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When You Can't Stop Self Medicating

  • anonymous Asks ...

    I can’t stop marijuana I am dependent in that I need it many times every day or I start to feel quite anxious and ill. I have tried stopping many times but I can’t make it for more than 2 or 3 days before it gets to be too much. It’s weird. Even though I knew that I could not stop I never considered it that I was addicted and dependent on marijuana because I did not really think of the herb as that kind of substance. Last night I went to my first NA meeting. I was really nervous before going in and then honestly the whole time I was there I felt like a poseur who was just smoking herb next to these guys with hardcore heroin habits. I am never going to feel comfortable in that scene but I do not know what to do to stop?

  • Jim LaPierre Says ...
    Jim LaPierre

    Hi there - thanks for your question. Everything you're saying suggests to me that you've been using marijuana to self medicate anxiety. My guess is that you struggled with feelings of nervousness or worry before you started smoking and now those same feelings are returning but with greater intensity. The key to your recovery would be to find strategies to cope with emotions other than using marijuana.

    We never really just eliminate something from our lives - we replace it. I strongly recommend talking with your doctor about a non addictive medication for anxiety - something like Lexipro or Celexa. I urge you not to make comparisons between yourself and others in NA. If something makes our life unmanageable than comparing it to stronger substances is just going to make us feel bad. I would urge you to get the NA workbook and complete it - it will challenge you and help you to consider how you can get what you need and feel okay without herb.

    I also urge you to share your goals and hardships with friends and family. The change you're seeking is too hard to do alone! I wish you the best of luck and please write again if I can be helpful.

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