My name is James and for twenty five years I was in the art business owning different galleries in Central London. That was through my twenties and thirties. I was also a chronic Cannabis smoker. I write more about my using experiences on other pages, but this is about how I came to found Clearhead and what it stands for.
In my forties I had finally come to accept that my Cannabis smoking had turned from a pleasurable activity to something that was running my life.
This website and the course that came out of it were born from frustration. When I finally admitted that I had a problem with Cannabis and that I was ready to stop, I looked around for support and called The National Drugs Helpline, now known as ‘Frank’, only to be told that I couldn’t be addicted to Cannabis as Cannabis was not addictive. Eventually I was advised to contact Narcotics Anonymous.
After attending a few NA meetings, I realised that I was finding it hard to identify with others in the group, their experiences were almost exclusively with heroin and cocaine, drugs with which I had no experience. Again after sharing my struggles with Cannabis, someone told me about Marijuana Anonymous.
When I arrived at my first MA meeting I felt that I was amongst people who understood my relationship with Cannabis and, with the love and support I found at those meetings, I was able to get through the hardest early weeks and months, dope free.
After six months I began to man the telephone line and took on more responsibility within MA. Over nearly four years I counselled hundreds of people on the helpline.
At MA like all twelve step fellowships, there is a certain amount of pressure to ‘work the programme’ which involves written exercises under the guidance of a sponsor. Although I was keen, I personally found that although the 12 step programme delved deeply into the phsychology of drug addiction, it did not offer sufficient practical advice specific to Cannabis abuse and the problems of overcoming it.
I was finding it frustrating fielding calls on the helpline from people all over the country who were looking for help. Marijuana Anonymous is almost exclusively London based, and by strictly following the steps and the traditions of the Marijuana Anonymous Programme, I was becoming extremely limited in the help I was able to offer.
It became very clear to me that what was needed was one an information based website and two a practical course that would go to the core of the dope smoker’s problems and dilemmas.
I began to develop a practical course that not only offered a time and a place for quitting, but also on-going support and reinforcement that make the decision positive and exciting.
The course has been developed using procedures from my own experience of dependence and, just as importantly, of successful quitting, from research and from my experience int the field of personal growth. It uses techniques specifically adapted to deal with Cannabis addiction.