Dear Marijuana: A Goodbye Letter. ~ Alexandra Moga

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on Aug 16, 2012
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Hi. It’s me, Alexandra.

I know I’ve been distant lately. I’ve been avoiding you. After talking things through one night with a friend, I woke up and decided I was leaving you.

I’m 26. We had a good nine year run, but I’m saying goodbye. I didn’t just want to up and dump you out of the blue so I’m writing you this letter. There are things I need to say—so I’m bringing all to the table and airing it out.

I love you. You know I do. You’re truly amazing. And it’s not like you really need my love or praise, because millions of other people love you too. So big whoop.

What’s one lost fan, right?

I need you to know these things that I’ve come to understand about you and about myself when we hang out.

I’m sure that every day, boatloads of people realize what I’m about to say. But I want to say it out loud, so maybe boatloads more can make the shift, if they want to, of course.

I know that you heal. And I know that you enlighten. You are of Mother Earth and you ease the pain that life can bring in a beautiful way. But the truth needs to be stated: using you is, ultimately, cheating.

It’s cheating myself and the road that I have to walk through life—through pain, foolishness, discomfort and the work I need to do on that tendency toward not-always-healthy escapism I harbor. You’re the fast lane to the highs above the lows of life. You’ve helped me understand some grand truths.

They will forever stay with me.

They are indestructible and hold a solid foundation for my appreciation of humanity, art, love, peace, tolerance and happiness. The wealth you’ve bestowed upon me is invaluable.

Can you blame me?

You’re awesomely physically intoxicating. Whenever I’d let you in, the result was immediate—I’ve compared you to a cashmere blanket on many occasions. You just feel so good around me, it’s like making love to myself and the universe and my twin flame at the same time. See? You inspire poetry.

Indeed, you’ve enriched my prose and artistry. Almost every time I was high off of you I wrote, spoke, thought, saw the dopest (funny, the etymological history of that word), most incredible things. You opened the portals to other dimensions, sublime and wondrous they are, containing subtle realizations that blew my mind wide open.

Now, these great depths weren’t plundered or arrived to every time—sometimes you just helped the room vibe. We would all gather around you. You helped solidify friendships. But come to think of it, most of those people are not in my life anymore.

I realize that could just be because “ob-la-di, ob-la-da life goes on,” but I’m inclined to think we were all using you because we were slightly uncomfortable with ourselves and didn’t want to bother enduring that, especially in the company of others we were crushing on and wanted to impress and jive with. You’re a great one to bring to a party. No diggity, no doubt. So yeah, we passed the peace pipe and got on famously. Thanks for that.

I don’t want you to think I’m not grateful, because you instill a beautiful facet of ritual in a world grossly devoid of lasting meaning. And that’s something we should all pause to contemplate and hopefully correct, by (almost) any means necessary.

You’ve got integrity.

You’ve been around through the ages. Countless individuals have benefited from you. You’re like a green, fragrant thread running through history, burning up hate and disease. However, I can’t say that’s always the case—people have been used, abused, enslaved and killed trying to make the other green off of your noted popularity. But look, don’t feel bad. Bad people with guns and unwholesome motives are always gonna screw up and wreck some lives. And you, along with some other precious commodities, will always take the heat for greedy, opportunistic fools—but you know that don’t you, o wise one?

I mean, you can’t help being born of the earth and delivered to us by God knows who, when, why, or how (whoever hangs with you gets a glimpse though, am I right?!). But like I was saying, you’ve got integrity. You’re not like these other cheap thrills, these chemical sh*t storms of man-made brain-melting, nerve frying, only-good-for-one-night-of-raving-fun. You’ve got longevity, and the tricky part of my realization that you’re not ultimately sustainable is that you are actually quite sustainable in the long short-run. That’s economic gold, ya know? And they’re working on a way to bank off of it. Look at this glowing review I’m spilling over you!

I guess now would be a good time to flip the coin.

You’re a crutch, you’re a tool, you’re a middle man to a core that I can’t afford to access indirectly anymore. On the bright side, you’ve taught me how to spot a crutch (under whatever many guises they come in) and now, in your wake, I’ve learned about their repercussions.

