For The Loved Ones of Marijuana Addicts

Who is a Marijuana Addict

“We who are marijuana addicts know the answer to this question. Marijuana controls our lives! We lose interest in all else; our dreams go up in smoke. Ours is a progressive illness often leading us to addictions to other drugs, including alcohol. Our lives, our thinking, and our desires center around marijuana—scoring it, dealing it, and finding ways to stay high.” – Life with Hope

We have found that addiction is a physical, mental, and spiritual disease. The physical aspect is the compulsion–the inability to stop once we have started. The mental aspect is the obsession, or the overpowering desire to use, even when we are destroying our own lives and the lives of those we love. The spiritual aspect of the disease is our total self-centeredness.

It is the nature of addiction for the addict to have difficulty accepting they are ill. Many marijuana addicts, in particular, tend to believe that they must be “OK” since there are much worse mind-altering substances, and there are others whose lives are much worse off as a result of their using. 

Addiction is a progressive, long-term continuous problem. When an addict tries to stop using and fails because life without the drug is just too hard, that is addiction. Once an addict is convinced they cannot live without marijuana, the dependency becomes an obsession. When the addict uses although they promised themselves they wouldn’t, this is compulsion.

Suggestions to Family Members & Friends of Marijuana Addicts

Two hands holding a stone heart with the word hope written

We recovering addicts have found, through the Twelve Steps, that we are each responsible for ourselves and our actions. If loved ones help divert a crisis for the addict, they take away the addict’s opportunity to work it out or fail. This makes it harder for the addict to perceive the problem and begin to seek the solution.

As the addict approaches their bottom and their disease worsens, family members and friends have a tendency to enable the addict, allowing them to postpone the ultimate repercussions of their using. Understandably, loved ones try to ease the suffering the addict may be feeling because of loyalty, love, caring, and a sense of responsibility. Family and friends may give money (which likely goes to buying more marijuana), buy food, pay rent and bills, bail them out of jail, etc. By trying to save the addict from him or herself, you are doing both yourself and the addict a disservice.

Addicts often try to manipulate loved ones through the use of guilt, fear, and anger. This is a very common tactic used (both consciously and unconsciously) by the addict to get what they wants by taking advantage of the emotions of those closest to them.

Support For You

Having marijuana addiction in your children, spouse, or other loved ones causes difficulty for you to live in healthy ways. You also need support, and to have the opportunity to discuss the problems of living with a loved one’s addiction. Some options are support groups for friends and family, and therapy. These resources can provide you with guidance for living your life more fully, regardless of what your loved ones are doing. It is important to remember that addiction is a disease that greatly affects the addict and those who love the addict.

Additional support is available by joining the Mar-Anon community.

Once the addict begins recovery, we suggest you TRY:

  • Encouraging the addict by changing your attitude and approach to the problem.
  • Focusing on YOURSELF and your own life. The newly clean addict will be doing the same. Living with an addict affects everyone involved.
  • Detaching yourself from the addict’s behavior. Detachment is not unkind. Detachment facilitates looking at situations realistically and objectively, thereby making intelligent decisions possible.
  • Being encouraging. There may be a significant amount of time while both you and the addict adjust to a new way of life. Try to nurture harmony and balance in this new lifestyle.

Once the addict begins recovery, we suggest that you AVOID:

  • Trying to appease or patronize the addict.
  • Checking up to see if the addict is stoned or in possession of drugs or alcohol. Yet, try not to let the addict take advantage of you or deceive you. (This can be a tough one!)
  • Scolding, nagging, or blaming the addict about former use or newfound sobriety.
  • Making threats, especially if you aren’t prepared to carry them out.

Avoid False Expectations and Seek Understanding

Once the addict stops using and begins the recovery process, don’t expect that their faults and all the troubles of your shared lives will disappear. You might find, initially, exactly the opposite. Drug use is a coping mechanism for the addict. That coping mechanism will be “raw” for a while, especially while detoxing. Don’t expect that a dramatic positive personality change will immediately take place.

When a marijuana addict begins going to meetings, there may be interference and conflict with your normal living schedule, routines, and family obligations. This is where your compassion, patience, and encouragement will be called upon. The time spent in the past by the addict in the pursuit of getting and staying high may now be spent going to meetings, reading recovery literature, speaking on the phone with other MA members, writing, meditating, and praying. These activities are of paramount importance to the newly clean addict and your support will be of great value.

You may be surprised to find that the addict now insists on attending to certain activities and responsibilities you felt compelled to take care of in the past. This is not a time to condemn past behavior, but an opportunity to practice trust and benevolence. The outcome will be the mutual reward of nurturing a new and healthy relationship.

We as individuals can only be responsible for ourselves. This applies to both the addict and the individual who cares. Take each day, one at a time. Be unafraid and happy. Try to adjust yourself to what is, today. Strengthen your own mind and body, exercise your own soul.

What is Marijuana Anonymous?

Marijuana Anonymous uses the basic 12 Steps of Recovery founded by Alcoholics Anonymous, because it has been proven that the 12 Step Recovery program works! We are a fellowship of people who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from marijuana addiction. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using marijuana. There are no dues or fees for membership. MA is self-supporting through members’ contributions. MA is not affiliated with any religious or secular institution or organization and has no opinion on any outside controversies or causes. The primary purpose of its members is to stay free of marijuana and to help the addict who still suffers achieve the same freedom. This is done by practicing the suggested Twelve Steps of recovery and by being guided by the Twelve Traditions.

Ultimately, hope for recovery lies in the addict’s ability to recognize that they have a problem and that they need help. This is what we call a “bottom” or “moment of clarity.” The addict must have a true desire to stop using and the willingness to admit that the problem cannot be coped with alone. That is why Marijuana Anonymous exists. We are marijuana addicts ourselves and this is our message: Any addict can stop using, lose the obsession and desire to do so, and discover an infinitely better way of life by following the spiritual principles contained in the Twelve Steps, one day at a time.


Circle of people sitting in chairs

You are welcome to attend any of the Marijuana Anonymous meetings that are designated as an “Open” meeting. However, as someone affected by another’s marijuana use we suggest you attend Mar-Anon, a separate 12-step group. Visit