It's kind of sad that it deserves a +1 since it's just a normal discussion, but since most of these derive into namecalling and whatever, I appreciate the thought. Thanks. Treat yourself on one as well. :p
Seems to me like you have it well under control then when I read about your experiences. :) Very solid way to handle it, I hope you find a healthier, substance-free way of dealing with your stress man, but at least I can understand much better now why you resort to doing it on a nearly daily base. Best of luck with it, I hope you won't have to deal with stress in the future, I don't think it'll be healthy to race towards your retirement if this will what you have to sacrifice for the rest of your carreer.. It seems almost too much for anyone to handle. But I guess you love doing what you do, or you wouldn't have done it.
I don't know what the best alternative would be, I very rarely deal with stress, I just don't experience it in a manner where it blocks me from functioning properly or where it obstructs my ability to relax or sleep... But you may want to look into what weed does to REM sleep, since it 'freezes' REM sleep, meaning your dreams will be far less vivid. The effects of this diminish after time, like 3 days if you're a heavy user, and your REM sleep will basically return two-fold for the first few nights, which can cause very vivid dreams or even nightmares. Nobody can really say for certain what dreams are good for, but if you don't experience REM sleep, basically your body sleeps, but your mind doesn't fully rest. But that's a totally different subject matter and frankly I don't know all that much about it.