The Alcoholic Fights for His Herb by “Mr. W.”

The author is a 33-year-old journalist with a Masters in English now seeking a PhD at a northeastern university. He sees marijuana and other drug prohibition as a human rights issue on par morally with the struggles — past and ongoing — of America’s other historically oppressed groups.

The lack of clarity in the public mind about what comprises responsible use or abuse of a drug is a perpetual problem for me and millions of others — especially meek users who have been jailed with violent offenders because they had a plant that our Mighty Freedom-Loving Government disapproves off. We have wasted millions, maybe billions, telling kids to say “no” to drugs — but we don’t go another step to explain why Mom has to go to the drugstore every week. Or why Dad drinks so much coffee. Or why the cigarette industry proves to even the most strict libertarians that a little government oversight might help keep companies from pushing their powerful smokable stimulants on young people. No, Americans enjoy a strange type of hypocrisy whereby they can get downers and uppers from a commercial pharmacopeia that is larger than any in human history — while we look down at the junkie or the stoner next door.

It’s my luck that an addiction to a legal drug, alcohol, caused me all sorts of problems with the law. After being pulled over twice for driving while intoxicated in three months, I was forced to deal with my alcoholism and employ spiritual discipline and painful focus. The alcoholic self had been calling the shots, diverting me to expensive bars when I didn’t even want to drink. It was truly frightening when I realized that I no longer had a choice. I didn’t want to drink, but my body screamed for the relief of a double gin and tonic or three. I needed the help of A.A. — even though I maintain fundamental disagreements with how that recovery program works, and am not as active as I used to be.

It took three painful months to finally sober up to the dark reality my life had become. Though I am grateful for the support of other people in recovery, there are truisms in the A.A. and medical communities whose illogic continue to mar the understanding an alcoholic might make about his or her uses of substances besides alcohol — and let’s remember there are many.

In A. A. and other treatment programs, it’s deeply discouraged to even entertain the use of an illegal drug like marijuana, since it “would certainly reawaken the alcoholic mind” and “drive one to relapse.” That’s what I thought, too. But I don’t just have alcoholism– by far, my worst difficulty in life has been persistent Obsessive Conpulsive Disorder (with invasive thoughts) and generalized anxiety. I don’t know if they caused my booze problems, but they certainly made it harder to give up.

I was sober five months. I had a new house and seemed to be improving after an annus horribilus that, besides being busted, involved a relationship break up, a kitchen fire, and getting mugged. The desire to drink was almost gone, but my anxiety — particularly the idea that I had “done something wrong” — scorched my body. Sometimes I only left the house to see my probation officer, so deep was my fear of the world. He was happy with me, unlike his other cases, I was committed to changing. But he never understood how my anxiety was so painful that drinking was starting to have a sick appeal. For someone who barely escaped the deep throes of alcoholism — a disease that kills two thirds of its hosts — the idea of drinking was horrifying. But the temporary relief a few beers would produce made me consider a jaunt to the package store.

In February of 1998 my mind was intensely focused on the urge to find relief in the bottle. I had no support or understanding for my ongoing problems. I felt like I was missing a layer of skin.

Then I made a fateful compromise.

Realizing I really craved only a change in perspective, it occurred to me that alcohol was not the only option. Another was much safer.

So that’s when I found myself digging up an old marble bowl my sister left after a visit and toking on the remaining resin. This idea shamed me, but I knew drugs well enough to determine it was the better choice.

I don’t think old resin ever did so much to change one man’s point of view about pot.

Marijuana, to my mind still, was a fun drug, but part of the past. I doubted anyone would accept the idea of smoking pot as an emotional palliative. The term used in AA for my behavior was “marijuana maintenance”, as if it were a lousy substitute for the great inner alchemical work I was supposed to do with the Twelve Steps. But nobody in AA talked about being a multiple diagnosis drunk — I couldn’t tolerate any longer the stress that seemed to stretch my muscles to painful degrees.

But suddenly none of that mattered. MiraculousIy, I wasn’t paranoid that I was breaking the law, and the terms of my probation. A hit or two of resin for someone who had been off dope would mean a complete shift in consciousness.

As I scraped and toked at the awkward tarry chunks, I was suddenly an observer to my crisis, not someone caught up in its drama. “What am I worried about, again?” I thought. “There is nothing to be afraid of. The past is over.”

