A New Life
by Stephanie Annis
”Sometimes I have these fantasies of just moving to a foreign country and coming back with a full head of hair. Or not even come back! Make a new life there with hair... Change my name, just see what happens” Larry David
Summary: There is a group of misinformed public who believes in the practice of shunning addicts. I have experienced this kind of group think or cult mentality. Each aspect of the cult's intolerant behavior is rationalized as "following a program" when it is actually little more than an out of date religious practice used in an unfortunate way today.
All truth and objectivity is lost when individuals blindly follow ritualistic practices. Patients who are ill need medication and acceptance. The practice of shunning can leave patients alone and vunerable. It only serves to disassociate, it does nothing to assist in recovery or direct to recovery as intended by "the program".
I have participated on both sides of the NA/AA program. I found them to be helpful to the extent they help addicts to re-establish healthy boundaries and structure in their lives. The programs are an established way to build ties in an accepting patient community. However, once you’ve established a sober foundation, it is important to integrate the tools of recovery into all aspects of living. Real peace comes from finding your true or in-self.
Working "a program" is a foundation on which a new start is bulit. While in the initial phase, most addicts need to disassociate with others who have the same "bad" behavior. However, there will come a point in life and recovery when a person must be strong enough to reenter society and be around others without acting compulsively.
Most cannabis patients have a strong foundation in the community. Some may struggle financially but you would never know this unless they choose to diclose it themselves. The unfortuante practice of shunning has created a society in which people live in isolation rather than disclose thier true self to those they encounter. The cannabis shunning must stop. Shunning hasn't worked in any other area of society and it won't stop the progression of the cannabis movement.
It’s my mission in life to stop the shunning and shaming of patients and open the dialogue so that understanding and acceptance will become the model by which people interact. My most important message, self harm is the definition of addiction. Cannabis patients are like everyone else. Some successful and others financially challanged. Money does not define addiction behavior does.