Yes, I have found as a spouse of an addict that self-care is absolutely crucial to survival. You are so right that is is not selfish, but actually necessary to be able to have something to give to others.
Out of curiosity, do you think that pot has a similar effect on the emotions as alcohol, or are the two different?
They are different chemically but act on the same reward system of the brain and as such, have a similar effect. I get this all the time, that smoking pot is totally fine. I even get it from parents who want to convince themselves that their child is okay because they’re just smoking pot now and it’s not addictive.
“I’m just gonna smoke pot from now on = guaranteed relapse.” In fact, you’ve already relapsed because pot is a drug, i.e. a mood-altering substance. And there is no such thing as I’m addicted to coke but not to pot, or I’m addicted to opiates but not to alcohol. If you are allergic to one thing, you are allergic to everything. Don’t believe me? just see what happens when you remove your DOC and begin substituting with something else. See what happens when you put a pile of coke in front of me when I’m not really a coke guy.
And yes, it is addictive. Highly addictive, in fact. Regarding the action of THC, Wikipedia states, “Via CB1 activation, THC indirectly increases dopamine release and produces psychotropic effects. Cannabidial also acts as an allosteric modulator of the mu and delta opioid receptors.” Physical addiction is characterized by the presence of craving and withdrawal, both of which are present in spades with any regular pot smoker, and especially in the fully blown addict. Remove the pot and you are removing excessive and superficial dopamine. Any superficially added dopamine when removed will cause various withdrawal effects, some physical, some psychological/emotional.
So first, the pothead will crave more physically. Second, the pothead will suffer from a myriad of emotional effects – anger, depression, boredom, anxiousness, restlessness, discontent, dissatisfaction. In fact, some will suffer rage and become verbally abusive. Pot unquestionably mutes the natural and surfacing and progression of feelings and thoughts, and since it also has psychotropic effects, it can and will wreak all sorts of biochemical havoc, effecting serotonin levels etc. In this sense, the emotional effects of pot are quite similar to the effects of alcohol.
Finally but no less disturbing is the lens through which a pothead perceives self, others and the world is warped, to say the least. If you want to see a person lose their will, their ambition, their maturity, their work ethic, their moral compass, their emotional and mental stability, then just observe a pothead or a brainwashed progressive college student whining about ‘micro-aggressions’ and the like. They become numb and indifferent, ineffective and lost, stunted in nearly all facets of human development. Some of the worst effects I’ve noticed with pot are when you see the pothead begin to see the world through a sort of collectivist lens – that everything is awful and unfair and unjust, that anyone who works and has more is evil, that work days are too long, the minimum wage should be $500 a day etc etc… you get the idea.