Though marijuana was often fun, I never took seriously the idea that it could have therapeutic use. I was amazed as, in minutes, it extinguished the whiny emotional pain bodies infecting my mind, and gave me a larger view. And it occurred to me I no longer craved alcohol. “I might be switching one addiction for another, ” I thought. “But at least I won’t have to be detoxed — if I only smoke pot.”

Despite the initial success, I was very wary and angry at myself a few days later for acquiescing. I was sure my probation officer and people in AA would know I was “relapsing.” Shame started to intensify.

Until I reconsidered what I had done with strict logic. The marijuana didn’t make me paranoid; it calmed me. The majority of alchies are on some pharmaceutical medication — I would gladly taken a benzo or two as needed, if a script had been available.

But I didn’t even have medical insurance. Pot was available. And it would never catch up to me or drive me to drink.

I say that after having quit the sauce for almost two years — while I cultivated a new love, and a new awareness, for the healing properties of pot. Suddenly I had more than enough. Even better, I also didn’t have to struggle in group situations where a social lubricant is shared. People, including my friends, would always feel awkward partying around me, making me only feel more self-conscious and alienated. Instead of becoming a recluse, I found that, with the help of marijuana, I could be calm and even joyous at events where drinks were served.

Still, I am sad that the legality of marijuana still poses risk. I could be drug tested, any time, and my positive result would not benefit from a rational explanation about how I had taken up another, less harmful, less addictive, non-fatal drug to ease my mental illness. It would be a stretch in the mind of the enforcement community to accept I could smoke dope and never pick up the substance that would really kill me.

Indeed, when I consider how much better off a chronic pot smoker is than a compulsive alcoholic, the social approval of drink makes no sense juxtaposed to the fierce condemnation of the wonderful, insight-giving herb.

I am not going to lie and say my use has always been moderate or periodic. I have been stoned for days. But that didn’t bother me so much when I realized I was taking a medication, not feeding a vile addiction. And my outward life improved enormously. I got a new job, lost weight, read many books — and never had to lie to my overseer, since he never asked me about pot. I could sincerely tell him about my recovery from alcoholism and became his ideal model for success. I take no pride in the deception — in fact, it’s filled me with dread at times — but it wasn’t deliberate. I went to meetings and took care of myself the way any good A.A. would. But the affinity for weed must be kept hidden for now. Were I not on probation, I would be marching on the streets for legalization.

For the first time in my experience with it, I felt the plant was showing me its distinct personality. I would hear a strange funny voice in my head, and sometimes wondered if the plant wasn’t communicating with me. Additionally, my sense of color and perception improved vastly. I mastered the star constellations — which I had never bothered to notice before — and even developed theories about how healing powers of color corresponded to the Eastern Chakra system. (I had been wearing mostly red, I realized, perhaps to reassure the low, frightened security chakra, whose color is traditionally rosy.).

Confident that experimenting with other power plants would not sully my recovery efforts, I had several experiences with illegal psychedelics — accentuated by a few tokes — which I found deeply healing. I have felt like a new man. The presence of marijuana and other natural intoxicants is as much to thank as the absence of booze. I stay away from narcotics, which seem particularly dangerous for the self-medicating alcoholic. But I don’t smoke cigarettes or even drink coffee. My drug intake is quite modest — it’s just not in line with social norms. Since police officials have the right to do a surprise visit at my home to see if I am hungover — or something else — I have had to exercise deep caution. Not even my pot-smoking sister knows — for she would worry, as she has the AA view about drugs. My mother is a psychiatrist specializing in addiction but she considers the use of power plants or LSD absurd for the recovering alcoholic, even though the founder of AA took acid and thoughr it could be very helpful for other drunks. I lay off the green during weeks with the family. It is not a challenge.

Marijuana is not for everyone, and certainly may be used irresponsibly. But prohibition, which forces people like me to the black market, is a constant reminder of how Neanderthal our drug policy is. This is reflected in the laws but also in the minds of most people — who wouldn’t understand how marijuana saved my life that February day.

68 Responses to “The Alcoholic Fights for His Herb by “Mr. W.””

  1. Winniewhippet says:

    I joined AA and stayed sober for 15 years and I always felt like I was missing something, I drank again and life was chaotic, then I decided to try weed instead of drinking and my life is so different now, I do not drink, and in the evenings around 8pm I have a joint, it helps me to get a better perspective on life and I’m happier than I have ever been. I have a lot of respect for AA but it does not have the monopoly on sobriety, I do find some members very judgemental at times.