I’m a sensitive gal and I’m tuned into myself and others pretty much at all times. For years I’d notice that after we’d hang there would be a sneak attack hangover a few days later. Something would be a little off—emotionally (hello blues), physically (hello, mucus & blocked nadis), spiritually (hello, de-motivation and feeling lost). Though people use you to ease the pain of cancer, you’ve also caused cancer. Too much of anything just isn’t good. And when we used to hang out a lot back in the day, my propensity to get sick (cough, congestion, etc.) and stay sick was way up. I ignored it because you were always so fun in the moment. And like we used to joke, “if you put it in my face… .”

But now I have to say no.

I’m putting my foot down and I’m thinking about the long term—as short as life is. Letting go is hard, but if I want to ascend and stay there I can’t use you anymore. Don’t be mad but you know the gem we gain with you can’t actually be had without hard work and dedication when sober. You’re a cheat code. You’re a giant, quantum leap forward. But without you, after you’re gone, you’re a double quantum dip backwards. And not all your fans get this I guess, and it’s because they stay with you.

Every. Single. Day. Wake. Bake. Stay. Rolling. Stay. Packin’. That. Pipe.

You keep them entranced. But those folks also kinda get this low-level agitated desperation when you run out for a second. I know, I’ve been there. And if you’re a girl—it ain’t cute. That’s why the boys usually handled it. I could always cool myself off and back away but sometimes it took a good bit of will power, and it was especially hard when my now ex-boyfriend was always seeking you. In the company of others, forget about it. It’s like the pack feeds the feining. As soon as you’re down to the last, “Yo, call up Leaf” or “Jackpot,” or whatever clever name your dealer coined. Your major fans leave no time between to clear that fog. Even though that fog is comforting, it just enables more disillusion, laziness of life and lessens heightened awareness to connect dots while sober. And I can’t afford ignorance at that level anymore.

I can’t walk both sides of the line anymore.

I mean, here I am right now, living a life around yoga, wholeheartedly trying to dedicate myself to helping myself and others access a direct connection to that elevated, deeply integrated state you so cheaply (though dang—you can cost a lot!) and easily endow with zero work or digging. It’s not true. It’s not honest. ‘Cause as much as I love you, I’ve gotta learn how to love and stay connected to the unadulterated, direct line, the line of and through myself, my soul, the only tool I was born with for that exact purpose—to connect in order get high and deep as f***!

To play with the possibilities of infinite.

To have fun, high on life and love and peace and all those awesome things you showed me. So, I think this is where I say goodbye.

And I think you’re proud, I think your whole charm is that you give of yourself and secrets of the universe so lovingly with the hope that we’ll walk away glimpsing the myriad possibilities and then go do it for ourselves. You’re the answer key in the back of the book, the teacher’s copy of the book. The best way to learn is to teach. Now that you’ve taught me, I’m going out there to find out what it is that you must be learning.

See you on the other side.




Alexandra is a yoga student and instructor and a writer from New York. Read more of her work and bio at




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195 Responses to “Dear Marijuana: A Goodbye Letter. ~ Alexandra Moga”

  1. grawp says:

    Congratulations, you broke your addiction to marijuana. Now don't put it off on everyone who still uses it. That's like the 13th or 14th step.

  2. sarah says:

    …is it bc its illegal? Cuz i bet you are still drinking alcohol.

  3. Man-made laws are no bother to me. And I would never judge someone for loving something I love. Or for any reason, for that matter…
    Addiction is a bit strong of a word… but I can see how that might be derived from this passionate letter 😉

  4. Emmy says:

    Alexandra, I love everything about this article. I can relate to it so deeply. Your words came at such an opportune time for me. Thank you.

  5. amy potter says:

    beautiful. I agree wholeheartedly. Like all human habits, you replace them when you evolve. Yoga is definitely a brilliant replacement for the smoke. The breath is whole and clean, the body moves fluidly and elegantly like the enlightenment of the green goddess always promised…but never quite delivered. Its okay to grow up. Make your reality, sister, and then you suddenly don't need adornment. Reality unadorned is a drug in itself, a beautiful rich drug ripe with self discovery. Much Love to you.

  6. Ryan says:

    WOW!!! Thanks for putting this experience into words!!! After 17 years of using the sweet ganja, and 9 of yoga and meditation I started to see what you have seen and after great tribulation I have been sober for almost 2 weeks!!! I am doing 370 days of no alcohol, tobacco, or ganja, and a renewed commitment to live in every moment!!! I found no matter how you conciously I thought I was using it, doing it multiple times a day I was not dealing with life in the way we were meant to which is BREATHING and FEELING!!! Thanks for this amazing goodbye letter and putting such deep words that mirror my own experience.

