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4/20 and the Marijuana Maintenance Program

Old 04-20-2013, 10:00 PM
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Lightbulb 4/20 and the Marijuana Maintenance Program

As I ponder resetting the arbitrary date of my sobriety so many years ago, I thought to do a bit of research to see what others might think about the use of MJ while being "clean and sober". The views I heard in the meetings are mostly shared by this community, however I noticed a slight discrepancy in the logic. I will disclaimer this with the obvious fact that I am an addict & alcoholic of above average intelligence and a wonderfully unique and powerful ego, whom can rationalize most anything with startling effectiveness.
So my case goes like this: The Founders of AA and The BB both proclaim that using mind altering substances is not sobriety. I think we can all agree at this point. From the opposite ends, if we are prescribed a medicine from a doctor that know we are alcoholic/addicts, we will take the medication as prescribed even if some others may abuse that certain medicine. I know I might have few dissenting voices at this point, but I believe that taking any medical decision into one's own hands so be a dangerous and slippery slope.
If I am followed at this point, then let us take a brief aside. The reason mind altering substances of various types are not to be used is because we used them irresponsibly in the past. If that is not the case, then how could one have ever found their way into an AA/NA meeting? Furthermore, many other non-chemical's have been abused by the collective "Us" and have spawned their own groups (e.g. Gambling, Sex, Over-Eating, Video Games) and I have felt very similar compulsions in these activities as I have which hard liquors (My DOC). I cannot feasibly stop eating or having sex if I want my life healthy, and many other non-chemical's have been explored without me resetting my date. I think many of us are in the same boat and on the same page about that.
Modern Science suggests the explanation is that anything one does that they enjoy releases chemicals into ones brain, and these chemicals are the intended transmitters/receivers that alcohol and drugs bind to. Additionally, the repeated abuse of foreign chemicals can cause permanent damage to the brain, which is typically how one can never drink/use socially again for long without falling back into self-destruction. This is coupled with more contemporary evidence that events and emotional states can also cause these damages, even without the person taking mind altering substances. A very tragic example is of mothers who suffer from severe post-partum depression and do very psychotic things, to include killing their children. These mothers have been damaged by biological processes beyond their control.
The solution is usually to regulate the major brain chemicals under medical supervision, the same thing we tried on our own. Without this initial treatment for addicts/alcoholics many may suffer, but in the end be fine. A few, without medically supervised application of mind altering substances, will never experience peace, despite how honestly they attempt a relation with a higher power.
I may have lost more of you at this point, so allow me to say that I am still talking upon the extremes. Some people exist, that without prescription medication, cannot be healthy in mind nor body, and some of those people may also be addict/alcoholics. Despite how powerful a spiritual experience, no program or sponsor can help this person. Maybe the higher power can, but only after that persons brain has been brought back to the capacity to think by this medicine. Brains gets sick, physically, and physical treatments are the only ones that can help. Sometimes these people may be healed by a higher power. Sometimes they may be over-prescribed and hindered in their recovery. But these poor people do honestly exist, I have known them to exist, and they are also the key to my next argument.
We arrive at a place where a person is clean and sober, happy and healthy, and also ingesting mind altering substances. Now, we allow this because we had previously given this person an allowance based on extreme circumstance. But what of the rest of us? We have all been damaged. All of our brains have been sick. Many of us are recovering, many can stay sober and hold relationships and be grateful and connect with our higher power. I'd like to think I'm one of those people, although I am not perfect, I am better than I was this time last year, so I'd like to think that's a good place to start. I think we can all agree on that point, as long as we are clean, sober, and improving, then the program has worked for us.
And now here is the rationalization. Could I be improving more if prescribed a mind altering drug? We have seen the extreme, one who cannot be healed without this medicine. Can the rest of us be brought even closer to the ideal with the same help?
I want to pause here a moment. I will not pick up a <Anything> and ingest it. I doubt you will at this point either. That isn't my current goal. My goal is self improvement; I want to be a better boyfriend, husband, father, brother, son, co-worker, sub-ordinate, boss, leader, student, teacher, etc.. I want these things, and my conception of a higher power, as I believe, demands them. When I work toward these things, I do not crave and I do not worry. When I rest on my laurels, pain is applied in many places of my life until my drop my will and continue improving. I am at the point where that date means little - The boy who woke up that morning shaking and half drunk has nothing in common with me today, so why should my life be hinged on his actions? I care little for what many members say, since my contact with my higher power does not come from them, and while their advice and opinion may have usefulness, they are no better/important/humble/valuable than I. My goal is self improvement.
What I would like, if you have followed this far, is propose one idea: We may be improved by the medical application of mind altering drugs. I'm not saying which one, or for whom it would work. I'm not saying that I will make any decisions regarding this treatment. I only want to put the idea on paper (Ok, the internet, same difference) and have others either accept or refute, hopefully based on evidence or ideas I had not been exposed to or neglected to consider.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:05 PM
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Yah u kinda lost me. I just keep it simple, I don't analyze. If I don't put it in my body I can't get high or drunk and when i don't get high or drunk my life improves drastically over time.. U lost me at hello!
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:13 PM
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deeker, I agree entirely. My only hope is to explore the possibility to improve even more. I try to accomplish things that my higher power will not let me set aside, but I cannot... I probably have some variation attention deficit disorder, but I do not intend on self-treatment. Sadly, I have been financially crippled by my past actions, and so paying for a real doctor is off the list as well. I feel that going to a medical marijuana doctor is just as bad as going to Walgreens to buy beer, you'll get exactly what you came for. If my last opinion is wrong, then i'll go. I could not find a similar debate on the internet, so I posted one ^^
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:30 PM
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But see the choice is ultimately yours. I have bi polar, I go to a doc for meds. All non narcotic, meds which work over time.

