Isn’t it time we admitted weed isn’t bad and recovery culture is bullshit?

Isn’t it?

I noticed years ago that there are two very different attitudes to weed. When I went to rehab and found out about 12 step recovery culture, it soon became clear that weed is regarded as just another drug, one as harmful as meth, or heroin, or crack cocaine. I was assured over and over that this is true, by people who have not studied… well… anything really. They played videos for us and told us about addiction, and about cross-addiction, and how you can’t stop one drug while continuing to smoke weed. They mocked anybody who might say something like “I need to quit coke but weed is not a problem”. It became a running joke, something to use to belittle new inpatients, along with a number of other things… Suggest that addiction is a choice and you’d get forty odd people looking at each other knowingly, and soon you’d be smugly put in your place and drawn into a culture where all drugs are equally bad, and only professing powerlessness and worshipping a “higher power” could help you.

The same went for alcohol. No matter how much I argued that I could not possibly have a problem with alcohol, because firstly I don’t even like drinking, and secondly I only drink champagne once a year, nobody would listen to me. I had to learn to just say the right things to fit in, or risk being kicked out and having to face my meth addiction alone. The narrative at the rehab I attended claimed that even non-alcoholic beer was dangerous, because anyone who had a drink would then go on to relapse.

I have a feeling that this black or white thinking is used in most rehabs, because once you get out and enter 12 step recovery culture, it’s in the meetings too. Not a gram of critical thinkers shared among all the brains in all the meetings I ever attended. Once you get into it, that culture looks more and more like a cult, where you are conditioned over a period of months and come to believe exactly the same as everybody else, believing that somehow you have special knowledge that other people don’t. But it isn’t based on evidence.

I found two very different attitudes to weed in people in general: Those in the nonsensical 12 step recovery culture who condemn it as, as bad as any other drug, and people in general, who view it as harmless. Both can’t be right.

I’m now in the camp of believing weed is harmless. It’s not for me – make no mistake, I do not smoke it myself. I tried it many years ago and didn’t like it. But I don’t believe it is harmful. I’m not convinced that it has any efficacy for medicinal treatments either, but I don’t believe it does harm.

The point I’m trying to make it simply this: So-called recovering addicts in traditional 12-step recovery culture believe that they have special knowledge about drugs. They don’t. This knowledge isn’t based on evidence, but on anecdotes and a strange pattern of indoctrinating anyone who enters recovery culture. This makes their beliefs dangerous, because the claim to have special knowledge is more like a conspiracy theory than a treatment program. Their attitude about weed should be alarming to anyone who realizes that this attitude exists – it should call into question everything claimed by narcotics or alcoholics anonymous, especially their claims about those programs actually helping people. But unfortunately, that doesn’t seem to happen.

4 thoughts on “Isn’t it time we admitted weed isn’t bad and recovery culture is bullshit?

  1. Jerome, I agree that recovery culture is mainly – or at least somewhat – based on faith (mostly religious faith).

    It’s like recommendations we read for how to lose weight. Method A is of great help to individual X and maybe no help at all to person Y. While method B is of great help to person Y but maybe no help at all to individual X. And you don’t know if you are an X or a Y individual. So you don’t know – before you have tried both methods – which one of X or Y is the best for just you.

    The 12 step recovery plan you were offered, Jerome, was of no help to you = in your eyes that method is bullshit. But maybe that same method can help others seeking and trying to leave an addiction.

    If I were you, I’d not be so eager to call the method in question – i.e. the 12 step recovery plan – bullshit.

    With that said, I agree with you generally speaking. We both know the 12 step program IS based on religious thoughts, more or less.

    But, at least according to hearsay, belief in Jesus can help some individuals to become free from an addiction. If the method used helps an individual (but maybe not you), why then call it BS? Even if it happens to be the 12 step recovery plan program?

    I think it usually boils down to how to look at and interpret statistics.

    Let’s say that 1 in 10 people who clings to a special recovery/rehab method can leave the addiction, Is that good or bad news? Maybe one should, instead, compare available methods with each other, i. e. weigh them against each other. Then you will soon be able to say that method A seems to help 30% of a population using it, while method B seems to help only 20% of another (but similar) population.

