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  • Writer's pictureLandon Payne

Making A Joint Decision On The "Cali Sober" Phenomenon

To begin, I'd like to apologize for the wait. Life is getting crazy busy in the best way possible, but this blog won't stop! Thank you for the support, encouragement, and, most of all, your patience!


Let's dig in because I've been wanting to get this off my chest for a month now.


The term "Cali Sober" is one that I hate with all my heart. "Cali Sober" is forgoing alcohol in favor of marijuana. I'd never heard of the colloquialism, until singer/actress Demi Lovato brought it to light while discussing their near-fatal July 2018 opioid overdose on CBS Sunday. Lovato also recently announced they no longer identify as "Cali sober", but are now "sober sober". 🙄


Seemingly, the term originated from this Vice article by Michelle Lhooq in 2019.



Being "Cali sober" is very controversial in the recovery community and, arguably, for good reason. There are some who look down on this practice as they believe it's trading one addiction for another. This opinion is especially common in the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) camp. The judgment strikes me as a bit cold, but to each their own, I suppose. Also, I have no idea what this term has to do with California and that makes it doubly annoying.


What bothers me most about the discord surrounding this topic is how "high and mighty" some individuals approach it. Although a lot of us in recovery have much in common, one thing is certain, OUR SOBRIETY JOURNEYS ARE NOT THE SAME. I've read countless articles, comment sections, and think pieces on why "Cali sober" isn't really sober. To be a recovering alcoholic who shares such an opinion is not only malicious but also very dismissive of another person's hard work to get and stay sober. If this is you, I'm here to shame. Buckle up, Buttercup.



The audacity of anyone, especially people in recovery, to shame how someone manages their sobriety is nasty. If you've been in the trenches of active addiction, you know how seemingly impossible it feels to get sober. The culmination of anxiety from the unknown and the desire to drink your demons away is an extremely heavy burden. Sadly, many people never make it out of that dark place, so why judge someone for how they maintain their sobriety? Who made you people the Sobriety Security?


In my opinion, using weed as medicine to cope with the trials sobriety comes with can't hurt. Especially if it doesn't hinder life's daily responsibilities and hurt the user in the process. It all boils down to the individual and what THEY feel works for THEM. You don't need to meet anyone else's definition of sobriety - or happiness, for that matter. Your sober journey is yours and yours alone. Struggling with addiction and maintaining sobriety is hard enough without people telling you how YOU should recover.


The purpose of this post isn't to lure the sober and sober-curious to the magical world of Mary Jane. In lieu of endorsement, I'd like to encourage each and every one of you to show some grace. No one individual recovers the same way. Addiction is already misunderstood and misjudged. To face judgment from someone who knows what it's like to be in active addiction/early recovery can be soul-crushing. A person can only strain so much before they're pushed too far..



To be blunt, we're all amazing and we deserve to be happy and sober. Exhibiting compassion and grace when discussing an individual's sobriety is paramount to their recovery. Keep in mind that recovery is challenging. You have no idea what the next person is going through. If someone wants to smoke a little weed to avoid drinking alcohol (which is 100x worse), why not mind the business that pays you?


I've included some helpful links below that shed more light on this topic. If you feel like this could work for you, go for it, but be vigilant in how you react if any triggers emerge. If you've successfully done this and it's worked for you, leave a comment and share your story. It could help someone else looking to drop the bottle.


Alright, I'm about to make like a hippie and blow this joint! Until next time. ✌🏾


Helpful Links:


Demi Lovato's "Cali Sober" Journey


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