My Visit to a Marijuana Anonymous Meeting

nomarijuana

Members of Marijuana Anonymous tend to think the world consists of three kinds of people: Normies, Stoners, and fellow members of Marijuana Anonymous.

Normies can take pot or leave it. A puff now and then is cool, but if they run out of pot they don’t freak out. They’re just …  normal about it.

Stoners are people who by and large cling to the delusion that they’re normies—but who never, ever run out of weed if they can help it.

People in Marijuana Anonymous are stoners who finally grew desperate over the fact that, no matter how hard they tried, they just couldn’t, so to speak, keep off the grass.

“Being an addict is horrible,” says Laura B. before an MA meeting I recently visited in downtown San Diego, CA. “You’re just helpless against your desire.” Laura leans back in one of the sixty or so chairs that describe a double row of seats placed around the large, vacant room. We’re in an abandoned car repair garage, a structure well suited for the sort of serious, no-frills business recovering addicts are about.

“The thing is,” Laura continues, “People don’t really take pot seriously. Everybody thinks it’s so benign—like it’s not really addictive, you know? Well, [swear word] that. I tried coke, speed, acid. But weed’s the only thing that grabbed me by my backbone. It just wouldn’t let me go. And right away, too. I just turned on to it. For twenty years, I got stoned almost every single day. And here I just celebrated my first year of sobriety. A year! I’m telling you the truth: I thank God every day for Marijuana Anonymous.”

Marijuana Anonymous depends for its recovery process upon the renowned 12 Step Program utilized by Alcoholics Anonymous. It’s a non-profit, world-wide organization unaffiliated with any other organization, religious or secular.

They’re huge—and everywhere. There’s probably a weekly MA meeting held somewhere near you.

Each meeting, which lasts an hour, is run by a Secretary, who at the beginning of each session asks two or three regular attendees to read aloud an invocation that reminds them all of who they are, and why they have come. Next, the Secretary asks if anyone present is celebrating an anniversary of sobriety: a month, three months, a year, and the like. If someone is, that person stands, and another MA member or friend makes a short speech praising their victory. Following this testimony, the conquering hero is rewarded a “sobriety chip,” small disks of varying colors bearing the MA logo on one side and, say, “Sixty Days” printed in gold on the other. These tokens count among a recovering addict’s most cherished possessions.

The Secretary then declares the meeting open to discussion—but not before stipulating three conditions: that no one person speak for more than five minutes, that no one interuppt someone else who’s speaking, and that no one who has in any way gotten intoxicated within the previous 24 hours speak at all.

And then, for forty or so minutes, people relate the nature of their ongoing struggle against the temptations of marijuana.

Afterward, a small basket is passed around. Most people present drop in a buck or two. No one has to.

Tom Carlyle. is a drug councilor and long-time MA Secretary.

“I’ve been going to MA meetings for over five years,” he says. “And at every meeting I learn something new. I don’t think there’s a more encouraging or enriching thing than to hear a person finally and honestly confess in public that pot has ruined the quality of their lives. It means there’s hope for that person—real hope. An addict can find strength at these meetings. The amazing thing is the range of people who attend them. Some people are just starting to quit. Others have been sober for years, and so can offer that longer perspective. It’s great, because wherever you are in the journey towards regaining control of your life, there’s always someone around who’s exactly one step ahead of you, and another who’s one step behind. You’re surrounded by people who can understand exactly where you’re at and what you’re going through. That’s just invaluable. And it’s people from all walks of life, too. Doctors, lawyers, housewives … everybody. Pot doesn’t discriminate.”

To formally conclude an MA meeting, everyone rises and stands in a circle holding hands. Having kept a moment of silence in remembrance of the addict who still suffers, the group then says a prayer. It is almost always the famous Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

The Marijuana Anonymous website is here.

The 12 Steps of Marijuana Anonymous are:

1. We admitted we were powerless over marijuana, that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understood God.

4. We took a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. We humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. We continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to marijuana addicts, and to practice these principals in all our affairs.

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About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is co-founder of The NALT Christians Project and founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here). His blog is here. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    Cool. I'm a big fan of the 12 steps, and hanging with recovery-type-folks in general.

  • http://www.myspace.com/whitenoisemetalpodcast Brian Shields

    Don't you know? Rehab is for quitters

  • mm

    Addiction is Addiction plain and simple: If you have an addictive personality chances are there is one thing or multiple things you will become addicted to in your lifetime that will be very hard to quit. For some people it's alcohol, some cigarettes, some hard drugs, some pot, some food, some sex, etc…. on and on. You can become addicted to anything.

