New Temptations

shallow focus photography of cannabis plant
Photo by Michael Fischer on

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.



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  1. Wow, I thought I would see different responses. I am now sober 90 days. I have not smoked cannabis yet in my sobriety, first due to it still being illegal where I am and because I haven’t been here long enough to know anyone who sells, but for me cannabis is totally different from recreational booze and drugs. For me cannabis is a look inside my own life. If my life is good, if I feel good about who I am and my mind is clear and free, I will enjoy cannabis. If it is not, which it hasn’t been in a long time, I will not enjoy cannabis at all. I will be paranoid and withdrawn, and a nervous wreck. When I am smoking, I never feel the need to overdo it or smoke throughout the day to be “high” all day. And I definitely don’t feel like going out and drinking when I am stoned. For me cannabis and booze don’t mix at all. I have actually used weed to quit drinking in the past. It didn’t last, I wasn’t ready at that time, but I believe marijuana is more of a medicine than a drug. I think that if used properly it can be very helpful for a variety of things, even staying sober. Anything in life used too much is negative, but there are substances that, used in moderation, can be beneficial. I think cannabis is one of those.


  2. I live in Australia and marijuana isn’t legalised here. before I commenced AA, I Had thought would it be better for me to smoke weed than it would be to drink? But then I am not sure if I would be swapping one addiction for another. I think we are a long way off legalisation of marijuana, but I would love to know more about marijuana and it’s positive or negative effects on alcoholics.


  3. A coffee shop has just opened near me in the UK. He sells CBD coffee, gummi bears, oil and weed all with the THC removed to below the legal limit. My addicted self bought some coffee and some lemon haze to try as I do miss it, I like it (relaxing without being stoned) but wonder if I am just trying to find an alternative before I try kicking the booze. My 100 day challenge starts on 1/1/19 with Dry Veganuary. Love that I’ve found so many brilliant blogs to help me reflect, yours is one of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Meaningful comments. I find that for myself, addicted is addicted. I live in California where pot is legal, and I have smoked it numerous times. I found over time that it was very easy for me to smoke pot, then my resolve to not drink went out the window, cuz being an addict is being an addict. I realized it’s more about feeling different, by whatever means would get me there.

    For me, for now, I’m really grateful for my mental clarity, for waking up with a clear head. for remembering all of what I did last night. For not having the monkey of a addiction talking in my ear, taking hold of my actions. I am a little quieter socially, but that’s ok. I like how good I feel overall. One day at a time. Today, I like where I am.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m pretty grateful that, while I live in a legalized city, DC, I haven’t had many direct confrontation with weed. It’s a huge temptation for me. My mind can easily rationalize picking up a joint quicker than picking up a liquor bottle.


  6. Jean, you are not alone! I feel the exact same way. I turn 50 this weekend and it seems the marketing message to women to numb themselves with alcohol and substances is getting not only more powerful but much more subtle. It really worries me. I have been alcohol free for 18 months and a very stressful experience last week brought alcohol cravings right to the tip of my tongue OUT OF NOWHERE!!!! What you are thinking and feeling is for real.

    Our son was born in 2004 – I distinctly remember the marketing message to moms that we need to drink our way through our days was really gaining force. I’m a former sales and marketing manager – I can see this stuff from miles away.

    Keep up the outstanding work you do! I am grateful for Unpickled. Your blog was a light onto the sober path 2 years ago! I was desperate for a dialog for women that did not include numbing ourselves with alcohol. You gave me one!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Right now my state only has medicinal marijuana but I have tons of friends who travel to Colorado or Washington and love it. Pot has always made me paranoid and hungry so I never really smoked after college.

    I am seeing just how pervasive alcohol is marketed in our culture and just mentioned, accepted, and expected everywhere. I’m 11 days sober (yesss!) and already seeing so many Facebook comments of “Cheers!” or “You deserve a huge glass of wine, maybe three! *winky face*” in response to everyday grumbles. It is everywhere.

    The irony is that I used to work in a wine shop and I didn’t notice it then.


      • Thank you so much! I’ve been reading sober blogs and listening to podcasts and absorbing as much as I can I’ve the past couple weeks. I identify with the idea of a “high bottom.” My life wasn’t in shambles but it also sucked and revolved around drinking even if I didn’t admit it. Im actually excited about the future now. I wasn’t before.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. I was addicted to weed from 1980-1996, it was all I thought about. Then alcohol and other drugs were added to my repertoire of intoxicants. I ended up with psychosis. I also ended up broke as hell, even though I had a job. Society has many ways of enslaving our minds, from TV to heroin. The only way to be free from addictions is to find the strength in yourself to get your pleasure from your work and relationships. I am also learning again, that relationships with people who use only wreck our own resolve to stay sober. Best of luck to you in this coming stoned age.


