168: Marijuana Anonymous MA – Everything You Wanted to Know (Sort Of)


We are talking with a member of Marijuana Anonymous (MA) to find out more about the program. Do they work similar steps to the more familiar programs of NA and AA? What kind of requirements do they have for membership. Do they call it clean time? What is different from a more typical 12 step meeting? Also, listen in to learn about the free literature in Marijuana Anonymous, the app that you can answer your step work in for free, and how to access meetings and more about the program. Listen in and share your thoughts with us.

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Transcript:

recovery sort of is a podcast where we discuss recovery topics from the perspective of people living in long-term recovery this podcast does not intend to represent the views of any particular group organization or Fellowship the attitudes expressed are solely the opinion of its contributors be advised there may be strong language or topics of an adult nature

[Music]

welcome back it’s recovery sort of the podcast I’m Jason a guy who loves to learn about other meetings and I’m Billy I’m a person in long-term recovery I’m Carolyn I’m also a person in long-term recovery and today we have Molly hi everyone hi Molly sorry yeah I botched that a little bit but that’s all right welcome to the show you’re going to tell us about marijuana anonymous which is fascinating can’t wait to learn more about it so but without any you know extra stuff let’s just get right into your story and tell us how you got here awesome okay so my name is Molly I’m a gratefully recovering addict and human being who works Marijuana Anonymous um I am an addict of all trades so a a n a s-l-a-a I’ve been to the mall away um but Marijuana Anonymous is where I found my home and my people because donors are awesome but Stoners in recovery are even cooler because we can actually finish a whole conversation

um I’ve been sober for two years and eight months my introduction into M.A was through my mom she uh you know was like this Stoner addict behavior is no chill for you and for us and I was still living at home and um you know why don’t you go to a meeting I mean I was breaking down crying like I don’t like it makes me I don’t like smoking it makes me feel awful like I can’t get anything done I can’t save any money I can’t do anything but I literally can’t stop and it was you know getting me involved in a lot of other stupid [ __ ] and um but it was the bait it was like the basis of my life like all my friends were Stoners everything I did I was like you know if we go there’s there gonna be weed when can I smoke you know is it going to be my weed is it going to be their week there was so much planning involved to make sure that I would be able to accommodate um why did it matter whose weed it was oh because just because you know it’s like if it’s going to be theirs then I won’t bring mine because why share my stash if I can just smoke there you know I thought you were worried theirs was going to be like shitty weed or something

you’re lowly peasant weed it wasn’t a pretentious donor you know those people were like a high grade oh no I was like as long as it’s weave it’s cool but I mean I was you know struggling college student living at home so money was you know the basis for making if I had enough money and I had weed let’s hold on to that as much as I can right so other people you believe that was sick that was awesome um anyway um so I went to a meeting in a church basement and it was a bunch of old white dudes and it was absolutely ridiculous that I could relate to them um about all of the struggles of being a stoner and having your life feel out of control because of it and um you know I wasn’t like dying from it or you know really killing my body besides my lungs but it kind of felt like I wasn’t moving forward I wasn’t moving backwards I was staying right where I was very much like a shell of the person that I was before and the person I am now just kind of a zombie moving through life and then I was like okay this is really scary I’m never coming back here ever again um I don’t like that there’s so much self-awareness happening I’m just gonna shut it up so I kept doing my thing kept ruining my life for a few more months and then two weeks into the pandemic out of money no job living at home couldn’t go anywhere couldn’t see friends couldn’t go to the bar nothing you know dispensaries being um an essential business in California they were open but I didn’t have any money and couldn’t steal any more money without it being noticeable so I was left to my own devices and came back to Marijuana Anonymous um that’s where I met my sponsor during my very first meeting back um and it just took off from there um during my recovery thus far I’ve started meetings for young people in recovery in Marijuana Anonymous um which have been really like such a beautiful experience to work with minors and adults in recovery um who are like around my age instead of just six-year-old white dudes in meetings um and uh really opened me up to a lot of really great service um then I worked at the district level in my district doing Treasury and that kind of stuff and then um I’ve been the public information trustee for Marijuana Anonymous World services for about six or seven months now um and that’s been such a rewarding process to do service on the World level and try to bring information about marijuana anonymous to the public that like hey we exist you know addiction to marijuana is super real and there’s a lot of real you know physical and emotional circumstances that come from that addiction um so it’s been really such a fulfilling experience and strengths that strengthens my recovery and um yeah I think that’s a pretty good overview of my story no that was awesome thank you thank you the first thing I thought of when you said you were like being of service through World Services was like if I had two or three years clean when I got clean in n a and somebody was said there was another fellowship where I could have like been of service at World Service level I would have felt really important powerful and I would have switched but I’ve been like yep I’m going to Marijuana Anonymous from now on I’m going to work with World services