    No matter how benign most people would consider pot to be, for some people, it can be a struggle. Whether or not it should be illegal is a different discussion.

  • Jill

    I don't have an addictive personality at all. In high school, I'd smoke cigarettes or weed with my friends on the weekends, drink, the normal teen stuff. I never became addicted to any of it. I do recognize that, like the comment by MM, some people have addictive personalities and weed really can be a struggle for those individuals. I also think that if someone is addicted to something, and they want to stop, they can. I had a friend who was addicted to cocaine, and he stopped doing it of his own volition. Anything can be accomplished if a person really desires the change.

  • http://www.myspace.com/whitenoisemetalpodcast Brian Shields

    Exactly Jill. Rehab/12 Steps is for people who can't take responsibility for their own actions and instead have to find systems to make them do what they couldn't do on their own.

    I quit the two hardest drugs I was ever involved with, Cocaine and Alcohol, on my own by just deciding one day neither was fun anymore. Fortunately I have never come to the point where Cannabis was anything but a positive in my life.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Brian: That's too harsh. So what if addicts have availed themselves of a "system," or a program, in order to better themselves? What is college, but a system people enroll in to help them achieve their goal? What is going grocery shopping, but a system in which people volunteer to participate as a way of meeting their needs?

    What is your job, but a system that helps you do what you can't do on your own?

    Better to give people a break, I think. Drugs are a bitch, period. Let anyone get any help they need to quit if that's their noble goal.

    Plus, I think it's fair to accuse people in rehab for not taking responsibility for their own actions. They certainly are; that's the whole POINT. Just because someone is getting help doing something doesn't mean they aren't doing it on their own. I can take all the piano lessons I want, but if I don't, on my own, practice, I'll never know how to play it.

  • http://www.myspace.com/whitenoisemetalpodcast Brian Shields

    John, with respect, I think you're being too harsh.

    Number one, I object to the use of the word "addict" when it comes to marijuana.

    Number Duo, the people I've known who have gone into "recovery" systems (which is what we're talking about here, not schools and jobs which are a whole other animal) are just trading a dependency on substances for a dependency on meetings, platitudes and feel good philosophy.

    Number Three-o, drugs are not a bitch. Drugs are a tool for exploring consciousness. They're the easiest way to truly understand that we don't have to settle for consensus reality. Can they be abused and mis-used to the detriment of the user? Sure but so can automobiles, firearms, and all sorts of other things we don't try to ban from our society. Quitting drugs is no more noble than quitting driving. Quitting driving like a maniac is equally noble as quitting abusing consciousness tools.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Brian: Well, this subject's too deep for me to here go diving into it. But real quick:

      To your one: If you don't think marijuana is an addictive substance, then we absolutely disagree, and let's save ourselves the trouble of back-and-forthing on it.

      To your number duo: You do have a point there. I'm not so comfortable judging harshly on it—better a meeting addict than a drug addict—but I absolutely know what you're saying.

      Three-o: I do see what you're saying. But … it's too much to go into here. But … I mean … are you saying that every time you torch a bone (what retro phraseology!) you're "exploring" your "consciousness"? I mean … c'mon. As opposed to zoning out, eating pizza, and watching funny movies? Seriously? Are we still playing the "I'm Just Like Timothy Leary" game? Maybe you're one of those rare drug users, who, say, smoke extremely high quality weed once a month while out in the desert or up on a mountain, and then use their high to meditate and, truly, explore their consciousness. I've met a LOT of people who say that's what they do, that that's how they get high. I've never known anyone who actually used that way, though. Or maybe they do the first three or four times they get high. Pretty soon, though–inevitably, as far as I've known–they quickly devolve into simple users. But if you're the exception to that rule, that's fantastic for you.

  • altonwoods

    Having used marijuana habitually from the age of 12-35 There are few subjects that I'm as familiar with. I'll attempt to distill my feelings about the drug, addictions in general,and 12 step meetings to something less than a diatribe…here's what I found.

    My use of marijuana did harm me…and it was'nt until I began to understand just what I had allowed it to take from me that I saw it for what it was and understood or rather vowed that I would not only never smoke again but that I would actually do a thorough step 4 and see what other areas of my life I had structured around deception.

