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Old 11-03-2016, 06:50 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Medical Cannabis and Guilt


Hi there,

I am glad to have branched out of the 'newcomer's support' early this morning and found this. The issue of pain management in recovery has always been an issue for me.

I drank for so long, I never realized every time I got a migraine attack, I would go through a cycle of needing pain medications, then dealing with cluster migraines as a side effect of the pain medication. Then, I would medicate the pain and stress with alcohol, which is a terrible idea if you are trying to avoid migraine triggers.

I have never enjoyed the feeling from narcotic pain medication, also it makes me itchy, dizzy, nauseated and depressed. Shortly after getting sober, my husband's addiction to pain medication came to a head after he strained his back. . Every time I came home from the hospital or doctor, I could feel the eyes on my prescription of Norco, Percocet, or whatever. He is sober now and I don't want to keep stuff like that in my house. (Although he keeps alcohol in the house because he drinks occasionally - no reciprocation on that front and I have made my opinion and daily struggles known to him).

I am a former cancer patient and decided to try cannabis for migraine prevention and pain relief instead. It has been a medical godsend; I have far fewer and less severe migraine attacks and I have been able to stay away from the ER for nearly nine months. However, I have a lot of recovery guilt because of it. I use a vaporizer and high-CBD strains and am under the supervision of several doctors (including a neurologist).

I feel guilty because I enjoy the clarity I feel when I vaporize cannabis. My base anxiety level has gone way down, and as a result, I have far fewer and less-severe migraines and have gone off of several different anxiety medications and one of my anti-depressants. I also found that it curbs my alcohol cravings severely. I am able to talk myself out of a craving, or a moment of crisis more easily.

However, I feel guilty because I feel better.

I just need to talk with others who deal with pain management while trying to stay sober. I am going through some rough patches with PAWS right now, as well as cluster migraines and have been giving myself some very negative self-talk. Do I deserve to feel better? Should I feel worse? Do you guys know this feeling?
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Old 11-03-2016, 09:39 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hello Pouncer, and welcome to our quiet corner of recovery

This is a very quiet forum, the "regulars" pop in maybe once a week. So if you don't get any replies right away please don't think that you are being ignored.

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... I have never enjoyed the feeling from narcotic pain medication...
Same here, they make me extremely nauseous. Alcohol was my "drug of choice".

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Originally Posted by Pouncer View Post
... I have far fewer and less severe migraine attacks and I have been able to stay away from the ER for nearly nine months. ...
Awesome, congratulations on that. I'm about 6 months from my last visit. I keep tellling them I should get "frequent flyer" discounts

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...Every time I came home from the hospital or doctor, I could feel the eyes on my prescription of Norco, Percocet, or whatever ...
I keep my meds in steel lock box, the kind used for cash. Picked one up at a yard sale some years ago.

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... My base anxiety level has gone way down, and as a result, I have far fewer and less-severe migraines and have gone off of several different anxiety medications and one of my anti-depressants. I also found that it curbs my alcohol cravings severely. I am able to talk myself out of a craving, or a moment of crisis more easily. ...
My experience is that chronic pain dulls my mind. Regardless of which meds I take. It's not the meds that allow me to think clearly, it's the absence of pain. Being in pain is depressing, without any help from all the "stuff" the world throws at me.

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... I am going through some rough patches with PAWS right now, as well as cluster migraines and have been giving myself some very negative self-talk. ...
I always go into negative self-talk when I am in pain. I think it's just a side-effect of all the chemicals that are bouncing around in my body. What I do is distract myself with small things. I'll dust the apartment, all of it. I'll finish doing the dishes. Walk up and down the stairs. Call my sponsor and sponsees.

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...Do I deserve to feel better? ...
Yes.

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Originally Posted by Pouncer View Post
... Should I feel worse?...
No.

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... Do you guys know this feeling?...
I feel pretty much the way you have described it. Except for the guilt. Instead I experience fear that the meds might lead me to a relapse.

