Generally speaking, achieving sobriety means living a life that is free of drug and alcohol use. For those who are capable of using drugs or alcohol in moderation, sobriety may simply mean a state during which you are not under the influence of any type of controlled substance. While most recovering addicts tend to strive for abstinence from all illicit items, some are embracing a new type of lifestyle called California sober.
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What Is California Sober?
The term California sober is loosely defined as refraining from the use of substances other than alcohol or marijuana. In some cases, people who claim to live this type of lifestyle try to overcome their addiction to harder drugs like cocaine or LSD by smoking marijuana. They may also try to use the drug as a replacement for alcohol.
Are You Truly Achieving Sobriety?
Technically, you are swapping your dependence on a harder drug or alcohol for a dependence on marijuana. Therefore, you aren’t truly living a sober lifestyle. If you are already able to drink alcohol in moderation, you probably don’t need to adopt the California sober philosophy.
The Potential Benefits of Being California Sober
One of the key benefits of striving to become California sober is that you’ll learn to use substances in moderation. If you are currently drinking a bottle of rum every day, simply cutting back to a mixed drink or two each day may significantly decrease your risk of liver damage or other physical and mental health problems.
Using marijuana in place of alcohol may help to ease some of the symptoms that you might face if you quit suddenly as opposed to over time. It may also be an ideal substitute for the traditional medications that you might be prescribed to ease the symptoms of drug or alcohol withdrawal. This may be because you were addicted to opioids in the past or because your body simply can’t handle medications with opioids in them.
Although marijuana can be addictive, the odds of becoming dependent on it are relatively low. Therefore, you may be able to stop using it as you become more comfortable with the idea of living without alcohol. Furthermore, it may be something that you can turn to every so often if you have a craving for alcohol or simply want something that you can enjoy socially.
It is worth noting that marijuana is a Schedule I drug according to the federal government. Therefore, you may face serious legal consequences for using it, and this may be true even if you are located in a state where it is legal to use for medicinal or recreational purposes.
The Potential Negatives of California Sobriety
If you are addicted to alcohol, the only way to truly get your drinking under control is to simply not do it anymore. While you may believe that you can do so in moderation, the truth is that addiction decides how much you drink. Therefore, having a single sip of beer or wine could be a gateway to drinking an entire case or bottle of it.
Furthermore, drinking in moderation doesn’t prevent you from incurring liver damage or various forms of cancer-related to alcohol use. It may also negatively impact your ability to drive or make smart decisions while by yourself or while out in public.
While the risk of becoming addicted to marijuana is low, it could still have negative impacts on your health. For example, it may significantly increase your appetite, which could lead to weight gain and the problems being overweight can cause.
You may also experience paranoia or other side effects that might negatively impact your mental health. As there can be a relationship between addiction and mental health issues, this may make it harder to regain control over your life.
Should You Embrace California Sobriety?
Embracing a lifestyle of moderation as opposed to abstinence may make it easier to achieve full recovery at some point in the future. This is because we tend to want things more when we can’t have them. Therefore, telling yourself that you can’t drink at all may make you want nothing more than to have a beer or glass of wine.
Of course, you will want to talk to your doctor or another medical professional prior to deciding if going halfway with your sobriety is the right choice for you. A doctor may want to do a physical examination as well as learn more about your medical history to determine if you can safely consume any amount of alcohol.
Your personal or professional preferences may also determine if modified sobriety is a better fit for you. For instance, if you have to entertain clients on a regular basis, it may be impractical to avoid bars or clubs altogether. You may also have difficulty avoiding restaurants or other establishments that sell alcohol while traveling for business.
It is worth noting that there are ways that you can avoid being around alcohol if necessary. For instance, you could ask to meet clients at restaurants that don’t serve alcoholic beverages or simply order room service when traveling. It’s possible that your employer will make an effort to enable you to perform your professional obligations without jeopardizing your sobriety. In fact, state or federal law may entitle you to reasonable accommodations.
What’s Most Important to You?
For many, taking stock of what is most important to them can provide motivation to get sober and stay that way. If you are a new parent, you may decide that staying sober is important because your child will need a mother or father who can provide adequate care and guidance. Alternatively, you may decide that you don’t like the way that you look or feel after a night on the town. Therefore, you’ll quit drinking as a way to regain your sense of self.
It may be a good idea to connect with others who have battled alcoholism or who have otherwise struggled to avoid drinking when they would not do so. Doing so may allow you to form a support system that provides you with encouragement and accountability. If you ever feel as if you’re at risk for drinking too much or at all, you can lean on your support system until the feeling passes.
Overcoming Addiction Is a Lifelong Process
Opting for California sobriety may be attractive because it provides you with a chance to claim victory over your addiction. When people ask you why you are drinking, you can simply claim that having a beer every so often was part of the plan all along as opposed to some sort of failure on your part.
It’s important to understand that overcoming addiction to alcohol is something that you’ll deal with for the rest of your life. Although you may get better at avoiding it over time, it’s possible that you’ll relapse more than once. The truth is that there is nothing unusual about relapsing or constantly feeling an urge to drink.
Instead of feeling bad about your shortcomings, you should feel good that you are strong enough to acknowledge your situation and to seek help to overcome it. Understanding that you are allowed to fail may give you the strength to pursue full sobriety as opposed to half-measures designed to mask a potentially dangerous problem.
If you are struggling with an alcohol addiction, the folks at Long Island Treatment Center are here to help. We offer a variety of inpatient and outpatient programs designed to meet your short and long-term needs. You can learn more about the services we provide by giving us a call or by perusing our website.