  2. Steve says:

    This was a most interesting read. I have worked in the drug abuse treatment industry for nearly 6 years helping people who struggle with heavy addictions. Mr W talking about seeking a different perspective is in my opinion what leads most people into relapse back to their old ways, old habits and drug of choice.

    So many people I have worked with over the years (I would say close to 90%) will admit they are self medicating away some emotional or psychological pain. Yet I am astounded that the best our industry can do for them is prescribe other addictive “legal” drugs. Oh…you have had an alcohol and anxiety problem, well glad you stopped drinking but here take this xanax for your anxiety. I think medical marijuana has its purposes, and as Mr W has pointed out the harmful effect are minimal. I hope many more read these pages and find help.

  3. Lain says:

    Grest article and story!!! I would like everyone to join our group on Facebook! We are small but we are just like you and we share stories and articles about marijuana maintenance. We need to form a bigger community so we don’t have to worry about others judging our way of recovery. Fellowship is everything! Search for “marijuana maintenance recovery” on Facebook and I will add you!

  4. Lain says:

    We need to form a bigger community so we don’t have to worry about others judging our way of recovery. Fellowship is everything! Search for “marijuana maintenance recovery” on Facebook and I will add you!

  5. erica says:

    I am newly sober again, thankfully & partially, because of weed. I work two jobs, very clear headed, i hit the gym for an hour and a half EVERY night, and come home to cook dinner, clean, watch movies/catch up on my dvr, and read and write, all while toking. I DO take xanax too for my anxiety. Rarely during work (sometimes i do get flustered and feel a panic attack brewing), usually just as a late night, night-cap to ease my restless mind to sleep. I am very proud of myself and have always agreed that weed isnt “mind altering,” instead its “perspective changing” not always raimbows and butterflies, but you can see things more clearly from another angle, that is necessary. I DO know that plenty of people in a.a. smoke, its been brought up like a taboo “just dont talk about/mention it.” I can get behind that. My sponsor doesnt know, and luckily has never asked! But i support marijuana as being just truly good for the soul. Either as a substitute, or just something to safely continue using ❤

  6. This is such a silly,rationalizing,defense of the “qualities” of marijuana…OF COURSE it relaxes;changes perspective…and the general quality of weed available has become stronger than ever-but real recovery is about CHANGE…
    The “way out is through” is the greatest Truth I have come to – after 25 years of struggles for personal growth and freedom from addiction.
    My personal drug of (no!) choice became Tar heroin for many years…but I smoked a ton of the best herb I could find when younger ( never really liked its dreamy, spacy high…I found Peyote and certain mushrooms quite amazing,and frankly,I still think they have a real potential value in human experience – but not for me anymore…)
    Back to Marijuana ( in or out of AA): If you want to smoke it – fuck it – smoke it…but you’d better not mention it in meetings;because you could get laughed at or suffer traumatic eye rolling…
    Because true recovery is about ‘life on life’s terms’…and its not for sissies…
    Try it-you’ll like it… It takes time.It takes balls ( ovaries!)..It is the real deal.
    …Are you on this Planet to grow…or spank your monkey? Peter Canclini

