When I first entered recovery, I was able to go to a twelve-step meeting almost every night. After a month, I moved to a Los Angeles- area sober living house, where they insisted that we attend one meeting every day for ninety days. At first I felt this was impossible and unfair, but then I realized it was for our own good.
After going to well over one-hundred AA and NA meetings during my first four months in recovery, my therapist suggested that I attend some different kinds of meetings. She suggested I attend some Marijuana Anonymous meetings, because my drug of choice is marijuana. I had only been going to Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings because that is where the rehab had taken us and that there are many more AA and NA meetings than there are MA meetings. I also did not know that Marijuana Anonymous existed. Following my therapist’s suggestion, I found the nearest MA meeting and went to it. Boy, am I glad I did!
My recovery really shifted in to high gear once I went to my first MA meeting. There I realized that there were other potheads out there battling the very same feelings and emotions I was. It was hard for me to identify with people at Alcoholic Anonymous meetings, because I did not do the same things they did. It was very uplifting to hear people like me sharing their experiences and successes overcoming the same substance I used.
When at MA meetings, I feel like I see eye-to-eye with the other members. We have something more in common than just addiction. When at AA and NA meetings I could not relate to people as directly as I could with other marijuana addicts. Their drugs of choice were different than mine and the dynamics of use and recovery are different as well. They often would tell stories of blacking out or shooting up and I could not relate. When they shared about the loneliness and paranoia I could relate, but they seemed to focus more on the act of using alcohol and drugs than the feelings.
There is also a very distinct vibe at both AA and NA meetings that did not resonate with me. At MA meetings, the vibe is very different than what you might imagine. It is not slow or stony like some people say. Rather, the vibe is more light-hearted and less dire than at AA or NA meetings. Since alcohol and other narcotics can be deadly and marijuana cannot, that makes for less desperate members and more casual feelings and proceedings at MA meetings. One stereotype that is true is that the snack commitment is one of the more important ones, and is taken very seriously.
There is a basic principle that the 12 steps can be applied to any kind of addiction, which may lead people to think that all meetings are the same. That is not true. Meetings in which the 12 steps have been adapted to specifically fit a specific form of addiction are very helpful to those addicted to that substance or thing. There is no doubt that attending a meeting that specifically addresses your drug-of-choice is your best bet to stay sober.