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    1. #1
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      Hi all, the topic of using marijuana/cannabis as a substitute for alcohol has been raised by several friends lately (not members of this forum), so I decided to post a thread about it. Before you criticise me, please understand that I'm not promoting the use of illegal substances.

      As for my own story...I have previously experienced desperate alcohol cravings while undergoing outpatient alcohol detoxification using diazepam (Valium). These cravings consisted of intense depression, during the evenings when I would have otherwise been consuming alcohol. During these times, I found by experiment that a small-medium amount of pot was able to completely remove the cravings and depression. I have discussed this with other people also battling alcoholism, and I'm posting this message because I know that many others may be thinking of using this method out of desperation. I am not a drug user apart from alcohol, and I don't even smoke tobacco.

      The first obvious point to make is that marijuana is illegal in nearly all parts of Western civilization. Obtaining and using it involves associating with criminals, and to get it means getting friendly with such people. They will often ask you to smoke it with them and hang out with them, so it's not just a simple transaction. These people are often kind and well-meaning, but they may have a severe addiction (or several), and something that starts out as a way of substituting for alcohol can easily become a lot more complicated.

      Another problem with marijuana substitution is that the initial small doses may no longer work, or that the pot may just be combined with the alcohol. The only way of ensuring that couldn't happen would be to take Antabuse at the same time. This did work for me and allowed the pot to take the place of alcohol, but it didn't remove the criminal element.

      Maybe the main reason that marijuana hasn't helped me on a long-term basis is that its effects are not the same as alcohol's effects. Using a lot of it quickly can bring on anxiety and panic to begin with. Even after that is over, it is not the same as alcohol. It is not a direct substitute for alcohol, even if someone has fully detoxed from alcohol. At most it may help for a short time with depression and cravings.

      I don't wish to discorage anyone from trying anything that can help relieve alcoholism, since no other drug apart from tobacco can cause such formidable damage. As far as mental health is concerned, I'd say that alcohol has no rival when it comes to brain damage. All I say is to be careful, and remember that we may only have one life to live.

      Greg xx

    2. #2
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      Greg,

      I have learned that marijuana is a magnifier for what you are already feeling.
      Many who drink and smoke, feel even more drunk.
      If you are already anxious and panicked, it will magnify that.
      And maybe the criminal element doesn't help with the anxiety and panic...

      Dx

    3. #3
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      Hi Greg!

      I tried it once- I had given up smoking (tobacco) some years previously (when I was much younger I used to smoke pot occasionally but it never really did too much for me the way alcohol did) and for a few days it did keep me away from alcohol. However I soon found that I found I was craving a drink as much as ever and on top I had become re-addicted to tobacco, thanks to mixing the pot with it...it took me another 6 months before I was able to get back of the tobacco...but hey- that's just me it might help others.

    4. #4
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      Pot is so toxic it knocks me right out. I can't see how it helps anyone. Smoke or drink, they both mess one up. i say throw them both away for good. Pot damages the brain just as alcohol does. This is my opinion. When we must use something to feel good, there is no maintence, its called dependence. I am so sorry, yet this is just MO.


    5. #5
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      Greg,

      I used to smoke marijuana regularly while drinking. The two were often synonymous or sometimes I would do just one or the other. Then I had a couple bad experiences smoking pot in which I became really paranoid and got in to some pretty hardcore self loathing. I majorly scaled down my smoking after that. Then I discovered that smoking small amounts would make me calm and relaxed and I would feel good. It was kind of like the feeling you would have after the first hour of taking the last hit and the "intense" part of the high had passed. Not bad at all, I really enjoyed it. Then my wife and I moved out of state and I was no longer able to get it from the usual sources. I didn't stock up before we left, so I was more or less forced to stop smoking. Ironically, we returned to our home state after a year away, and the thought of smoking again has crossed my mind more than once.

      I have decided to stop drinking alcohol and I have thought about smoking as an alternative but I'm kind of afraid of having more bad experiences. Ditto about having to interact with sketchy people.

      I think that's a big part of my problem. This probably sounds bad, but I just like getting high and I feel like I need something to replace it. Just being honest.

      I doubt anything I said has helped you, your post just got me thinking.

    6. #6
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      Thanks everyone for your input. Please keep in mind that I wasn't promoting marijuana as a miracle treatment for alcoholism. Like most of you here I have tried all the usual methods of recovery from alcoholism, but none have reduced my overall craving for alcohol or my need to go back to it in order to cope with life.

      I regularly look at world news and I will never forget the Black Saturday (Feb 7 2009) bushfire hell in my country, so I am not pretending that my life is worse than anyone else's. It's just that I can't seem to break free of this addiction. That's why I can't get the marijuana substitution idea out of my mind, since the pot offers a very rare way of quickly reducing emotional distress while I'm trying to cope without alcohol. It works within minutes. However there seems to be another way of quickly reducing anxiety, depression, and cravings for alcohol. It is called baclofen, and I would urge anyone reading this to look into it. Baclofen may work at a low dose (eg. 10-30 mg per day) for some people, but for others, only a high dose may work (eg. 80 mg+ per day), at least to begin with. There are many people already posting on this forum about baclofen so please read their advice, and also get Dr. Olivier Ameisen's book if you can.

      Best wishes to everyone,
      Greg xx

    7. #7
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      Greg

      I too get horribly depressed about things I see on the news, and I manage a lot better when I avoid it like THE PLAGUE.