um one of the things that I found fascinating about your story and it’s not completely about marijuana anonymous was just the idea that when you’re when your mom came to you and said this thing about how what you were doing was not good for you and not good for the people around you that loved you like I get I I would think I don’t want to say a guarantee but I would think that’s probably not the first time that she said something like that and it’s just fascinating like what’s your interpretation of how you heard it differently this time you know I think it’s that it’s that beautiful like gift of desperation where we had had so many conversations some starting with me being you know really angry and defensive about you know I know what’s good for me I know that smoking weed all day every day every hour on the hour is really good for me and you don’t understand you don’t know what it’s like to be me and to go through all the stuff that I was going through and sometimes it would start with me you know sobbing to my mom to my parents like I want to stop smoking it makes me feel awful like I feel like I you know don’t have any drive to pursue like anything in life and I know that it you know is frustrating to live with me because I could feel it in our interactions um and obviously my parents were like well you know this is on your time my parents were previous 12 steppers my both my parents have worked a different program and uh I’m trying to protect their anonymity and um and uh so they kind of understood that you know an addict can only do it for themselves but it is really important for them to be aware that like you know being helpful to yourself can be helpful to others around you and I think this time because it was me coming to her with like I just need any direction any help please and her being like I’ve actually already done research on this here it is on a silver platter was just like two good to be true in that sense and I think just because of some of the circumstances that had happened before I kind of also felt like I owed it to her to like actually hear her out and listen and not get defensive and um it’s that first little piece of like honesty and open-mindedness and like you know it just kind of goes from there right right I I’m really curious and I love the fact that you’ve had some exposure to what I’m Gonna Keep referring to I guess as traditional 12-step meetings right and when I say that I’m really talking about AAA and N A because that’s like the the main two or whatever but I like that because I feel like it’s going to help you see and compare and contrast I will say though it sounds like you’re more familiar with a a than n a yeah definitely okay so like one of the first things that popped up for me um and thinking back that you know possibly before you were born there was a movie called half-baked it was like this stoner movie pop culture stuff maybe you’ve seen it and there’s this line on there where Bob saggett this wholesome guy from Full House delivers it in a thing and says you know I suck dick for cocaine have you ever sucked dick for marijuana and I guess this is like supposedly an n a or an AAA meeting environment and so I guess there’s there’s been this lingering stigma of like marijuana is not serious enough to need a 12-step program or that somebody might get laughed out of a more traditional meeting I think that stems from the idea that we think we’re treating this disease of addiction and not just one particular substance so to speak but I don’t I don’t think AA actually thinks oh we’re just treating alcohol in here right like so I think maybe it’s not as awkward for you because your exposure has been a a who kind of already operates under this like we’re not really dealing with a substance but that’s what we call the program do you want to talk I know that was like not exactly a question but

you get where you’re coming from and you know I think it is true that a lot of people um you know sort of think that marijuana is I mean and this is this comes from just like you said pop culture and all of these like other things where you know weed isn’t bad it’s not like I mean it’s a gateway drug if you did like the Dare program when you were in elementary school like I did you know it is one of the gateway drugs but it’s not like a big deal but you know and that’s sort of what my exposure to it was as well like you know people like Snoop Dogg and Kid Cudi like all these guys they smoke weed all day every day and they’re super successful and you know they’ve lived great lives um and I think the reality of it is that weed can be really helpful to a lot of people it is and did sort of in this new movement especially when for me you know was seen as like medicinal for a lot of people and there are some functional people and like with everything there are a lot of unfunctional people who smoke a lot of weed and um you know to the point of like from the movie from Half Baked from the line I know lots of people who have you know not to be vulgar or anything but who have you know sucked it to get weed that you know it doesn’t really matter what the substance is if the desperation is there you’re gonna do what you need to do and there are a lot of people in Ma I think who have felt left out of other programs including AAA because especially here in California um you know there’s a bit of that like California recovery where it’s like I don’t drink I just smoke weed all day and I get to go to AAA meetings and I still get to take my trip still get to do all that which as you should that’s your that’s the singleness of purpose there you go like it just it doesn’t work for everyone a lot of people find the the issues of cross addiction there where it’s like I know that I’m sober from alcohol so I’m not you know suffering from all of the very physical stuff and detrimental stuff that can happen with alcoholism but I’m just smoking weed all day sitting on my couch and I don’t really know what I’m doing with my life like a program is supposed to you know help us be useful people in society and you know the sort of consensus in Marijuana Anonymous is that