    To the people who think they have it under control… stop for two weeks (or two days!!!) and see what you go through… if you can take days off and not feel low or obsess about it then you are moderating well! I hope to get to that point some day!!!

    Also Grawp… she didn't condemn anyone… just her own experience. Defensive much???

  7. William Space says:

    that's why God made one hitters

  8. Babs says:

    hmmmmm I resemble this article, Thank you for your words!

  9. BoulderSam says:

    You might enjoy the lyrics from this song, a similar sentiment:

  10. Kevin says:

    I came to the same assessment when I was about the author's age some 33 years ago. Someone said "When you get the message, you can hang up the phone." Congratulations, Alexandra, for hanging up the phone.

  11. Chris Fici says:

    Wow Alexandria this felt like I was reading my life story.
    The gifts of aesthetic appreciation I gained from smokin the ganja stay with me. The fogs of my own consciousness enhanced by my unhealthy mental habit is something I'm now coming out of.

    Great article!

  12. EvanRavitz says:

    It's good to put it away for awhile, especially if you were "waking and baking" and smoking multiple times a day. But alcohol is FAR worse for body, mind and soul. See this study from CU-Denver:… A similar study shows a reduction in suicides in medical marijuana states. Of course, American Buddhists are big on alcohol. If and when you smoke again, it will be on a new level.

  13. Grawp says:

    Ryan: I’m sorry it came across that way; it was my first response. Not accusing, just sharing from experience; I’ve been around too many “buoyant warriors” in my life

  14. sunshine says:

    OH MY GOD. This is hitting so close to home. Thank you sooooo much for putting this together. It really brought tears to my eyes and is so exactly where I'm at right now. So helpful and reassuring. thank you, thank you, thank you! <3

  15. Regina says:

    Thank you for such an amazing article. I recently came to the same decision after a year of meditation. (I had been smoking for 14 years off and on) It was the hardest thing to let go of for me.

    I could see how smoking lowered my vibration at times, or if I was high, my energetic field would get “high” but would become spider web like and I could not keep all the wholesome peace I worked so hard for and I’d have to start over again! It robbed me of that, yet I loved it so much!! WTF?!!!

    But, I don’t need to worry about that anymore, and neither do you! 😉



  16. Lucinda says:

    Beautifully put! Thanks for sharing.

  17. Cliff says:

    Well put, I too quit around mid-20's after starting to meditate, but it was a struggle. By meditating every morning, I could see how after I smoked occassionally the fuzz buzz would linger for several days. I thought maybe hitting my head with a hammer would have a similar effect. Your letter says it well. As I get older, being clear and less fuzzy is a challenge even without pot. It just takes me the opposite direction that my meditation is heading. Oddly, I still feel pretty stoned from my 7 years of constant use, which ended 30 years ago; but I suppose that is mainly imagination.

  18. 57 thought says:

    I can relate so well to your thoughts and feelings. I said my goodbye in 1993. Thank you for sharing.

  19. papa_tom says:

    these responses are fascinating 🙂

    whether one smokes or not
    it's not really about the plant
    it's about you
    it's about relationship
    within yourself
    and all that is

  20. Shaman says:

    The problem with marijuana is not the plant or the high itself. The plant is and does exactly what it does. Just as you cannot blame the hammer for smashing your thumb, you cannot blame the tool of marijuana for your self choosing to smash your nervous system, over and over.

    As with all tools, when used at the right time, in the right way, it produces something greater than what was. The difficulty is that this particular tool is so lovely. A hammer is tiring to swing all day. Smoking pot is easy, and often times beautiful, add in the social aspect and damn….it's high times all the time.

    All tools of a sacred nature should be treated in a sacred manner, always.

    Thanks for writing your story Alexandra. May your journey unfold with ever deepening awareness. May all who read your words, hear the justified words of caution.

  21. I'm so happy that it hits close to home at a time when it counts. All best to you Emmy.

  22. Thank you Bob. Glad to be here 🙂

  23. spiral_dancer says:

    I don't have much to add to the conversation, but I just wanted to thank you for this inspiring article! I too am ready to dump my beloved Mary Jane, and this time, it's for real. I've known for a long time now and it is wonderful how you have clarified the issue for me.

