When I was in shrink-training, I remember seeing clients with drug problems. I’d ask how they were doing; fine. Then the conversation went like this:
- “Are you clean and sober?”
- “That’s great. No heroin this week?”
- “Oh. Well. Only a couple of days.”
- “How about meth?”
I learned I had to be very specific. Meth addicts wouldn’t walk across the street to do coke. Cocaine users don’t do meth. Different social circles. And I learned to ask about every drug. Addicts don’t want to report their usage level, even when it is to their advantage. They were completely clean, except for…
Are You Clean & Sober?
Before we define clean and sober, let’s do a quick assessment. I’ll give you the same list I used for clients. Let’s see how you do. Have you had any of the following in the last 48 hours:
- heroin or morphine
- ecstasy, Molly or MDMA
- any “party drug”
- pain pills
- marijuana (within the last month)
- any drug not prescribed to you
- more of a drug than prescribed
- LSD (within the last 10 years)
- ayahuasca or DMT
- Khat (bath salts), Kratom, Salvia or Mescaline (Peyote)
- benzodiazepines (Rohypnol® (Flunitrazepam), Valium® or Xanax®
- Red Bull, caffeine pills, “energy drinks”
- alcohol in any form
- colas or other caffeinated drinks
- coffee, cappuccinos and the like
Some of you were doing so good until you reached the bottom of the list!
And then you hit a snag or two. So close!
Clean & Sober Defined
The definition of clean and sober isn’t moral or spiritual. It’s behavioral. The definition of clean and sober is straight-forward. If you take drugs, you are not clean and sober. To be clean and sober, don’t take drugs.
Addiction is what you do. So is being clean and sober. It doesn’t matter what your moral, philosophical or theological views are. If you can’t stop doing a drug, you’re addicted. If going off coffee gives you a headache and makes you grumpy, your dosage was too high. If you can’t stop drinking beer, your dosage is too high.
Why Am I Clean & Sober?
I am clean and sober because I don’t use any of the substances listed. I used to, but I don’t any more. It’s that simple.
It doesn’t matter which drugs on the list you’ve done, why you did them or why you changed. If you want to be clean and sober, don’t do any of the drugs on the list. I’ll give you chocolate and tea (I’m not a monster). But if you are consuming anything else on the list, you are not clean and sober. Drugs are impacting your life.
The best level, the safest dosage, the route I highly recommend, is zero. Don’t do your favorite drug. Be clean and sober.
Caffeine gets into every cells of your body. At low levels, caffeine is a mild stimulant. It works great if you have a cup of coffee or a can of cola once a week. At the dose level used by most Americans, coffee and colas are unhealthy. At high levels, caffeine is toxic; it can kill you.
If you’re thinking “I don’t need to change my drinking behavior; I’m doing just fine,” you have just said what most addicts say. We like to believe that we would know if something was harming us. But drugs change the brain. The very structure you rely to tell you the truth and warn you of harm is working against you. It’s feeding you misinformation.
If you want to be clean and sober, you now have a list. Be like Santa: check the list twice and don’t use any of these drugs unless specifically directed by a physician for a particular medicinal purpose. Getting high or getting through the day is not a sufficient reason.
For a practical tip, Click Here for Fuzzy-Headed Thinkers
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