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Off the Hook
Overcoming Addiction
Ashunte Hunt
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The first blunt I smoked was with some friends. On my first try I was hooked. I smoked almost every day before I went to school, after I came out, and before I went to sleep. It felt good, and I had fun when I was high.

Then I started feeling the downside of weed. I had short-term memory loss. I started not to pay attention like I used to in class. And I started getting myself in a lot of trouble that I wasn’t getting in before.

I decided to go to a two-month rehab program and I stopped smoking for almost six months after the program. At first, I had a hard time with the cravings. It wasn’t easy because a lot of people smoked in the place I lived, but I tried to stay focused and not relapse. I played basketball, I went to my programs (including Represent), and I wrote poetry every chance I got to take my mind off weed.

But I relapsed one day after my friend asked me to roll a blunt for him. I saw the red flag, but did not heed it. I rolled the blunt. Then I picked it up and lit it.

I continued to smoke until I was 19, when I realized that I either had to take care of responsibilities or be a sitting duck in life. I had to get a job and plan my life so I wouldn’t end up with nothing and nowhere to go.

I wasn’t going to get to college spending $30-$40 a day on weed. I realized I could have been using that money saving up for my apartment or investing in something positive that I like to do, like music. I could not picture myself graduating from high school just to become a weed-smoking couch potato.

In this issue of Represent, we are exploring all kinds of addictions—from drugs and alcohol to a more lighthearted look at how things that seem harmless, like Facebook or even a cherry Danish, can start to take over our lives. This issue also looks at how loved ones’ addictions affect our lives and how we can deal with that.

We’re using the word addiction loosely in most of these stories. Some say it’s not an addiction unless you have withdrawal symptoms if you stop cold turkey (like a heroin addict or a heavy-duty alcoholic). But in this issue, we talk about any dependence that interferes with your life. That includes pulling you away from friends, family, school, and other positive things as well as damaging your physical and mental health. Weed may not cause withdrawal symptoms, but it can still mess up your brain and your life. Those people who nagged me had a point!

We hope our stories help keep you from falling into any of these destructive patterns, whether they start with a bottle, a blunt, or a mouse click.

—Ashunte Hunt

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