a lot of us have the experience that we’re very unfunctional useless people when we’re smoking all day every day to ourselves and to other people so I think that’s just sort of the general misconception that just because I can’t overdose from it doesn’t mean that it’s not really harmful right right yeah I think sometimes we can give priority levels which kind of makes sense if people are you know passing away but at the same time it doesn’t mean we need to like belittle or you know lessen the struggles of anybody else I’m curious and and our background is more n a so that’s kind of where my understanding comes from Mostly is that just thinking like in N A the disease of addiction is kind of what we refer to as the the problem so to speak right it’s not the actual drug use they’re more of like a symptom does Marijuana Anonymous look at that similarly or how do you guys look at this idea is it the disease model of addiction and you’re just referring more to one specific thing or yeah I think it definitely follows that same sort of pipeline of like you know this is the disease of addiction and like the spiritual ailment that exists like trying to fill an emotional spiritual void with a substance and I think yeah M.A does follow that in in a very similar if not you know the same sort of way this is yeah okay do you guys uh is it do you still call it clean time yeah okay and is there is there like celebrations or anniversaries in your program or not yeah so we do we do chips the same way that other programs do them and you know 30 60 90 days six months a year and um whatever meetings you go to we have like official Mah chips and you know you can buy them and um all of that kind of stuff and then um it it honestly doesn’t differ very much from other traditional programs in that sense I mean we’ve definitely followed a very similar pipeline okay with that being said what is like the feel so if you go to AA depending on what area you’re in you might be as to not talk about anything except alcohol um whereas some areas you know it’s not as big of a deal to talk more about other things you’ve done what’s the vibe around that in Marijuana Anonymous is it like we need to strictly speak about marijuana or do people talk about all kinds of things or I think people um so we do talk a lot about cross addiction actually I mean obviously depending on the meeting and depending you know on that meeting or that District’s particular you know script or that kind of stuff um for their meetings um but yeah we talk a lot about cross addiction um because you know when you’re trying to get off of One Drug it’s very easy to just pick up another um and in in our scripts often you know there’s a sort of statement that’s like many of us have found that when we’re you know stopping when we’re not smoking weed we drink more and we drink more and more and more or we you know use our medications that are prescribed a little bit you know we get a little bit dicey with them like you know you kind of have to be aware that cross addiction can exist and you know while you’re trying to recover um from one addiction so most meetings that I’ve been to um don’t really enforce the singleness of purpose too too much um of course like we have meetings that sort of coincide where we’re like this is a you know this is like a relationship topic meeting in Ma we’re talking about how relationships which of course you can see that in like Coda or in slaw like those other sort of smaller programs that do talk solely about relationships um how they can sort of intertwine in a singular meeting um but of course most people are there to recover from weed so the sort of cross addiction I think it would be pretty similar in a sense where people are like I know this is an n a meeting but or I know this is an AAA meeting but I really need to talk about this and this is my home group or this is the meeting that I was able to get into and I just need to share that’s sort of the vibe around it as well Molly are there a lot of people that uh or even a good portion of the people that attend Ma at least that you’re familiar with that are strictly there to solve for their marijuana addiction but continue to drink or use other substances recreationally or is it like a total absence model um I think you know it’s interesting um and this is obviously my just my perspective um that what I’ve seen and what I’ve noticed is that oftentimes people come in being like well I’m just a stoner and I I just need to stop smoking weed all day every day I only drink on the weekends or like once a month so it’s fine and then they find pretty early in recovery in their first few months or so that they’re drinking more and more and it’s becoming a problem that they’re drinking more and more to come to compensate with you know not smoking all day every day so I think the people that I know that have stayed in long-term recovery from weed are like completely abstinent from other all other minor mood altering substances is that what the program advises though like so say if you’re sponsoring someone okay so if you’re sponsoring someone you’re telling them they they need to abstain from from all substances yeah definitely I mean I think uh I think other sponsors would probably come at it from a different way but I’m like you know I get it single news of purpose you’re here to just stop smoking weed but my answer is gonna be the same every time you come to me with well I got really drunk and when I was drunk I smoked because I couldn’t even really you know think about it and I was like oh I just want to have a good time and you’re continually relapsing my answer is going to be the same which is Don’t drink don’t participate in those things so you need to stay fully clean and sober um and you know some come around to it I think eventually but to hold any type of like service positions in Marijuana Anonymous you have to be completely clean and sober from all my mood altering substances besides stuff like nicotine caffeine and then any prescribed drugs taken as prescribed that’s actually pretty fascinating that that’s kind of like a requirement [Music] thank you

