Legal Marijuana and Addiction Recovery
Monday, November 10 2014 Kira Lesley
A Recovering Alcoholic Reacts to Marijuana Legalization
My state just legalized recreational marijuana. What does this mean for me as a person in addiction recovery? My initial thought is, it doesn't mean much. As a rule, I practice abstinence from drugs that are mind-altering. For me, this includes alcohol, marijuana, all illegal substances, benzodiazepines and prescription painkillers.
However, I do think there is a time and place for using pain medication responsibly in addiction recovery. In addition, I believe some people can use prescription anxiety or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) medications in recovery without abusing them (but I find them too slippery to use myself).
Recovering addicts and alcoholics can and do constantly debate what it means to be "truly clean and sober." I don't attend meetings and practice tools of recovery in order to judge someone else's recovery. I believe marijuana probably has legitimate medical effects and it can be a mostly harmless recreation for some people. (Is Marijuana Addictive?) But that has nothing to do with me. I know that I cannot safely or recreationally use mind-altering substances, whether they're legal or not.
Addiction Recovery: Staying Vigilant, Avoiding Triggers
Marijuana was not a big part of my addiction story. Had it been, maybe I would be more concerned about its coming availability in gummy bear and soda form. As it stands now, I expect that the weed section will be just another part of the grocery store to avoid.
Legalized marijuana will likely require slightly increased vigilance on my part. Currently, marijuana is legal for medicinal uses in twenty-three states and four of those states have passed laws legalizing recreational marijuana use. If the current trend continues, many more Americans in addiction recovery might soon have to decide how they will respond to legalized marijuana in their own state or a neighboring one. I don't plan to make major changes in my program of recovery but I do plan to remain vigilant.