    I think that then you can say that try method A before you try method B. But I also think you can’t say that method B is bullshit compared with method A. Method A + method B cure more people than only method a or only method B does.

    And the same goes for your assertion that weed is harmless. Have a look at https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/marijuana-use-and-its-effects#2 .

    Weed affects your brain functioning. Then you shouldn’t call it harmless. In some people weed can make them function in a better way, more socially accepted etc. In other people the changed brain functioning may make them function worse (= in a socially less accepted way).

    BTW, ordinary food, too, has an effect on our brain and its functioning (just think of obesity which is a function of appetite, satiety and so on, which in turn is regulated by neurotransmitters in the brain). You can’t say that it doesn’t matter at all what you eat. Some food heightens the risk of being obese. Other foods lessen the risk of becoming obese. The food interacts with the neurotransmitters in your brain.

    A quote from the article I linked to:

    About 1 in 10 people who use pot will become addicted. That means you can’t stop using it even if it harms your relationships, job, health, or finances. The risk is greater the younger you start marijuana and the more heavily you use it. For instance, the odds of addiction are 1 in 6 if you use pot in your teens. It might be as high as 1 in 2 among those who use it every day.

    You could also grow physically dependent on marijuana. Your body could go into withdrawal, leaving you irritable, restless, unable to sleep, and uninterested in eating.

    My comment: If 9 in 10 people using weed/pot won’t become addicted to it, does that mean weed is harmless?

    Once again, you’ll have to compare two things (for instance drugs) with each other in order to being able to draw a conclusion about which of them is more harmful or less harmful. Both drugs may be called harmful, but one of them is more harmful than the other – or one of them is less harmful than the other. But can you say that one of them is NOT harmful in any ways? I doubt it. Cf, if you consume too much salt or drink too much water, you’ll die. Yet most of us consider clean water to be healthful.

    My personal view is that practically everything we eat or drink or smoke affects the brain and therefore is able to change our behaviors (for the better or for the worse). And that’s not the same as saying something is “harmless”.

    BTW: Have you quitted smoking tobacco (nicotine) by now? Less than a year ago you succeeded. Than you had a relapse because of all the turmoil Megan caused. Why not give it another try – if you are still a smoker – now then you are back on track again? Cigarettes are not cheap. And the smoke from cigarettes smells like bullshit (or even worse).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The thing about the 12 step programs is, there is no evidence that they work at all. People do recover successfully, both with and without such a program. I believe there is a good chance that those who succeed with the program are people who were determined enough to succeed anyway, and they credit the program in error, mistakingly thinking that it was what made them succeed. I believe it is then dangerous that they get to tell others that they can only succeed using such a program.

    I suppose I may have some bias against the program. Not participating in it was used against me at one stage and I almost didn’t get my son back. In the end I succeeded anyway but I guess I do kind of have a bit of a chip on my shoulder.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I already said, Jerome, generally speaking I agree with you.

      Sometimes something that is counterproductive actually can help. It’s rhe change in itself that “offers” the help wanted.

      An example: If you’ve got an aching back, the explanation can be that one of your two legs is some millimeters longer than the other. The pain may go away if you reduce the length difference between your two legs.

      But the pain can also disappear, at least temporarily, if you increases the length difference between the legs!

      It is as if whatever you do it is for the better (at least in the short run). And maybe it’s the same with the 12 step programs. To have somethng for the addict to rely on and trust – even if it is pure bullshit – may be better than having to cope with the rehabilitation completely on your own.

      I hope more people than me will comment on this post of yours, Jerome, because it’s a very important question you ask.

      If the 12 step programs function and help the addict – although the method actually is pure bullshit – the right thing to do is to choose a rehab program that clearly and undeniably demonstrates it functions. I dislike the idea of giving Jesus credit without our knowing that Jesus is, in fact, involved in the rehab program.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I guess at the end of the day the Placebo Effect works. But a program that relies completely on a placebo, which is believed to be the “right way” of doing recovery… that’s what scares me. The ignorance around it and the arrogance of those who push it. That makes it dangerous.

        Liked by 1 person

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