  9. Thanks SO much for your work. I listened to The Bubble Hour all morning. This is me, connecting on (yet another) day one. God. Pot is the last thing on my mind. Anyway, although I do have old friends who smoke pot every day (and I suppose that we can become addicted to pretty much anything), I was such a lightweight with the Mary Jane, I could only handle one toke and then was good for nothing. Come to think of it, one drink and I am good for nothing. But the point I was trying to make is that pot could never have been an addictive drug for me. Alcohol, on the other hand…. Deep sigh.


  10. I think the issue with Legalized marijuana will be the marketing, it is being marketed to young teens as medicinal, a cure for everything with no downside. That is where I see the problem will be. It is still an addictive drug and I have friends with 16 year olds that smoke it everyday to get rid of anxiety. They never leave the basement. The marketing for weed and alcohol should be more regulated. I believe adults should be able to do what they want but to have all the facts, the good and the bad..


  11. Let me throw in my vote of support for you, Jaime. My home has been an alcohol free zone for three years but I see in the other person who lives here, one addiction can be substituted for another. I think it is in how the neurological pathways have been carved out over the years, which are the real challenges. How to make new ones by reinforcing healthy choices and better habits is not easy but absolutely necessary.
    Weed smoking makes for very blah people, unmotivated and laidback, not good at all.


  12. Hi Jean. Great post. Here is my take so far: I’m overwhelmed by the idea of marijuana now that it’s legal in California. It can be medically obtained at age 18 and is delivered. My younger son has fallen heavily into using – a varsity basketball player with all the opportunity in the world. I really can’t control him now because it’s legal. And he wants me to try it with him! And it is also becoming a social thing like wine. And. And. And.! See what I mean?

    Unfortunately, my mind has not ruled it out. Yet, fortunately, I’m not tempted. It was never my thing. So for the foreseeable future, I’m not too worried about using. It’s later in life that I’ve kept open. And perhaps it’s because of the medicinal benefits. That may be legit or not. Not sure. Overall, we will need far more regulation around pot. Young people can access way too easily and are very vulnerable. Thanks for creating this conversation.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. For me, addiction isn’t about a particular substance but the compulsion of using a substance to change the way I feel. My drug of choice was alcohol and although pot isn’t legal here yet, it’s still around and tempting with the medicinal claims. I have to reel myself back and recognize that I am attempting to change the way I feel if I choose to use it. I recently realized that I am using food to change the way I feel when I hid a bag of candy bars in one of my alcohol hiding places. It was a warning that i am still an addict and will always be an addict and need to address why I want to change the way I feel.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Weed is bad news. Bad effects often do not show up until long after the fact, decades even. Noxious substances that cannot be readily metabolized get stored in the liver and cause havoc later on. Honestly, I do believe the powers that be want the population to be drugged, drunk and pacified with sex so they can do anything they want with them. Children and young people are particuarly at risk. For this reason alone marijuana should be regulated.


  15. Pot-smoking is one of the few vices I never had because I hallucinated the few times I tried it, decades ago. It turns out there is a percentage of the population who regularly hallucinates while smoking — I read that in a magazine thirty years ago. And guess what? The pot is way stronger than it was back then. I’m Canadian, but have always lived in the states. We’re going to Colorado in a week, and the people I’m traveling with are THRILLED that they get to smoke pot legally. I’m not looking forward to that part of the trip at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Like you Jean, I’m a little concerned about the challenges that legalization will bring.The new edibles and such have already made an appearance on the dinner-party circuit and all around me people young and old are jumping on the “medicinal” bandwagon. I have never been one to partake and don’t plan to, but it has added a new element of peer pressure to my social engagements. I have been encouraged to have cannabis in a number of forms over and over, the reason given usually being ” you don’t drink, you should try this instead”. Clearly, these people don’t really get why I don’t drink. To my mind, wasted is wasted no matter how you get there and it’s just not something I’m going to mess with. Didn’t think that at 58 I’d still be trying to get away from the kids with drugs that my Mother warned me about. 🤔

    🌻Day 789

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Hi Jean! Between the pot shops, craft breweries and distilleries around here you’d think this state would be wasted NIGHT AND DAY. The number of dispensaries absolutely blows my mind. I heard that Oregon grows more pot than we can possibly consume. I must warn would be consumers: this is not 1970’s hippie pot, this stuff is the real deal. BEWARE. Particularly of the edibles.
    Personally, I’m not tempted. Never really liked it and I still don’t. That said, some people prefer pot to meds for pain and anxiety and that’s probably not a bad thing.

    Liked by 2 people

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