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Thread: Cannabis during recovery VS full abstinence?

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    Cannabis during recovery VS full abstinence? 
    #1
    Bluelighter Kallisti23's Avatar
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    What are peoples thoughts and opinions on smoking cannabis when quitting or having quit other substances? Or having the odd drink if you are not an alcoholic? I don't see cannabis as something bad or something I want to quit. The dilemma is that by smoking you are still getting a high, and do you need to learn to be completely sober, at least for a time? Or is the enough to just to quit the troublesome substances?

    I'm not expecting a concrete answer to this question, just thinking out loud really and wondering about peoples opinions on the matter.
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    #2
    I smoke regularly during the week and less so on the weekends. I also use psychedelics sparingly, about every few months (now - more so during early recovery).

    For me these substances seem to help, rather than hinder my recovery from alcohol abuse.
    Cannabis by allowing me some reprieve throughout the work week and pscyhes by allowing me an alternate perspective from time to time (though I could argue cannabis does the same). Sure the smoking makes me a little more apt to be lazy but perhaps thats just me projecting my laziness.

    Completely sober seems like quite the term.
    How far do you go? Coffee? Cigarettes? Certain foods?
    IMO, unless its government mandated via some sort of testing, Id say do what works for you. Recovery is a personal thing and everyones recovery will be different
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    #3
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    Agreed, I can still have a few drinks here and there and not jeopardize my sobriety. Even knowing the fact that it was something i often did when high. It's not a trigger, that's really the only reason I avoid something.
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    #4
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    I've smoked weed pretty much daily since giving up heroin. Personally, I think it's a godsend. I do stay away from booze (most of the time), as I find that it can put me in a negative headspace. But cannabis has been really helpful for me.
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    #5
    Bluelighter Kallisti23's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tired of crap View Post
    Completely sober seems like quite the term.
    How far do you go? Coffee? Cigarettes? Certain foods?
    IMO, unless its government mandated via some sort of testing, Id say do what works for you. Recovery is a personal thing and everyones recovery will be different
    I completely agree with you on this one, people seem to bandy the word 'sober' around a lot but we are constantly consuming products that alter how we feel. I believe it's more about finding what works for you. Personally I don't like the feeling of needing to take something to feel well. Although I smoke cannabis daily when I can, I have no issue at all with going on holiday and not smoking, or being out and not smoking. Therefore, it feels like a choice I make rather than an addiction. At the end of the day, if there's something fairly benign that gives you pleasure, helps you relax, and prevents you from reaching for something more detrimental then I believe it's a positive thing. It was just talking to a friend with a slightly differing opinion yesterday that got me thinking about this. I think it's a very personal thing though and there's obviously no one-fits-all answer when it comes to this kind of thing.

    Quote Originally Posted by simco View Post
    I've smoked weed pretty much daily since giving up heroin. Personally, I think it's a godsend. I do stay away from booze (most of the time), as I find that it can put me in a negative headspace. But cannabis has been really helpful for me.
    Cannabis is certainly a hell of a lot better and safer than a lot of government sponsored drugs (I don't live in a country or state where cannabis is legal) for getting off heavy opiates. Fair play to you man.

    Sorry for all the quotes, but this is a good way of looking at it.

    Quote Originally Posted by bptubbs View Post
    Agreed, I can still have a few drinks here and there and not jeopardize my sobriety. Even knowing the fact that it was something i often did when high. It's not a trigger, that's really the only reason I avoid something.
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    #6
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    Glad you agree.

    That's the main reason I've always avoided the whole 12 step thing.
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    #7
    Bluelighter ladyhlove's Avatar
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    Cannabis, much like simco stated above, has been a godsend for me in my recovery from heroin.

    One of the things I find it helps with most is cravings. I still have the urge to get off work at 5 pm and get high. I still do, but now its just with marijuana and not heroin. I find it really helps with the boredom aspect of "sobriety".

    I also still drink. I had a minor problem with alcohol before I began opiate usage, but I've cut back a lot in recent years. Mainly, I get such nasty hangovers its never worth it to have more than one or two. I have the occasional "binge" nights here and there (friends bdays, bachelorette parties, etc things like that) but they've become few and far between. When I quit opiates I debated quitting drinking too, but I decided it would be ok as long as I didn't replace my opiate use with drinking...and so far, I haven't.

    A friend of mine and I were discussing this the other day, actually. I mean, what defines sober really? The clinic I go to to get my subs does UA and gets on me for having THC and sometimes alcohol metabolites in my tests. In their opinion an addict is an addict is an addict..but I couldn't disagree more. Just because I'm addicted to one substance does not mean I'm just an overall addict who can't control myself around food, sex, whatever.