    There is a term in the 12 step world, "white knuckling it" that's what people who have whats refered to as clean time are doing. They don't use, but they want to, and the vast majority will eventually "slip"or relapse. Drug use is a symptom of other problems people have. My deliverance from substance abuse was based in whats known as "recovery time" or understanding the reasons you "inhaled" in the first place. examining why you made those choices, and then having acknowledged them, start the work of truly freeing yourself. I did promise not to go off on a diatribe, I hope this info will be useful in some way.

  • http://www.myspace.com/whitenoisemetalpodcast Brian Shields

    Altonwoods: I respect the choice you made. I do find it interesting that you speak vaguely about the harm it caused and what it took from you. Can you be more specific?

    John:

    1. No back and forth. I will say there's a difference between addiction and dependency. The way I understand the word addiction involves some sort of physical withdrawal symptoms when you quit while dependency involves a psychological craving for the substance. I have no problems admitting that I'm dependent on both pot and chocolate.

    3. As much as I love you John, who are you to say that eating pizza and watching funny movies isn't a method for consciousness expansion and exploration? As Robert Anton Wilson used to say about medical marijuana, "the high is part of the cure." Sitting around getting stoned and playing video games or listening to heavy metal or whatever can be vehicles for seeing the world in a different way. You don't need to sit on a mountain or meditate wearing a Bo and Peep shroud in order to get the psychedelic experience of THC or any other entheogen.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Brian: If I can answer your question to Alton from my own experience: What you lose is relational time. When you're high on pot, you're alone: you're locked into your own consciousness. For however long you're high, you're incapable of … relating, basically. You THINK you're relating normally—you think you're being empathetic and kind and intimate and together—but you're not. You've made it so you're alone.

      Good points about the difference between addiction and dependency. I think there's not nearly enough difference in the severity of the grip exercised between the two as people people sometimes assume there is—and, indeed, the idea that physical addiction is any stronger a grip than is psychological addiction is a fairly dated notion—but of course I see your point. But, again, it's not wise to underestimate the power of a psychological addiction. We ARE our psychologies. If something's got your mind, it's got you.

      I'm surprised that you're as comfortable as you are saying you're dependent upon weed. (And it's hardly the same as chocolate. Chocolate doesn't radically alter the way you relate to the world.) What does that mean? In what way are you "dependent" upon it?

      To your 3: I'm not at all saying that eating pizza and watching movies while stoned can't be a means of consciousness exploration. If you do it once for that reason, it certainly can be. Or twice. Or three times. Or four, even. But I'm thinking right around, oh, say, the 50th time you've done that, the only person who would possibly affirm that you're still involved in "consciousness exploration" would be another stoner.

  • FreetoBe

    My experience has been that I didn’t realize the waste that my addictions were: in time, in social relations, in every-day life. I would ignore my children, call in sick, hang out, lie, cheat, steal, anything for that next smoke/snort/shot. I quit everything but cigarettes about 15 years ago, and I must say, quitting cigarettes is, by far, the hardest thing I have done so far, and it’s not me but God who is working through it for me. It’s my opinion that most addicts don’t realize just what a waste of time it can be until they quit whatever it is they’re addicted to. And it’s not easy to quit, but very much worth it.

  • Scientist

    Listen to all you pot heads! These are the facts about marijuana. I am a scientist and I know everything about THE DEVIL's WEED. I'm here to separate FACTs from FICTION. This will be an enjoyable learning experience for EVERYONE! Here they are the TRUE facts (remember I'm a scientist):

    1) Marijuana is EXTREMELY addictive. Anyone using the DEVIL's WEED once will surely become addicted, 99.8% of first time users say they "need to have another ****ing hit of their drug or they will start killing people". In order to sustain their marijuana binges the drug fiends will rape, murder, and pillage cities in order to obtain their destructive DEVIL's WEED.

    2) Marijuana, AKA the DEVIL's WEED, always leads to harder drug use. 97.9% of first time users end up doing crack, heroin, meth, pcp, lsd, MDMA, etc… As you can see the list goes on. When the drug fiends who use marijuana (remember the DEVIL's WEED) walk around like zombies they are searching and scraching their skin in hopes of finding more of any drug. Marijuana users are going to gasoline stations and drinking gasoline so they could get "high". From 1970-2007 Americans consumer 894% more gasoline, we can assume that this increase is due to the fact that marijuana users were drinking gasoline.

