. They told us they recently figured out we smoked as well. BotXXXXX XXXXXne is we all smoked together at this party at my parents ranch. My parents like to have their drinks and had no problem with it since everyone was adults. My mom even joined in.

My brother found out, told my sister, and there has been a family feud ever since.
My sisters 23 yr old son moved in with us recently because he was thrown out of his home for pot smoking (seperate situation from us). My sister has pretty much disowned me, and so that is probably the biggest problem I have now. I apologized, but it did no good, and she responded with a an email condemning me and my family.

CHRISTIAN FINATIC
After 3 months of anger and hurt from her letter, I finally returned her email telling her of the resentments I had been harboring regarding her self rightgeous attitude. She's constantly condemning me and everyone for their sins (gays, drinkers, etc). She often says people are possessed and going to hell kind of stuff. She comes to us with crazy dreams from God and a lot of talk that many don't understand. She comes from a very judgemental place even before she found out about the pot. My parents retired a few years ago and every Sat night they have a few drinks. She has made no secret of her disapproval of that, or any kind of drinking (even coffee), so they have been on the other end of her judgement as well.

FAMILY FEUD
After she received my letter, she responded with little apology for a couple of things she couldn't nt deny, but is now "healing" to put it in her words. As a result of all this she didn't show up for the first time ever at Christmas (at my parents). My parents think she's over the top with her judgement, and do not understand why she would let anything keep her from spending time with family on special holidays. I had assured her there would be no inappropriate behavior such as pot smoking on Christmas, but this seams to be beside the point now. My brother and I are on good terms again, but it's a very sensitive situation at this point.

WHAT I WANT
I guess the botXXXXX XXXXXne is that I need to figure out how I want my life to be, then follow that path. The truth is that I enjoy spending the time with my husband, daughters and newphew with or without the pot. We have a great time together, and for me to avoid them all when the smoking is happening would likely mean years of my being left out (as you said), and they would start avoiding me as they do my siblings. I see life too short to loose all that time with them. The other side of it is, the pot smoking with them is still in the early stages, so it would be easier now to change the future, then later, after years of this. With or without pot I don't enjoy my sister, so we wouldn't spend a lot of time together either way, so part of me says why quit for her or do anything for her. Quitting completely forever, and pursuing Christianity would be the only way to improve the relationship with her. My family and I do believe in the Christian spirit of loving one another, but feel my sister takes it to a whole new level.

THE PLAN
At this point I'm thinking the best thing to do is to find what makes me happy, and pour myself into that, not making pot the topic of the situation in any case. Not making it the big evil can't do, but also not making it the center of fun activities either. Making myself an example of a happy and healthy mom that knows what she wants and is going after it. My goal is not to smoke with the kids, and minimize it with my husband. I don't want to be a hypicrite with the kids so I won't lie about my doing it on occassion with my husband, but I'll also let them know smoking with them makes me feel like an irresponsible parent. I don't want them to go back to smoking in parks and cars with friends, so I won't tell them they can't do it, but to keep it out side and out of sight.

YOUR ADVICE
Regarding what you said on "conflicts getting smoked away", I think that my family talks a lot more when smoking, so if anything, conflicts get talked to death, but I'm glad you mention that so that I can be more aware of another potential problem. The relationship with my 19 yr old was getting pretty closed down until the pot. She's opened up quite a bit, and we've been able to dig deep on some of her more serious issues such as insecurities and attitude towards us.
I don't think I want to join a group like Al-anon because I believe it would likely cause my husband to feel defensive, and as I said before we do have a good life, and I don't want to tear my imediate family apart over this, or anything.
I welcome any other input you may have, and do appreciate your encouragement to be strong. There is so much in life to look forward to, so focusing on that may be the answer for me. Be strong! I will take that and run with it!
If there's anything I've said that you want to comment on or disagree with, please do!
Thanks so much,
Pam

Expert:  Mark Manley replied 2 years ago.
Hi,
Thanks for the update. 17 days that's pretty good!

Your sister: Just love her the best you can and try not to get too irritated by her irritating behavior. We can work on this together if you like. (you just keep using this thread and click on Accept periodically)

Pot: I like what you said about your parents controlled use of alcohol. Since you guys are choosing to use pot, I would recommended the same for you guys, that is a controlled frequency and amount.

My professional concern with controlled use of mind and mood altering substances is that many people can't master it, and others who do have good control, may find they don't have the same discipline in times of great stress or difficulty. Another concern is that some members of a family may do quite well with controlled use but others don't have the same ability. So some end up being OK while others end up in trouble.

I am very glad that your immediate family and your extended family (except your sister) enjoy one another's company and have open and meaningful communication with one another.

I am happy for you.

Sincerely,
Mark Manley
Expert:  Mark Manley replied 2 years ago.
Was my response helpful for you? Please click on 'Accept' so I get credit for my time and expertise.
Thank you.
Mark Manley, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 402
Experience: Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Over 15 years exp. Married 30 years and happy.
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