As far as wanting to accomplish all these things. I try to live one day at a time and when I feel the spirit move me then I do the next right thing. I am not in a race. If I race I miss the joy of the journey. Sometimes the journey is greater than the destination. If you are ADD, your higher power knows that and won't give you more than you can handle.

Just from reading your post I feel like you are under a lot of stress and are trying to hard on your own might. I can do nothing without my higher power. When I do, that is me living in self will. God does not have a list that he looks at and says ok Deeker i need you to this and this and this and I need it done by 5..

He gives me gentle nudges during the day, inspiration and what I do is never under duress. He allows me to serve him but enjoy myself while I am doing it. I know he has a job for me but I am just one little person out of millions putting all the pieces together in the puzzle called life..

Relax and enjoy recovery, sit still, listen to the still small voice. Then do your best, if you are stressing about it you are trying to do to much and in your own might. Your higher power wants above all things for you to feel his love and joy.

If you have ADD, get diagnosed. There are plenty of places that have a sliding scale. No shame in being medicated, just don't self medicate.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:39 PM
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If I relax, then things don't get done and life gets painful. My life, thanks to my higher power and current sobriety is improving; It require some significant maintenance. At some point in the future, it wont.(After I pay off some of the debts I accrued) Today I let my guard down, asked a question on the internet, and lost an entire day of potential work. I agree and am thankful I did not lose it to the insanity of addiction, but the day is lost nonetheless. I am running on my own might too; I do not expect to be carried much down the beach, and would prefer to look back and always see two sets of footprints in the sand.
I think I will try to stress a little less though. I guess I just feel like I am letting down everyone when I do not perform as well as my ego says I should
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:49 PM
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letting down everyone when I do not perform as well as my ego says I should [/QUOTE]

EGO- keyword Easing God Out. Keep talkin about it. I am glad u r here.
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Old 04-20-2013, 10:52 PM
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Thanks, you too! I'm glad I posted, I like to make sure I'm not completely off my rocker once in a while.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by saurothrop View Post
Thanks, you too! I'm glad I posted, I like to make sure I'm not completely off my rocker once in a while.
Tomorrow I will post here again so this thread gets pushed up to the front and you may get some more feedback. Nite Nite 2 am zzzzz
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:13 PM
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If you are wondering as a recovering alcoholic if it is a good idea to smoke weed from time to time, I would say this: any drug, including marijuana, will lower your inhibitions. It's hard enough to say no to drinking in a totally sober state. Add some pot, and who knows what else your addict brain will convince you is a good idea.

Speaking for myself, its a slippery slope. One that I would rather not start down.
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:18 PM
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Charlie, that is my biggest fear - not that pot will ruin my life by itself, but that I will be drawn into more destructive behaviors by it's use. That's why in an ideal world a real doctor could prescribe actual treatment, and then whatever form that took I could careful use as directed. Sadly, nothing "OTC" has worked at this point..
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:21 PM
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I guess a more focused question would be: "If a medical marijuana doctor prescribed pot, knowing my history of addiction, would I be in error to use as directed; Or should I just muddle through as-is?"
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:29 PM
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Look, I had a long love affair with marijuana. It eased my anxiety. But paradoxically it eventually began to cause additional anxiety. When I quit smoking, alcohol swooped in to fill the void. That ended up being a disaster.

You should check out the new DSM-V which now recognizes marijuana addiction and withdrawal. Doctors prescribe addictive medications all the time- it doesn't mean they're a good idea for alcoholics.

