Glad you joined us. I don't have a dual addiction, and I didn't use the marijuana maintenance program, but there are a whole bunch of us who did. It's just a part of your story and your ES&H that God as you understand Him will want you to share with another new man or woman.
Now don't go labeling yourself a "perpetual newcomer" or a "chronic relapser" or whatever you can think of that might make you seem different. To me you've got the same problem I have: You're powerless over alcohol. That's the problem you treat with the 12 steps and that's what we're here for.
See there's a lot that comes with that problem of alcohlism, and this is something I never want to forget. See the book says that with alcoholics like you and me and Anne, and Dallas, and Annie, and Carol and the rest on here, the book says that alcohol has an "abnormal effect" on our brains. Now that is a very important thing for me to remember.
That means when I take that first drink, something clinical happens to my body and my mind. Over a period of time, one of the effects of alcoholism makes me look like I have a clinical mental illness to other people that don't know I'm a drunk. That's one of the "quiet" features of alcoholism that many of us in recovery take for granted. We were mentally ill, literally, although there isn't any other clincial definition of our mental illness other than the "malady of alcoholism". You and I and many others know that alcoholics are diagnosed with bipoloar disorder like 4 times more than any other group of people.
We can't forget that there is a "mental illness" part of alcoholism that will change our personalities so much that the outside world will try to classify us as mentally ill first, then having "alcoholism". But, I'll say it again, alcohol has an abnormal effect on the mind of the alcoholic. To me this is a legitimate form of a mental disorder, even though nobody has really tried to classify it. Every alcoholic needs to recover from this "hopeless state of mind" and the 12 steps are the solution.
Almost as far back as I remember being a kid, I was always unhappy and depressed. I was talking to mother one night. She knows that I've changed and can see that I have a positive outlook and live life to the fullest - like I never did before. I asked her, "Mom, how come I was always so depressed as a kid and today it's so different?"
Now she's not an alcoholic, but she's made it her business to learn about alcoholism because she never knew I was an alcoholic. That's because her dad was an alcoholic and she thought his drinking was normal - even though she never drank to that kind of excess.
So she gives me this tiny smile and asks in a quiet voice: "How long have you been drinking?" She already knew the answer.
"Since I was 12."
She gave a look that said "There's your answer."
That's why I was depressed as a kid - because I was drinking since I was a kid. Until then, it never dawned on me. But alcohol had an abnormal effect on my brain for a long time and I was still looking for "other issues" after being sober for quite a few years.
I remember Bill Clinton ran on the economy issue: "It's the economy, stupid!"
I sometimes have to be reminded: "It's the alcohol, stupid!"
Anyway, Phil welcome and get to working on those steps with the deperation of drowning men.