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Mi papá nunca dejará de fumar mota
Composición alterada del tejido cerebral en consumidores de marihuana

La marihuana lo hace despreocupado y feliz. Pero años de usar la droga tuvieron un efecto arruinante en mi familia Durante mi vida entera, mi padre ha fumado mota. Es tan sinónimo de él que lo he hecho un chiste. “¿Qué hace tu papá?” dice la pregunta milenaria. “Es un jipi fumador de...
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Mi papá nunca dejará de fumar mota

Leah Allen

Miércoles 15 de enero de 2014 (26/01/14)
The Atlantic ver en theatlantic.com

La marihuana lo hace despreocupado y feliz. Pero años de usar la droga tuvieron un efecto arruinante en mi familia

Durante mi vida entera, mi padre ha fumado mota. Es tan sinónimo de él que lo he hecho un chiste. “¿Qué hace tu papá?” dice la pregunta milenaria. “Es un jipi fumador de mota” es la respuesta fácil. Y lo es. Varias veces al día, todos los días, desde que tengo memoria, mi papá se da las tres, le jala a la María Juanita.

Hay mucha discusión sobre la mota en este momento, al tiempo que diferentes estados [de EEUU] promueven su legalización para uso médico o personal. Mientras escucho los variados argumentos --sobre salud, moralidad, justicia criminal, libertad personal-- todos vuelven al mismo asunto para mí: Papá, Papá, Papi. El componente de la familia está casi siempre ausente de los debates: ¿qué hace el fumar mota, no solo a los usuarios sino a sus hijos?

Ignoro cuándo mi papá comenzó a fumar. Sé que antes de fumarse un churro se puede poner agitado, enojado. Su temperamento es rápido y agudo. Le pegó a mi mamá cuando ella estaba embarazada y fue entonces cuando ella lo dejó. Yo tenía tres años. También sé que luego de fumar, mi papá queda relajado, reconfortado, susceptible a irse por la tangente en ensoñaciones sobre colores e imágenes. Era grandioso con nosotros cuando estábamos niños, un aventurero listo para jugar a nuestro nivel. Difícil negar que la mota lo ha hecho una persona más feliz.

Durante las pocas semanas que mi hermano, mi hermana y yo pasábamos con mi papá cada verano, él nos llevaba a fesivales de reggae. Círculos de pachecos surgían tan pronto se metía el sol. Un año, sintiéndonos valientes, nosotros los niños juntamos nuestros dineros y adquirimos un “ganja brownie” del vendedor ambulante.

Fue el mismo año en que mi padre se olvidó de nosotros. Siempre había tenido una memoria irregular, un efecto secundario de la marihuana. A menudo se le pasaba el horario para recogernos, por varias horas. Había comidas --a medio cocinar, a medio comer-- dejadas en el microondas o sobre la estufa. Los cumpleaños transcurrían inadvertidos. En una ocasión él recordó mi cumpleaños durante dos años consecutivos y en ambas ocasiones me envió el mismo CD.

En el festival de reggae ese verano, desapareció durante varios días. No era malicioso. Era solo despistado y relajado. Mi hermanita lloró una mañana con hambre. “¿Podemos comer con ustedes?” pregunté a una familia que acampaba cerca.

“¿Dónde están sus padres? ¿No quieren comer con ellos?”

“No lo sé.” Los extraños nos recibieron y sirvieron yogur simple y fruta fresca.

Mientras yo crecía, odiaba que mi papá fumara. Existen estudios que indican que padres con problemas de abuso de sustancias pueden causar adversidad económica, dificultades legales, aflicción emocional, y apego disfuncional hacia el interior de sus familias. Los niños tienden a responder con ansiedad, depresión, culpa, vergüenza, soledad, confusión, enojo y temor.

That fear came most palpably for us while my dad was driving. He was likely to get distracted by other cars, by songs on the radio, or, in later years, by photos on his phone, sometimes turning his attention completely away from the wheel. The National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that marijuana more than doubles a driver’s risk of being in an accident. Many of our road trips ended early with broken-down cars left on the side of the road. On good days, my dad would forget to fill them with gas or change the oil. On bad days, he would nudge into something and a tire would go.

The anxiety hit us when we considered all the implications. What if our dad got caught? What if he went to jail again? This happened sporadically throughout my childhood—there were unmarked weeks or months where my dad would disappear. Even today, I don’t know the exact charges. We don’t talk of these things.