    3) Marijuana, DEVIL's WEED, kills users. It's a myth that marijuana never kills anyone. 25.86% of first time users die on the spot, after their first inhale. 97.9% of marijuana users die within ONE month of using the DEVIL's WEED. Marijuana kills more people than alcohol, tobacco, and war, COMBINED. Marijuana kills the user through the use of highly complex natural reactions in the brain. It causes the brain to heat up, as the marijuana user laughs and murders people, so much that the persons hair catches on fire and their eyes pop and splatter goo all over the town. The next day, hard working Americans are forced to clean up the dismembered bodies and the drug lords supplying the DEVIL's WEED force them to eat the carcasses. PEOPLE SAY "OOOOOOOO, BUT MR. GOD (The Government) MARIJUANA IS ALL NATURAL AND SAFE!!!" Well you stoners, VOLCANOES ARE NATURAL, BUT ARE THEY SAFE? You be the judge…

    4)For the less than 1% of marijuana users that ACTUALLY SURVIVE, 100% of them end up committing acts of genocide. If we look back into history we must note Hitler and Stalin who used MARIJUANA. They survived, but ended up killing innocent people, just like all you other DEVIL's WEED users.

    Coming from a scientist, I say we should promote alcohol and tobacco because those are legal.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    See, Brian? That right there is why you should quit getting high. Don't let what obviously happened to this person happen to you!

  • altonwoods

    Brian, All of us have a potential in life, a "highest and best purpose" so to speak. What my use of drugs stole from me was my best shot at that. It ruined my education, emotionally stunted me, and cost me a fortune, is that enough? I could go on and on, all those years I spent hiding behind my stoner facade that was'nt the real me. I understand that lots of people who never fired up are disingenuous, but maybe I would of snapped out of it a whole lot sooner without the herb. It's unfathomable to me how my life might've been different had I not used. As John said, it's too much to go into here…I've already "over-shared"

  • http://www.myspace.com/whitenoisemetalpodcast Brian Shields

    Scientist: Okay you convinced me. I'm throwing away my pot and taking up Moonshine for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. (Be very careful, John thinks he's the one who writes humorous satire around here)

    John: I'm sorry your experience with pot made you feel alone. I've never felt that way. In fact, marijuana forced me to develop social skills I never had before if for no other reason than you have to have them to find the stuff. As for your argument that you think you're not alone but you really are… that's one of those logical solipsisms that are impossible to refute… so I won't try.

    Don't be surprised at my admission that I'm dependent on THC. I really try not to play the river in Egypt game. I've looked at the positive and negative aspects of smoking pot and come to the logical conclusion that the positives (new perspectives, relaxation, fun, social interactions) outweigh the negatives (the risk of interacting with law enforcement, a lack of motivation, the risk (smaller than tobacco but still..) of developing physical consequences like lung cancer).

    And if you don't think chocolate abuse/dependency radically alters the way you relate to the world, you're kidding yourself. Chocolate obsessions will make you obese which cuts off the opportunities to relate to joggers, bicyclists, etc. It can also lead to physical harm like diabetes. Again, I've looked at these issues and made the conscious decision that I would rather live a shorter, more sedentary life while eating chocolate eclairs than to die old and skinny.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Brian: Hey! I never said I was the only one who writes humorous satire around here. I never write "humorous satire" at all, actually. But anyway …

    My experiences with pot never made me feel alone. That's not what I said. So … that's just now what I said. I DO say anyone who is stoned has cut off their ability to …well, what I said above.

    But the main thing is that your larger point is absolutely right: If what you're doing works for you, then it's certainly none of my business. There's a real validity to your final sentence that can't be refuted. That premise and conclusion actually work for me.

    One minor thing, though: Your relationship with weed as you've described it isn't one of dependence at all. As you describe it, you simply (if inevitably) choose it. I think of dependence as indicating not that you CHOOSE to choose whatever you're dependent upon, but that you have no choice in the matter at all. To me, saying your dependent upon pot means you HAVE to smoke, not that you choose to.

    Easy enough test, of course: There's nothing like trying to quit something to teach you exactly how dependent upon it you are.