      It was difficult at first- I used to buy a newspaper everyday without fail and when I stopped it was hard! And leaving the room when the news came on the TV was also hard- but these days I never have to avoid it as such, I don't read/watch it and that is that...it is a small thing but something that helps me maintain a level mood, something that I think is very important when we are trying to quit the drink.

    8. #8
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      Hey Greg,
      I have had lots of friends who smoke pot, mainly back in the day while in college. I had toyed with the idea of "if only I could be a pothead" notion before as well hahaha!

      In fact, currently I have a friend who I used to drink with and he and I were going to start hitting the gym together as weightlifting partners.
      He's sort of a pothead which I chuckle about that is why in four months, we've never worked out together. He always gets stoned and flakes out.

      Not too long ago though, he stopped by my place with beer and it was the first test where someone was offering me beer directly. And the baclofen, I was like come on in and you can enjoy your beer but I was on baclofen and told him I just dont feel the need to drink. And it was TRUE!
      He was like "high five" because he knew how bad I was.
      Then the bastard goes well I have some herb if you want to smoke it. And I have to tell you, I thought to myself, hmmm, yeah why not, its not alcohol and alcohol is my downfall. Also it triggered those thoughts of "...if I was only a pothead I wouldnt be destroying myself like this" thoughts Ive had in the past when I was hung over.

      Well long story short, I didnt have a craving to smoke pot either and I felt great having withstood my friend showing up at the door with beer trying to talk me into drinking and then also the pot offer, which isnt my bag anyhow.
      I guess I am elated at the baclofen success at not drinking or having cravings for it and love the fact I honestly believe that I will never drink again if I continue taking it, that's how great its working for me.

      But their is a part of my brain that is like "hmmm, never will I alter my reality for the rest of my life???" Its hard to think like that given I altered my reality every day 90% of the past 20 years before baclofen.
      Oh well, growing magic mushrooms are pretty easy hahaha!
      I kid I kid

    9. #9
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      Marbella,

      I have felt that way about depressing world events since my teenage years and I also cut myself off, sometimes for months or years at a time, but now I'm up to date all the time and have sort of built up an inner strength to cope. I now regard my interest in news as a way of quietly showing respect for those who suffer, if that makes any sense, but I certainly don't go over things in my mind too much. In my younger years I always had a recurring dream about running for my life and hiding from a huge military offensive, but thankfully that hasn't happened lately. Take my advice, keep your mind active with things that don't make you depressed, and that includes avoiding world events at the moment by the sound of it.

      Bill,

      I'm glad to hear you were able to resist your friend's attempts to give you a beer and offer you a smoke. That shows the power of baclofen, but probably also your inner confidence aswell. I'd say your mate wasn't deliberately trying to ruin your life, and may have been confused as to why you didn't accept the beer. So many of my friends base their whole social lives around alcohol, and a few around pot, and I'm always invited to drink with people and sometimes have a smoke. This has happened during past periods of total sobriety, when I was white-knuckling.

      Zen,

      Thanks for your info. I have also personally seen people descend into a life of heavy pot smoking, and I lost the one person I hoped to marry one day due to her use of pot and then ice. I can't use her life as an example of the damage pot can do, however, since she had serious emotional/life issues and smoked the pot in an ever-more-desperate way of trying to cope with life. She smoked pot exactly the way I drink alcohol. The pot wasn't enough for her and she turned to ice, injecting it to get a huge high but then crashing out for days. We lost touch nearly 10 years ago, as she wanted to hang out with fellow potheads and other addicts rather than me. I did share my alcohol problem with her but we couldn't seem to help each other. I should point out that my thread here was only meant to discuss LOW doses of pot AS NEEDED, but I guess that would be like saying alcohol can be used in low doses as needed! There can be no guarantee that the pot wouldn't rapidly get out of control just like the alcohol.

      I haven't tried the beer detox idea yet but will check it out. Yes I have tried baclofen but only up to 50 mg/day, which does little for my alcohol cravings or consumption. One major problem is that I have only ever taken the baclofen while still drinking my usual nightly 20 standard drinks or so, and it doesn't seem to have any anti-craving effects when taken while alcohol is also being ingested. It is probably similar to Campral in this regard. I can take 50 mg of baclofen without titrating it upwards first, with the only side-effects being next-day extreme hangover (alcohol+baclofen=combined CNS depressant effect) and next-day stomach irritation.

      To be honest with everyone, I have always used and abused alcohol as a way of trying to cope with shyness, loneliness, depression, and the overall problems that have built up over the years. I don't have a partner and I don't think I will ever find one now, at age 41. I keep on drinking despite knowing my only way forward is to stop. It's insane thinking, and I have loving family in my grandmother and mother, who want to see me recover. As for friends, I am far less sure of them, to the extent that I don't have any friend/mate who I could trust to stand by me during a real do-or-die attempt to get sober once and for all.

      Anyway it's about time I stopped rambling, and sorry if I may have seemed to make light of the life and death struggle we all have against alcoholism. If I took it lightly, I'd just spend all my time at the local clubs and pubs and wouldn't be on a recovery site like this.

      Take care all,
      Greg xx

    10. #10
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      Greg, of all the people who post here and on the Sinclair board, I think you are of those that take it most seriously- unfortunately due to your location you don't have the easy access to the drugs that others of us have.

      All I can say Greg, is keep looking. Don't ever give up- just try anything that comes your way, because you will find something that works for you, the same as you will find a partner that works for you.

      Don't ever doubt it, because it will happen- just from your posts it is obvious you have an awful lot to offer to somebody out there- you just haven't met her yet.

      And in the meantime, well... you have us lot.

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