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California sober is a relatively new sobriety concept that many perceive to be effective at reducing the harms related to addiction. However, the California sober approach isn’t for everyone, given how each individual responds to some treatments better than others.
Here’s more about what it means to be California sober and why true sobriety may be the superior option for those in recovery from addiction.
What Is California Sober?
California sober is the practice of avoiding all substances except marijuana and alcohol. According to celebrities, influencers, and others who practice “California sobriety,” marijuana and alcohol are “soft” drugs that aren’t as harmful or addictive as other substances like fentanyl, cocaine, and prescription benzodiazepines.
California sober is one of several harm reduction methods for addiction. Other harm reduction methods used in California include designated driver programs for individuals who are too intoxicated to drive home and safe injection sites that offer clean, sterile needles to users of injection drugs like heroin and methamphetamine.
Marijuana and alcohol are legalized substances in California, which is mainly why they are associated with being “California sober.” Many people who practice this harm reduction method say that using these substances in moderation helps them stay away from harder drugs like opioids that can lead to long-term addiction and overdose
However, despite their legality, marijuana and alcohol are habit-forming like many other substances and have the potential to lead to chronic problems with dependence and addiction. In fact, marijuana and alcohol are among the top primary substances of abuse among people admitted to addiction treatment centers.
Is There Evidence That Shows Whether California Sober Is Effective?
At this time, there is no scientific evidence that shows that California sober is an effective treatment for addiction. All positive evidence that exists is anecdotal and promoted mostly by celebrities in recovery from addiction.
Many doctors and therapists who specialize in addiction treatment will not recommend this sobriety method—especially given how evidence shows that marijuana and alcohol are both habit-forming substances. Using these substances even in moderation can increase your risk for a drug or alcohol use disorder.
What Are the Risks of Being California Sober?
Being California sober is likely to expose you to a higher number of risks than benefits.
While marijuana may be a legalized substance in California, it remains illegal on a federal level. The DEA has classified marijuana as a Schedule I substance with a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use.
Additionally, the research provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) suggests that an estimated 30% of people who use marijuana have some degree of marijuana use disorder or marijuana addiction. The NIDA also reports that people who use marijuana regularly may experience withdrawal symptoms, including sleep difficulties, irritability, and restlessness for up to two weeks after quitting this substance.
According to the National Institutes of Health, alcohol is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, where it contributes to an estimated 88,000 deaths every year. It adds that in 2018, an estimated 14.4 million adults suffered from alcohol use disorder, which represents nearly 6% of this age group.
Alcohol use disorder increases your risk for a large number of chronic health problems, including heart disease, liver disease, depression, and many types of cancers. People who become physically dependent on alcohol face the risk of serious withdrawal-related complications when quitting, including grand mal seizures and death.
What Are the Benefits Of Full Sobriety?
While choosing to go California sober may seem appealing if you’re not quite ready to quit everything cold turkey, it’s important to keep in mind that marijuana and alcohol are addictive substances that may lead to additional problems down the road. This may be especially true if you typically use marijuana and alcohol to escape stress or symptoms of mental health disorders. These substances usually only offer short-term relief for conditions like depression and anxiety and cause changes to brain chemistry that increase your risk for mental illness.
Practicing total abstinence from drugs and alcohol gives you the best chance of achieving long-term recovery from addiction. Abstinence can help you clear your mind and keep your body free of toxins that contribute to poor mental and physical health.
Seeking full sobriety with professional addiction treatment can also allow you to address the underlying root causes of your substance misuse. For instance, if you rely on marijuana or alcohol to avoid thinking about past trauma, you can receive trauma-focused therapy in a drug rehab program to get past the trauma and never again feel the urge to use these substances.
Other benefits associated with becoming fully sober include:
- Feeling more energetic.
- Having a stronger immune system.
- Looking younger, healthier, and more vibrant.
- Saving money you would have spent on marijuana and alcohol.
- Discovering new interests and hobbies.
- Meeting like-minded friends who share your same interests.
- Improved mental clarity.
- Better sleep habits.
- Reduced risk for chronic diseases.
- Weight loss.
- Increased confidence and self-esteem.
- Mood stability.
- Increased production at work or school.
- Stronger relationships with family and friends.
- Healthier eating habits.
If you’re on the fence about whether California sober is right for you, consider meeting with a therapist or addiction treatment specialist who can talk to you in greater detail about your personal situation and treatment options. A professional opinion could help you make the right decision for your health and livelihood.
How To Learn More About Addiction Treatment and the “California Sober” Approach
At Dana Point Rehab Campus, we understand how difficult it can be to stay sober after a period of drug and alcohol use. We offer a wide range of addiction treatment programs that can be customized to fit your addiction type and situation. We can also talk to you in greater detail about the true meaning of California sober to help you make the best treatment choice for you.
Contact us today at (949) 569-7517 to learn more about our facility and available addiction treatment options.