This was supposed to be a reported piece about cannabis consumers who had previously been reluctant to try cannabis. I was never supposed to be the main focus of the article. I honestly don't believe my story is so compelling.
From the outside, Sarah Ratliff's family seemed to live the ideal life. I never said this. I don't believe anyone was fooled by my home life. It was dysfunctional and all of our neighbors, family and friends knew this was the case. Her mother was an editor at The New Yorker magazine and her father was a head writer for ABC News (there is only room for one head writer and my father was it). At home in New York City, the cracks in the façade began to show. Cue up dramatic music.
“My late mother and both brothers struggled with addiction at home,” The truth is they were alcoholics. Yes, addiction is addiction but I never refer to my family members as addicts. said Ratliff, who described herself as a corporate America escapee, eco-organic farmer, writer, and published book author. “I grew up surrounded by addiction.”
Ratliff described her parents were high-functioning alcoholics who preferred to look the other way when their son, John, began to smoke marijuana. <---This is a lie. Ratliff's brother's teenage rebellion and foray into drugs became a years-long debilitating spiral into heroin and other dangerous drugs. <--- This is also a lie
“I feared drugs my entire life because of this,” Ratliff told Weedmaps News. Actually I feared addiction. I didn't fear drugs because I never used them. And why does the author not say "Ratliff told me?" Bizarre.
By the time he was 18, John had been in jail for heroin and other hard-drug use, leaving young Sarah to look after herself and her other brother Marcos while her parents spiraled into depression and alcoholism. <--- This is a lie. My brother "John" has never been in jail and certainly not for heroin use. He did use cocaine for a short period and after he overdosed on coke mixed with PCP, he stopped.
For decades, Ratliff blamed marijuana for John's descent into addiction. She blamed him for fracturing the family beyond repair. <--- This is a lie. It's also very dramatic. I don't blame anything or anyone. I know addiction is a disease.
“I was against all drugs,” she said. “I thought they were all bad. I never imagined I'd feel any different.”
Lapsing into Dependence Such a dramatic header. I was never dependent on Vicodin and I certainly didn't lapse into anything.
However, she had been downing prescribed drugs on a near-daily basis to alleviate pain from a serious fall that fractured her spine when she was 18 and living alone in New York City. This is a lie and she makes me out to be an addict, which was never the case. After rounds of MRIs, ultrasounds, acupuncture, and yoga, the pain in her back continued to keep her from living a full life. This is an exaggeration. I live a full life. She was on a continuous round of prescribed drugs, including tramadol, Neurontin, and Vicodin. The truth is when I opted not to have fusion surgery, my doctor prescribed Vicodin. I had never even heard of neurontin or tramadol until 2012. I took tramadol over the summer of 2016 and neurontin/gabapentin was prescribed after Hurricane Maria because my ulnar nerve became dislodged. I had surgery in December 2017 to repair the subluxation. I continued taking gabapentin until I made the decision to titrate down in August 2018. I have made no secret of the fact that I did develop a dependence on gabapentin but that's because of the way the drug for neuropathy binds to GABA receptors. It had nothing to do with me drug seeking. I wrote about it for The Fix.
“Doctors would prescribe them and I would take a half-dose or a full dose depending on the level of pain that day,” This sounds like such addictive behavior, doesn't it? Ratliff said. “With the Vicodin, I would always be high. I would be either a little bit of high or a lot of high.” I never said this. I did say I have always taken half the dose because I believed it helped me avoid addiction.
She slowly distanced herself as a caregiver to her alcohol and drug-dependent family, this is a lie. I was never a caregiver to my family. I wrote an article for Addiction.com about my older brother being a caregiver to me when I was a little girl, marrying and taking a high-paying job in the biotech industry. In 2001 (was actually 2008), she and her husband, Paul, left their jobs, sold their sprawling (it was a house, not particularly large) home in Southern California and bought an organic farm in the interior of Puerto Rico. They wanted a slower, more meaningful life. She wrote her first book, “Being Biracial: Where Our Secret Worlds Collide” with fellow writer and editor Bryony Sutherland. Although true, it's irrelevant.
But the pain persisted. In 2009, she was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and sacroiliitis, an inflammation of the sacroiliac joints. She continued to pop pills to get through the day. The pills only masked the pain. She really makes me out to be an addict.
“I was in a lot of pain, and that doesn't work on a farm,” she said. What I actually said was, "I live in pain, which makes working on a farm challenging."
A few years ago, to help support the burgeoning (this is an odd word because it's one I don't think I've ever used, and certainly not in relation to anything I have done or do. It's a farm, period) farm, Ratliff began writing for an addiction center, writing papers and blogs to assist families and patients struggling with dependence. I wrote articles and did copywriting for Elements Behavioral Health (EBH).
“That's when I began to connect the dots and saw how beneficial marijuana (I say cannabis) could be, for everything from epilepsy to pain maintenance,” she said. “My eyes were open.” I am more likely to say "from managing chronic pain and migraines to controlling seizures and improving cognition in Alzheimer's patients.
After nearly 30 years navigating daily pain with the help of prescription painkillers, Ratliff worried about her liver and other side effects of long-term use. So did her doctor. What I actually said was, "although I had been taking Vicodin off and on for 32 years to manage chronic pain, at some point I realized I was unlikely to develop an addiction but my doctor and I were actually more worried about killing my liver. She told me cannabis had just been legalized on Puerto Rico and she encouraged me to get my card."
“At first I knew nothing about pot, only all the bad stuff,” she said. “When my doctor first suggested it, I thought, 'I really don't want to be high all day.' ” This is inaccurate. By the time my doctor suggested I get my card, I had already been writing for EBH and knew cannabis was not the devil Richard Nixon and current lawmakers made/make it out to be.
Her doctor informed her about strains specifically for pain maintenance. Actually this isn't true. My doctor doesn't know a Kush from a Haze from a Harlox. All she said was that Puerto Rico had approved cannabis for many indications, pain being one of them.
“I can't control how high I am on Vicodin, but I can with pot,” I never said that. Ratliff said. “When I just want to be free from pain, I reach for a strain that won't make me high.” This deserves context. I consume strains low in THC and high in CBD when I want to function during the day. After I'm done writing, I love strains that get me fucked up. Sure beats alcohol for the same purpose.
There was an immediate reduction in her daily pain and an increase in her quality of life, Ratliff said. She embraced the drug <---- I do not refer to cannabis as a drug. she had feared for decades due to her family's history of addiction.
“I feel good because it's all natural and I can self-regulate, so I'm pain-free and not just high,” Ratliff said. “I'm in control of how much I need and you are not in control when you are taking a controlled substance. That is the biggest difference.” I would never switch from first person singular to second person in a sentence. Just sayin'.
She currently uses cannabis for chronic pain, anxiety, migraines, and insomnia. For pain, she prefers the strains AC/DC and Harlox, which are high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in THC. Although not a big deal, I mentioned that I was pleasantly surprised that cannabis relieved my anxiety (I have a panic disorder) and seems to have cured my asthma.
And then the article ends. I'm not sure what the point to this article was, except to write a bunch of half truths and lies about me.
Kimberley has been writing about the latest trends on fashion, food, health & more for more than 20 years. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, People, In Touch, Japanese Vogue, Hollywood Reporter, Las Vegas Review-Journal, Las Vegas Sun and KNPR’s Desert Companion among other national publications.
If you would like to read my response to this article, click here.