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Marijuana, an Essential Piece of the Puzzle Missing in Alcohol/Addiction Recovery Programs
One of the most important things we know about the studies done on marijuana is that it’s relatively safe, and since we know that it’s safe, we can self-experiment and apply the use on basically any human condition without much fear of something going wrong. I want to add another reason why marijuana should be legal, and by doing this, I also hope to dispel a major, widespread myth surrounding alcoholism, addiction, and marijuana. The common misconception is that once you become and alcoholic or addicted to something like opioids, that you’re going to be addicted to every substance for the rest of your life.
Related article: Is Marijuana Safer than Alcohol?
The craziest part is that with this misconception in mind, doctors across the country are giving people highly addictive medications like benzodiazepines to help them get through withdrawals. These pharmaceuticals hit the same receptors in the brain as alcohol, making their ‘addicted for life’ assessment true in a sense, and effectively never giving someone a real chance to recover.
This current process is creating a human being that is scared to death by the possibility of living in dependent recovery for a lifetime. People are becoming dependent on their recovery program, after becoming dependent on the pharmaceuticals that their doctor prescribed them, and it can feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. The lie about marijuana in recovery, is that people are told that it’s a gateway drug (just like we were told as kids), and that it will lead to harder stuff just because you’re altering your mind, but we’re adults now, and we need to understand the vast difference of how these substances affect the human body.
Smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol affect the body in vastly different ways, both physically and spiritually. I’ve started to realize that taking care of the physical without the spiritual is pointless when it comes to feeling healthy and at peace, because at forty-one years old, I’ve never been healthier or less stressed. Here’s a look at Stoners v. Boozers.
My new favorite analogy for alcohol is that it seems to hit the part of your brain that steals your soul when you get drunk. It’s usually when you get so drunk, blackout, and don’t remember anything that you do the most damage because that’s when you seem to lose more than just your inhibition. If you haven’t been there, good for you, but you may have had to babysit a friend in that condition. You can start to get scared of what they might do, because it’s like they’re not present with you or off in another dimension.
Related article: Is Marijuana Safer than Alcohol?
Biologically, as soon as alcohol gets into your system, it starts killing things like your brain cells, cognitive function, the good bacteria in your gut, your liver, your heart, etc., and these all have long term effects. This isn’t to scare anybody, but here is one of many articles about the harmful effects of alcohol on the body. We use alcohol to kill germs and sterilize equipment because it kills things, what makes us think that there is any real benefit to the human body, especially when consumed excessively?
Smoking marijuana on the other hand, has a much different effect on your physical and your spiritual being. For me, it’s like having an emotional barometer inside, because it allows me to feel what my body is trying to tell me without me having to try and hide from life. After gaining some smoking experience, weed does what I tell it to, and in the way that my body wants or needs it to be done. Having a purpose before and while you smoke weed can completely alter your state allowing you to deal with emotions and feelings as they come, rather than just drowning them out with alcohol so they can magnify later.
This is crucial in breaking the addiction pattern in our minds, so an alcoholic can be free from dependency, not just from alcohol, but free from the recovery program too. When someone begins to meditate while they’re smoking weed and allows their body to just feel the emotions amplified by marijuana, and then release the negative energy for about a half an hour per day, their life will change dramatically… especially if they’re trying to recover from addiction.
Alcohol withdrawals can be deadly so if you need to detox under medical care, please do so. But if you’re trying to wean yourself off booze because you’d like to drink less, weed is the perfect companion. Doctors actually used to prescribe marijuana for delirium tremens (a symptom of alcohol withdrawal) until 1941, when weed became illegal, but now, it’s slowly being reintroduced as an alternative treatment again.
I detoxed in the hospital because a friend had sent the police to my house to do a wellness check after getting some texts from me that sounded suicidal. I’m very lucky to have the friends that I have. In the hospital, they gave benzodiazepines to ease the pain of the withdrawal symptoms of alcohol, but benzos are highly addictive and offer nearly the same withdrawal effects and dangers as alcohol.
I did have a few seizures as part of the withdrawal, and when I asked the doctors and nurses about smoking cannabis for seizures, they laughed and said alcoholics can’t smoke weed. Instead, they gave me gabapentin which has side effects like increased risk of suicide, even though I was brought to the hospital because they thought I was suicidal.
I don’t believe many people understand suicide, addiction, or the effects that pharmaceuticals have on someone’s mental state. This is very dangerous if you’re listening to a doctor that does not have experience with addiction, because it might be impossible for that doctor to understand if they haven’t experienced it firsthand. It’s not “turn your head and cough” stuff, addiction has as much to do with stress and anxiety as depression does.