  7. Sarah says:

    My name is anonymous but hi, I’m me. I am a 24 year old alcoholic and drug addict. I can’t drink any sort of alcohol without blacking out or screwing up my entire life. It’s always been like that from the first drink I had. I drank to black out, to get away from the pain I was in. It worked for me, it allowed me to leave this earth and in my despair that’s all I wanted from this world. I went to my first meeting when I was 14 and continued to be in and out until I was 20. By the time I was 18, I had been institutionalized 11 times. Juvenile hall, group homes, psych wards, behavioral modification, they were my other home in my adolescence. I knew I had a problem at a very young age because I literally could care less about anything else but getting high or drunk no matter the consequences.
    When I was 20 I left a marriage filled with alcohol, drugs and physical abuse. I had been stuck for what felt like forever and now was a mother of a beautiful 4 month old baby girl. I called my mom, confirmed for her what had been happening the last three years, packed our stuff up and left without regret. When I got to my mom’s I had no intention of getting sober. I knew I hated what my life had become; I was scared of how I was going to provide for my daughter and myself. I had nothing in the world but a red ford Tauris and our clothes but getting sober still wasn’t a thought for me.
    My mom is also in the program, so her sponsee’s were always lingering around the apartment asking me if I wanted to catch a meeting with them. My response was always “no thank you, I’m good. A day where I was feeling especially miserable one of her sponsees, who was quite persistent in asking me to go to meetings, asked me again. This time, I said sure. She was surprised to say the least, and I went with her to my first AA meeting in over 4 years. That was May 16th 2012 and I haven’t had a drink since.
    I’ve had a beautiful path for the last almost 4 years, met lifelong friends, shared priceless emotional moments, and came into who I truly am as a person. I have healed immensely in ways I thought were hopeless. I never thought I would shake that angry kid I had been since I was 12 years old. I thought that anger was a part of who I was and being condemned to that person would always keep me drinking. Being sober taught me that my anger didn’t have to consume who I was and that I could acquire tools to be able to deal with it along with many other pockets of wisdom. I learned that I could never drink like a normal person and that wasn’t the worst thing to ever happen to me, it was the best. I learned that my story could help other women with the lessons I learned from the trials I had been through in my drinking. I felt a part of, I didn’t feel alone, I felt alive for the first time in my entire life. I could be the mom I always dreamed of being, I could be the friend I wanted so badly to be, the family member that people could count on. I received so many gifts from the program of alcoholics anonymous; it truly saved my life spiritually, emotionally and physically.
    Backstory I have struggled with PTSD my entire life from severe, ongoing, childhood trauma. Then to add to that PTSD diagnosis was the trauma that followed in my adolescence as a direct behavioral result of my childhood trauma. What I mean by “direct behavioral result” is that in lieu of my sexual abuse as a child, I believe I recklessly put myself in dangerous situations resulting in further rapes. The actual rapes of course were not my fault but I strongly believe I wouldn’t have ever been in those scary situations had I dealt with the symptoms of my initial PTSD. I had no self-worth no self-love and was completely out of touch with reality.
    I had several severe psychotic breaks throughout my adolescences and even one as an early adult, most of which were triggered or intensified by my drug use or drinking. PTSD manifests itself in everyone slightly differently but in severe cases such as mine, it is not uncommon for people to have psychotic symptoms as I did in my youth. Let me just say I am not a doctor, this is my experience. Whatever I refer to therapeutically, are professional opinions that have helped me understand this diagnosis much better for myself. I have now had years of therapy to help manage my PTSD. In the 3 ½ years of my sobriety I have had even more consistent, weekly, therapy to help further with my anger, my deep rooted resentments and to be aware of the therapeutic reasoning behind my daily actions. This along with AA has helped me tremendously and it’s been 5+ years since I have had a psychotic episode. The three years prior to being sober without any psychotic breaks I believe had everything to do with a psychologist I saw consistently when I was 17. She told me for the first time in my life, that I’m not crazy and that what was going on, was not abnormal for my severe history of sexual abuse. Sometimes I think that woman alone saved my sanity, if not my sanity she at the very least made me understand for the first time in my life that I wasn’t alone.
    Although enlightening and healing in many ways, it has not been an easy road to dive into the pains of my past. I have had to relive times in my life that no one should have to and it has taken its toll, as it will for the rest of my life. This is not a sob story though, so please understand that. I think I speak for most survivors with PTSD when I say, we don’t want your pity, we are strong and we will live with this just like people live with chronic illnesses every day. Yes, I believe it is chronic and I am okay with that because on a daily basis I search for the tools to better myself and to heal. There is no cure to PTSD, there is only treatment which I plan on continuing daily and in times when the going gets rough to get more intense therapy to help. This is a journey and I plan to live it happy joyous and free.
    When I left my ex husband, my PTSD symptoms were at an all-time high. I was in panic mode from coming out of an abusive relationship. For me when I have panic attacks it’s not the type where I’m heavily breathing and can’t tell you what’s happening. For me I get anxious, I get angry that I can’t stop this anxiety, and I lash out at the ones I love most….or the person standing next to me, just depends. Again not everyone’s anxiety manifests the same way but this is my story. I was already sober by the time my anxiety, derived from my PTSD, had gotten so bad that I could hardly function. This anxiety was running my life, I didn’t want to drink but I had to do something to help with this unbearable pain it was causing daily.
    I decided to go see a doctor, I told her I was a drug addict and alcoholic so whatever she gave me could not be narcotic or my wheels would surely fall off. She understood, evaluated the situation and prescribed me “Cellexa”. This helped tremendously, I felt so much better for the 3 or so years to come in so many ways. It helped me to pause, it helped the night terrors, it helped the anger, it was a miracle paired with my weekly therapy. I had my bad days, but it was nothing compared to the bad days prior to taking Cellexa. It worked great, until the day it stopped working.
