California Sober: What It Means and Why It Can Be Risky

By: Design for Change Recovery May 10, 2023 no comments

In the past several years, the California Sober lifestyle has gained attention and increased in popularity.  Some people in recovery see it as a way to still consume but moderate their use of addictive substances.  But, is it a safe alternative to the abstinence-based approach to recovery?  

Although it may sound trendy and safe, there are some risks involved in the California sober lifestyle.  Here are some things you need to know about California Sober to decide whether it’s right for you.

What Is California Sober?

What is California Sober?  California Sober is a term used by people in recovery who substitute marijuana for other drugs such as meth, cocaine, heroin, or opioids.  It is seen by some people in recovery as a harm reduction strategy because when used in moderation, marijuana causes fewer physical and mental health problems than hard drugs.

Addiction specialists are wary about this approach because they don’t think moderation is possible for most people who are in recovery from addiction.  They are also concerned because many people who practice the California Sober lifestyle drink alcohol in addition to using marijuana.  

Why Is the California Sober Lifestyle Risky?

At first glance, the California Sober lifestyle seems manageable, but the addictive nature of alcohol and marijuana may trigger a relapse to previously used stronger drugs.

Regardless of the substance involved, if it interferes with a person’s life, the impact can be significant.  Although marijuana is deemed safer than most drugs, using it repeatedly can have life-changing effects.

With that in mind, let’s look at some of the reasons why the California Sober lifestyle can be risky for someone in recovery:

Inconsistent Definition

The meaning of California Sober can be construed in such a way that people may decide to use other drugs rather than marijuana.  For instance, some will rationalize alcohol use along with marijuana.  Others may think it’s okay to use hard drugs only on the weekend while continuing to use marijuana during weekdays.  

Someone in recovery who uses this continuously changing approach to substance use may return to addiction in a short time.

Is Marijuana Addictive?

Although the consequences of marijuana use are less impactful than other substances, it can be addictive and cause psychological side effects such as:

  • Failure to take care of responsibilities at home, school, or work.
  • Lack of ability to cut down or stop using marijuana.
  • Lack of interest in activities or socialization.
  • Intense focus on using, seeking, and recovering from marijuana use.
  • Drug cravings.

Since marijuana has been legalized in many states, obtaining it is easy without the risks associated with illicit drugs.  Even though it is legal, it does not mean that it is safe.

Tough Decisions

Addiction recovery has no end date.  So, the challenges of maintaining sobriety are something a person will face daily for a lifetime.  Since each day brings a new set of decisions to make, attempting the California Sober lifestyle during this sensitive time can conflict with a person’s original recovery goals.

Some things they’ll have to make decisions about regarding marijuana can include:

  • Can I use other types of marijuana such as edibles, oils, or dabbing?
  • Should I worry about using marijuana excessively?
  • Can I use it every day?
  • What if I try other “soft” drugs?
  • Is it okay to use alcohol or psychedelics with marijuana?

When it comes to making decisions, people in recovery can be easily overwhelmed, leading to relapses. If they are focused on making decisions about daily marijuana use, they won’t be focused on other aspects of their recovery.  For this reason, the California Sober lifestyle may not be right for everyone.  

Trading One Addiction for Another

One downside of the California Sober lifestyle is that the brain doesn’t get a chance to heal.  All drugs, including marijuana, affect the reward center of the brain.  With continued substance use, the reward center of the brain changes causing an inability to experience pleasure without the drug present.  

In essence, those who choose the California Sober lifestyle simply trade one addiction for another.  Due to this, their brains are not able to adapt to life without drugs, increasing the risk of relapse, serious illnesses, and overdose.

Design for Change Recovery Will Help You Stop Marijuana Use

If you tried the California Sober lifestyle and find that you can’t control your marijuana use, reach out to us today.  Design for Change Recovery understands the complex nature of substance abuse and addiction.  Our programs are flexible enough to be customized to your specific needs.  

Our approach to addiction treatment involves evidence-based therapies that promote abstinence-based recovery.  We help our clients gain the skills, confidence, and motivation to maintain their sober lifestyle.  

Learn more about our marijuana treatment programs by contacting our Lancaster, CA facility today.  One of our representatives will assess your needs and recommend a treatment plan that is right for you.  Contact us by phone, email, or online to get started on a recovery journey that will take you to a happier, healthier place in life.