Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

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Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby triumphantarch » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:42 am

Hello everybody. I have not been on this website in quite a while, but I want to share an experience that I hope will help someone else. I don't want to beat a dead horse because I've seen this topic come up again and again and again in these forums. But I hope this might speak to someone else.

Up until two weeks ago, I considered myself 11 years sober. However, next week, at my home group's birthday meeting, I will be picking up a 9-month chip. It has taken me four years to come to this gut-wrenching decision.

At 7 years sober I became involved with a somewhat esoteric Big Book Study in my area, that took place in a member's home. One night, there were about 10 of us present, and the subject of marijuana use came up. I threw in my 2 cents: medical was maybe, maaaaaaaaaybee, okay, but certainly not recreational use. To my mind, smoking weed to get high while claiming sobriety in Alcoholics Anonymous was inconceivable. I was shocked beyond belief when the other 9 people present unanimously shook their heads, "No!" and corrected me, informing me that weed was well outside the scope of Alcoholics Anonymous, and that there was nothing about recreationally using pot that was incompatible with AA's traditions and literature. In short, according to these folks, one could get high on pot and legitimately claim sobriety in AA.

Well, that was all this alcoholic needed to justify smoking weed from time to time over the next 4 years. In fact, my sponsor during this period was one of the people present at that meeting I spoke of above, and thought using marijuana in AA was absolutely permissible and okay, as long as it didn't become a "problem" (however one defines that). I discussed the possibility of smoking dope with this sponsor extensively, as well as other "sober" pot smokers in AA, before taking the plunge. I needed permission to alter my mind and mood and, at that time, I got it, as far as I was concerned.

You can all see where this is going. Although I used pot very minimally over the next four years (only smoked once or twice a year), it caused nothing but anguish, turmoil, torment, and shame. I continued to be very active in AA, regularly attending meetings. Continued to sponsor people (which now horrifies me). Continued to hold service positions. Continued to pick up chips year after year for sobriety. Meanwhile, I was carrying around a dark, deep secret. And, as they always say, we are only as sick as our secrets. I got very, very spiritually sick. All the while, I told myself it was okay because drugs were an outside issue, and our pamphlet "Problems Other Than Alcohol" defined sobriety as simply "freedom from alcohol through the practice and teaching of the 12 Steps." I rationalized myself right into outright dishonesty and deception.

The last time I used was 9 months ago, and I was so high I was in psychosis. Things began to unravel for me, as the horror of that last experience made it impossible to pretend anymore that this was okay. For weeks, I heard a still, small, voice inside me asking me, "Is that what sobriety looks like? AA's pamphlets, literature, traditions, and what your sponsor thinks aside, do you think that's what sobriety looks like? Our chips say "To Thine Own Self Be True." Our Big Book calls this a program of "rigorous honesty." It also says that we are willing to go to any lengths for victory over alcohol. It talks about the actor who leads the double life, enjoying a reputation he doesn't deserve. I've been acting like a spiritual giant in AA. I've been a fraud. For me, this IS about alcoholism, because if I keep this charade up--if I keep lying to myself and everyone else--there is no question that I will drink eventually.

I cut my ties with that sponsor 6 months ago, and was immediately honest with my new sponsor. I am so grateful to this new sponsor, who simply said, "I will leave that up to your conscience." My new sponsor 100% let me come to this decision on my own. Nobody else could make it for me. Two weeks ago, I felt the guidance of my Higher Power gently saying, "You must change your sobriety date. Do not be afraid." I can't tell you how much it sucks to pick up a 9-month chip when everybody else thinks I am 11-years sober--BUT, I'm so ready to unload this boulder. So ready to get honest. So ready for the freedom on the other side of this.

Cunning, baffling, powerful--not just our drinking, but our thinking. Thank you for reading.
"In the end, everything's okay. If it's not okay, it's not the end."
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby PaigeB » Thu Feb 22, 2018 12:53 pm

I have a friend that did that! Sure enough. She keeps the 2 dates in her head and in her heart (and her ego lol) but she only honors the day she finally set down the weed. She was getting her honorable 15 year chip this last month and guess what? She never told her mom! Her mom wanted to come to the chip celebration, expecting to celebrate 20 years. She HAD to come clean with Mom. She did so over the phone (they don't live in the same town). All is well, Mom was not even phased by the news. Then a midwest snow storm blew away all chances of Mom coming for the chip celebration! We laughed our arses off that she didn't even have to tell! The Great Spirit is fickle and funny.

I tell you a part of her story when I say that you will feel better when you tell all. I wasn't around for original new white chip, but I can tell you from my experience with her and around her the past 8 years - that the secret she kept from her mom left her stuck, and quite sick, in that relationship even if she did not drink over it.