    I was 3 years sober and my PTSD flashbacks were worse then they had ever been. I couldn’t sleep right, I couldn’t have sex with my boyfriend, I couldn’t have a conversation with him without somehow having to the symptoms of my PTSD. Sometimes he couldn’t even touch me because I was in such a raw state of emotions. I was going to my therapist and working this out weekly, it was helping but it was still controlling my life again. The edge was still taken off a little by the meds but something was happening and it was helping less and less. Finally I came to the point where the boyfriend was gone, I had pushed him away, the feelings were still raw and the meds had stopped helping the anxiety completely. I didn’t want to leave my room, I didn’t want to look at my phone, watch a movie, eat food, nothing. I didn’t leave my bed, in my dark room for 2 day’s except for the restroom when I really needed it. I was scared about what was happening to me. I talked to my therapist that week, we decided on EDMR treatment to help with the severity of the flashbacks at this point in my life. I agreed but I didn’t know how I would make it to that point. I wasn’t suicidal at this time (although many times in my life I had been) I didn’t want to drink or get loaded because I knew it wouldn’t help anything but I didn’t know how to walk out of my door into my wonderful life I had worked so hard for. That step seemed miles long and I didn’t have the strength.
    Here came the crossroads for this moment in my life. Seems like they often come at times of extreme emotions. I knew that if I went to my doctor she would say “lets up the dose, or change the med” and I came to this realization for myself that I did not want to be on pharmaceutical drugs for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to put that pill that makes me dizzy if I don’t take it for a day in my body for the rest of my life or try another one with another side symptom. The reason I say “the rest of my life” is because as I’ve stated my PTSD is not curable, although it might not always be as bad as the instance I’m speaking of above, it will always be there. It comes in waves of healing for me and those times although essential, are the most painful times I know thus far. Not everyone is as affected either but everyone has different stories.
    Standing at the crossroads I didn’t know what the other road was, I just knew there had to be an alternative or at least I hoped there was. I started researching homeopathic methods, or herbal routs to help treat PTSD in woman with severe cases such as mine. Without a doubt the most highly suggested alternative was the medical use of marijuana. Now let me just say, I’m a speed freak and a whisky drinker, pot just came with the party territory it was by far my least favorite thing to smoke. On top of marijuana being the least favorite party favor, it would compromise my sobriety I worked so hard for if I even just tried it. This was a decision I had to pray about and talk to people that I respected in the program of alcoholics anonymous, the program that had saved my life. That was what AA taught me, to ask about decisions before I made them, to be honest with what I was doing to someone, to really check my motives. I knew how to do that so I did.
    I spoke to the people I respected the most, the people that I loved and cherished, who I had come to over and over again with issues throughout my sobriety. I received many answers in that part of my research, most of which told me “you are not sober if you do that”. I understood where they were coming from and returned their answers although different from my opinion with respect. My internal response to that is this: If it is okay for me to take chemically, man made, pharmaceutical drugs for 3 years of my sobriety to curb my anxiety derived from my PTSD how is the medical use of marijuana different? Let me be clear I’m not saying smoke pot all day till you pass out. My routine is of a different sort. I don’t smoke before work, I don’t smoke before driving, I only smoke at night or on the weekends if I feel the anxiety I’m speaking of which can be daily or every few days depending on the circumstances and my emotional being. What about the people out there that are true alcoholics like myself, with a diagnosis such as mine, that benefit immensely from the medical use of marijuana vs pharmaceutical drugs?
    Now I’m not looking for cosigners believe me. I am sure of what I am doing and the relief it has brought to my life. I’m bringing up this issue because I believe I’m a good candidate for the cause and I know I’m not alone. Smoking marijuana the way that I do, does not hinder my ability to function nor does it suppress my emotions either. On the contrary actually, what medical marijuana does for me is allow me my emotions while calming me down enough to appropriately feel them. Almost verbatim to what Cellexa did for me in the first couple years. The health difference for me is I don’t have to take a marijuana pill every day. I don’t have to smoke it every day if I don’t want to. Cellexa affected my body, spirit and mind if I didn’t take it for a day. I would lash out; I would become unbearably dizzy and in turn have nausea. I would cry at the drop of a hat, and that is just the first day of detox. Once I would ingest even half a pill I would be okay but remember we are not talking about a narcotic to be crystal clear.
    There are medical uses for marijuana and it literally cannot be denied at this point. If I was smoking 6 times a day or all day long that would be unhealthy for me I believe. That is the case for any substance though, if I took 6 Cellexa a day I would probably die eventually from the damage it has on the organs. I am not some hippie lala who’s trying to convince anyone anything, what I am stating is that the medical use of marijuana has helped my life with PTSD tremendously and more then any pharmaceutical drug has ever done and I still consider myself sober. I have had to find out what type works for me Indica, hybrid or Sativa. I have had to experiment with how much percentage of what works for me and be careful with the high levels of THC because of the psychedelic effects because of my past history with psychosis, just like I had to do with pharmaceutical drugs. I have been honest with the people I love about what I’m feeling and if I’ve had any cravings to drink because I am an alcoholic first and foremost.
    What I have struggled with the most is not the fact that I have chosen to smoke marijuana but that I am missing my fellowship that for the most part does not accept me smoking medicinally. I struggle with wanting to come home to alcoholics anonymous as the family that has accepted me for who I am and standing my ground in something that has bettered my. I struggle with wanting to come into the rooms, sit down and share like I always have but not wanting to offend anyone or defend myself for something that I stand strong and even proud in. I struggle with not ever wanting to hinder another person’s sobriety even though they are their own person but believing in what I am doing for the medicinal reasons I’m doing it. I’ve struggled with the loss of friends or the distancing of relationship because of my choice.
    What I can tell you about all those struggles is at the end of the day, the relief I get, outweighs the negative aspects. What I have learned is the negative aspects aren’t my fears, but others projections of their own fears. I don’t resent that either, because those fears from my own experience with people have come from a place of love for the most part. They are worried that I will slip and I understand the fear because AA has been my home for a very long time. I have been the other side, giving my friends advice out of fear of them relapsing and dying. I understand the severity of alcoholism, but my question to you Is where is the medicinal line drawn between herbal and pharmaceutical and are you the person to state what is what? I am not. I can only share my experience strength and hope in this matter in hopes that maybe someday it will be more accepted in the fashion I am speaking of. True medicinal use of marijuana because there is such a thing and I’m proof of that to myself if no one else.
    This is a program of honesty and without the honestly I’ve learned here, my life would be in shambles. I’m grateful to the program of alcoholics anonymous and I pray that I will be able to sit back down in the rooms with the honesty I feel inside and be understood by my fellowship of drunks I love so much.