[Music] so I’m curious is there like any and I guess I feel like most of this happens in person and I it sounded like you do mostly virtual meetings but I’m curious if there’s any Vibe of like conflict between this person celebrating and we don’t think they’re actually not drinking or this person’s celebrating and we all think they’re using their pills wrong or like does any of that happen in marijuana anonymous because I’ve seen a lot of that in other places yeah it does I think it happens I’ve been to quite a few in-person meetings I have some around me and that kind of stuff um especially as the world has reopened but I think it’s very similar to that in other programs where you can sort of sense or like get that sort of vibe from someone that may be there not fully you know being honest about their experiences um and a lot of people will come at it with you know judgment like oh that person probably shouldn’t be taking a trip or I don’t think this person should be sharing because I think they probably did smoke in the last 24 hours um just based on their share um and then at the end of the day um like a a I’m not sure about in n a um you know we sort of try to put principles before personalities and you know pray for the addict who still suffers and are just glad that they’re in the meeting and whether or not they’re lying that really is them like you know pouring the poison and drinking it themselves it doesn’t really affect me and my recovery um but it does for them so we just say I hope the next time you’re here you can be more honest and say you know what last time I was here I I was high and you know I want to apologize to the meeting I want to make an amends to the meeting or they just do it in their living amends and and we can see the change in them but um yeah I would say that it’s very very similar that sort of like I can see it but we don’t really say anything because they’re here for just any amount of Hope from other people right so I’m curious with the kind of recommendation that people are free of all mind and mood altering substances what is like I guess the the promise of your program or or what your program says is possible like for for Narcotics Anonymous they say that an addict any addict can stop using lose the desire to use and find Freedom from active addiction or whatever right like and AA has its own version of some different promises like our is marijuana marijuana anonymous’s stance that you will be free from marijuana or that you would be free from everything since it seemed like there was a little bit of that in the program I mean I think to stick to the singleness of purpose it does say that you’ll be free from your your marijuana addiction but because the program does come at it with this sort of like you know addiction is the disease and a spiritual malady very similar to the way the big book sort of talks about it where our promises are very similar to the AAA promises you know like we’ll be amazed before we’re halfway through we’ll find a new you know the whole thing we have our own that talks about how you know marijuana is um XYZ I mean I can pull it up and and read it to you guys but um you know it does talk about specifically will be free from marijuana addiction and will feel like useful people will feel present in our relationships we won’t be struggling with money anymore like these are the promises that we make um and then you know during a meeting oftentimes cross addiction is brought up that this can hinder you from experiencing that spiritual freedom and the freedom from addiction from active addiction because you know it is a disease and we have it always but you know you’ll feel more free from the chains of of marijuana for sure um and that they can definitely get in the way of that that’s pretty much sort of the vibe it’s like we know that this is singleness of purpose um and we want to stay to that but at the same time we definitely think that it’ll take you a lot longer to maybe a lot more struggles to get to that freedom that we’re talking about if you know you’re actively in other addictions as well right right you know because because addiction is is a disease of all of this stuff I mean the drug of choice is definitely the one that we want to stop doing but it doesn’t mean that the other ones are just like oh I’m not an addict when I drink I’m only an addict when I smoke I mean that’s a kind of a little bit uh I’m not going to say silly but that’s the word I want to say like it’s a little bit silly to think that that would be the case if you think you know addiction is more than just physical dependency it’s really interesting because as we’re having this conversation I’m realizing that Marijuana Anonymous is clearly like a direct splinter from A.A and not a direct splinter from n a so like n a broke off right at some point in time and then Marijuana Anonymous clearly broke off directly from because there’s so much of it from AAA has been retained that it it just that the family tree almost is a little different than maybe I would have imagined and we had this conversation um but I think that’s true for most of them yeah I mean because AAA is where they go to get permission to use the steps to begin with but they could come to ni they yeah but no we don’t give permission for people to use the steps because AA does because we got permission from AAA yeah but now we’ve copyright copyrighted our steps so in theory someone could come to us they could but that’s like you uh uh asking somebody to stay at your house and watch it and then them asking somebody else to do it it’s a little like watch what I’m so confused if you were going away for a month and you were like come watch my house for a month and then they asked somebody else to come watch your house for a month that would feel weird like that oh that’s an interesting uh that would be weird yeah so I yeah I think they are but but yeah but yeah this one definitely closely related maybe more so than others uh Molly you said the the meeting is kind of or the program at least is more like traditional like a traditional 12-step program when going into a meeting virtual or in person what might somebody who’s only been to traditional 12-step meetings be surprised by or might find a little bit different or fascinating about a Marijuana Anonymous meeting like is there a different vibe or or you know I mean one thing like the old like we we have pictures of like what people in n a look like like these kind of wildish looking people dressed crazy and crazy colored hair and then there’s like stereotypes there’s the AAA person who’s like prim and proper wearing a sweater right you know like is there a is there a marijuana anonymous person or vibe I mean I think it would be very similar um baggy pants and a chain wallet no I don’t know yes Grateful Dead shirt it’s interesting because M.A um it started in San Francisco um Molly do you know the year it started okay I don’t know the year so excuse my history my M.A history Labs but it definitely started like in the 70s 80s it’s been around for a long time um but and a lot of those