I am writing to let you know what an influence your column had on my life. Twenty years ago, when I was in my early twenties, you printed a column about marijuana. You expressed concern that marijuana may have "taken a generation of doers and turned them into a generation of dreamers." That single sentence was my wake-up call.
I used to smoke pot daily. I somehow managed to get through college (barely) and hold down a job, but I didn't feel connected to anything, and I wasn't getting anywhere. Every night, I would get high, and write down in a journal all the things I planned to do. After reading your column, I realized I had been doing the same thing year after year, and was getting nowhere. I decided at that moment I had to quit smoking pot.
I can't begin to tell you how my life changed. I became bored with my party-animal boyfriend, and later married a wonderful man I wouldn't have looked at twice while I was hanging out with the doper crowd.I went back to school, earned a master's degree, and got an excellent position with a Fortune 500 company. Not only did my work life and love life improve drastically, but I also developed some badly needed self-esteem.
It was your column on marijuana that helped me turn my life around, and I want to write a belated "thank you."
Margie in Tennessee
I very much appreciate your generous letter. Please keep reading for one that should be of special interest to you:
Last fall, my teenage son began smoking marijuana and was soon totally out of control.
I sent him away to a special program for a short period of time.
He is much better now, but I was heartsick at the time, and could not understand how my son could have gotten into so much trouble.
Two weeks ago, the truth came out, and I am furious.
Last summer, I sent my two teenagers to visit their uncle and aunt across the country. I decided it would be a good way for my brother and his wife to get to know their niece and nephew.
I also believed that my brother would be a good role model.
I was mistaken. He and his wife smoked pot in front of my kids, offered it to them, and made them promise not to tell me.
My brother believes marijuana is not harmful, even though their oldest daughter has been in trouble with the law because of cocaine. I remember reading in your column a while back that most cocaine addicts start with pot. My brother and his wife insist there is no connection between their casual use of pot and their child's current problems.
I now believe that my brother and his wife contributed to my son's problems, and am considering suing them for the cost of the special program I put my son in. My friends and family say I should forgive them because no long-term harm was done. I am so angry about this that I am considering a break with the entire family.
A Canadian Mom
A pox on your brother and his wife for introducing your son to marijuana.
Be thankful the "special program" was a success, and forget about a lawsuit and becoming estranged from the entire family. Mass retaliation is never a good idea. It is rooted in the wish to get even, and could invite an ongoing battle, which nobody wins.
Next summer, see that your son has a local job, and keep your eye on the companions he hangs out with.
This is the best insurance that he will not go down that disastrous road.
To find out more about Ann Landers and read her past columns, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.1999, Creators Syndicate Inc.