The Gazette 24 March 2015
Nineteen-year-old Kaleb is 41 days and seven hours sober when he sits down for a long conversation about his marijuana addiction.
Two more months, his treatment providers tell him, and he’ll likely be able to deliver his first clean drug test in many years showing no presence of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis that produces a euphoric high and can affect the mind and body for weeks after use — especially if you’re like Kaleb, who was getting high every day along with about 6 percent of American high school seniors. This according to the federally funded Monitoring the Future, one of the United States’ most extensive and longest-running surveys of students’ drug use and attitudes toward substances.
By his own admission, Kaleb, who is days away from his 20th birthday, has spent practically all of his teen years stoned, or “blazed.” He is still coming out of a mental and physical haze — and also coming to terms with the problems that stacked up for him when he checked out of life to pursue recreation of the chemically induced kind.
He’s regaining clarity and focus — and a sense of ambition he says he hasn’t felt in years.
It is a different kind of ambition than the one that drove him to manipulate everyone around him to score his next hit. With an easy smile — but determined brown eyes that family and friends say are finally clear again — Kaleb says he wants a fresh start and to be fully present in his life and community. He doesn’t want credit for merely showing up — which is how he sums up his graduation from Sand Creek High in 2013 with a 1.8 GPA. Kaleb wants a college degree and a career. He wants to repair strained relationships.