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A new experience in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Updated: Jan 20

It had been almost 33 years since I last visited Amsterdam, and the thought of going back fills me with both excitement and nervousness. So much has changed since then, including the fact that marijuana is now legal in California.  It’s not illegal to get anymore and it’s accepted in my town.  So for many, visiting Amsterdam isn’t as exciting.  As a soldier, I was never able to try it here, but now, all these years later, I can do as I please.

After experiencing a ruptured brain aneurysm, I know that inhaling pot is not a wise decision for my health. I know that some of the people I chat with in an Aneurysm group smoke it to help with pain.  Others can’t even stop smoking cigarettes.  I should avoid it at all costs. However, I can't help but want the experience of using it in this city because I couldn’t last time.  It’s not that I hadn’t smoked plenty in high school.  It’s about being told that I couldn’t.  Now it’s all just fond memories.  Despite the risks, I have decided to do it this one time, but I will be cautious and mindful of my health. I want to fully immerse myself in the culture and atmosphere of this city, and this includes smoking pot even if it may not be the best for me.

When I went to Amsterdam, over thirty years ago, my main reason for visiting was to party and check out the legal marijuana scene even though I couldn’t do it back then.  However, now that it's also legal in California, it's not as thrilling to plan a trip specifically for that purpose.  I must admit, I feel a bit immature for wanting to indulge in this activity now, as I wasn't able to during my time in the army. So, visiting Amsterdam again holds a special appeal for me, as I finally have the chance to experience this aspect of the city.

As our plane touch’s down at Schiphol Airport, I can’t wait to explore the city and experience the famous "high" that everyone talked about for years.  We check into our hotel, drop off our bags and head out.

As we walk into the shop, the sweet smell of marijuana hits me, and I can’t help but smile. The atmosphere is laid back, with a couple people lounging around, relaxing but acting quite mature, and having a good time. It is a very small shop with a couple benches lining the wall with a couple coffee tables.  We order a joint and sit down, ready to relax and enjoy my first "legal" high.

But as I take my first puff, something strange happens.  Instead of feeling relaxed and carefree like everyone else, I start to feel incredibly paranoid. My heart starts racing, and I’m convinced that everyone in the coffee shop is looking at me and talking about me.  I’m scared.

I try to shake off the feeling, maybe it is just a side effect of the drug, but it only intensifies. We finish the joint and leave the coffee shop.  I hope some fresh air will help me calm down.

But as I walk through the streets, my paranoia only grows. I’m convinced that I’m being followed and that everyone I pass is staring at me. I remind myself that isn’t really happening.  I can’t believe that this is happening, and I can’t understand why I feel this way.

Finally, after what feels like an eternity, the effects of the marijuana start to wear off, and I’m able to relax and enjoy the rest of our time in Amsterdam. Looking back, I realize that my years in the military and going through a ruptured brain aneurysms has left me with a deep-rooted sense of paranoia that I can’t shake off, even with the help of marijuana.  These feelings are going to have to be dealt with another time.

Despite the unexpected turn of events, I still had a great time exploring the city and revisiting some of my favorite spots from my previous visit. And while I may not have had the "typical" Amsterdam experience, I was grateful for the opportunity to finally try marijuana there and to see how the city had changed over the years. It may not have been what I expected, but it was certainly a memorable trip.

What fuels me is the opportunity to share my journey and connect with others through my blog, Brain Aneurysms Hurt. Writing about my experiences as a survivor and providing support to others going through similar challenges is my passion. It gives me a sense of purpose and fulfillment to know that my words can make a positive impact on someone's life. With each passing day, my blog gains more readers and I am motivated to continue creating authentic and relatable content. My ultimate goal is to build a strong support system for those affected by brain aneurysms, and I am determined to make a difference in their lives. I invite you to explore my site and join me on this journey of inspiration and empowerment. Let's discover together what fuels our souls and ignites our passions.

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