OK, I am joking a bit here. Please don't take this too seriously. But, when I saw this story about the Girl Scout cookies being sold outside a San Francisco marijuana dispensary, it clicked with much of what I have been learning about addiction:
Of course, we all know the stories about pot smoking and getting the 'munchies.'
But then, it sinks in: a Girl Scout outside a drug dealership? When was the last time you saw a Girl Scout selling cookies outside a bar or a liquor store?
What was the mother thinking?
Danielle's mother Carol takes her two daughters to different places around San Francisco to sell cookies so that "they can learn about different environments," Mashable reported.
Ah, yes, sell cookies outside an upscale SF dispensary to learn about the world of pot smokers. I get it now. It is less about the cookies and more about 'teaching.' We have some honesty here.
Well, not really. You don't learn much about the effect from alcohol on people just by standing outside a liquor store... unless you are in the part of town where a good mother would not take her Girl Scout. She will get to see the functional, safe, and relatively clean side of the matter. She will likely see the 'nice' side of regular marijuana users (occasional users don't go to the trouble of paying for a prescription and joining a pot co-op, but usually get there pot from someone else who does, like bumming a puff off of someone at a party).
Mom won't take her daughter down into the seedier places in San Francisco. At least, let's hope not. She won't see what happens when you let your craving for intoxication take you too far.
She also won't take her daughter outside a Weight Watchers office or an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. That would be 'insensitive,' right? But, how in the world is she going to learn about those people?
I'm not dumping on cookies... we've had a life-long relationship. There a point here: first, if you really want to learn about people, you have to be ready to go all the way. You have to be ready to see both the good and the bad, otherwise you build up false ideas about them that can carry on well into adulthood.
But, the other point I wanted to make is about abuse mechanisms. Many people in addiction these days will move from drugs to food. This is a point raised in one of my latest reading self-assignments:
I'm not quite done with it, and though I don't agree with his assessment of AA (being against religion and the Divine is all the fad in the UK these days, isn't it?), he does have a lot of excellent points our predispositions to losing control. The physical reaction to sugar, and how this has been amplified with the advent of processed sugar in common foods, has created a whole new struggle for humanity.
Cookies can be just as powerful of an intoxicant as pot in terms of addiction, just as a heroin addicts will tell you that kicking cigarettes was harder than quitting opiates. Besides, when you get 'high' off of food, you can be totally abstemious. You have to eat.
Underneath all of this is that we have come to a place where our lives seem unlivable without what Mr. Thompson characterizes as a 'fix.' We are so full of stress that we need a relaxation response even when most of our stresses are ongoing and not resolvable.
The industrial age has taken away from us the 'season.' Sure, we have snow and sunshine, but that effects us less and less when it comes to labor and food and lifestyle. Unlike the farmer, we don't have the seasonal 'down-times' between sowing and harvest.
So, we smoke pot because we 'need' to get high for a momentary break, and when that does not work, we can easily turn to high-sugar food. If that does not work, then there is sex and porn. Or, heroin. Or, alcohol. Or, shopping.
The 'gateway' is not so much the substance as the impulse to get high. Marijuana is a 'gateway drug' because you only use it to get high, and yet it seems so natural and gentle. It is not like cocaine or heroin, with their hard edges. Marijuana can be 'romanced' in a way that hard drugs can't.
So can cookies.
But, at least people can enjoy eating cookies.