Have you read the material in this "sticky":

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...iew-na-aa.html

That has helped me alot with the fear and the negative self-talk.

Welcome again, and I'm sorry you have so much to deal with.

Mike
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:24 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Mike,

Thank you so much for the considerate response and the warm welcome. Yes, It challenging living with pain. I have been so focused on staying sober, or focused on drinking, that I never thought about how pain also clouds your perspective. I am glad I reached out.

I will continue to pop in and out on this forum. Yes, I read that guide from NA and it really helped clarify some questions and concerns I have.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:32 AM   #4 (permalink)
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I had migraines for nearly 30 years. I feel your pain.

I also understand wanting to be normal - not having to take meds. I used to try to suffer through my migraines because the meds were so prohibitively expensive and I would try to make them last till the end of the month. I actually felt guilt for asking my doctor to up my prescription drugs. I didn't take narcotic pain meds, they did nothing for my migraine pain. By the end I was on three different prophylactic meds and then the Immitrex or other triptan type drugs - which all have significant side effects.

I often said I'd rather die than suffer migraines, BUT I still tried to hoard the triptans. Crazy. Well, they were $60 per pill, so there's that.

I will say that benzos helped nudge me back to drinking when I was 18 years sober - so there is definitely caution to be advised, since cannabis acts a lot like benzos to my nervous system. My second go-round with alcohol was brutal and I had to get off a lot of other drugs at the same time - all legal and all prescribed.

Now I've gone through menopause and the migraines are gone (mine were triggered hormonally.) Thank you for this thread, that's another thing for which I can be grateful today.

Which is worse? I don't honestly know. I'm just really grateful to be operating as designed now - without putting something in my body to change that.


Well. Except chocolate ice cream.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:39 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Fear masquerading as guilt is also something I am willing to consider is happening. Alcohol nearly ruined my life and I am scared about medications being a trigger for relapse.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:49 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biminiblue View Post
I had migraines for nearly 30 years. I feel your pain.

I often said I'd rather die than suffer migraines, BUT I still tried to hoard the triptans. Crazy. Well, they were $60 per pill, so there's that.

I will say that benzos helped nudge me back to drinking when I was 18 years sober - so there is definitely caution to be advised, since cannabis acts a lot like benzos to my nervous system. My second go-round with alcohol was brutal and I had to get off a lot of other drugs at the same time - all legal and all prescribed.

Now I've gone through menopause and the migraines are gone (mine were triggered hormonally.) Thank you for this thread, that's another thing for which I can be grateful today.
You really do understand. Migraines have driven me to think about suicide. It can be life-ending pain for some people.

What I am doing is the best I know how to do with the information I have. I also take a triptan (Maxalt) when I get a really strong aura, but as you know, the side effects are really uncomfortable.

This thread has helped me restore a bit of my humanity and faltering sanity I had this morning. Thanks for letting me vent, listening to it and also sharing your experiences.
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Old 11-03-2016, 10:58 AM   #7 (permalink)
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It's a debilitating pain, for sure. It also affected my ability to have relationships - even friendships. I was so impossible to be around and no one understood. I got several a month, and it made holding jobs really difficult, too. Migraines cannot be "worked through" - all I could do is lie in a dark room with a cold, wet washcloth over my eyes and wait for the triptans to take effect. Throwing up and not even being able to keep water down. Maxalt was my favorite, the one that dissolved on the tongue. It worked fast and didn't make my heart race like the Immitrex injections - which worked fast, but caused really uncomfortable side effects.

There were many days I wished I would just die, I get it.

Neurologists, hospital ERs, endocrinologists. Endless search for pain relief, and every day waking up wondering if I would get one that day - so definitely living in fear all the time. It's hard to explain or to understand, even for medical professionals.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:00 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't think you have anything at all to feel guilty about using cannabis to help with physical issues. If cannabis is or becomes an issue, then that is different. I think we should base anything we do on whether it is helpful or hurtful and go from there. Let your conscience be your guide.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:03 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
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... It can be life-ending pain for some people.....
Yes, definetly.