  24. David Uglow says:

    One of my favorite quotes, to which I still aspire–

    I began to fall more in love with the sheer moment-by-moment nature of consciousness and no longer wished to be drunk.
    –Jim Harrison, Off to the Side

  25. Bart says:

    I threw out the one hitter ten years ago and started going to the gym to lift weights and workout.My mind is clear and my body is strong.Ultimately Pot,like all narcotic drugs,is a crutch that dulls the mind and weakens the body.Sometimes it takes a cathartic event to see clearly.To those still enjoying the "weed" God bless you and may a long and happy life be yours

  26. Paul Russell says:

    I enjoyed your article and your insights are congruent with my experience. It's good to walk by the strength of our own legs and work by the strength of our own hands. Thanks for sharing!

  27. mark says:

    Pot or alcohol (or whatever one chooses to use/abuse) is an excuse for not living fully and being comfortable with who you are. It's not easy to let these substitutes for life "go away" and if we do nothing else, we should at least reflect upon why we use these escapisms. So I am asking myself, who uses alcohol, what am I afraid of? Why do I have this need to escape my being each time I use or imbibe too much? Why can't living and being with myself be enough? Why the need for an additional layer of something?

    I'm hoping my new found yoga practice will help me to accept myself for who I am and live in comfort of myself. Thanks Alexandra for a courageous post!

  28. sanna says:

    This confession goodbye letter artikel of yours made me think and rethink my own connection with the herb. Blessed to be high all the time. i was fooling myself.
    i am fooling myself. A ritual., a medicine. the healing of the nation. is now a habbit. i am a user of the herb, not longer a student. indeed i have received the teachings. what is on the other side .. you ar doing it. and thankfull . i was reading youre words exacly when i needed it . shared it on my facebook. let it inspire a lot more people. for who it became a habbit. a escape ore an addiction. looking forward reading more of youre letters. Greetings. Sanna

  29. Kassi Sell says:

    My sentiments exactly Alexandra – thank you! Your words were so poignant and beautifully written. The Green Goddess and my experiences with her have forever changed my life – for the good! But there is a time and a reason for everything, and…
    "Nothing ever goes away until It has taught us what we need to know" Pema Chodron

  30. […] he is able to articulate his opinions without being nasty, although even in his latest piece on marijuana decriminalization, he can’t seem to help overstating the position of whom he argues against for […]

  31. mamacita says:

    I am impressed, and I AM IMPRESSED of it all

  32. […] most obvious, unsubtle manifestation of addiction is substance abuse. Substances such as alcohol and narcotics significantly weaken the link between our higher spiritual selves and our bodi…—similar to changing the channel on a radio so that you get static instead of a clear signal. […]

  33. Tim says:

    I just made my choice to say good bye as well, I'm scared shitless as I've been a daily pot smoker for about 18 years, damn just realized that's almost half of my life. I've always been a big support of the herb and all it's benefits but you're right, we've learned them, now it's time to move on. Thanks for writing, really is helping me right now.

  34. […] “I said I don’t like Radiohead as much as I feel like I should.” It was the same retort I’d more passionately delivered at the dive bar after the art gallery. My mouth still had that cottony taste leftover from cheap beer and pot, both indulgences I’d remembered promising myself I’d never do again a long time ago. […]

  35. Chrissy says:

    This is definitely a great post, and I truly understand your feelings, but sometimes I wish I'd read something that says "I smoke weed regularly, but I use my yoga mat too, and that's okay!" I recently went totally sober for almost 2 years, and it was a great experience and I found myself all about "meditation and mindfulness" as the one true path. But I almost became judgmental and distant from people who weren't zen! And then I found myself getting very lonely and depressed from this type of isolation. I started smoking weed again and I feel like it opened my mind again and has shown me things that I had forgotten in my so very "mindful" life. So I think calling it cheating is a little harsh! If you love the herb, that is okay! If you choose to stop, that is okay too. But I think to associate it with "spiritual cheating," just stigmatizes it even more than it already is. It just amazes me that every day coffee consumption is "no big deal," but if you smoke weed everyday, you're a drug abusing cheater. I know those weren't your words, but I'm generally speaking about the unfortunate view our society has of this plant. I'm all about yoga, meditation, mindfulness, etc..but sometimes, you just gotta kick back! Allow your mind to see things from a different perspective. I think in a way it can nurture your practice, as long as you aren't constantly stoned. I don't think its necessary to "pick one." You can be anything and nothing, all at the same time…:-)