    Also why I avoid 12 step meetings like the plague.
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    #8
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    ^
    Lady H... the stuff you're describing with your clinic drives me nuts. I ended up having to walk away from suboxone because my local clinic refused to treat me unless I stopped taking my Rx'ed benzos (which I've taken without problems for years), and of course pot was completely off the table. If they ever could have given a reason for these decisions, I might have been receptive, but it was always as you described--once an addict, always an addict.
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    #9
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    I don't know if I have had any real benefits from smoking cannabis when it comes to abstaining from opiates and other drugs such as benzos and pregabalin which were causing me problems but as it doesn't pose any real dangers for me I don't mind using it every once in a while.

    If the cannabis use doesn't cause any real problems then the use is under control but people can make it habitual too and suffer from bad side effects of uncontrolled daily use.

    It has been a week since I last smoked pot and I haven't had any cravings for it either but I am not abstaining from it but instead I haven't just wanted to use it.

    For me sobrierity is staying out of the drugs that have caused problems or the use has become obsessive in the past and therefore I accept the fact that I am going to use empathogenics and psychedelics once in a while as I can use them responsibly as well as drink those few bottles of beer per week.

    I have also noticed that this summer time has made me use those more than I usually do so I am keeping my eye on my usage so it doesn't become a problem and if it does I am going to do something about it. During summer there tends to be much more occassions to use those drugs as there are plenty of partying involved especially in the holiday season when most people get out of the town to their cabins.

    We usually roll once in a month with my fiancee but as our friends have huge amount of spare time to spend with us it just happens that we roll or take other empatogenics or psychedelics during that time. I have also noticed that when the fall comes we get back to our normal habits so it is just the summer time when we might have two days binge in a week.

    I think it is quite normal that drug and alcohol use goes up in the summer and most people know how to stop when their holiday seasons end but still for some it may become a problem and as I have had past addictions it is wise to monitor how I am doing.

    In my opinion being sober isn't black and white thing but instead a rainbow spectrum of different kind of habits and I am not just going to sit on abstaining end if I can use responsibly what I happen to use. Still I am not going to play with fire and try to use for example opiates just once recreationally as I know it might not end well but if I am in pain I might take opiate prescribed for me but it must be a small script.

    I agree too to what Kallisti23 said about needing to take something to feel well and if I ever find myself thinking I need any drug to feel normal or well it would be a huge warning sign for me and I would definately sit down and think about my habits.
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    #10
    Bluelighter kronedog's Avatar
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    Cannabis is without a doubt one of the reasons I was even able to quit other substances in the first place.

    I used cannabis a lot when coming off of amphetamines, booze, opiates, Benzo's and an SSRI all at once. It was incredibly brutal and punishing and weed was the only thing that helped. It seriously made things more tolerable because I was a total wreck and my moods and emotions were all over the place, it was painful. I basically traded my addiction from the "harder" stuff to just weed.

    As the OP stated, they don't want to just trade in their addiction for weed because they're still getting high and I understand that. At least for me, I got to a certain point about a year after quitting the other substances where I was finally able to sit down and tell myself, okay, now it's time to cut back on the cannabis because I got into a rut where all of a sudden I was smoking all day long from morning until night. Anytime I felt at unease, frustrated, confused, even happy, or afraid to do anything, I'd spark up. So I came to a conclusion that while I may not be damaging myself as bad as I was with the other stuff, I'm still using cannabis as a way to escape and get high. I had to change that way of thinking and act on cutting down, slowly.

    I still smoke, it's still a struggle but it's no longer a daily thing. I have pretty much no desire to go back to any other substance ever again. I prefer being sober most of the time now, something I never thought I'd ever say or feel. It has worked for me, but it has been a 3 year process and a lot of ups and downs. I wish you the best of luck OP!
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    #11
    I used to love smoking weed for the reflection and introspection, but the last few times I tried, it mostly just put me in a lazy, anxious state. I could maybe get away with smoking it occasionally, but there'd be no real benefit, plus it doesn't fit into my current lifestyle. As useful as some of the effects are, it has historically become a hindrance and kept me from looking forward and working on new goals and achievements. Most of the people I've watched quit a hard drug addiction and settle into smoking weed are getting by just fine, but tend to be wrapped up in superficial/material rewards or spacey woahdude nonsense. My view is that weed can help temper a more harmful addiction, but continuing to use it may not allow you to make the real changes you want.
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    #12
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    Beautifully put Grinders.

    My take is: if I don't have a problem doing it (or at least believe I don't have a problem doing it) then I shouldn't have a problem not doing it either. The hardest drug for me to quit has always been...the last one. The last thing that keeps me from having to deal with the life I create without the extra perception twists brought on by a substance. My perception is already skewed enough at times. I am in a constant state of striving to improve my conscious contact with reality...
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    #13
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    I can definitely identify with folks' stories about weed feeling like it's "holding me back." As helpful as pot has been in my recovery, I acknowledge that daily smoking does have undesirable side effects for me, primarily in terms of motivation and ambition. No drug is free of side effects, and weed is no different. As always, its value comes down to balancing the undesirable effects and the desirable ones. For me, the desirable effects far outweigh the negatives. But this is something each person needs to suss out for him or herself if they're interested in incorporating cannabis into their recovery.
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