Can a member of AA smoke cannabis? Absolutely not! Well, they could, but it’s against the AA rules. You can smoke tobacco, though. AA thinks that’s completely acceptable. Don’t ask me to explain that because I cannot. It makes zero sense. Both tobacco and cannabis are psychoactive substances. Tobacco is definitely highly addictive. In fact, it’s one of the most addictive substances there is. Cannabis hasn’t been proven to be physically addictive, although there are anecdotal reports that it can be. However, there is little doubt it can produce a strong psychological dependence. AA previously would point out that tobacco is legal and cannabis is not. But, about a quarter of all states now allow both recreational and medical marijuana. If you’re in AA and use cannabis, you best keep that information to yourself. You will be judged harshly if you admit it, even though it’s really nobody’s business.
AA and Tobacco
AA does not allow any kind of addictive substances except for tobacco and caffeine. This goes for Suboxone, methadone, Vivitrol or any other kind of medication-assisted treatment. Vivitrol isn’t even addictive! It’s a long-acting form of naltrexone, a drug used for opioid overdose rescue. AA doesn’t care about the science or the facts, even though MAT, medication-assisted treatment, has been proven to change lives and lead to long-term sobriety for millions. AA doesn’t even allow the use of CBD, even though it’s not addictive at all. CBD helps both humans and pets with pain, nausea, insomnia, cancer treatment side effects, epilepsy, arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease.
AA: a 12-Step Program
AA is based on a 12-step program where the participant must first admit powerlessness over drug and alcohol use. However, some people have a problem with it right there. They believe in their own internal power to overcome problems. Besides, does drug and alcohol addiction cause powerlessness, or does powerlessness cause drug and alcohol addiction? The steps go on in ever-escalating intensity, forcing the person to fill out actual worksheets describing very painful and traumatic past events. This is supposed to be cathartic and honest, but could it not do more harm than good?
AA: Why is Smoking Okay?
Before condemning the use of MAT and CBD, AA needs to clarify why addictive tobacco is acceptable and other drugs are not. It’s their program, and they can any rules they want, but it’s not too much to ask that these rules at least make sense. AA, why is nicotine, an addictive and harmful drug, acceptable but Suboxone isn’t? Both are legal. Is there not more than one way to overcome a problem? Someone with a long-standing opioid addiction may have permanently altered their brain chemistry and function. AA, how do you know that isn’t true? Some people may need daily medication with an opioid to feel normal. AA, who are you to deny them that or make them feel guilty?
Smoking is extremely damaging to the health of both the smoker and those around him or her. This is a medical fact. AA not only allows smoking but tacitly encourages it. They don’t even suggest that their members try to quit.
AA says that people using cannabis, whether it’s medical or recreational, smoked, vaped or ingested some other way must choose between cannabis and being a faithful follower of AA. This is wrong. Nothing about cannabis use goes against any of the 12 steps unless the use has completely taken over the person’s life. At the end of the day, that’s what addiction is: an obsession to use a substance in the face of clear harm to oneself and others. Many people use cannabis for medical reasons. In fact, states that have legalized recreational marijuana have much lower opioid use rates. When people can legally get cannabis, many will use that instead of opioids.
Make no mistake: if you want to follow AA without having to lie, you will have to give up any use of cannabis. It’s required. Of course, you can use cannabis and not tell anyone at AA, but the constant deception might be a problem. You will also have to lie to your sponsor. Do you really want to do that?
For More Information
We can help you with any questions you have about cannabis and AA. Just call us anytime at (833) 922-2653. We can evaluate your situation and perhaps offer alternatives. In any case, it’s our job to find you the help you need. It’s what we do.