  • Becky

    I'd like to thank you for writing this John. I am in the middle of a divorce from my husband of almost 5 years because he hid, from the very beginning, a drug problem that I had no idea he was struggling with. He had been smoking marijuana almost daily since his teenage years and did everything (I'm serious, everything you've never even thought of!) to hide it from me and he was successful. He came to me one year ago to tell the truth and to ask for help for his problem. He went to the doctor, he went to MA meetings, but in the end nothing worked. He chose to sacrifice our marriage, and chose drugs over life. I am choosing not to live in that vicious circle anymore. I'm sure there will be people who judge me for leaving, but I gave up everything I needed, as a wife and as a person, for him for over a year to help him get better and it STILL wasn't enough. Addiction and broken trust are ugly, and I am choosing God, choosing life, and moving on. I can't tell you how angry it makes me when people say that marijuana is not addictive, not a big deal, or "just a lifestyle choice". I lost my husband to marijuana. I pray everyday for those struggling with their addiction, and thank God for MA.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Becky: How awful for you. Yes, as you know—and as anyone who has been hooked on it and tried to quit know–marijuana is every bit as addictive as any other drug anyone ever gets hooked on. For some, that it; I actually think it depends on your body chemistry going in. But for some, man, weed just HOOKS them, and no two ways about it. I hope your husband gets to the root of WHY he's smoking, and shakes that vicious monkey off his back.

  • Hey Becky

    I appologize for that comment.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      good on the apology

  • http://www.reformu.com Michie DeBerry

    Gentleman, it seems like you have quite the discussion going on here. If I may present my views on the situation: sin is addictive. Plain and simple. If you are regularly indulging in a specific sin, whether it be over eating, or drugs, or pornography, or cigarettes, or anything else that puts aught between you and God, there is a chance that the specific behavior will take over your life, because all sin is addictive. It's not a question of whether or not it's hurting you, or anything else, but it's hurting the relationship between you and God.

    Some of you might say "I don't believe in God." Well, let me ask you this: you look at a painting and know that there is a painter, you look at a car and know that there is an engineer, but yet you look at nature, or a human body, and think "It all happened by chance, no way there's a god." because you do not want to be held accountable for your actions, there is rebellion and bitterness, and you have believed a lie that there is no God. Where there is creation, there is a creator, and the same is true on Earth, and indeed throughout the universe.

    Any addiction is a result of a non-existent, or distant, relationship with God. Have you been saved? Your relationship is distant. Have you not been saved? Your relationship is non-existent. You might say, "What do you mean, saved?" Well, the Bible says "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." and so, you might want to debate about Christianity and Jesus Christ and all of that, but Christ said "I am the way, the truth, and the life, no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." and so I challenge you to seek out what is truth. The very definition of the word indicates that there is an absolute, and there is! I encourage you to seek it out for yourself.

  • Christine

    Brian: Been reading your posts and a little concerned by them. I am not a pot addict but am in AA and am 5 months sober this week, the longest I have been without a drink in about 9 years. Firstly I would like to say that programmes that help people are not for those who are weak, it takes a hell of a lot of courage to walk in an admit that your life is not where you want it to be. Second, if you think that your drug use is not affecting you or the people around you in anyway expect positively then a)you are deluded and b) you are an addict because of all the people I hear say that they are the ones who probably need the programme more than anyone.

    BUT and here's the clincher guys and gals, everyone has to reach their own rock bottom before they can even begin to see their own problem. I know people who have lost everything; house, job, family, rights to children, EVERYTHING and yet still would say that they didn't have a problem. And then I know people who it only took the first drunk driving fine to shake them out of their 'this is not a problem' mindset. So Brian, if you are not anywhere near saying you have a problem then I hope for your sake that the bottom is not too far away, I hope that you don't have to go down to the depth of losing everything before it hits you. And I am gald that know you know that there are places out there for you to go.

    To everyone; it takes a hang of alot more courage to say you have a problem than it does to hide it, don't think anyone in these programmes are weak, we all need help sometimes

  • Christine

    Oh and Michie, wouldn't like to say that if you are addicted to something you are distant from God. Yes, you may not be a receptive to him but God always meets you where you are at. He will meet with you to help you get help for your addiction but the time I heard God most clearly was at the height of my drinking when he very clearly told me it was time to stop. God can be near you whereever you are at, and if because it is sin (which I am not denying) and this stops you being in a relationship with God then I hope you don't lie to anyone ever lol. The awesome thing about God is Jesus and that because of him we are able to have a relationship with God in all out brokeness and sin. Addiction is covered by this just as much as anything else

  • http://www.myspace.com/whitenoisemetalpodcast Brian Shields

    Christine:

    15 years ago I used to do the kind of hard drugs you did… namely alcohol and one you might not have, powder cocaine. It didn't take me hitting "rock bottom" to admit to myself that they were a problem in my life, that I didn't like the way they made me feel and while I certainly wanted them for a long time, I simply put myself in a position where they weren't easily available. I haven't done a line of cocaine in more than a dozen years and I haven't been drunk in at least that long.