After my lifetime of experience with anxiety, depression, alcoholism, addiction to pharmaceuticals, suicidal thoughts from the withdrawals, and recovery from all of it, I can tell you that experience helps when you’re trying to understand these things at the high level that’s needed to give someone effective care. Addiction comes from a lifetime of learned behaviors and children being bombarded with an overload of information and stress. Then, we head into adulthood with a lack of coping skills because we never learned to take time for ourselves to understand our environment. In my case, I turned to alcohol because it was the solution that I saw being used when I grew up. It goes much deeper than that, but that’s what the marijuana helps me discover while I’m meditating, and I like to get high so it’s a win for me.
Weaning yourself off alcohol with weed is easy, smoke as much as you want and then smoke some more. The thing that you want to take into serious consideration is the strain that you’re about to smoke. An alcoholic that does not smoke pot will want to try something with a high CBD content like AC/DC or Harlequin, to help with anxiety and shaking from nervousness. I smoked G-6 (Jet Fuel) my first time and it made me feel exactly what my body wanted to tell me it felt like, which was purely terrible, and even more terrified. Couch lock doesn’t accurately describe how much crazy tension I had when I first smoked, I survived just fine but be aware of what you’re smoking.
Get yourself some marijuana. I’m sure you knew that, but this is where I wanted to put a few of my favorite strains for meditating, and this seemed like a logical place to put them. The top five strains I like to use to meditate are: 1. Mickey’s Kush Chunky Diesel 3. Gorilla Glue #1 4. True OG 5. Lime Skunk. These are in no particular order, and in no particular category but are all common in that they all have euphoric and relaxing traits. For me it’s important to be able to zone out and get into ultimate chill mode. You can do this by following these steps.
Get some relaxing music, some headphones… and find a quiet place to either sit comfortably or lie down. These days you can probably just blurt out “meditation music” and someone’s device will start playing it, but I like to find stuff on YouTube all the time because there is a giant variety and it’s free. You can find binaural beats which have frequencies that are supposed to help alter your mood to a positive state. It works for me…
Control your body with your breath. Breathing is your body’s conscious way of transferring energy around the body when you’re paying attention to it. There are many different breathing techniques so find your favorite and get started. Just make sure that you’re breathing at a steady pace to begin with, so you can center your energy.
Smoke to your preference, find your spot, and just relax. I’m not talking about just relaxing though, I’m talking about the type of relaxing that looks at a guy in a coma, laughs and says, “That’s all you got?” In order to do this, once you’re satisfied with your rhythm of breathing, continue at the gentle pace that you set, then take your focus and attention and turn it inwards on yourself. There are energy centers, or more commonly known as ‘chakras’ that you can focus on to help bring your meditation to the next level. The energy centers are currently being scientifically measured so we know they exist and putting your attention on one or all of these centers can change your awareness form outward to inward. If you start to feel a sensation like you’re floating or going to fall off a ledge, then you’re doing it right. That’s the energy transferring around the body so it can be released. Your job is to not hang onto it, so you can let it go.
Let it go. It sounds easy but might be the most difficult part at first because your thoughts take your attention from where it needs to be and puts them back onto the outside world. No problem. Again, focus on a slow and steady breath until your thoughts disappear. It helped me to visualize my thoughts as a tornado because it represented chaos, but it’s controlled in a funnel shape, making it easier for me to manage.
Repeat often. We get so jacked up with information everyday that it’s nearly impossible to process all of it. In my recovery from alcoholism, I realized that sometimes doing nothing is accomplishing way more than doing something because you’re not screwing anything up. You literally cannot do any damage to your life while you’re meditating, so try to incorporate it as much as you can.
I started experimenting with this because I knew that alcoholism, just like most things in life, was tied to stress and stress is tied to a lack of copings skills. Coping skills are attained when you’re comfortable with yourself and being comfortable with yourself come from shutting the outside world off for a little while each day with more than just the few hours of sleep we give ourselves each night. Doing a routine like this every day, will help even if you don’t have an addiction problem and work as preventative maintenance. The most important goal and result is to be less stressed, because being less stressed can help in every area of your life, and it’s your life to live so do it your way.
*** This information is not provided by medical professionals and is intended only to complement, and not to replace or contradict, any health or medical advice or information provided by healthcare professionals. If you have any questions, please contact your doctor or other healthcare professional.
About the author: Neil Firszt uses his lifetime of experience to write about alcoholism, addiction, anxiety, depression, and how to recover from all of it. Finding the root cause of his addictions and depression has allowed him to be able to help many others by sharing his experiences. You can read his blog at neilfirszt.com. Author of Recovered: The Cure for Alcoholism on Amazon
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