Have you tried therapy to work out your issues? It appears as though you are making an honest attempt at working the AA program. Have you had your spiritual awakening? If not, what is holding you back? Not working steps 4-5 and 8-9 as thoroughly as you should?
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Old 04-20-2013, 11:42 PM
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I have had many profound spiritual experiences, when went through the steps more than once, each time more through than I had previously thought possible. Of course I still slip up, dry drunking and white knuckling from time to time, but they become less and less frequent or severe each passing month, year. I cannot afford help from anyone holding an MD or PhD though, and those things have not become freely available since I am blessed with employment. I am mostly certain that my remaining problems are of a physical nature - actual damages to the tissues in my brain and nothing in my power to resolve.
I only had a few instances 'cross-fading', and no history abusing drugs. This is mostly due to fear than of anything else though. I have been relieve of my craving for nicotine, mostly, but I miss the effects produced by cigarettes. I was able to self-treat and increase my productivity for small periods, until that vice was made painful enough to end. I tried nootropic vitamins and large doses of caffeine, but I build resistance too quickly, so I usually try to save those for finals week or difficult projects.
If pure, nonaddictive motivation came in pills, packs, or bottles I wouldn't be here, as my problem would be solved.
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:35 AM
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I think that we all have different relationships with different substances. I don't believe that a recovering alcoholic needs to pledge full sobriety in order to quit drinking and improve his life.

But I do believe that if one uses pot (or any other drug) in the same way that one used alcohol, then the substitution is not helpful or positive. In almost every case, I don't think that smoking pot solves the problem of not being able to afford a psychiatrist. Pot is a pain reliever and a sedative, but it also impairs your thinking. It has a lot more in common with alcohol than it does with psychiatric drugs. It's an escape.

Taking that escape recreationally and responsibly doesn't have any bearing on your recovery from alcohol, in my opinion. But using it the way you imply here as ongoing 'medicine' for your problems is just another addiction. Of course people take many types of drugs on an ongoing basis, but for me the difference is the way it impacts your judgment. If one smokes to address a mental issue (such as depression or anxiety), then the altered state of mind could be considered a side effect, and a pretty hefty one. I certainly know that if someone told me that my antidepressant would cause me to be uncoordinated, talk slowly, over-analyze, and find random things fascinating, I would ask for a different prescription.
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Old 04-21-2013, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by saurothrop View Post
I guess a more focused question would be: "If a medical marijuana doctor prescribed pot, knowing my history of addiction, would I be in error to use as directed; Or should I just muddle through as-is?"
Something to think about here are other prescriptions. Lots of folks here have been ruined by prescription medications...so surely just because a doctor offers something doesn't mean it's going to be effective. In fact it can be pretty bad. I have trouble getting into the MJ debate, because I do see both sides. In my case, I have never been one to smoke weed and drink - they were two separate things. I would drink for everything. Meetings, even interviews, important conversations, ball games, after work celebrations, b-days, ALL of it. With MJ it was always quite the opposite - I have never had the desire to smoke and then get on a public bus and go to work, a ballgame, or even a concert. It doesn't help me socialize, which was a huge thing concerning my alcohol addiction, it does the opposite. The reward centers of my brain don't work the same way with pot as they do with booze. That is just me though.

Another thing to think about is health effects - vodka had an extremely damaging effect on my health, both visible and non. It affected my body and brain in extremely negative ways, I had seizures, blackouts, etc. MJ doesn't put me in the same risk categories, I won't die from it like booze.

I guess it's a fuzzy picture. I wonder sometimes how folks here can bash MJ like it's the spawn of the Devil, yet they say it with a cigarette dangling from their lips, the first of 20 they will suck down that day. At the same time, pot is illegal in most US states, so there's a 'criminal thinking' element; there will be sneaking around and doing something 'bad', which is probably a bad road to travel.

The bottom line is we are all different. I have taken meds like xanax and never had a problem. I've done plenty of hard drugs too but they never stuck. Others in this very chat have seen it bring down their entire life. I guess I'm all over the place with this! I suppose this is why others have said "keep it simple". I like that. Best to you on this wonderful day.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:41 AM
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Whoa, that was one long starting post to read. I just wanted to add my little .02 cents.

With Medical MJ spreading in some states, and becoming a known medicine to help those who need it. I honestly see no huge problem with it, if one is taking like suggested and not over-doing it. Sadly this is not the standing in my state as it is only known as a drug. I could see some benefits of it being allowed for use as medicine.

