In June of 1989 Marijuana Anonymous (MA) was established in Southern California. Based on the twelve steps and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, MA is a spiritual, not religious, program open to all individuals no matter what age, race, sexual orientation or gender who want to stop marijuana use.
Marijuana anonymous meetings are often held in parks, private houses, churches, schools, and civic institution, and membership is free. MA members refrain from all mind-altering substances, including alcohol. The meetings formats vary between:
*Speaker meetings: a MA member with usually ninety days or more shares what it was like using marijuana, how they got sober, and what their life is like today practicing the MA program
*Participation meetings: members are either called on by the meeting’s leader to share or volunteer to share about a chosen recovery related topic
*Book Study meetings: portions of the MA literature are read out loud and members share their experiences or insights on the reading
*Candle light meetings: candles provide the only light and sometimes there is a speaker and participation, or solely participation
Marijuana Anonymous also encourages newcomers to ask a member who has worked through the twelve steps to be their sponsor. A sponsor is an aid for the newcomer in working the twelve steps and traditions, and makes suggestions to better the newcomer’s life. Newcomers to MA work with their sponsor to find a higher power, surrender self-will, admit powerlessness over marijuana and write a moral inventory. Sponsorship is not only a key component of MA, but mostly all twelve step recovery groups.
The symptoms and characteristics of marijuana addiction can be difficult to determine. Marijuana anonymous offers a questionnaire for newcomers consisting of twelve questions including:
*Has smoking marijuana stopped being fun?
*Do you smoke pot to cope with your feelings?
*Do you plan your life around marijuana use?
If answering yes to any of the twelve questions, Marijuana Anonymous feels like you need to seek help.
Marijuana addiction help can also be sought through addiction therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. Addiction therapy helps the addicted individual to target feelings and situations when they want to use substances, stay away from them, and focus on the underlying issues of their substance abuse. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches individuals that their behaviors and feelings are not based on people, situations, or events but their thoughts. Changing thoughts will change an individual’s feelings, behaviors, and attitude.
Substance abuse treatment centers provide care for individuals not only suffering from alcohol and lethal drug abuse but marijuana addiction. Long-term users of marijuana (individuals using daily for years) are advised to attend either an outpatient substance abuse program or a thirty day program. Withdrawal symptoms of marijuana include: sleeplessness, irritability, loss of appetite, and anxiety. Marijuana treatment centers typically provide residents with transportation to Marijuana Anonymous meetings, make Marijuana Anonymous literature available to read, and encourage attending marijuana abuse support groups.