For people in recovery, the line between “sober” and “not sober” is typically clearly defined. Alcohol and illegal drugs are a definite no. But along the way, many of us have been faced with decisions regarding more subtle dangers such as cough syrup, cooking wine, and pain medication, to name a few.

Our guest post today, curated from Unpickled, discusses the potential challenges engendered by the proliferation of cannabis products as they become legalized in more and more areas. You may read the original article here.


In gratitude, harmony, and support,



New Temptations


by Jean McCarthy


Sometimes I am surprised by the power of old thoughts that pop up unexpectedly.

Last weekend I was at a festival browsing through the market stalls of polished stones, nature photos, handmade soaps, and other typical fare when I stopped in my tracks.

A booth selling marijuana products was next and I felt the awakening of a long-quiet part of my brain. I did the mental equivalent of a spit-take and realized this is the new reality here in Canada.

Marijuana will be legalized here this fall and already it is appearing everywhere. This particular stall was selling products – creams, powders, tinctures, edibles – at least I think it was because I didn’t get much closer. My heart was racing and I was inexplicably excited. I walked back and forth trying to get a better look and also trying to avoid it simultaneously.

I was like a twelve-year-old boy at his first school dance. I want to and I don’t.

There are new products to be marketed, and a lot of them have legitimate claims to health benefits. There seems to be this grey area of where health benefits end and recreation begins that my addiction sees as an invitation. Though alcohol was my vice of choice, I will tell you that I am tempted by everything that invites me to escape – even Gravol and cold medicine (though they’re great when needed for an actual illness).

I have spent nearly eight years learning to navigate a world full of alcohol and I feel like I have gotten the hang of it. Now a curve ball is coming, a new thing that is out there in the open and must be simultaneously accepted and avoided.

I am supportive of legalized marijuana and do believe that everyone has the right to do what they want with their own bodies. Likewise, it is my choice to live drug and alcohol free and my responsibility to sidestep temptations, marketing and messages that encourage me to indulge.

I used to feel angry at the ridiculous alcogenic marketing towards women – the bangle flasks, and baby onesies that say “Mommy’s Funner When She Drinks”, the purses built to hide bottles. Now I roll my eyes and scroll on.

I am feeling anxious at the thought of a whole new barrage of marketing to brace myself against, though I know I will get used to it, it’s nonetheless unnerving.

I am curious to hear from sober readers living in areas that already have legalization, if you feel it impacts your recovery and if the marketing feels as pervasive as the alcohol industry.



The Subtle Allure of Legalized Substances

5 thoughts on “The Subtle Allure of Legalized Substances

  • October 19, 2018 at 7:06 am

    Thank you for posting this powerful article. The “marijuana thing” is not tempting to me, but over the years I have had to make decisions about post-surgical pain meds, spaghetti sauce that contains wine (does it or doesn’t it cook out?), and in recent years, kombucha (a big fat NO by the way).
    To be clear, I never make such decisions on my own. I rely on my sponsor’s clarity and wisdom to help me make the right choices for my sobriety!

    • October 19, 2018 at 10:38 pm

      Thank you and this is a great article and a really important topic! it’s true, mouthwash, beer batter, just so many things including medicine… Staying aware and determined is key. So I didn’t know about kombucha… Is that alcohol?? I thought it was some kind of ice tea… I have a bottle in my fridge … will dump it – I’ve never been able to pawn it off on anyone but I didn’t realize it is a big fat no… so glad you said so. xo

  • October 19, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Not sure how to really respond to this. Medical marijuana is being offered by doctors as a way of helping with pain. I have also heard the great success stories regarding this. Although is it being monitored? Not sure how I feel about this?

    • October 19, 2018 at 10:29 pm

      I too have heard of great success stories with medical marijuana. I also understand that the THC or whatever ingredient that brings the “high” is removed – so it’s not about getting high, it seems to be about stopping seizures, or dealing with chemo, or other difficult conditions…. seems to me if some form of marijuana can help, how wonderful. Like with any kind of addiction, it is up to the patient to tell the doctor if there is an addiction issue… If I need pain meds I would want to take them but i would want to make sure to say I need non-narcotic kind- and let the doctor know…

  • October 19, 2018 at 10:25 pm

    I have been thinking about this a lot lately as the entry of cannibus and cannibus products are worming their way into our society. I think it’s very ironic that now that I am far removed from it, it’s readily accessible. How I plotted and connived and traveled to far corners just to get some in the past. I think there is a difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. I hope I never need the medicinal kind, and would trust there would be other ways to ger relief. Recreational is clearly not an option. I am so grateful that I don’t have to try to do just a little, or only sometimes, or try to manage it. I am sure I couldn’t. Like the author I don’t begrudge people who indulge responsibly with their edibles or whatever. I don’t really know so much about how it’s marketed and think it’s best for me to just steer clear and not get too curious or interested in it. I suspect it will launch a new kind of addiction and abuse; just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. So grateful I am using spiritual, higher version of self, and higher power connection to get the natural high.


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