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I’m Kinda Sober, Except For …

I would consider myself mostly sober.  I don’t drink anymore and I don’t use cocaine.  I do, however, still smoke pot. Many would say it was a long road to becoming sober. Maybe you thought about going through Alcoholics Anonymous to do the Twelve Step Program and eventually, you’d even started helping others work on their own recoveries. The problem? You’re/I’m still smoking pot. While you might be surprised to learn this, many people who recently reached sobriety struggle with giving up their marijuana use for a variety of reasons. If you’re facing the same problem, please understand that you’re not alone. Even so, true sobriety means abstaining from all substances, including marijuana. Let’s talk about a few of the reasons people continue to use marijuana even after they’ve broken free from their alcohol addictions.

  1. They’re afraid to leave any substance use behind – Whenever any type of addict makes the decision to quit using their substance of choice, there is a little bit of panic that results. They don’t really know how life works without some type of substance, and for an alcoholic, it’s the same type of response. For an alcoholic, pot seems as though it might be a “safer” form of substance use, and because Alcoholics Anonymous focuses on recovering from alcohol addiction (rather than all types of addictions), many of them even feel like they’re being successful because they did reach a point of alcohol sobriety. Even so, these individuals feel soothed knowing that there is some type of substitution available for them if and when they need it.
  2. They suffer from anxiety issues – Anxiety is something that many people deal with on a daily basis, whether they are alcoholics or not. However, alcohol tends to dull those anxious feelings for the alcoholic. Many people use drinking to self-medicate against anxiety and once it has been removed from the equation, it’s very likely that the anxiety will return in full force, and perhaps be even worse. Marijuana is legal in many states for medicinal use, and that includes using it for moderate to severe anxiety. It does work very well, but it also can be easy to become addicted to it, which is dangerous. Still, anxiety is a driving force and when an individual is looking for relief, marijuana presents as a good solution for many people.
  3. They use it as a way to be social – At some point, every alcoholic began their experience with alcohol as a social drinker. Some people maintain that status while other people retreat away from the crowd and drink mostly when they’re alone. Either way, there is a social element about drinking that’s attractive, and during sobriety, most former drinkers will agree that being in those types of social situations is dangerous for their quit. Whether they have friends who smoke pot occasionally, or they find new friends who do, they crave those social interactions. Smoking pot quickly becomes a part of them, and although they might not do it all the time, it’s there as a way to enjoy spending time with other people without having to drink.

Regardless of what you might have heard in the past, smoking marijuana can become an addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 9% of people who smoke pot become addicted. Once a person begins smoking it daily, that percentage goes up to as many as 50%. As you can imagine, for someone who has already struggled with addiction in the past, your probability of becoming addicted to pot is most likely even higher. In a sense, when you smoke pot, you’re only trading one addiction for another. It can even lead to a return to drinking because your inhibitions are lowered when you’re high. While it might not seem as though you’re doing any significant amount of damage to yourself, you might be hurting your sobriety if you continue. Every Twelve Step Program in the world focuses on continually working on improving yourself as a person. Choosing to smoke pot has the potential to undo all of the excellent work you’ve done, and that’s certainly not something you want to experience. The good news is that help is available for you, regardless of how much marijuana you currently use. When it comes down to it, at the end of the day, you need to know that you’re doing everything you can to have the best life possible. Please contact us if you feel you need additional help.