By J. Belsher

After a decade of ups and downs this time was different.

Ever since he met the love of his life, MJ, things were complicated. He obsessed about her day and night. At first she was kind to him, made him feel special, but then she would turn around and hurt him. After a while, his injuries began to land him in the hospital. He would declare that he was never going to have anything to do with her again. He would admit that she was bad for him and he was ready to let her go. Yet, soon after getting out of the hospital, she would find her way back to him.

He couldn’t resist her. He loved everything about her—the way she smelled, the way she tasted, the way she touched him and made him feel. She was not cheap. In fact, he spent every dollar he had on her. Even if it meant no food that month. He’d rather not eat, than let her go. He was consumed with her. She was his everything, his religion, his medicine, his constant.

Occasionally, logic would seep in and he would truly understand that her effects on him were tearing him apart. He couldn’t sleep well anymore. He wasn’t getting proper nourishment—instead he was eating fast food and junk from convenience stores. Then he began smoking cigarettes, hoping it would help with the anxiety he developed from chasing her. He tried alcohol to soothe his soul, but it was not of much interest to him. 

Eventually he lost his friends. They were not equipped to handle the depression he was in. Depression that caused him to lash out and rage. He pushed away his family. They were simply unaccepting of MJ and refused to let her in their house.

His parents said he was no longer welcome in their home, but relented this one last time, willing to give it one more try and see if he was ready to let her go.

At first he was so detached from reality that he suspected the food in their kitchen was poison. He suspiciously looked at his loving parents and accused them of being controlling and plotting something against him. They feared his state of mind and prayed he wouldn’t do anything foolish. During the day he would walk—miles and miles and miles. Said he needed to think. Sometimes he would walk in the middle of the street and shout out to the cars. His rants were friendly “how ya doin’ sir” “have a beautiful day ma’am.” And even though he was forbidden to see MJ, she would sneak in and find him. He would inhale her beauty. They were once again caught together and he was given a choice to stop seeing her or leave their home. He said he’d leave. He was gone four hours. As the winter cold set in and the dark began to fall, he called and surrendered. “I am ready to do a program, I’m ready to let her go, but only because you are forcing me,” he said.

They decided that however they could get him healthy, even if by “force,” would be a chance for change.

So the next day he signed up for a counselor and a class. He said he was going to cooperate and wanted to do the right thing. He had to get all traces of MJ out of his room. He still had some of her things. He reluctantly gave them to his parents and they disposed of them.

Everything was progressing. Was it maturity—as some said might be helpful? Or was it fear of no place to go, no place to live, nothing to eat? He seemed resigned to living without MJ once and for all. He said “you’ll see, I can do this.”

It wasn’t going to be easy. Unfortunately, she was everywhere. She was revered by the public. She was up on billboards, in magazine ads, everyone was talking about her wherever he’d go. She was popular, a natural. She came from the earth and was environmentally green. How was he going to resist her enticing beauty?

Yet, he managed to go to the meetings, calm his brain and slowly began to regain some normalcy. He trusted more, Ate food from his parents’ kitchen. One day he laughed out loud. His mother cried hearing his joy. It had been a long time since she heard him laugh. He spent his days writing music and recording on his mother’s computer. Songs of frustration, songs of love, songs of loss. MJ was in many of his songs. Singing made him happy. It was a release for him. He was finally emerging from his dark place.

He began planning. He thought driving Uber would be a good job for him. One where he could set his own hours. A job that would be on his terms, yet would keep him from isolating. He asked his parents to help him get started. They agreed. But they needed to see him free from her for at least a few months before they would invest. He was excited.

Light began to shine in and the changes were promising. She was finally gone. He stopped talking about her. And although he could see her being promoted in town, he stayed away from her. Winter turned to Spring and hope was in the air. Was this going to be the time? After 10 years of turmoil, will he finally get traction in his recovery? Everything was in place for that to happen. The benefits were plentiful and he was engaged in plans for his future.

Until, one day out of nowhere, she returned. She begged him to come back. She promised him she’d be everything to him. She told him she had changed and that he was stronger too now and he could manage better. He quickly forgot about the hurt, the physical and emotional pain and trauma. He forgot about the depression, the anxiety, the hospitalizations, the loss of relationships, the financial drain. He forgot about all he’d achieved in her absence. About his well-being.

He took her back. They are together again, lost in a haze of delusion. His family weeps. They know what lies ahead in the cycle of his addiction to MJ. They lock their door and hope he can find his way, this time, on his own.


J. Belsher created and directed a documentary film about the dangers posed by cannabis to the developing brains of our youth. The film is available to educational institutions through Alexander Street Press (alexanderstreet.com) It is also available to the general public through the film’s website. Visit the website, www.oscdoc.com, or for more information write: info@oscdoc.com.