  8. john says:

    No shit. Medicine from a doctor and being an alcoholic and in AA should not be looked down on. AA is good but more is needed to help the dual diagnosed and addicted newcomer in AA. NA and AA both have the opinion that abstinence is the only way but if marijuana was legal with a doctor prescribing to the alcoholic, then the older alchies in AA might get a grip and not look down on the marijuana maintenance program. Alcohol is the evil and Americans love their booze. Benzos and xanax wont be prescribed by a doctor if that doctor knows the patient is an alcoholic. If these work for anxiety, fuck the alchie, cause he cant have them (they act on the same receptors as alcohol! So why not some relief for the alchie who has anxiety and depression with medicating with cannabis.

  9. Tamarizona says:

    Love that I found like(very high functioning) minds….FINALLY!!!

  10. Coffee addict says:

    #4 years, i work the program, work with others, put principles before personalities, progress not perfection, have a higher power that loves me. Rx pills are dangerous and I was addicted. Cannabis keeps me sane and not depressed. Praying one day this will not be frowned upon.

  11. Chris says:

    I have done the marijuana maintenance program for about a year. From a harm reduction stand-point, sure, it’s working. I don’t get the same devastating consequences with pot as I did with alcohol. On the other hand, I’m high all the time. At first, it was to relieve awkward social situations and boredom; now, I have the same mental obsession. I traded one addiction for another, and am able to justify it because I’m not a train wreck when taking a few hits multiple times a day. I get it, I want to believe it, but my experience leads me to think that there must be a better way. Just thinking…

  12. Mike says:

    There is now a Google Plus community for those of us who don’t drink but do enjoy the herb.