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... I also take a triptan (Maxalt)....
I've taken that. Drops my blood pressure to the floor in about 30 seconds. Which means I better be horizontal before I take it.

Mike
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:11 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
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... It also affected my ability to have relationships ...
Same here. There's only so many times you can cancel a date because you have a headache.

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... it made holding jobs really difficult...
Yup.

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... Endless search for pain relief,...
I spend half my life on doctor visits, tests, pharmacy, fighting the insurance company, and getting horizontal in that dark room you mentioned.

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... It's hard to explain or to understand, even for medical professionals....
I don't think it's possible to understand if you have not experienced it.

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... Throwing up and not even being able to keep water down. ...
I just sleep in the bathroom. I have an air mattress in there, pillow, blanket, etc.

'course, I make sure to hide it all when I have a date come over. Not the kind of thing you can easily explain

Mike
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:58 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Oh, my goodness Mike. I didn't understand from your first post that you get migraines.

I'm sorry for anyone who has migraines. Normies don't understand that, no, it's not just a headache. No, I don't want a neck massage. No, I don't want to eat.

Leave. Me. Alone. And be quiet while you're doing it.

I guess you can't look forward to menopause...my grandfather got "sick headaches" - he died before I started getting them. I don't know for sure but I suspect he was also a migraine sufferer.
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Old 11-03-2016, 07:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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... I didn't understand from your first post that you get migraines....
No worries, I was just welcoming Pouncer and didn't actually say that. My migraines are caused by a stage 3 tumor in my brain. Some days it swells up a bit and presses on important stuff up there. Various combinations of steroids and pain meds make the pain stop, but the side effects are awful.

I also have autonomic neuropathy, and type 2 diabetes, but those don't involve headaches.

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... Leave. Me. Alone. And be quiet while you're doing it....
uh-huh. Don't touch me. Don't even breathe near me cuz my head is so incredibly over-sensitive. That was rough on my ex, she's a health care professional and very physical. Not being able to comfort me with a hug or a massage was completly counter to her every instinct.

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... Normies don't understand that...
Nope, and I've given up on trying to explain it to them.

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... I guess you can't look forward to menopause...
* lol * Nope, won't happen to me Although from what I've heard, menopause sounds absolutely horrible on it's own.

Mike
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Old 07-02-2017, 01:58 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I using medical cannabis for pain, I don't feel any guilt about it though. It's gotten me off of pain medication and I was taking a lot of opiates. I had my first taste of withdrawal coming off of the pain meds and that was awful. Alcohol is so much worse because it was a social drug as well. Opioids were actually causing my pain to be worse! My life has turned completely around since I came off of those medications.

I don't have migraines but I do have 24/7 nerve pain in my neck.

Quitting the pills did kick my alcohol consumption up a notch into absolute no control territory. I was a daily drinker prior to this and I drank heavily at times. I certainly had a drinking problem and I was aware of it. However I didn't have the overwhelming compulsion where you just cannot stop drinking.

I don't know if it was just a way of coping with PAWS or if there was something else involved in the withdrawal process that caused my drinking to go off the charts.

Perhaps the increase in alcohol consumption isn't a bad thing as I probably never would have quit even though deep inside I already knew I would be better off without it but the thought of not drinking was too much to handle.

Cannabis doesn't increase or decrease my alcohol cravings at this time. The couple of times I've had to walk away from it for a week or two it was no big deal and I had no side effects. It's quite a bit different for me in that regard compared to pills and booze where the withdrawals are in your face and completely suck to deal with.
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Old 07-09-2017, 06:28 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I was considering cannabis for my ptsd, it's not legal here tho so I can't.:-(
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Old 07-09-2017, 07:17 PM   #15 (permalink)
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If medical cannabis were legal in my state I would be using it too. I have some pretty bad pain. I don't use pain pills because I feel they make my pain worse.

