I am a recovering pothead. If not for the MA program online, I could not introduce myself as "recovering" because when I found MA online there were no MA meetings in the my home state of Georgia. I didn't try pot until I was 26 because I was scared of it—scared because it was an illegal drug—but mostly scared because I might enjoy it. This fear helped me to just say no many times before I finally said yes. The first time I tried it was on my wedding night. I won't go into details here except to say that my worst fear reigned true-I liked it (the pot... the honeymoon was great too, but I am talking about the pot here). Anyway, my disease was unleashed that night. I wanted to smoke it as often as possible, and I did.

So, seven and a half months after I got married my husband committed suicide and my world was yanked out from under me. I had lost my best friend and my soul mate. I didn't want to deal with the grief or the issues around suicide that do not come with other kinds of death. So I dove into all the pot I could get my hands on and used it to numb these emotions.

For the next nine years I continued to use pot regularly. It became an obsession. I woke up thinking about when in my day I could sneak a little toke or two, went through my day looking forward to that moment when I could toke away, and ended my day with toking my way to sleep. I was terrified that if I allowed the feelings to surface, I would lose it.

Then something happened. I began isolating in my house, only venturing out when I absolutely had to. I quit answering my phone--the lifeline of my business--and my addiction went to an even higher level. I was stoned more hours than not. What a great life, I thought. Then the pot quit working. My best friend, marijuana, let me down.

So I began drinking heavily with the pot. Somewhere in all of this insanity, I had a moment (and I do mean moment) of clarity. I got scared. I could see that I was headed down the same path of alcoholism that my father had been on. I didn't want that.

I was miserable. I wanted the insanity to stop but I could not imagine life without marijuana. I felt so alone. Then I went online and found the Marijuana Anonymous Web site. Could it be that there really is such a program? I had jokingly said to my using buddies that I needed a 12 Step program for my pot use. Be careful what you joke about, huh?

I e-mailed MA for help. A reply from a wonderful woman with eight years of recovery came back to me. She said she would be my online sponsor and told me about the online meetings. She asked me if I was willing to do whatever it took to get clean. She was honest, yet warm, and said it wouldn't be easy, but it was a simple program. She mailed me lots of literature from MA and prepared me for detox.

That was hell! I was craving pot like I can't even put into words. I was irritable (nice way of saying insane), could not sleep, had the sweats all the time, had the shakes, and had unbelievable cravings. I wanted pot, yet I wanted to be free from its bondage.

I probably wore out my online sponsor those first few months. I was in daily, sometimes hourly contact with her. She reminded me just to stay in today, stay in this minute, don't use for this hour, and so on. She helped me through the detox with her loving, supportive yet tough-love hand.

Eventually, the detox symptoms subsided, but obsessive thoughts continued. She told me that those would go away too. Not forever, but I would get some relief and then they would come back only long enough to remind me that I have a disease. She was right. There came a day when I did not think about smoking. What a gift! My first glimpse of peace and serenity.

Meanwhile, during all of this contact with my online sponsor, I went to the online meeting. I felt like I had truly found my home with these people. I could relate to them. They knew me even though most of them lived on the other side of the country from me.

Then one Sunday night my sponsor called on me to share. Yikes!!! I did, and the feelings poured out of me that I had run from for so many years. I was embraced by the group. They shared some tools to help me begin to heal from my grief. It didn't matter to them that it had been nine years since my husband died. I used the tools shared with me, talked at meetings, talked to my sponsor, read program literature, took my grief to therapy, and began trudging through all of the feelings.

First I dealt with what I call the Politically Correct feelings of grief—sadness, loneliness, abandonment, intense sorrow of what was lost. Then it came time for the Politically Incorrect feelings, as I saw it, of anger and resentment. Again MA online was there to embrace me. I survived all of the emotions—correct and incorrect alike—and have found a new peace and a new happiness. I do not regret the past. I cannot change it. I can change how my husband's death affects my life. I can learn how to move on. And I can be clean and sober and happy, joyous, and free.

If it had not been for MA online, I would never have learned all of these things. And now there is the first MA meeting in my state, in my town, thanks to my sponsor suggesting that I start one. It is small right now, just two of us potheads--but that is all that is necessary to have a meeting. For weeks, it was just me and the committee in my head. Now I have the opportunity to share this message of recovery. For that I am grateful and thank my HP each day for online MA.

-- Clara
March, 1998

MAWS Conference

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