Staying Clean & Sober with Legal Marijuana
Marijuana stores have opened in Colorado, with long lines and rising prices. Estimates indicate that as many as 100,000 people bought legal marijuana in the first week. So, what does legal marijuana mean to you in recovery?
Well, what do liquor stores mean to you? The analogy works to a point, but legalization of marijuana may bring a few twists. Yes, alcohol is legal and you know you have to avoid it. That means avoiding the people, places and behaviors that can trigger the cravings, whether it is bars, certain restaurants or just smoking cigarettes.
If marijuana is legal where you live now, it might change the landscape around you a bit, but shouldn’t change you. But legal marijuana may bring out the behavior in others you might not have known about. Friends might decide it’s OK to light up now that it’s legal. Or you also might have friends who think that your problem was pills or drinking, so there’s nothing wrong with a little weed. In both cases, you know the response. Get away, call someone, get to a meeting.
The first few weeks of this might be especially difficult. The news coverage of lines outside marijuana stores in Denver has been pretty giddy. Woo hoo, look what’s legal! It’s a great news story in the January lull when all other news is about frigid weather. The news can cover different angles: Are they running out of marijuana? Are high prices sending people back to dealers anyway? Are people coming to Colorado just to smoke? The talking head arguments have not changed—between those of ‘marijuana is safer than alcohol’ and the ‘it’s a gateway drug, all addicts have smoked marijuana.’
The pros and cons don’t matter when you know yourself and know you are an addict. Maybe you thought your life was set up now so you wouldn’t encounter illicit drugs, but this one is not so illicit anymore.
Have you faced an unexpected situation because of the legal changes? How did you handle it? Let us know in the comments. This experiment is just starting for everyone.