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Using Pot to Quit Drinking

answered 09:36 PM EST, Mon July 18, 2011
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I have some problems in my life with a need to get drunk or high every night. Mostly alcohol, sometimes a little coke. I do not think I am really an alcoholic or a drug addict, but I do know after almost 20 years of using pretty much every day, that I have a real need to end off the day each day with a little buzz.

The problem is that my habits are starting to cause me some real problems in my life. I am overweight, pre diabetic and have high blood pressure. I have also had 2 DUIs in the last 3 years.

I can see that I am not on a real healthy path but I also know myself that come after work time I will want to take a little something to take the edge off. Without that evening fun to look forward to the days just seem too hard.

I think I can make a major change in my life and give up drinking and drugs and I do not think I need any treatment (I’ve already been through DUI classes. What a waste of time.). My plan is to just switch to only smoking pot instead of drinking or using anything stronger. Marijuana is not at all harmful to the body and it can even cure cancer, so it should be a lot better for me than the drinking.

All the so-called experts seem to tell me that I have to quit using all drugs and alcohol or it’s not going to work, but I do not understand why a little marijuana every night is going to do me so much harm? Can you please explain to me why switching from something that is causing me a lot of problems to something that just makes me feel relaxed and sleepy is not a good strategy for staying sober and getting healthier?

Jennifer Hamilton Says...

Jennifer Hamilton J. Hamilton
LCSW, CADC

Many experts in my field believe it is an all or nothing choice when making a change in drug and alcohol use.  There are reasons this may be ideal, but I will not go into that at this time.  There is another way to begin to make changes.  We call this risk reduction.  I encourage you to make a decision about what changes you are currently willing to make.  You have identified several problems you are currently having.  By making a "risk reduction" decision, you will need to monitor your life for problems and be aware that  denial is a part of addictive behavior.  If you are unable to keep your commitment to your changes in your use OR you continue to have life problems despite these changes, you will need to consider seeking professional help (which should be quite different than DUI classes).  Let me be clear, I am not suggesting you do not seek help now, just that you are right, you should begin to immediately make the changes you suggested and see what happens. 

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Page last updated Jul 18, 2011

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