people who started the meetings um they still are in program like they’re like people that like I’ve met and they like went to that first meeting on that street in San Francisco that everyone talks about oh that’s pretty cool that is cool yeah and like I just went to we had a fellowship convention in October um and I like you know I got to experience meeting some of these people the vibe is very much like to me very like hippie peace and love more than like like that baggy chain like sort of like if we’re thinking about stereotypes it’s very much like more you know I still wear Rastafarian but I just don’t smoke weed all day sort of Vibes and a lot of people are like I still have my Stoner brain even though I haven’t been smoking for like 10 years like I still like forget things I still like all the stereotypes I’m just you know sober and able to like own up to it and like all of that kind of stuff instead of being like Oh it’s because I was hot like okay you know it’s it’s definitely more like that and I think people would be surprised I think more so people would be surprised that we are very traditional I I think that would be the big surprise to people as because I think a lot of people assume that we’re gonna be like do it how you want and work the steps how you want and of course that’s the case like with everything but it’s also like you should follow these suggested steps and you should be thorough and you should be honest and when you do your inventories like don’t just be like well because I was hired it’s like how did this actually affect you and like what is the spiritual malady like causing you and what are you trying to what void are you trying to fill and how can you get to the root of this and feel that freedom I think a lot of people just assume that it’s like we’re like kind of in that sense in AAA I don’t know if there’s an n a term for it where it’s like like drunkaloging you know where it’s a meeting and everyone’s just sharing like all their like greatest hits of all the times that they [ __ ] up because of you know drinking or getting high or getting loaded we call it Italian War Stories telling War Stories okay or drugalog I’ve heard that one a drugalog yeah so it’s very similar where it’s like I think a lot of people assume that we’re gonna sit around sort of like like almost like a blunt rotation and just talk about all the time remember that time we saw Zeppelin exactly and like um no it’s actually like it can be a very serious and vulnerable space because you know for a lot of people that I mean this is why we’re here that it got so desperate it got so bad that we went on to our computers and was like Alcoholics Anonymous but for Stoners is that possible can I be addicted to pot can I do that I mean it takes a minute to find us because we are you know not as well known or you have to search you have to find us and and once you do you kind of want to take it seriously because it’s gotten so bad and not like oh we’re gonna you need your you need a court card signed so go to Ma like no they’re going to send you to AAA and then you’re like okay well I’m not an alcoholic so you know F this it takes a while to get to our program it’s definitely one of like if you think about the house is on a block and like AAA is the first one and then n a is the second one and then you know it’s one of the last houses on the Block which is why a lot of people are clean and sober from other things because they started in AAA or they started at n a and they were like I get the vibe because I’m an addict and this makes sense to me but when I’m doing step work or when I’m reading the book I switch out you know alcohol for weed or you know drugs for weed specifically um and then they find us and they’re like oh my gosh I’m home like I’m ready to go like I want this so bad so and there are a lot of things that uh sorry to cut you off there are things I think that are kind of I’ll say unique to marijuana Addiction in that like a lot of people say like the stereotypical like marijuana is not addictive and that there’s no withdrawal and those kind of things which we know that’s not really true but that’s sort of a I don’t know common misconception of the general population is that like marijuana is not addictive and there’s not really withdrawal so you can’t really have a you shouldn’t really have a problem with it you know so it must feel nice to have a group of people that feel differently than that yeah I think it’s definitely the case and I don’t know um if you guys have heard of CHS have you ever heard of that no it’s um okay it’s a big medical word but basically it’s like the the physical effects of being addicted to weed can cause like a lot of like stomach issues like people who are completely dependent on smoking weed to like keep food down or we’d make some throw up all day every day and there are people in program who have lived with CHS for years in their active addiction throwing up or like not being able to eat having awful pain in their bodies for years and thinking oh well weed’s non-addictive and it’s a medicine it’s got to be helping me with this process where in fact it’s the root of the problem and they have no idea because when they go to the doctor doctors don’t really I mean they do because it’s a diagnosable thing but it’s not very commonly known in the medical field that there is this really physical um medical illness that can come from like long term or even just very aggressive marijuana use and you know this idea that it’s not addictive and that there’s no physical um you know symptoms of addiction there is it can be seen it’s definitely there are parts of it that are true in the sense where it’s like well my body’s not going to go into failure from not having it but at the same time mentally I’m so dependent on that escape that not having it sends you into an entire thing that feels very very very physical so the first time I went into a meeting and I heard other people sharing about their experiences with CHS their experiences with emotional and like physical withdrawal from marijuana was like one of the most comfortable things I’ve ever heard but also very scary like I said like it made me want to run where I was like okay I’m not these people I’m just kidding I’m not no no no no no because it because I felt so seen for like the first time trying to get sober so that’s cannabinoid I’m gonna say this wrong hyperemesis syndrome which is CHS and uh yeah actually uh now that you say that I didn’t know the name but I have read a little about that and maybe that’s like episode material since it’s not a well-known thing and we should tell more people um it’s it’s I feel bad like you’re over here informing us all this really valuable important information and I’m over here like I wonder if they have stuff like mocktails but for weed right like like brownies is a good thing now so like CBD is supposed to be you know non-uh psychoactive or whatever like is that like near beer for alcoholics like how does that work with all that I just saw there was a pamphlet about it so yeah I was about to say we have a pan