    I did this not by wallowing in my "powerlessness" and turning myself over to a "higher" power but by making a conscious decision about how I wanted to live and following that.

    Second, I don't think you accurately described what I've written here today when you claim I might "think that your drug use is not affecting you or the people around you in anyway expect positively." Indeed, in a previous comment (scroll up) I wrote in detail about the negative aspects of smoking pot. I also listed what I consider the positives and that I have made a conscious decision to weigh those and come down on the side of enjoying THC. If only we really did live in a free country.

    John:

    Let's talk about the word dependent. There are certain things in my life on which I depend in order to live my life the way I want to. I live on the 17th floor and I depend on the elevator to take me to my car in the parking garage. I could choose to depend on the stairs instead, indeed I might be a more physically healthy person if I climbed 17 flights of stairs every evening when I got home but I choose to be dependent on the elevator.

    Like the elevator, pot is a tool for "getting high". I choose to depend on it to help regulate my moods, my anxiety levels, my desire for relaxation, my sleep patterns, etc. I could choose to use yoga or meditation or light-and-sound machines, or a whole variety of other tools. THC is the one I like best.

    In the nearly 30 years since I first smoked marijuana on November 4, 1979 (a famous date in world history) I have suspended (not quit) my use of the substance for periods as long as six months on at least five occasions. I have done this when I was working on specific projects that required more of my attention or for other professional and personal reasons. Again, I certainly wanted to smoke during those times but I had enough self-discipline to postpone my gratification.

    Ultimately, that's my point. It's about personal responsibility. Don't blame the tool. Own your own life and find tools and strategies that work best for you. I believe I have done that, although I know my method conflicts with the consensus reality-tunnels of most folks. Oh well.

    • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

      Brian: I can't argue with that. And, in truth (and, as you know) there's no One Size Fits All for this sort of thing. One guy's controlled, helpful substance is another guy's substance abuse. I'm certainly not inclined to accuse you of being a laggard, or dependent, or … mentally or spiritually unhealthy, or whatever. If you say you're fine, you're fine. I believe you (not that that's even pertinent), truly. I really only wrote this piece–in which, as you see, I remained as about as objective as possible—in case there was anyone out there struggling with an addiction to weed, who didn't know there was such a thing as M.A. You don't have an adversarial relationship with weed, but (as you know) lots and lots of people do. More than we tend to think, I think. I was just showing them that there is this one way toward quitting, if that happened to be something they were looking for just then. Sometimes I write pieces like this, really only hoping that one or two people come across it who, at the time, really need it. Bt I know going in, of course, that with such pieces I'm hardly talking to everybody.

      Christine: You've said a lot of great things here; thank you. It's clear you're coming from the place of someone who knows.

  • Hey Becky

    Have you even thought of smacking your husband, taking him by the hand, and say “you’re not addicted to pot you stupid hypocondriac.” You should have.

  • Christine

    Brian: wow good one ya man for stopping by yourself. Thing is I don't think I am 'wallowing in my own powerlessness' as you so aptly (and rather insultingly LOL) put it (good thing I ain't easily insulted). Think the biggest think I have learnt in the programme is how easy it is so re-addict to something else to fill the gap. Yes, your life may not be the huge steaming crap pile it once was, but really aren't you being just as powerless by having the crutch?? To me it really seems the same as others needing a group, you need the drugs. Really Brian, would you argue so much about this if you didn't need them?? So therefore, you are wallowing in your own powerlessness, you just ain't using a higher power, your using dope.

  • Christine

    And I owned my life, I owned up and said I couldn't do it by myself. If that ain't owning it I don't what is mate. Pretending I don't havean issue and hiding behind something else isn't really owning it in my book

  • http://www.myspace.com/whitenoisemetalpodcast Brian Shields

    So sorry. My intent was to insult 12 step programs, not you.