Glad you are staying Real. It is, and will continue to be, an inspiration to others and it likely will save the life of someone who suffers from this disease whether they are new or not! Growth is all that matters.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby triumphantarch » Thu Feb 22, 2018 2:00 pm

PaigeB wrote: I tell you a part of her story when I say that you will feel better when you tell all. I wasn't around for original new white chip, but I can tell you from my experience with her and around her the past 8 years - that the secret she kept from her mom left her stuck, and quite sick, in that relationship even if she did not drink over it.

Glad you are staying Real. It is, and will continue to be, an inspiration to others and it likely will save the life of someone who suffers from this disease whether they are new or not! Growth is all that matters.


Thank you so much! I've come clean with a few people now, and the support and encouragement has been overwhelming. I'm really heartened by it, and it really eases my fear around picking up that chip next week. I understand how sick your friend got keeping that secret from her mom. I was so sickened by keeping that secret. As a matter of fact, I got honest with my folks about this a few days ago, and it was hard. But they were so nonjudgmental and supportive. They agreed that changing my sobriety date is the right thing to do.

I hope this helps someone who needs to hear it. This is nothing to mess around with. I didn't go into detail about that night I was in psychosis, nor do I need to, but it suffices to say a bunch of stuff happened that night that could have seriously injured or killed me. This disease kills. Thanks again. =smile
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby Spirit Flower » Thu Feb 22, 2018 3:15 pm

Good job!
...a score card reading zero...
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby triumphantarch » Thu Feb 22, 2018 4:15 pm

Spirit Flower wrote:Good job!


Thank you =smile
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby 1Peter5:10 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 9:36 pm

Nice share! Thank you for it.
I was a low-bottom drunk. I've got about 18 mos. sober and had a very-very intensive club-based first year in sobriety. (S. Florida)

While in my first year I met many people who also smoked marijuana or spice and called it "sobriety."

Nearly all of them relapsed and stayed relapsed. Substituting a less harmful drug for a more harmful drug is NOT sobriety, and for most that I ket, made about as much sense as watching porn to avoid sex. (Does watching porn make you LESS horny?)

ONE of them was better off than while drinking, and has gone a years without reverting back yo his original drug.
THAT SAID
- He was pretty much always high, Only a deeply-addicted person could POSSIBLY define "almost always high," as "sober." UMM HELLO?
- He never learned to deal with life, and life's problems. Much to his detriment, he had to get high and ignore the. Imagine a person whi, every time things don't go his way it bothers him. He can never fix anything and never make his peace with anything. It matter's not if he smokes pot to deal with problems or sticks his fingers in his ears and says "LA LA LA LA," to drown out life's problems. He has a piss poor way of dealing with life and he suffers because of it.

More in a bit.
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby 1Peter5:10 » Thu Feb 22, 2018 10:42 pm

I know three others for whom alcohol and synthetic marijuana played a large role in their addictions. They used pretty much any and every drug they could get ahold of.

I have decided NOT to tell about them. I feel quite close to them and posting about them in detail feels inappropriate. Suffice it to say they attempted to give up alcohol and all other drugs first, and keep using synthetic marijuana "but only at first. . . only in transition."

The results have been an absolute tragedy. I will leave it at that.
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby triumphantarch » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:10 am

1Peter5:10 wrote: He never learned to deal with life, and life's problems. Much to his detriment, he had to get high and ignore the. Imagine a person whi, every time things don't go his way it bothers him. He can never fix anything and never make his peace with anything. It matter's not if he smokes pot to deal with problems or sticks his fingers in his ears and says "LA LA LA LA," to drown out life's problems. He has a piss poor way of dealing with life and he suffers because of it.


This hits the nail on the head. For me, how can I possibly be having a relationship with a God of my understanding if I'm getting high? How does smoking weed look like trust and reliance upon God? It looks a heck of a lot more like self-will run riot, if you ask me. It is complete self-reliance, and the Big Book describes in great detail where self-reliance gets us.

As you pointed out so beautifully, swapping addictions is not growing up, essentially. It is not learning how to cope with life successfully.

I've seen relapse happen time and time again with people who use marijuana in AA, as you said. I'm amazed that I was able to keep that up for 4 years and not drink--and very grateful I didn't. Very. Thanks for your insights!
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby avaneesh912 » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:20 am

Outside issue? To hijack the meeting with endless talk about anything other than alcoholism is outside issue. Having said that, when working with an individuals its always better to talk about these mind altering substance is a good proposition. I will be clear with them. Nothing external unless prescribed by the doctor. I have not come across people that use pot medically, that may be possible in future but at this moment, I dont have to deal with it. Addictive nature will remain addictive, i dont buy into the theory that one can safely use certain substance but be in recovery. Eventually they get messed up. I tried all the things outside of AA so I have experienced how the mind operates. It will trick you into buy those low carb micalob lites, 24 crate and then we slowly slip into other stuff. And I have heard several stories in the correction facility. They are good when serving the sentence. And the moment they get out, life hits them hard. Always I hear people slip on "something else" gets them back to the old state. Why do we even have to put anything in?
Show him, from your own experience, how the peculiar mental condition surrounding that first drink prevents normal functioning of the will power (Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 92)
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby triumphantarch » Fri Feb 23, 2018 6:28 am

avaneesh912 wrote:Why do we even have to put anything in?



