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Marijuana confessional and Closure May 29, 2015

Posted by johnbohlinger in August Bohlinger, Dealing with Grief after Losing your child., Death of your child, Grieving Parents, Guilt and Grief, marijuana and grief/depression.
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My son died over 8 years ago.  I was suicidal when I started this blog.  I lost years in a blur of depression, but I’m on the other side of it.   Today, I’m basically as happy as I’ve ever been, though I still have some short-term, soul-crushing pain when thoughts of my son’s death go dark.  That being said, in some ways I’m better now.  I’m now more empathetic, less fearful, more forgiving, more open minded, and I work harder to look for the good in everything and everybody, (though sometimes I don’t see it and sometimes there is none).  

I would be remiss for not telling you this next bit, though I could technically go to jail for what I’m typing and/or lose my job, but it’s worth telling you:

I spent 2 or 3 years using a combination of several prescribed SSRIs, antidepressant and sleep aids.  I was numb, not really there, and a burden to my wife; but  I wasn’t as suicidal. Eventually, I quit all meds when I got a new job.  I did not want to go into my new job looking like a depressed nut-job who may off him at the office, also, this job offered insurance and I was afraid a preexisting condition of Depression could make things awkard.  Once off the meds, I went back to having these uncontrollable crying spells, feeling like killing myself, not sleeping; all that classic suicidal nut-job behavior. One day, sitting at my desk, crying for no particular reason, I lit up a joint that a friend had given me.

I’m a life long musician born in the 60s so I’ve been around pot my whole life. I used to enjoy weed a bit my senior year in high school until I quit to focus on school/ work/ etc when I went to college.  When my son was born, I never intended on using weed again because I wanted to be a good roll model for him. Eventually I loosed up a bit and would have smoke a few times a year, usually at a gig with friends. After my son died of an opiate overdose, I became severely anti drug.  I was against all drugs not issued by a Dr.. That changed when I took two hits of that joint on that afternoon.

Within 5 minutes, I felt positively happy for the first time in a long time.  I could see the beauty in life. I ended up having a great day, slept well that night and woke up feeling great. A few days later, I did it again when I felt depression coming on.

I began researching cannabis and learned that it truly does help people in a multitude of ways, (watch “The Culture of High” on Netflix .) For a while I thought I had found the cure to depression. I no longer believe that; the cure is ultimately working through your grief to get to a more clear understanding. Weed gave me a reprieve from depression so I could wrap my head around the fact that horrible things happen to most people and everyone dies, sometimes young, but life is precious, wonderful, and full of blessings.

I now have a medical marijuana card in two different states, but I currently live in a non-medical state, thus making me a law breaker. It is risky to confess this, but absolutely worth it if this helps any of you. If you live in a medical marijuana state, talk to a Dr. If not, research marijuana. If you feel good about it, try it. Pot is losing its stigma. With in 5 years it will probably be legal everywhere. In 20 years, people will look at pot prohibition with the same bemusement with which we now view America’s Alcohol Prohibition.  Marijuana is safer, has few side affects, more affordable and for me at least, more effective then any drug a Dr could get you. It may help you as well.



1. Maritta Kosonen - May 29, 2015

I love and respect your honesty. Being true to ourselves is maybe a way of also finding ourselves again. After a loss it is difficult to really know who we are but I feel that soul inside of us will keep on keepin on if we just let it. Keep the faith, whatever that may be. I’m so glad that you have found something that can help on this often painful but beautiful journey of life.

johnbohlinger - May 29, 2015

Thank you Maritta.

2. Beverly Detlefsen - June 18, 2015

Would just like to say Thanks for sharing… going on year 3 of losing someone who was like a parent to me. I have read all of your blogs, and they have helped. Prayers for you, John.

johnbohlinger - June 18, 2015

Thank you Beverly. God bless you as you seek all that is good and beautiful in this world.

3. Karen - February 11, 2016

Thank you. Have turned to this in the midst of unfathomable loss. It allows me to think and grieve slowly over each part, granting the welcome respite of control in the face of infinite insanity.

johnbohlinger - February 11, 2016

I’m glad it helps Karen. Take your time to make it through grief to the other side. God bless you

4. Thomas Slocombe - February 20, 2017

John, I’m glad you have found some peace. When I read your comments about marijuana, I wanted to share some of my thoughts. Back in the early 1970s, I used pot to feel good. Finally, I decided it was an artificial way to induce my central nervous system to function temporarily in a happy way, and I became intrigued with the idea of naturally feeling that happy without (possibly) doing unknown damage to my nervous system and without breaking the law. I became interested in “Eastern” philosophy, and I decided to learn Transcendental Meditation (TM). For the first few months I practiced TM, I had a vague sense that something subtle but good was happening. Then, I went on a weekend meditation retreat where additional meditation time was scheduled. That was a life-changing event! For four days after that, I felt better than I had ever felt. That was a powerful demonstration of the positive effect of TM. I never smoked pot again after that, and I have never skipped a meditation in over 40 years. Pot showed me it is possible to be unimaginably happy. TM enables me to be happy without relying on a chemical. If you want to learn about TM, tm.org is a good website. Regardless, I’m very glad you’re feeling better, and I wish you all the best. — Tom Slocombe

johnbohlinger - February 20, 2017

Hi Tom.

I’d read about TM and have tried it casually at home, but would love to go to a retreat and get in deep.
Thank you for this.
All the best

Thomas Slocombe - February 20, 2017

I’m not sure what you mean about trying it casually at home. There are many varieties of meditation. “Transcendental Meditation” is a particular technique that can be properly learned only from a certified TM teacher. It’s different from other methods in that it does not entail concentration or contemplation; it’s effortless and natural, which is good because I would not have had the self-discipline to do it otherwise. The amazing thing is that although it’s so easy, it is so effective. It takes advantage of the natural tendency of the mind to transcend and creates the conditions in which the mind predictably transcends, so it’s a regular experience instead of a relatively rare experience. It entails the use of a mantra that is systematically chosen by the TM teacher, and the mantra is used in a specific, easy way. The mantra is a meaningless sound chosen to fit the individual’s nervous system. When the right mantra is used the right way, transcending naturally takes place. The experience is enjoyable, but the best part is feeling better after you meditate. With your interest in psychology, I think you would enjoy attending one of the free introductory lectures about TM. There is no pressure at these lectures. I was initially skeptical because I thought it sounded too good to be real. So, although I remained curious, I put it off for two years. Finally, a couple of friends learned TM and said it was good, and my curiosity got the best of me. At tm.org, you can learn about attending a free lecture, possibly in the city where you live. Incidentally, I’ve also been interested in psychology all my life. Eventually, I earned a PhD in business administration with emphasis in management, and I taught organizational behavior in universities before retiring a couple of years ago. I doubt that I would have gone to graduate school if it weren’t for the improvements TM made in my thinking. Best wishes, Tom

5. johnbohlinger - February 20, 2017

Thanks Tom. This is inspiring. At home I worked with some youtube videos (link below), but would love to go to a TM teacher. When I get a break from touring I’ll do it,


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