  • Christine

    All good man, I know but you gotta be careful cos alot of the people who go to these things identify themselves with it so get insulted if the programme is. DOn’t worry though, I ain’t insulted just thought I would point out that it does to some. Couldn’t say much that would insult lil old me :)

  • sunny

    woo hoo! This has been grrreat reading first thing in the morning with my first cup of java portside. MUCH better than the paper or watching the news! Finally, Thinking People with creative admissions on how no one is screwed on any tighter than the other guy, especially here..lol Anyway, I would be amiss if I did not confess that at one time in my veery interesting drug induced past, I have enjoyed more than my share of good and bad highs in cannabis. It kicked my ass until I got tired of it and kicked its ass. We had a love-hate relationship and more than one knock down, drag out fight. I was over 20 years clean and sober from everything until I was met head on with it again…Yep, I not only smoked but I inhaled. And guess what? That bitch got me Again! Can you believe it?! Just goes to show ya there might be some real Truth to it being addictive..ya think?

  • sunny

    oh, I just also wanted to say that I kicked its ass again and threw it to the curb, all of it, out in the trash, along with the "friends" who just loved keeping company with the herb (we're talking addicts here)and who generously kept me stocked. I realized I could do without those "blessings".. and besides all that, I couldn't get anything done! And let's not even start on what the munchies do to a waistline, seriously.

  • Christine

    No prob John guess I hear myself in alot of what others are saying here. I know a lot of people in NA and AA as well and its funny how many similar themes come through in what people say about addiction, those who admit it and those who don’t. But you’re right, who are we to say if someone has a problem or not, each person has to figure out if they do or not for themselves

  • Christine

    WELL DONE SUNNY!!

  • Carey M

    This has been a good read John, thank you for being so open minded!!

    I am “one of those” addicts that attend MA mtg’s in Australia, and it definately saved my life! I was a “hardcore” user for over 15yrs, and i couldn’t get a day up alone, never mind an hour!

    People may think that the 12 step programmes are for losers, but as mentioned above, it takes courage to admit we have an addiction and that our lives are unmanageable. The people that don’t get that, never will! We can talk to them till the cows come home, but we’ll just be wasting precious oxygen!

    Addiction IS A DISEASE, it’s been proven, and maybe some of the people with strong opinions, go into hospitals asking people with kidney problems why they need dialysis on a daily basis? Our disease is the same, it needs to be treated on a daily basis, through attending meetings, working the steps, contact with your sponsor, etc. For those that think this is weak… look in your own backyard before you so quick to judge others.

    Personally, i am eternally grateful to the 12 step fellowships and those people that give their time to keep them running, my life will never be the same!

  • http://www.myspace.com/whitenoisemetalpodcast Brian Shields

    Not that it will matter to most of you, but I’m legal now. I went to a doctor Friday and am now legally allowed to possess eight ounces and smoke it outside as long as I’m not within 1000 feet of a school.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Brian: I am hereby officially inviting you to be a guest blogger on my blog. I’d like you to write about how you acquired this Legalized Smoker status—and why, and how you feel about it, and … well, whatever else you’d like to say about it. You’re a good writer; I think it’d be an interesting read. If it’s too personal to share, of course I understand. But if you’d like to share a bit about how you came to this fairly unique status, please do! As I say, I think it’d be an interesting read.

    500 to 1,000 words, if you would. (No one, as I’m sure you’re aware, reads more than 1,000 words at a time online—or not on a blog, anyway.) Coolio. Thanks.

  • http://TheBrothersKeeperNetworkInc. donald Irelan Jr.

    i have a small dilemna, It seems that i can’t find any M/A chips here in fort lauderdale. can you help.

    Thank you for your time

    sincerely

    Donald Irelan

    M/A Director

    First step sorber house

  • Jay C

    Marijuana Anonymous? Pfff, what a joke. You’ve got to be weak to become addicted to marijuana.

    • Allie

      Even if that were true (and different people are weak and strong in different ways) why would you come here and say it? Don’t weak people deserve help?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Are you addicted to anything, Mr. C?

      • Melody

        I know, right? I guess Jay C must be Superman. Hope he isn’t addicted to kryptonite. =D

  • Jon hempseed

    Marijuana is not Chemically addictive. It is a habit formed when people believe they are addicted. Anybody will tell you that when they use it, it is on their mind frequently and it makes life exciting and new. A person can smoke marijuana for months without harm done and given a few days of abstaining can lose the feeling of need for marijuana. The psychological “addiction” of marijuana is equal to that of having ice cream every night before bed or feeling the need to run in the morning. Unlike alcohol addiction, which is chemically very real, you can just stop and get over your habit.