We don't! Of course, unless we are trying to get high. Or alter our mind and mood. Like I was. Which is NOT sobriety, for me.

I agree that weed is an outside issue, and that was one of the reasons I wrestled so very hard with picking up this 9-month chip I'm about to pick up next week. I have reverence for AA's traditions. Probably what makes me more nervous than anything about taking a chip next week is bringing in an outside issue, as you pointed out. It really bothers me to have to talk about drugs in an AA meeting. I certainly don't plan to "hijack" the meeting with "endless talk." Nope. To the point, no pontificating on and on. But this, for me, is rigorous honesty, rigorous honesty, rigorous honesty. I can't keep carrying on to these beloved people in my homegroup like I'm sober. Crazy! I'll probably go over what I'm going to say in great depth with my sponsor before taking the chip next week. As you point out, there's no way I want to turn that meeting into a long talk about drugs. Thanks for your input!
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby PaigeB » Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:21 pm

I am just nodding my head YES! Keep up the rigorous honesty. Too the point and back to booze. I totally get it. "outside issues" aka prescription drugs, are a part of my story toward the end, but my drug of choice is - was - and always will be King Alcohol.
If I'm not able to say how I'm working my program today, then I'm not working my program.
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby Db1105 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 2:29 pm

I'm just glad I learned before I sobered up that weed and recovery don't mix IMHO.
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby Blue Moon » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:29 pm

Tobacco is mind-altering. Caffeine. Chocolate. Am I able to judge probably all of you as "unsober" because you indulge such vices? Am I unsober because I drink coffee despite years of alcohol-abstinence?

This from an alcoholic in AA who has never even touched pot: It is not for anyone here to declare someone else is not sober simply because they choose to do something which you do not. An AA Group is about abstinence from alcohol.

ISTM the key words in OP were "as long as it didn't become a "problem" (however one defines that)". ISTM itheres a problem if I allow judgmental folks in AA to shackle me with their moralistic problem.

Some will argue the "medical" angle. Yet I know plenty in AA who had a hard time with medically-prescribed narcotics. This doesn't mean I must reset my sobriety-clock simply because I was also on medically-prescribed narcotics. It is for me, and only for me, to make such a determination. Just as my opinion is the only one that counts in the question as to whether I'm alcoholic.
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby DaveMus » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:44 am

I speak only for myself here. With the help of what I learned in my treatment and ideas which I have put to use from AA, I would consider it a relapse if I smoked pot. I would also consider it a relapse if I took provigil (even though it was prescribed for my MS..I abused it) Additionally if I took other prescription drugs that I didn't need for pain, it would constitute a relapse. These are the boundaries that I have set for myself. If the boundaries get fuzzy and ill defined, then I am in trouble. I am rigid about my sobriety. Now all that said, I will be heading into some medical procedures fairly soon and yes, I will take the pain medications! But only with a strict eye on monitoring the use as a tool for combatting pain associated with the procedures. This will not be a relapse. Again these are my rules for myself. This isn't advice per se, only a statement of what works for me. I have 5 pus years of sobriety, but I am only looking at not drinking or using today. Tomorrow I will re-committ to not drinking or using.
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Re: Not to Beat a Dead Horse, But . . . .

Postby kaosxtech » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:43 pm

It's funny how often I get asked about marijuana, and especially "medical" marijuana in the rehabs I visit to share my story with. Many of these people have serious addictions. I just use the saying out of the big book, "If anyone who is showing inability to control his drinking can do the right-about-face and drink like a gentleman, our hats are off to him." I then explain to them that I am a sick individual and that any substance that affects me from the neck up is not good for me. I can't "drink like a gentleman". I will spend money that should go to my family on selfish self centered substances. I am not in an honest spiritual place and I am probably just hiding from some of the real issues that are causing me to need to not be sober.
I try to use a gentle hand with the people in the rehab because they are new to the 12 steps and are looking for loopholes so they dont have to completely surrender. I do explain that if they are sick like I am then they will find themselves back in the situation they are trying to recover from. It does not stop me from working with them but I am aware that they are not fully surrendering and thus not truly honestly working the steps.
Selfishness—self-centeredness! That, we think, is the root of our troubles. (Alcoholics Anonymous, page 62)
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