More and more individuals are experimenting with reducing their alcohol use, if not completely quitting. Both celebs and commoners are talking about the California Sober strategy.
Dr. Akhil Anand, a psychiatrist and addiction expert, has explored and reviewed the “California Sober” model to see if it might help you lessen the damage caused by intoxicants.
What is “California Sober?”
So, what exactly is the definition of “California Sober”
There isn’t single, universally recognized, definition for what drugs are used when you are “California Sober.” Dr. Anand thinks that the phrase “is imprecise and something of a misnomer.” After all, if you’re still abusing mind-altering chemicals, you’re not really sober.
“California Sober” or “Cali Sober” encourages giving up some addictive drugs and substituting them with “healthier” options.
For example, some people, who elect to use marijuana instead of alcohol and other addictive drugs, describe themselves as being “California Sober”. Others characterize this model as abstaining from certain more hard-core drugs while occasionally enjoying maijuana or alcohol.
The California Sober strategy could be alluring if you have struggled with having a substance use disorder (SUD). However, there are reasons to exercise caution if you’re considering switching from one habit to another.
Dr. Anand observes, “You’re substituting one addictive chemical with another.” That’s a “slippery slope” to take.
Is Marijuana Really a Safe Substitute?
Some marijuana users assert that the California Sober strategy encourages them to consume less alcohol. While some people may find this approach to be effective, Dr. Anand warns that substituting marijuana for alcohol isn’t always a safer option.
One reason is that the switch may not completely prevent you from drinking. That’s because substituting marijuana for alcohol actually increases the likelihood that the user will start drinking again (as opposed to abstaining from both).
How Marijuana Can Impede Your Progress
Additionally, marijuana itself has drawbacks, he notes. Cannabis may result in:
- Issues with learning, focus, and short-term memory
- Short-term impairment of your motor coordination and judgment
- A reduced drive to complete tasks that are essential to you
- A brief period of psychosis and potentially a longer period of paranoia
- Irritation – both in the short and long term, as well as issues with depression, anxiety, restlessness, and sleep
- Damage to the lungs (chronic bronchitis), and even other malignancies
- More concerns with addiction as you gradually acquire tolerance, cravings, or withdrawal symptoms
And keep in mind that marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, adds Dr. Anand.
Semi-sobriety and Moderate Substance Use: How It Can Get You in Trouble
The idea behind California sobriety may get people into trouble since various people have different definitions of “moderation.” For example, heavy drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as having three to four drinks or more per day. That equates to 14 drinks per week for men and seven drinks per week for women.
While some individuals may like the occasional drink, others may find it all too simple to overdo it. “Some folks can’t drink in moderation. The ramifications of drinking may be disastrous for them,” says Dr. Anand.
Cutting down on alcohol is less helpful for many individuals who have an unhealthy connection with it than entirely quitting. But Dr. Anand advises that if you want to attempt a Cali Sober strategy that involves some alcohol, you should be honest with yourself and establish clear objectives.
He says to be clear about how much daily alcohol consumption is appropriate if you wish to drink less.. “You may need to seek out addiction assistance if you can’t keep to those objectives.”
Recovery from Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Therefore, it’s important to consider your goals if you’re considering moving to California Sober. When contemplating your use of alcohol or drugs, Dr. Anand advises you to consider the following questions:
- Has using substances ever had an adverse impact on your physical health, mental health, or social life?
- Do you use drugs or drink alcohol in a compulsive or automatic manner?
- Is it difficult to quit once you get going?
- When you stop using, do you have cravings (urges to drink or take drugs) or withdrawal symptoms?
Dr. Anand warns that if you respond “yes” to any of these inquiries, you may need help. California Sober falls short for many individuals who are dependent on alcohol or other drugs.
According to Dr. Anand, therapy should be personalized since substance use is multifaceted. The best course of action is to get help from your family, your doctor, a counselor, or an addiction expert if you have concerns about your use of alcohol or other substances.Making great adjustments in your life and maintaining them are the key to sober living in California. It’s about developing a network of support for yourself and living a sober, healthy lifestyle. That is why setting and achieving objectives is important.
This involves taking control of your life and living it to the fullest. In California, sober living is committing yourself to your future and to total sobriety.
It involves taking charge of your own happiness and wellbeing. Finding what works for you is key so you can stick with a plan.
Therefore, when it comes to sobriety, it’s best to take the path that leads to total recovery. Doing so will allow you to avoid the costs any type of addiction has upon your long-term and short-term health as well as your safety.
For example, people who drink and smoke marijuana increase their health risks. Whether you mix weed and alcohol or use them separately, they both produce depressant effects.
Often, people who strive to go “California Sober” switch marijuana for alcohol, as, to them, it is less “dangerous.” Plus, you can legally buy cannabis for recreational use in many states, and for medicinal use (with a doctor’s recommendation) in several more (if you’re 18 or over).
How Alcohol and Marijuana Affect the Brain
Both cannabis and alcohol work similarly. While they are labeled as depressants, that does not mean you necessarily feel gloomy or depressed. The term, depressant, merely means that either substance slows down your brain activity. In turn, you’ll experience:
- Slower reaction times
- A poorer memory
- A reduced attention span
- Decreased motor coordination
THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the substance in cannabis that is primarily responsible for slowed brain activity. Like alcohol, THC acts as a depressant. The brain, which already has an endocannabinoid (EC) system in place, is activated by the THC. Researchers have also discovered that alcohol affects the EC system in the same way.
Whether you use alcohol or cannabis, you’ll achieve the same results. Either substance can lead to dangerous behaviors (violence or unsafe activities) as well as serious side effects, including cancer and heart disease. Moreover, one in ten people who smoke marijuana become addicted to the substance.
Final Thoughts on Being “California Sober”
California Sober is considered a trend nowadays because of the acceptance of the use of cannabis in the “Golden State.” However, the use of either alcohol or pot “in moderation” does not mean you can get over your addiction to either one or both of the substances. To reach full recovery from mind altering substances, it is recommended that you abstain from both alcohol and marijuana. For those who are having difficulty abstaining from these drugs, going to a rehab program that offers medical and psychological intervention and support can lead to a complete recovery.