beer or anything that’s like zero percent um all that kind of stuff it really is up to you and your program and and if you feel like it would be triggering for me if I were to smoke CBD weed that’s like zero percent THC I would be expecting it to get high like I would be expecting that and it would be upsetting to me but like I’m also still kind of a baby in program where like I haven’t been sober for very very long and a lot of things could still be triggering to me so I’m like I’m not gonna touch that and currently there’s no like big pull to like do some research and figure out if it’s super triggering for me personally but I know some people who are like I use CBD drops because I have chronic pain and that’s why I started smoking weed in the first place because the medicinal effects of it which generally come from the CBD are really really valuable to me um and that’s sort of like up to you and potentially your sponsor their guidance on it and then maybe a medical professional if you have access to that to have like a full conversation about using CBD in a medicinal way instead of using it to try and cope with not being able to get high because you may find out that it’s really upsetting that you’re using CBD and you’re going to the dispensary to get CBD and you’re not getting weed like with THC in it and it’s really upsetting so it’s sort of that line like with anything it’s like is it going to trigger you specifically no go for it if you think so probably stay away from that so aa’s got the the big book n a’s got the basic text and of course I I don’t think either of those books are actually titled that but that’s what they’re they’re known as pretty widely what is the the literature for Marijuana Anonymous like yeah so we um have a book called life with hope and um we also have a life with hope workbook that sort of blocks a marijuana anonymous a marijuana addict through the process of the 12 Steps um sort of referencing back to life with hope and life with hope is very similar to um something like the big book or what’s the Na’s literature called sorry the basic text that’s a basic tip um it’s very similar to that but obviously it’s very it’s specific to add it the marijuana addict experience of you know the very first page of life with hope talks about you know we tried to control it we told ourselves we’re only going to smoke you know after work after school on the weekends or we’re only going to smoke other people’s weed we’re gonna hide it here and here and here and here but then you hide it when you’re high so you can’t find your stash so you go buy more and then you find it later and like you get back into the cycle like we’ve all tried to control our using that way and the first time I read that I was like oh my gosh I’ve done literally every single one of these things to try and control my using and it goes from there into you know a lot of that very specific like what Stoners would feel or like you know marijuana addicts would feel um in their active addiction what that insanity looks like for them um and you can access life with hope like on our website and you know you can order it on Amazon um and then we’re we’re about to come out with a daily reader we’ve been working on it for years now um and like all the literature just got approved during our last conference so like it’s going to be coming out hopefully within the next year or so um which is going to be great like written by people that I know and love and um it’s it’s awesome that we we’re we have such a broad um amount of literature for such a small um meeting space so in my understanding in a a there’s no particular like separate book or guide to working the steps there’s things that people have pulled out of their their big book you know that refer to working steps and how to do it in the process in N A we have a specific What’s called the step working guides and yet we use it as like here answer all these questions do you guys have a formal step working booklet or is it done a different way tell us a little about that process yeah so we do have a workbook that you can that you can get and access either a physical copy we also have an app like a marijuana anonymous app that has access to all of the literature the entire life with hope book and huh for free for free and the entire life of Hope workbook and you can literally type your answers right into the app and it’ll save your answers and you can like and you can send it to your sponsor you can email it through the app to someone else um and then you can sort of work through it like completely virtually because so many of us like ma took off during the pandemic like the amount of people who are coming into meeting spaces being like I’m actually literally stuck at home all day every day being able to smoke weed all day every day like this is insanity um and the fact that it was so accessible in the app already like the app had already been developed and was out there um was so helpful for people who were like I need to start working this right now I can’t even wait for a book to come in it’s like oh here’s the app right here for free for you to read that’s awesome and like here’s the workbook and it is formal oh excuse me it is formal and um yeah it’s just called the life with hope workbook wow I gotta be honest I feel like y’all just [  ] all over NAIA with that one awesome that’s impressive yeah that’s really all free literature and the way to work the steps right in the app so I I guess uh just to follow up on that a little bit like I guess I would say historically or my understanding of like AAA it’s kind of like you talk through the steps more than you specifically like write them out in N A we at least in this area specifically we typically more like write them out like get a notebook and write out answers and it can be a fairly uh lengthy or time-consuming process uh how is ma relate to either of those is it different same no I think it’s pretty similar to the n a um sort of concept it takes a little bit more time for sure because it it is fairly writing based the questions are like write this down and be thorough I mean a lot of people I I know in a did the same thing writing it down and that kind of stuff um but it’s also the same in the sense like um you know you’re not really fully done with the step until you talk it out and um for me personally with my sponses I’m like if you want to do a bullet point like list for this one because you don’t want to write 10 pages about it and you’d rather like have the main points you want to talk about when we talk when we sit down and do step work um let’s do that like obviously we want to be honest and thorough but writing 15 pages on this thing is not really beneficial unless you want to I mean some people are like yeah sure I mean it’ll be the best way for me to get my thoughts out but it’s definitely one of those processes that’s like there are quite a few questions in each step um especially the first three uh so writing it down makes it a little bit easier to just when you sit down to do step work with your sponsor um and this is from my personal experience everyone in ma can work it differently but it’s just been helpful to do it that way to sort of have something written down and then also be able to talk it out just sort of depending and like all Stoners I mean even in recovery I’m like oh [  ] I forgot that okay yeah you know like oh oh wait like that makes a lot of sense I’m I’m actually putting this together right now um I mean that happens with everyone but Stoners especially very forgetful people well since you said it that’s the first thing I thought when you said that your daily meditation book was taking years and years of time I was like oh yeah that’s because you’re all Stoners Like that’s why it takes forever but I don’t want to say that but since you just brought it up no yeah you can throw me under the bus on that one [Music]

