Today’s guest author is Lisa W., an inspiring woman who has been a part of my recovery journey for more than 10 years! She has always been supportive and encouraging to those seeking to get clean and/or sober, and very honest about her own struggles as well as achievements as she travels the road to happy destiny. She is also an artist and animal lover, and she enjoys hanging out with her recovery friends at the local Starbucks. This is her story:
Sober and Marijuana-Free
Written by Lisa W.
I have been clean and sober for over 12 years.
During my years of using and drinking, I mostly drank alcohol and smoked pot. For many years, alcohol did the trick just fine. I had a good time, loosened those inhibitions, and partied away. It all seemed normal, and what my friends were also doing.
When I started adding in the pot smoking, it really just happened if someone offered me some. As time went on, I started liking it more and would keep my own stash, often smoking in the evening, after work.
When I went to art college (yes, a college, just for art), I experimented a bit with psychedelics. My friends introduced me to Grateful Dead shows, and I did a hippie kind of thing for a few years. I managed to get my degree, and out I went into the world.
After that, I stopped with all the drugs except alcohol and pot. I found I liked the pot more than anything else I did, but I kept drinking hard liquor, too. Then the hard liquor started making me violently ill. The pot did not. So I tended to avoid alcohol, unless I did not have pot.
Somehow, for a couple of years, I forced myself to stay clean. I had a job I loved, and random drug testing was enforced. In addition, I lived with an emotionally abusive alcoholic, and I think my new thing became codependency; let us try to get the real alcoholic sober. Ironic.
Eventually I moved away, alone, to San Francisco and eventually, friends I made there offered me pot. Then I started smoking again, and smoking, and smoking. When they say the disease progresses, they are so right. I did not want to drink. I wanted more weed. I lied to my parents to get money. I stopped working and went on disability because my bipolar disorder had me in and out of hospitals. Imagine that. I kept lying and hiding from everyone. I only went out to see my dealer, to move my cash around, and cash checks I lied to my parents to get. My world became a room and me and my bong.
I hit bottom, and I knew the gig was up. I had to stop. I got help in an outpatient program, and they told me to go to NA, AA or MA – it did not matter which of the 12-step programs, just go. So… I did. In San Francisco, MA (Marijuana Anonymous) is reasonably available. However, I did not like the meetings as much as AA. NA (Narcotics Anonymous) meetings were widely available, but I did not like them as much as AA either.
I did not like MA so much because there was little stability as far as return participants, and almost no long-term sobriety. My impression was that the meeting shares tended toward romancing the drug, as opposed to living in the solution.
NA meetings seemed to be packed with people recovering from very tough drugs, like meth and crack. I even heard people snicker when I said that I was in recovery from marijuana addiction.
However, AA suited me very well. First, just the very nature of how I smoked pot and how so many people drank was very similar – I would start in the morning with a little buzz, to take the edge off, then every hour or two have more, to keep that edge from coming back, and then maybe go a little heavier in the evening. Of course, if I was not obligated to be anywhere, I’d stay very drunk or, in my case, stoned all day long.
I moved back to northern Virginia six months into my recovery, and have gone exclusively to AA since then. I have amazing friendships in the fellowship, a strong recovery, have found the best and most successful treatment for my bipolar disorder, and I am contented with who I am.
Therefore, I have written all this down for the struggling pot addict out there. You know if this is you too. Maybe you do not know where to start in seeking help – start somewhere and do not get discouraged. You do not have to say what you’re addicted to, if you do not want to.
I have been afraid of the controversy I might stir up in an AA meeting if I say, “Hi, I’m Lisa, and I’m an alcoholic and a pot addict.” Therefore, I just say that I am an alcoholic; I substitute in the word “alcohol” when I really mean “pot” in my shares.
Nevertheless, AA should be proud that it could help pot addicts, too, where no other 12-step program serves them well. Addiction to marijuana is real. It severely affects the addict’s life. It exacerbates underlying mental illness. It hurts the addict’s family.
I do hear people open up from time to time in AA meetings about the severity of their pot addiction; I certainly do when I share my story. We should never be afraid to let other AA members know that we are in AA to recover from marijuana addiction, too.
If you would like to share your story on this blog, to help inspire and support those still struggling with addiction and/or alcoholism, as well as those currently in recovery, please send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with alcohol addiction, please click the Find Support link for an extensive list of support groups. Also please check out the links to many useful resources in the sidebar, and always feel free to contact me anytime at email@example.com.
You may also find some great inspiration and support from all the awesome sober bloggers listed in the side bar under POSTS I LIKE and RECOVERY BLOGGERS, as well as Sober Courage page on Facebook and Sober Courage on Twitter.