‘The Easier, Softer Way,’ Or ‘Half Measures Availed us Nothing’

The easier, softer way may be nice in the short run, but in the long run it leads to failure.

by Mark H.

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A few months ago at Uptown Club a man in his 20s asked if I would be his sponsor. Before agreeing to sponsor someone, I always ask a few questions, like when was the last time they used (alcohol or drugs) and do they have a desire to stay sober.

“Alcohol you mean?” the man asked.

“Yes,” I answered, “and drugs?”

“Well,” the young man said, “my girlfriend and I haven’t drank in a few weeks, but we still use marijuana.”

I have heard this response before, and told the young man, “I have never met the person who could stay sober from alcohol by using the ‘marijuana maintenance program.’ “

Our conversation soon ended, and I never saw or heard from the man again.

I’ll speak for myself here as that is the AA way, but as a former 16-year pot user I believe using pot would be a loss of sobriety and would eventually lead me back to drinking and the inevitable “jails, institutions and death.” Some clubs consider discussing drugs a forbidden ‘outside issue,’ but abuse of alcohol and drugs more times than not go together for many, if not most folks who come to AA.

I’ve talked to and met others on the marijuana maintenance program (aka drug addiction) throughout my many years of sobriety, so I don’t think this is a new phenomenon. Using pot just continues the full flight from reality for alcoholics/addicts. There is no way around it. There is just no easier, softer way.

I am glad I gave that young man a dose of sobriety truth. I know I sure needed honesty when I was newly sober. Indeed, I never would have got sober or remained that way without AA honesty.

I hope that young man someday finds his way back to the halls of AA, but this time with a desire to truly get and stay sober.

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