so I’m gonna take an assumption here and assume that all this looks pretty similar to what it looks like in the other fellowships that maybe we’re all more familiar with but just to ask just to be curious does the idea of sponsorship and having a strong network of like peers like do these things are they really prevalent in the marijuana anonymous program and so and in fact a dual part of that question I think I believe an N A sponsorship itself isn’t mentioned in the basic literature I guess I mean we have a pamphlet about it but it talks about it being like informal in nature or like implied in nature there’s a word they use and I can’t think of the right word but it but it’s not like a formal practice we don’t talk about it lay it out talk about who has to be your sponsor or that you have to have one but it’s kind of like we all sort of believe that that’s the way it works tell us about how that looks and your recovery Network in ma is it the same yeah it’s very similar I mean I think like with other programs we have like a spiritual toolbox that we definitely suggest that’s recommended and that’s you know having a strong Network connecting with fellows um you know having people that you can reach out to and then having a sponsor um and we have this um on our website we have like a find a sponsor thing that you can fill out and if there’s because ma is not like I can find a meeting in every city sort of Vibes the way that I could pretty much find an AAA meeting anywhere I go it’s hard to find an in-person sponsor like someone that I can even just drive to in like an hour sometimes people are in such remote parts where the nearest city doesn’t have ma meetings either so we have like a find a sponsor um page that you fill out and then one of the people who do who does service for our program will connect you with someone else and you can read you can do it with as many people as you want and people who are willing to sponsor and willing to sign up will give their name and their number and are like willing to have people reach out to them for potential sponsorship um and it’s been a really helpful tool especially during the pandemic when was like I need a sponsor and I want to work the 12 Steps but I literally couldn’t even drive 15 minutes to go see someone so you know I think it was it’s been a really it’s sort of that find a sponsor thing came out um right around the pandemic I think because of that but it really helped people in program find those resources but like with every 12 step we’re like if you hear someone’s story and you like their experience and you want what they have and they’re willing to sponsor go and talk to them after the meeting reach out ask for their number try and connect with them and hopefully you find a connection that works for you it’s very similar to other programs in that way sounds like M.A it sounds like Ma has done a much better job of making use of today’s technology than than maybe n a or AAA just with this app this interactive app and the find a sponsor functionality on your website um yeah I was actually going to speak to that too I was wondering if maybe the difference is a A and N A have been around for a long time and so the people that sit on our boards are old white men yeah n a was 53 and AA was 35. right so I’m just wondering if younger generation well yeah maybe the people in the service positions in MA since it’s not so well established and so long-standing maybe there are a lot of younger people who are thinking through these ideas of like hey it’s it’s 2023 let’s like act like it or they’re just not stuck with their old ways of doing things like this is the way we’ve been doing it for 40 years so we can’t change I see people on the um one of what there’s an n a Facebook group in this in this general area that we’re in Mali and I’ll see people occasionally post on there that they need a sponsor and they’ll get 30 responses saying go to a meeting right right yeah that’s pretty stupid I mean I’m pretty sure yeah n a still takes literature votes and stuff like that through carrier pigeon so I mean yeah we’re uh we are not on board with 2023 technology I I do want to oh go ahead oh sorry I was just because I think it comes from obviously we have like those Old-Timers and program that have been you know sober in MA for three decades or you know three and a half decades that kind of stuff but I think it does come from having sort of this like younger sort of mindset and having younger people in program I mean there’s a ton of young people in ma um mainly because you know weed is like 90 THC like Wax pens are crazy like marijuana-induced psychosis and CHS are skyrocketing because of like the hybridization like all of that like really sciency weed stuff that happens that like sends people into tale spins after six months of using so we have so many young people and then people like me who want to get involved and we go to the ma conference and it’s a bunch of old people yelling at each other like I love my love the board that I work with so if you’re listening um love you but at the same time I’m like this needs to change like this is not appealing this is not accessible this is not you know helpful to a lot of people so we need to get in there and change it and there were people before me that were doing that I’ve only been in this position for a few months but all of this stuff existed before because our webmasters our internet people they’re all like really dedicated to making this accessible for not just like our country but other countries I guess I’m not laughing at you I’m laughing at your description of that useful like people who know technology and what’s needed and all that and I was thinking of like somebody who was running our our web services in this area somebody who like you know probably doesn’t know how to get his email forwarded from the website to his email it’s just like damn and and it’s not a knock on that guy like hey thank you for stepping up and being a service but like where are all the people who understand yeah he’s not the most technologically advanced right right so I I imagine that since it sounds like um you know you guys have this influx of younger people but also quite a few maybe establish 12-step members or seasoned 12-step members who’ve kind of migrated over to get some specialized you know help or or support for this particular issue marijuana right I would imagine that all the old vibes from traditional meetings carry through like oh yeah we don’t crosstalk around here and no dating in your first year like are they strong presences in marijuana or Anonymous or maybe they’re more after thoughts there no they’re definitely I mean they’re pretty strong in in our program and they’re in all of our literature you know that it’s suggested not to get involved with newcomers and matters of romance or business like very similar to that same like to that traditional structure um and you know we have non-coprostock meetings and crosstalk meetings and you know stuff that sort of opens up the space if you want to hear crosstalk and there’s a specific like script and format from District to District I mean it’s sort of like there’s a general script layout and then like with anything if you vote within your meeting or within your District that you want it to sound different then you can do that and here’s our letter here’s the scripts that we provide and you can change it um but yeah very similar definitely you know no crosstalk and and uh not dating in your first years recommended or suggested but talk with your sponsor sort of thing yeah what happens if you forget you’re not supposed to date in your first year sorry just being humorous no I was gonna say I mean I think a lot of I mean a lot of people do it so I’m curious about this I don’t imagine that this is a large uh I want to say issue for Marijuana Anonymous but generally like we’ve talked to people I mean Billy will share that he knows people that have come to Narcotics Anonymous but haven’t been there for a problem with drug use so to speak they’ve been there for other problems maybe they had a disordered relationship with sexual material or sex or with like when they haven’t been able to find these more specialized meetings locally people have attended and you know to some level either been accepted or not I was curious what is marijuana anonymous’s feelings or maybe even just what were your feelings be if somebody showed up to a Marijuana Anonymous meeting but maybe marijuana wasn’t specifically their problem like I said I can’t imagine that’s as big of an issue for you guys being as specialized as you are but like do you think you you’d be welcoming to somebody that came in and was struggling with something else I think like you said it’s definitely not as big of like um

