Got a pot head Mama…

c555070cce1936a72df6210713045dd1Got a coke head Dad…

Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a true story. Some of the details have been changed but the core remains the same. In all my years of counseling, this little girl and her bravery still haunts me. Her message is clear. Her life is proof.

She was nervous, I could tell by the foot that wouldn’t stop tapping. Incessantly, it made me wonder if she was on something, but then why be here? Not many folks came into drug counseling lit up. But the tapping just wouldn’t stop. I eyed her, pretty, young, black…well taken care of but not sparkly. Her hair was braided, and her clothes were clean…she looked presentable, especially given what we got in our doors.

Free drug counselling is not a magnet for the flossy glossy of this world. We’re not even that successful, most of what we do is about getting kids and clean spouses support. Generally, the addict is a lost cause.   I looked at her and smiled. After a short introduction, I started the dirty work…I went through the list…are you on drugs? are you in danger? are the people in your home safe? All I’m getting is nods or shakes of the head…and ever present tapping. Finally, I finish and I take a good long look at her. I smile as I read her tshirt. LEGALIZE IT was written across her tshirt, with a glittery pot leaf. I’m taken back by her balls. Going to drug counselling, in a pro pot tshirt. Wow.

“So…since its not obvious, what can I do for you today?…”

“I need to get my Daddy clean or out of my house.”

“For what? Maybe if you tell me more…is he using marijuana? Encouraging you to use?” I say in an unfortunately condescending tone.

She snorts and shifts and the tapping abruptly stops…”I wish…”

“You wish? Can you explain that?”

“Pots no drug…it’s about as bad for you as the green tea you’re drinking…”as she nods towards my empty Starbucks cup. “I wish he was JUST on that…”

“So he doesn’t smoke pot…what does he do…?”

“When he drinks he yells…gets right up in my baby brothers face, screams and makes him cry…”

“So he’s an alcoholic? We can help you with that…” I start to reach for my typical information. She gives me look…

“Nah…that’s just to start…when he does blow he forgets he loves us…stares right through us…won’t acknowledge we’re there…treats us like ghosts…” A single tear escapes her eye, before I can even feel sorry for her, she wipes it away.

“Okay, so how do I best help your family? Do you want me to call the police? ”

“We called the cops plenty lady. Neighbors called them last…came over Mother’s day morning cause Dad was yelling so loud neighbors thought he was gonna kill us. Pretty sure he wanted to…that time he was on meth…”

I began to realize, for right now she just needed me to listen…

“The worst was the Speed though…he threw my Momma around like a rag doll…tossed her into a wall…she couldn’t get up…my baby brother kept crying, Mom kept saying she was okay…but she couldn’t get up…she wouldn’t let me come out to help…called for good ole Dad who didn’t answer her. She laid there til morning and limped for a week. He screamed inches from her face, while she lay there…she just cried, and begged us to stay away. I think she knew that night, if he got a hold of a one of us…we may die. She should have died, but Moms got angels protecting her…she got lucky.”

More tears are flowing now. I join her as she tells me of the Christmas money he spent, the savings he sucked dry and the nights no one knew where he was…

“How old are you young lady? That’s so much drama for such a little girl?”

“I’m twelve, my brothers are 8 and 2…they don’t deserve this either…but Momma says they need their Dad. He can go for all I care…”

As I turn to start some paperwork I’m struck by something. “I’m going to start some wheels turning to see what we can do to help you…a good start maybe you quitting weed…a clear mind can make problems seem more manageable. ”

Suddenly I hear a roaring laugh followed by a loud smack on my desk…she is in hysterics. My first instinct is that she’s lost it…completely.

“I don’t smoke weed. My Mom does. Then my Momma cleans the house, watches Kung foo Panda with my brothers…she smokes a joint then takes us to the park or reads us a story…I don’t smoke pot, but it’s gotta be some miracle drug if it’s gotten her through being with My Dad. ”

I’m shocked and dismayed, of all the things they don’t teach you in school…I tentatively start to say something about professional psychiatric help and antidepressants…the loud roar of a laugh erupts again…

“Lady…those meds are worse for you than almost anything. You heard the side effects recently? My Mom’s problem is my Dad. Weed just keeps her mellow and able to deal…”

After she finishes I fumble for a counter argument. But I can see from the look in her eye nothing I have to say will change what she’s seen. And why should it? She is a professional drug counselor in her own right. She has years of watching addiction and she knows far more than I do. She knows coke makes her a ghost…marijuana makes her Mom give out hugs…Booze makes her Daddy rage…Weed makes her Mom play…Speed makes Dad violent…Pot stops Mom from crying and makes her yearn to find peace. She’s right, and I have to listen to her expertise.

“So we need to get Dad clean, huh? Well, let’s start there…then we can work on Mom.”

She shakes her head”…let’s just get him clean…if you can find anything my Mom is doing to hurt herself or us, we’ll start on that…but I’ve lived with an addict father and a pot head Mother…I know which one is a danger to society…whenever you see them, you’ll get it too. Smoking isn’t something I’m proud she does, but I know it’s helped her be such an awesome Mom…and She doesn’t need changing…the laws do.”

“I’ve lived with all the drugs at one time or another. ..and Lady…Weed never hurt anybody. ”

To this day, no one has overdosed, killed or bit off an ear under the influence of marijuana. Drugs are dangerous. But Weed never hurt anybody.

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About Emmy Lou Warren

I am a strong supporter of the legalization and regulation of marijuana. I live in a small quiet Midwestern town... I have kids, dogs and a mortgage...honestly, I'm kinda boring. I am the face of the unlikely supporter. White, preppy and privileged. I believe the hand I was dealt requires I fight for those less lucky.

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