We were ashamed of his habit. It was the elephant in the room, the omnipresent thing we could never discuss. We were confused when he forgot us and hurt that he didn’t love us enough to quit smoking once and for all.

Then there was the anger. We grew up poor, raised by a former pregnant teenager who fought hard to raise us. We followed our mother’s example, trying to claw our way into something better. For my dad, such an exceptionally talented artist, that something better never materialized over time. Complacency did.

When my father started growing pot, he couldn't keep it a secret from us anymore. He’d always had obsessions with certain topics. First it was netting. Then orchids. And then came the marijuana plants. “Did you see all of them in the yard? Everywhere. They're just everywhere,” my sister whispered to me one summer when I was 16. She hated his smoking more than I did.
“Dad, I know what those are,” I explained to him later over a cup of tea. “You don't have to hide it.”

So he showed me the other plants he was growing in the basement with hydroponics. Their roots, sprayed with water, were naked and white like bleached veins.

“It's medical,” he explained, pointing to a certificate. He looked uncertain, fragile, simultaneously embarrassed and proud.

“Of course.” I never went down there again.

When I came back the following year, the last of the orchids were gone. He told me how neighborhood teens kept sneaking in to steal the pot from him, and how he had been burgled several times.

My dad is losing teeth and getting old. He seems less interested in selling the pot he grows, more drawn to sitting and smoking it.

My brother started smoking when he was 12. Studies have shown that children of alcoholics are much more likely to become alcoholics themselves. There isn’t so much research looking at the cyclical impact of marijuana use. Although my brother is strikingly intelligent, he eventually quit school altogether, perhaps not surprising given the drug’s impact on academics. He moved back in with my dad, and he remains there to this day. Every summer he tells me he’s going to leave. Every summer I fight harder to believe him.

I tried pot years later. It was the Christmas after my mom died from a progressive, endless disease, and I sat in a car with my dad. I wanted to prove that I wasn’t judging him for his habit. I wanted to understand what he’d been doing all those years. I also wanted the calm that marijuana promises. Instead, I felt foggy and anxious, angry at myself for breaking an unspoken promise, angry at my dad for letting me.

I saw my dad and brother recently. Their pot plants have started to die. The cats my dad has always kept have multiplied. There are eight now, or maybe 10—they come and go, and no one knows the exact number, but it doesn't really matter. Everything smells a bit like animal urine mixed with that sharp, distinctive scent of marijuana. My dad is losing teeth and getting old. His mind drifts more than it did before, bouncing from topic to topic or lingering, quietly confused, on one. He seems less interested in selling the pot he grows, more drawn to sitting and smoking it. As a result, he doesn't have any savings or plans for the future. It's a good month when his electricity stays on.

Then there's my sister, the baby, the one who struggled harder than any of us. She tried so desperately to finish high school, a rare feat in my family. Then she tried community college. As we sat outside at a café this year, talking about my dad's temper and his rambling mind, she told me how she herself has started to smoke.

“I'm so sorry,” she kept repeating. “But it's really not that bad, is it? And it's relaxing. It makes everything okay for a while. Don't be angry, please don't be angry.”

I can't be angry. I understand the appeal of marijuana: its soothing properties, its potential to help chronic pain sufferers, its medical implications. I also believe it should be legalized. In a world where alcohol and nicotine can be purchased at most corner shops, the argument against bringing pot sales out into the open is a weak one.

Yet I can be sad. So very little is understood about how marijuana impacts families. I can’t help but thinking that the cool, carefree users of today will be the parents of tomorrow.

My dad will never stop smoking pot. Sometimes I wonder about the man he might have been, and the lives we all might have had, if he’d never started.

[Título original: My dad will never stop smoking pot. Traducción parcial: Ricardo Sala]

ver en theatlantic.com

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ricardelico :
Testimonio valioso que ilustra la pesadilla en que se puede convertir un papá pacheco. Las historias y descripciones que lo componen suenan plausibles, aunque en instancias caricaturizadas, para un lector a su vez consumidor de marihuana. Pero el uso o abuso de #cannabis no convierte a una persona normal en una persona tan irresponsable. En todo caso, el consumo puede servir de evasión a una persona que de por sí desea evadir sus compromisos, sus preocupaciones, una parte de sus emociones. Algo muy similar a lo que ocurre con el alcohol, salvo que éste es más tóxico. Aquí una cuestión interesante: ¿qué habría sido de este señor --y de su hija la autora-- si hubiera recurrido a la botella en lugar del churro?
26/01/2014 | 22:09
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