often because most people come from going to AAA and then a really nice fellow was like Hey I’ve heard about marijuana anonymous or they have like a poster in their meeting Hall that’s like you’re struggling with weed like here go to Marijuana Anonymous meetings because one of our members one of our fellows you know was going around putting up flyers for their District like that’s sort of how people have found us in the past so it doesn’t happen too often but overall we’re like at least my experiences in meetings that I’ve been to um if people are there like I don’t really know if I have a problem with weed but you know I’m here because I think I have a problem with XYZ and this was the only meeting I could find which

but if it did I would assume that the people in the meetings and in the fellowship would be really accepting would want to hear them out let them share let them experience our strength and hope and then hopefully during any Fellowship time after the meeting they’re like hey did you know that Alcoholics Anonymous exists like they’re the basis from our program too go there like I think I think that would sort of be the situation like you’re obviously welcome to come back but there is a program that works what you’re looking for like a lot of people in Ma I think the overlap happens a lot with like like vaping or nicotine or smoking cigarettes and a lot of people are like did you know nicotine Anonymous exists like you can go there like that’s a meeting space that you can go to I’ve been to it here’s some resources like you can sort of find that overlapping they’re like well I’ve you know I haven’t been smoking weed that much but I literally can’t stop hitting my vape like you know I’m like yeah also here’s nicotine Anonymous if you want to try it out but definitely come back to our meeting like we’re happy to have you and and I didn’t know that existed so get on that Caroline I want nicotine Anonymous there we go yeah sounds good Molly I’ll take them well and you brought up an interesting thing that I didn’t really think about I guess as we’ve seen like the legalization of marijuana and the potency is getting way higher and you know them incorporating marijuana into whatever anything you can think of now lollipops gummies food Vapes everything I guess with the the potencies and everything getting so much higher that really probably does create a lot of problems for people wait till they start putting uh marijuana air by the air inhale it right right yeah it’d be perfect it was smoke in a bag I mean the Stoners will do that on their own yeah right so they’re like why buy it I mean we’re that very frugal people what a question this might not specifically be for Marijuana Anonymous but maybe you and your experience in service or if Marijuana Anonymous does to try to address this at all so I guess access to treatment sometimes for just like a straight marijuana addiction can be kind of challenging like of course we hear so much about opioids and opioid money and treatment for opioids but there doesn’t seem to be that funding stream or funding source for people with just a marijuana I say just but you know that people have specifically a marijuana addiction do you guys know of or do you know of any resources for that sort of thing or how do you encourage people to get into treatment yeah that’s sort of like one of the biggest parts of the service that I do and so we do have like an h and I um program as well which is hospitals and institutions you know and we do a lot of Outreach which essentially can look like cold calling hospitals institutions that kind of stuff being like hey we exist and you can you know use this as a resource to inform yourselves and your staff on marijuana addiction marijuana induced psychosis CHS that kind of stuff um and like cannabis use disorder which is what can happen and what you can get diagnosed with if you go to the hospital and say like I am a marijuana addict and it like it makes me feel awful they can diagnose you with cannabis use disorder um in terms of like a rehab or like a facility um generally the programs that they’re going to work are obviously a A or n a then for the specific marijuana addict who’s in rehab they often are you know sort of doing that sort of code switching like I was talking about earlier like thinking about like writing in weed instead of alcohol when they’re working program in a rehab um but hospitals and institutions and pi public information which is what I do we do a lot of that that Outreach to the public to um different facilities nationally or just within our local groups to spread this information that we have and that we can be a really great resource for rehabs and programs and for hospitals and and then we have like uh how to start a pi campaign um pamphlets and stuff that I can give to literally anyone who asks for it and they can start it within their District within their meeting and it gives like a you know a cold call sort of worksheet on how to look up these different places here’s the websites you need to call to inform people or at least provide it to your doctor so that they have access to the information so that you can get the treatment that you need sort of thing so I I think this question kind of is self-explanatory but I want to ask it anyway we’ve had programs more like uh recovery Dharma or smart recovery on and generally we ask a question sort of like who does your program seem to work best for right who in your opinion seems to do better in like a smart recovery versus the 12-step model or better in like recovery Dharma which is more a Buddhist kind of recovery than a 12-step model and I I you know yours obviously is still a 12-step model and I think who it works best for obviously is people who are more specifically concerned concerned about their marijuana usage and yet is there any other like thoughts you have around that idea of like who would best be served or get help or find marijuana anonymous useful like would it just be people who are already in 12-step programs who question whether they should continue their marijuana usage or is it people who’ve just marijuana seems like their drug of choice like what specifies that your program is probably a good fit for them um I think that’s a really great question and I don’t want to like rush through the answer that’s fair it’s interesting because I think like other programs we’re there we’re here to help the addict who still suffers in whatever capacity that means for them um and the people that can benefit the most from our program are people who are willing to go to any lengths to experience a spiritual awakening spiritual freedom from addiction and physical and emotional freedom from addiction and and like all the same pillars of other programs who are who are willing to be honest and open-minded and thorough and I’m not saying that you can’t get that in smart recovery or in in like recovery Dharma or anything like that but it could also be for people from other programs who just haven’t found their footing in AAA because of their marijuana addiction or you know people in N A who you know this is where they were sent for their marijuana addiction because they didn’t know that we existed but at the same time for a lot of people and this is their first and last stop on the Block um it’s because when they came in they they were like I kind of get a a because I’ve seen it in the media I know like people sit around and introduce themselves you know by their first name only and say bye I’m an addict and everyone’s like hi Mark and then it’s the whole thing like they’re comfortable because they have a notion about what 12-step is from media and from just like life experiences I think a lot of people can at least name one person in their life that’s been at least to one 12-step meeting one AAA meeting so they kind of get the gist but they’re like so I’m comfortable here I don’t have to learn an entirely new religion like Buddhism or something like that right and I feel like I’m at home here because these are my people like these are stoners and now they’re just sober and I’m not saying that you can’t find that in other places but I think for the people who have the capacity to be open-minded and willing you will find M.A to be a very accepting and open place and can watch other people experience the freedom that you are working towards as well um and that’s I think one of the cool things about it it’s very similar to other programs like that um if not it’s sort of that same promise of like you will find that here if you are ready to find that here right it’s very simple it’s not easy but it’s very simple and lots of us have found it so it can be for you and people who like that idea um who are also marijuana addicts will you know hopefully flourish in our program that’s awesome Molly we are getting closer on time what we need to do is to know how to find these resources and meetings and everything I’m assuming the the app is called Marijuana Anonymous and it’s on the iPhone store yeah iTunes and the Apple I mean then the Google store you can find us on the you can find um the app in store that Store Android App Stores the what is that called like the Google Google search up Marijuana Anonymous and it’ll show up it’s a green logo says M A in a triangle of course it’s green okay and then um then you can find us on um online at marijuana Dash anonymous.org um we on there we have a meeting finder that can help you find meetings that are close to your area if not in your area they’re in person online and hybrid meetings and all of our literature all of our resources can also be found on our website man free yeah that’s so awesome yeah I don’t know yeah we look bad sorry all right now that’s awesome Molly thank you so much for spending your Sunday morning with us we really appreciate it too thank you yes thank you only out there on the west coast and thank you for informing us in our audience about marijuana anonymous I mean I’m there’s people out there who don’t know and and need to know and I just I really appreciate you coming on and helping us describe it to people so that they can be a little less scared about going yeah and Technology makes it easy for us to find our tribe you know so now that all this stuff is opened up and and meetings are around virtually you know you can find a group of like-minded people that you have a lot in common with feel connected to I think that’s a huge part of people’s recovery process absolutely absolutely Molly it was a pleasure meeting you I hope you have a good week thank you Molly thank you thank you guys I had a blast awesome awesome bye thank you [Music] [Applause]

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