  36. I really enjoyed this article. And I can relate too.Very well done.

  37. finly says:

    Ahhh, to each his/her own. If we could only just accept that every being is uniquely different and yet not separate. I've been using regularly for 4 decades. Regular meaning a few times a week to once or twice a day. Just 3 tokes…that's it…for all these years. It has been a spiritual and life blessing. Meditators use it. Yogini's use it. Guru's use it. Dancers use it. Tantrika's use it. Creative folks use it. And for some, they call it cheating. For them, it is cheating if that's what they got. If it's not affecting one's Life negatively at all (as in my case) then please, let those people make their own choice without making it sound like it's the "high" road to take. I have only on occasion got foggy and never have a hang-over. Time to legalize it and let people make their own choices of what serves them and all.

  38. Jazmen says:

    great article, I was thinking the same thing very seriously the last few days. This article is one of those things I could make a grand statement about because it is written as if I had a part in it too, the way you worded things was quite pleasant and I felt like I could relate very well Thanks for sharing this goodbye letter – it's a good one for the occasion.
    Your choice to leave ganj behind will probably prove to be tough; I'm assuming my habit may be more of a "habit" then I'd care to work out right now – so that's why I am considering the same thing. I agree that it opens doors and allows us to see the stars, but I agree that it is like cheating. I have told myself this recently, so it is remarkable, like I say, to read this particular article this week.
    Anyway, you sound like you really believe in it. Good luck with everything. Keep writing of course.

  39. Ambivalent says:

    I love you article. It's a very eloquent and reasonable grappling with something I –I want to say 'struggle with', but I don't want to say that– I deal with it though. I've been off the weed mon for 5 years now, and I can say for myself that while it was very 'helpful' for a long time, it was also like perpetuating adolescence, oh , for a few extra decades– for me anyway.
    And so it is an anesthetic. It does dull the senses, it is 'an easy route,' etc. But people dont equate their being consequences.
    However, if there's always an easy route, then there's a) no pain, no suffering, and more importantly, b) no real world experience of dealing with stress, challenge, difficulty. So when it came up , I was outta there–stoned. In fact, I thought that people who had stress in their lives were "doing it wrong," as I like to tell myself, judgmentally and self-righteously. Opps. I got that one wrong. How do I know? Because now in my 40's I'm learning how to live life as it is. At least I'm finally doing it.

  40. SgtGroovy says:

    Dear Coffee:

  41. Sara says:

    I enjoy a bowl like I enjoy a glass of red wine. Life is short and sometimes I just love to get high.

  42. blueheron one says:

    awesome and wonderful – love this and THANK YOU for articulating all this so well! I am over 9 months clean again myself – letting go of it way easier than i thought it would be after so much struggle and self hate about my over use of the medicine – cause it can be medicine – and for me it was part of the mayan calendar transition time – really ready and didn't want to do the rest of my life – this new era in that sweet smoky fog. Thank you Alexandra!

  43. YES! In my experience it is actually the BREATH we are craving when we INHALE and EXHALE smoke. Without a doubt I still miss it 14 years later, because it is such an easy crutch. But it brings with it paranoia and ill feelings also, and I see it affecting people close to me and their lives. My advice to everyone is give up ALL stimulants and depressants: coffee, tea, alcohol, weed, cigarettes, sugar etc. If you truly want freedom it's the best place to start. Otherwise it's choosing you, not the other way round. That is the nature of addiction, I'm afraid. Thank you for sharing, very eloquent. 🙂

  44. Gerard says:

    Moderation is key with all drugs, if it's alcohol or marijuana or whatever.

    I also feel that there are better drugs than these two if you really want to learn something about yourself, like mushrooms or salvia.

    Also good luck trying to become a habitual user of those kind of substances.

  45. Freya Watson says:

    This can be such a heavy subject – I love the way you've picked it up lightly in this way, weaving the ups and downs together and showing where you've come with it. I'm sharing it on to others I think could do with the support. Thanks!