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The Latest Stories By Brian Finch

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  • Brian Finch is finding weed hard to kick. But he’s doing it.

Brian Finch

Brian Finch

Brian Finch, founder and publisher of Positive Lite. I've had a blog since 2005 when I decided one day that I just wanted to write. Since then I've grown to writing for a local Toronto magazine, Fab, and contribute to

I first went public in the 1980s, and with the exception of a few years of taking a break, have not really stopped. Life is an evolution, and for the last six years I've brought everyone along for the ride, the good, the bad & the ugly.

Today I share stories of my lastest recarnation of life of a publisher, traveler, recovery, a new relationship, my three-pound Chihuahua Hildy, converting to Judaism and where ever else my journey takes me.


Brian Finch is finding weed hard to kick. But he’s doing it.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 Written by // Brian Finch - Founder Categories // Lifestyle, Living with HIV, Opinion Pieces, Brian Finch

Brian Finch is finding weed hard to kick. But he’s doing it.

Brian Finch is finding weed hard to kick. But he’s doing it.

I’ve successfully stopped doing meth. It’s been about ten years since I’ve last done any. 

Then a year or so later I quit alcohol, then pot. Since then I’ve not had continuous years without slipping back into some old ways or another.

In 2007 I got back into drinking, smoking pot and coke while in Puerto Vallarta - big surprise when spending six weeks there with nothing to do. I’d also had a couple glasses of wine, the  last one being August 2011.  

Being part of a twelve-step program, but not for pot, I still kept counting my sobriety time from 2011. However I had become completely disengaged from the program. For the first few months I had been attending meetings, but then the winter came. My seasonal  depression and lethargy set in and I wasn’t up to making the effort. 

December 2011 when I had confirmed that I’d be doing stand up, at Spirits no less – the most successful and longest running open mic show in Toronto – I went down to a friend/neighbour’s place with stomach in knots scared shitless and asked for a toke.

My memory is not great, but there may have been times when I’d gone back to pot and left it before this. However I’d been able to stop.

The first time I quit was in 2004. It was dramatic and for me unbelievable. This was serious detox I was going through. Pot is benign and non-addictive.

I knew that I’d have some sleep disturbance that I’d have to make my way through, but I never dreamt that I’d get only two hours sleep a night, maybe four. When I did get sleep, my dreams were crazy and upon waking I still felt the emotional state that I had been in during the dream. Additionally any time I’d fall asleep even for five minutes I had the night sweats, at times so much so I’d have to change the sheets and pillow cases.

At the time when I explained to people what was going on, many didn’t believe me. Others thought it was kind of funny that I’d go to a 12 – step program over it as if I’m some overly dramatic wimp.

But that night when I went downstairs for a toke, just the one, launched an almost two-year battle of trying to stop. At first I thought, “It’s downstairs so I don’t have any at home.” The problem was that I was finding ways to be there all the time. On top of it he had some pretty serious mental health issues and I’d sit through meltdowns and all sorts of craziness as long as I got that toke. When I finally couldn’t deal with this I was back to getting it on my own. 

Heading to Tel Aviv in 2013 I had been forced to stop for a month. I was keen to start over. However one of the first things I did when I got back was have a toke. I was right back to where I started.

Before this last trip to Tel Aviv. I went back thinking, “Oh well why stop now when I’ll be forced to when I get there.”

On arriving there not only did I have to deal with sleep issues from jet lag, but also stopping the pot. Ass in the fact that the unit below my apartment there was being renovated with constant jack hammering day after day after day and I thought I was going to go out of my mind.

At the mid point during my stay, I had been going to some meetings. My friend had been pushing me a bit to go with him. One night I went and out of my mouth, unbeknownst to me, I said I needed to get a sponsor when I get back to Toronto. I do not want to go back to be the depressed, always high and completely unmotivated state in which I had been in before leaving for Israel.

My friend in Israel afterwards offered to be a sponsor. We could do this long distance. Soon he would be relocated to a closer time zone. “Ok” I thought,”

Soon after I said yes and began working on the steps. I found that the friendship got so much closer as I revealed in four hours my entire story that I took two days to write as part of step one. I had bared my soul in a way that I don’t often do, and thank god, because four hours is a long time.

Then we moved onto the following two steps and hung out more. This was the work and the foundations to coming back home and not going back to the old ways. Last year I had not done the work and just expected it to change coming home, and it didn’t.

I arrived home May 1st.  Walking down my hallway I could smell at least five different strains of pot as I passed by my neighbours' units. Pot is easier by far for me to get than alcohol.

It is now officially over three months of being truly sober. If I’m not I can’t get to the next level of my goals and dreams. I’ll just be stuck doing the hamster loop going nowhere.

Who would have thought that it would be pot that would be the toughest to completely get rid of. It wasn’t the cocaine, the crystal meth, the GHB (at one point doing a litre a month), the Ecstasy, the one-time only crack smoking night (and that was before Rob Ford made it super déclassé) the drinking or other various sundry things. Nope, it’s the pot.

Old habits die hard. Last night walking home I just wanted to numb my brain and tune out. If I don’t feel great, I want to numb myself and tune out. If I’m bored I want to numb myself and tune out.

The problem is that once I do I can’t stop, and what’s a life if it’s just numbed and tuned out?

While many are able to smoke without these consequences that’s great.  For me however the 4:20 becomes eternity.

This is why I’ve turned my sober date back to Feb 2 (which does not negate any of the work prior) to mentally start over, a kind of rebirth to go along with the spring.  The apartment cleaning has just finished with a surprising amount of partially filled baggies found lying around, rolling papers stuck in strange places, and of course pipes to diisoose of.

I’m awriting this because I’m too fucking lazy to want to share this at the meetings.  And, it’s not really the right program for this; probably a different fellowship is more appropriate as well.