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Learn | 06.13.2024

What Is California Sober?

Cannabis over cocktails: the Cali sober way.

In the final episode of Demi Lovato’s “Dancing with the Devil,” they shared their journey using the ‘California Sober’ method to cut out hard drugs and alcohol.

Bella Hadid also opened up last year about her own Cali sober path to sobriety, which includes quitting alcohol but still using weed.

The California Sober approach involves ditching some addictive substances and replacing them with others that are considered less harmful.

But what exactly does living the Cali sober life involve? And does it really help reduce use?

Let’s explore.

What Does It Mean To Be California Sober?

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California Sober, or Cali sober, refers to a lifestyle choice where people abstain from most drugs and alcohol, with the exception of certain substances like cannabis and psychedelics such as magic mushrooms, LSD, or ayahuasca.

The definition can vary, but the approach mainly aims to eliminate the use of more harmful and addictive substances like alcohol and opioids. It differs from traditional recovery programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), which advocate for complete abstinence.

Benefits Of Going California Sober

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The primary benefit of going California Sober is its ability to help individuals reduce their use of more harmful substances. By choosing milder alternatives, many find they can attain relief without turning to substances that negatively impact their social life, finances, and mental health.

Psychologically, the approach might offer a sense of balance and control, helping individuals feel they are making healthier choices without the pressure of total abstinence.

For some, this modified sobriety might lead to better physical health, avoiding the more damaging effects of substances like alcohol or opioids.

While not a cure-all approach, some clinicians find that cannabis can help manage symptoms associated with withdrawal from other harder substances.

Risks Of Going California Sober

While California Sober offers an appealing middle ground for some, it is not without its risks.

Many addiction specialists, including medical doctor and addiction expert Lantie Jorandby, caution that substances used in this method, like cannabis, can still be addictive. In a column for Psychology Today, Jorandby challenges the common misconception that marijuana is harmless, noting its potential for dependence despite its medicinal properties.

By continuing to use substances like cannabis or psychedelics, individuals may inadvertently delay full recovery or substitute one addiction for another, a phenomenon known as “addiction substitution.”

Even former advocates of Cali sober, like Demi Lovato, have publicly reversed their stance, advocating that “sober-sober is the only way to be.”

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