A little about me. Yeah when I was younger I played with the stuff for a while, had friends who did and invited me to it. I never had no problems leaving it alone for days, weeks, or even months. Even when I completely said no more I had no problem leaving it alone, but one day after that I discovered alcohol. Realized not only was it cheaper... but altered me quickly and lasted longer. So here I am today... with an Alcohol Addiction problem... not a MJ Addiction problem.

With all that being said. Like some people may not like to take pills to help with Alcohol Withdrawal symptoms, but it makes me wonder if the use of MJ could be used to help ease those symptoms? I see they say on here if I am not wrong, Benzos (sp?) are usually prescribed to help with withdrawal symptoms, but if they do not help and the person still drinks. How much added harm is the alcohol now doing to the body with the added medication?
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Old 04-21-2013, 02:06 PM
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I destroyed my life just as much on pot as I did on alcohol later, and I'm not the only one here on SR with a story like that.

At least people accept that alcohol can be dangerous, but truth to tell, subjective bias or not, it makes me a little crazy when people talk about the benigness of pot because it was anything but benign for me.

but anyway....

I'm on several medications.

The difference between the drugs I take now and the drugs I took then, is I take drugs now to participate in life, not to run away from it....I'm into it, not 'out of it'.

I'm never high and more importantly I have no desire to be.

All the improvements I've found in my life have not come from the drugs themselves...they simply help keep me in a physical condition where I can improve my life.

Examine your motives I think is the golden rule here.
D
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Old 04-21-2013, 03:37 PM
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THC is an intoxicant, that's why I don't think sober people should go anywhere near it.

For a lot of reasons, its not comparable to the types of medications that Dee is talking about, medications that doctors prescribe to enable to people to live and function normally or close to normally.

There is a social culture around marijuana use and abuse where the purpose is simply to get high. In that way it is pretty much an alternative to alcohol. I know, because I've witnessed it first hand, that the medical marijuana laws in CA and elsewhere have been abused regularly by recreational marijuana users. Basically the effect marijuana has on people is extreme enough to where it should only be prescribed to people who are debilitated by a disease. Think of it this way: if it impairs your ability to drive, you shouldn't be taking it unless of your are extremely, gravely ill to the point where the intoxication caused by the drug is an acceptable side effect to deal with the pain caused by the disease. In which case of course you wouldn't be driving or operating machinery or living any semblance of a normal life anyway. So the point is, if you have a headache, or if you feel a bit depressed, or if you're having trouble concentrating, or whatever number of minor medical issues an otherwise healthy individual may have, marijuana is not a reasonable treatment, at least not for a recovering alcoholic.

Personally, I do think marijuana should be legal, even for recreational purposes, but that has nothing to do at all with my own choices as a sober person. I still think myself, and anyone else who's had a compulsiveness problem with intoxicating chemicals, should stay away from marijuana, even if it's obtainable in prescription form.
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Old 04-21-2013, 06:04 PM
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I see it this way,

Marijuana is much less damaging to ones body/mind when consumed on a regular basis. From research I've done It's not physically addicting like alcohol and the negative effects on your brain are short term. (If you quit smoking your brain returns to normal state in a couple weeks) I would much rather see someone smoking marijuana every night than getting wasted every night (though neither is preferred).

I also believe from personal experience you are much less likely to harm yourself or others when high on marijuana compared to drunk. You are more in control.

Many years ago before I started drinking every day I smoked marijuana every day. I had to stop smoking because it started giving me anxiety. I also had to quit for drug test associated with job interviews. Even after smoking every day for a year the withdrawal effects were virtually non-existent (insomnia and irritability for 2-3 days).

To be honest, I wish I could still use marijuana as an alternative but it makes me too anxious and gives me terrible insomnia. I'm sure other people feel very differently than me on this subject and that's ok.
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Old 04-23-2013, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
I'm never high and more importantly I have no desire to be.
D
I think that's where we all want to be, Dee. The reality is that it's not that easy to shake the 'addiction gene' and a lot of us get sucked up in trading one addiction for another. Pills and hard drugs seem to have the most dangerous side effects, IMO. But yes MJ has them as well - not so much physically (you won't sweat, shake and seize during withdrawls), but I agree that when you add MJ to an addict's life I think we can all assume that most of the time it won't be consumed in a reasonable manner. But it's the same way with every substance for us -- Heck, have you seen how much coffee and cigarettes are consumed at AA meetings? I know I also abused the Ben & Jerry's when I first got sober too!

I'm an addict. I think the OP probably is too. We all need to figure out a way to beat this thing. It's always interesting to see posts like this, featuring cross addictions etc. It's all intertwined, all connected somehow. For me it was helpful to focus on alcohol first and foremost, but I'm starting to come to the fearful realization that there's more work to be done. Thanks all for the discussion!
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