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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 then apply the use on basically any human condition without much fear of something going wrong. The common misconception is that once you become an alcoholic or have an addiction to anything else, 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 ever dependent on their recovery programs and on the pharmaceuticals that their doctor prescribes them, so it can really feel like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel. The untruth about marijuana in recovery or any situation for that matter, is that people are given false information that it’s a gateway drug (just like we were told as kids), and that it will lead to harder substances because you’re altering your state of being. But, we’re adults now and we know that even caffeine alters your state of mind, so we need to understand the vast difference of how these substances affect the human body.
Smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol affect the body in nearly opposite ways mentally, physically, and spiritually. Marijuana helped me realize that taking care of the mental and physical without the spiritual is pointless when it comes to feeling healthy and at peace. I've also created something I call "Selfie Therapy" that I'll explain in a bit, but weed has played a huge role in making it effective.
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, 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 prescribe marijuana for delirium tremens (a symptom of alcohol withdrawal) until 1941 when weed became illegal, but now it’s 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.
My alcohol use was bad enough to 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 it was believed that 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 people at the high level that’s needed to give someone effective care. Addictions come from the programming of learned behaviors when we're children, and 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 the most when I grew up.
Weaning yourself off alcohol with weed is easy... smoke as much as you want and then smoke some more. The thing that you might 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 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, but I survived just fine and you will too, just 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 do it. 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! There are so many free options on YouTube that you'll have no problem finding the music that you like. You can search "binaural beats" or "meditation music", which have frequencies that have been shown to help alter your mood to different states. 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 mind and body.
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... 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. When I'm having trouble getting out of my head, it helps me to visualize a tornado coming through and sweeping the excess baggage away. It represents chaos taking away more chaos for me, and hopefully something similar can work for you too.
Selfie therapy came about because I sometimes lose my train of thought in the middle of making videos. And then one day, instead of turning off the recording and starting over, I kept talking into the camera and that's when the magic started to happen! As I kept talking, my thoughts started to get deeper and more honest than anything I normally say out loud, and I quickly noticed that I was able to express myself in a way that is much more in line with how I want to communicate. Actually speaking my thoughts and feelings to myself into the camera on a level that I don't normally speak at, has been instrumental in helping me clarify what I think should and shouldn't come out of my mouth and stress levels drop to zero.
Honesty is the key for this lock to turn, because you will spit out plenty of tears and bullshit that don't actually align with your thoughts and who you see yourself to be. The intention is to get these thoughts out verbally so they're not stuck in your subconscious, and then end up coming out when you get nervous and have nothing else to say. You're able to communicate all of this to yourself (subconscious), and work out what feels good to say instead of accidentally communicating the wrong message out of desperation.
I also created Selfie Therapy instructional video that is a great example of what can happen when you take the time and talk things out to yourself for a while! The only way to create this instructional video was to show you one of my own least embarrassing selfie therapy sessions. So the video you're going to see is me being completely vulnerable and in my own head, trying to sort out the language I want to use to communicate with my subconscious... it also gets pretty funny at times. It's definitely a scary thought to put out something that shows me so unguarded, but the whole point is to be comfortable in your own skin. If I can inspire you to get in touch with all sides of yourself, then it's 100% worth a little embarrassment from me! If you would like the link to this video please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be happy to send the link along with other tips and processes that will keep stress AND pharmacueticals out of your life.
*** 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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