I haven't written one of these in a really long time. I have asked myself that question many time over the past couple of years. I started smoking pot when I moved to a state that allows it. It felt way better than being sober and became a daily ritual, over time. I'm not going into long details but will just skip to the deal-breaker in a few sentences.
I don't think the whole exit from the witnesses created as much stress as the subsequent antisocial and reclusive attitude I developed afterwards. It's really hard for me to process an environment where there are a lot of people, I pretty much can't deal with it. I also hate being alone, so there has always been this rub. Smoking pot made it much more tolerable to be alone, which meant I became even more antisocial. Antisocial was fine since I was self employed, and could pretty much do whatever I wanted when I wanted.
So about a year ago I got into the film industry, working in special effects. The people I'm around are all artsy and weird in their own rights, a lot like I am in the weird department, so no problem with the group setting. And, honestly, I'd say over half of the people in the industry I have met smoke pot daily or drink every night after work...not one or two drinks, but like 4-5. With the acceptance of these things it wasn't long before I was on the same "dosage" schedule. My specialty is supposed to be pyrotechnics and explosives, not too long ago I had a misfire, a charge was set off early. No one was in danger or anything like that, but it was a stupid mistake that I still can't believe I made. It caught my attention and made me evaluate myself.
I realized that I was having trouble communicating as well as processing and retaining information. I went back and watched some old footage and saw what this guy who looked like me was doing, seemed ok on the surface, but not nearly as sharp as I remember being. Words were misplaced, short term memory was obviously tweaked, and problem solving skills were way below normal. So for the last couple of weeks I've pretty much stopped everything. Had a few drinks here and there but nothing else, but already the memory thing is getting way better and my speech and patience levels are closer to normal.
So how long does it take to dry out, so to speak? What do you do to keep from relapsing? Don't say AA or Narc Anon because I couldn't do either if I wanted to due to traveling and time required by work, plus I don't like the religious elements.