I don't think you should feel guilty.
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Old 03-10-2018, 11:16 AM   #16 (permalink)
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I had a really bad flare of RA in January and I used cannabis for three weeks to get through it. It helped but I don't like the residual spaciness I get. I struggled with whether I should reset my sobriety date, but I decided not to. I also suffer from migraines and find that pure CBD helps with that and I don't have to worry about compromising my sobriety because it's not psychoactive. I've never vaped pure CBD but I want to try it. I worry a bit about the health effects of vaping but it really is the fastest delivery.

Do you feel guilty for feeling better or for smoking cannabis?
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Old 09-23-2019, 06:42 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I have no guilt. I've had my medical marijuana card (Florida) for about 9 months now. It's very much saving me. I have chronic pain from a car accident and when my neck goes out, it'll cause migraines and blur my vision if I don't get to a chiropractor pretty quick. I had a severe anaphylactic shock from Imitrex to treat one of those migraines before I discovered the chiropractor could heal what the neurologist couldn't. It literally almost killed me (I actually didn't have a drinking problem before that point, not until after that event and being put on Cymbalta for a PTSD type anxiety did alcohol effect me differently).

While it does help with the pain, my primary problem is insomnia. I've had it for a long time and I started using alcohol to get me to sleep years ago. When sober, I can't shut my mind off. I'm always thinking about things and it can take hours to go to sleep. With medical and now flower is legal, so a good Indica before bed lets me drift off to sleep in comfort in 20 minutes instead of 2 hours.

I still wake up every hour or two throughout the night, but in a number of ways, it's been a life saver for me. I tried CBD for a few months before I got my MMJ and I never noticed any difference, but I wasn't 100% sober either.
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Old 09-24-2019, 03:04 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Hi abgator. Thanks for telling your story. Since this post, I relapsed and went to rehab. I've been sober off of everything (even Ambien) since May 2018. I feel really good. Weed didn't really help my pain that much and it made me feel hungover the next day. It's just not for me and I feel it compromises my sobriety by leading to drinking.

Insomnia is so hard to treat. I currently take Seroquel for sleep but hate it because it causes weight gain. I can't take Trazodone because it clogs my sinuses. I'm out of options because I don't want to go back on Ambien. I recently tried a new one called Belsomra, but it was awful.

As for migraines, I'm currently take Propanolol for prevention and a triptan as abortive therapy. It's working ok but I just had to increase the Propanolol.

Best of luck finding the best treatments for what ails you. I know how hard it is.
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Old 09-24-2019, 03:20 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Best of luck to you as well, Leana.

Ambien is scary stuff. I don't know a doctor, Primary or Psychaitrist, that would prescribe it. And I'm ok with that based on the stories I've heard. I've taken ambience twice, both for sleep studies. Neither time did it work for me, though that's quite possible because I was strapped to machines in a sleep lab lol.

Just curious on the weed, did you experiment with all the different strains available? I can only smoke an indica where anxiety isn't a common side effect. Many of the "pain relieving" strains cause me anxiety and that has led to drinking in the past, just to alleviate the anxiety. Now I'm very careful about what I buy and smoke, doing my due diligence first.

In the end, a healthy diet and a lot of gym time at least 5 times a week is the best chance at a cure while my brain/body resets from all the alcohol damage I've done.

I'm lucky that I haven't had a major migraine now in over 10 years, since I'm able to recognize the symptoms and get to the Chiro before it hits me too hard. I'm already high strung enough without adding those evil things to the heap of issues lol.

And seeing your sobriety date, I just now noticed the date on these posts. Hahahaha. I was just browsing forums outside the Newbies and didn't pay attention.
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Old 09-24-2019, 04:27 PM   #20 (permalink)
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No problem abgator. I respond to old posts all the time!

I smoked hybrids and pure indica but never pure sativa because it makes me anxious. I also smoked CBD/THC hybrids.

Lucky you with the migraines. I was cured of migraines back in 2007 from something called craniosacral therapy but I haven't been able to find a practitioner covered by my insurance where I live now.
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