  13. Chase says:

    What is the Google Plus group name? Would love to join!

  14. Bobbingforapples says:

    Curious how long those of you who are recovering alcoholics have maintained your sobriety – free from alcohol – and other illicit drugs… How long have you maintained sobriety using cannabis? Are you using vapor pen? Medical grade? And do you worry about the lure of the altered state sending you back to the bottle? My 50 year old honey has serious anxiety issues- wants to use vapor daily for anxiety. Said it helps him stay sober. I try to leave it alone and let him handle his recovery. I don’t have anxiety so I try not to judge or tell him what is good for him. I do not suffer from disease of alcoholism – only by saying it is a family disease and affects everyone who loves the alcoholic- nor have I lived with the mental illness of generalized anxiety disorder.
    But curious to hear about successful recovery.
    Is there cannabis – the medical grade kind of cannabis that you can vap without the high?

  15. Coffeeaddict says:

    @bobbingforapples. Yes! It’s CBD, it does not get you high Please research the success stories. I am so thankful I have the option to use the CBD for anxiety, pain for my horrible monthly issues, and overall body pain from years of rx abuse.

    Wishing your honey peace.
    Much love & light!

  16. Lain Ruth says:

    Marijuana Maintenance or cannabis substitution is the answer for some people!
    At there is a non-judgemental community of people using cannabis as a form of recovery for their substance dependence or as a substitute from other harmful substances.
    We share experiences, swap information and provide support for each other. If you would like to join the Facebook support group, click here:

  17. Caity Raffa says:

    Thank you so much for this! I am currently struggling with finding AA people or an AA group that is open minded to the use of marijuana and it’s many benefits. I love my AA program, and I work hard it, without it, I don’t think marijuana alone would work for me… but i have done basically my entire program while still smoking – it has been a huge help for me.. i only wish i didn’t have to hide it. I couldn’t handle the rejection and stigma from others in the group.. thank you for writing this!! <3

  18. Mark says:

    I too quit all alcohol and nicotine intake with the help of medical grade Marijuana. I had suffered from anxiety episodes since my post toddler days. I successfully self-medicated with weed as an anti-anxiety medication. On occasion I drank beer, but hated the feeling of being drunk and out of control. My lifelong anxiety problems led to some very difficult experiments (bad trips) with hallucinogens so that was basically off the table.

    I did fine this way until the Great Recession. I was laid off from a six figure job and unemployed for nearly a year forcing me to go bankrupt. Then I fractured my spinal cord and herniated five discs in my neck during a surfing accident. Being without insurance led to many delays in treatment and I began drinking heavily and chain smoking cigarettes. This lasted for nearly a decade.

    During this period I qualified for disability after several attempts and had the five vertebrae replaced in my neck. The operation proved a success. The pain went away, I recovered a full range of motion and feeling returned to my fingertips. I tried to cut back on drinking, but by this point it was a full blown addiction including day drinking and passing out.

    During this time my sister was diagnosed with stage 4 large cell non Hodgkin lymphoma. A tumor swelled up behind her right eye. I live in a state where Medical Marijuana was not legal at that time, but I had a friend use medical grade weed to make cannabis paste. My sister’s cancer went into full remission. My understanding of marijuana as medicine changed deeply from then on.

    I became VERY sick during early in 2015. The chest infection was so bad my doctor thought it was moderate to severe COPD. I couldn’t inhale a cigarette (or pot) without coughing until I vomited from retching or spit up blood. I didn’t feel like I was going to survive it. I felt so sick I didn’t even want to drink. Tests for COPD thankfully proved negative, the chest infection lasted a month before finally passing.

    Seeing that I hadn’t touched alcohol or nicotine for over 30 days (since 2/14/2015), I made the decision I could ONLY use marijuana for relief from anxiety and as my pleasure stimulant. I still get anxiety attacks, but between the marijuana and daily Kava Kava supplements, I have it under control. I haven’t used alcohol or nicotine since. Not once. I use med grade marijuana/wax/oil multiple times during the day. I run a successful business from home and enjoy a happy and blessed life. This also includes going out with friends occasionally to the bars. I’m not even tempted to smoke cigarettes or drink.

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