FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is MA a Religious Organization?
A: No. MA is not associated or affiliated with, nor endorses any religious organizations and espouses no religious beliefs. Our program is a set of principles; Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions which are spiritual in nature. While these principles mention God, each member is free to develop their own concept of a higher power. What is important to us is that our recovery is based on these principles and they work.
Q: Do you have to believe in God to quit smoking marijuana?
A: This quote from Marijuana Anonymous’ book Life with Hope, page 7 (Step Two) sheds light on this question:
It is not necessary to acquire a major God Consciousness to be able to cease using. All we need is to maintain an open mind and a hopeful heart. It is not necessary to say yes. It is, however, important to stop saying no. Observe the reality around you and the recovery taking place within MA. One only has to stop fighting. Higher Power means different things to different people. To some of us, it is a God of an organized religion; to others, it is a state of being commonly called spirituality. Some of us believe in no deity; a Higher Power may be the strength gained from being a part of, and caring for, a community of others. There is room in MA for all beliefs. We do not proselytize any particular view or religion. In MA each of us discovers a spirit of humility and tolerance, and each of us finds a Higher Power that works for us.
Q: What physical side effects does the use of marijuana cause?
A: The MA pamphlet Detoxing from Marijuana does not contain medically based knowledge, but empirical knowledge based on the experiences of many MA members who took the time to fill out extensive questionnaires regarding their own early days of abstinence from their drug of choice. This pamphlet should answer most of your questions on common physical side effects.
Q: Am I addicted to marijuana?
A: If you find it difficult to control your marijuana use, if you think about using marijuana even when you are not, or if you have broken promises to yourself or others about limiting or stopping your use, you may have an addiction. Only you can decide. Seeing if any of our 12 Questions apply to you can help. No one in Marijuana Anonymous will decide for you.
There is nothing shameful about having an addiction. Addiction is a disease and addicts need help.
Q: Why do I need MA to quit using marijuana?
A: Maybe you don’t. From the Preamble to Marijuana Anonymous’ book, Life with Hope:
Marijuana Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share our experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem and help others to recover from marijuana addiction.
If you haven’t crossed over the line from using to abusing to addiction, you can probably quit using it any time you’d like. Marijuana Anonymous is for those of us who crossed over that line into addiction and for whom “just saying no” is no longer an option. We need more than just will power to refrain from using. We need the help of other addicts who understand our problem. If you are an addict we are here to help you.
Q: How can MA membership help me with my marijuana use?
A: In MA, we know what it is like to lose control over marijuana and not be able to stop using, despite pledges, pleas, and promises. Our only qualifications for helping others is that we have stopped using ourselves. If we can do it, you can do it too! It is the support that MA members offer each other that is the backbone of the program’s success.
Q: I have heard marijuana/Cannabis is not addictive. How can one be addicted to marijuana?
A: While Marijuana Anonymous has no opinion on marijuana itself, it is of the medical community's opinion that it is addictive. See About Marijuana Addiction and the medical diagnosis Cannabis Use Disorder.
From Marijuana Anonymous’ book, Life with Hope, page xv (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.
Based on our own experiences, we who seek recovery in MA generally consider ourselves to be marijuana addicts. Whether or not our addiction is psychological, physical, or both, matters little. When it comes to the use of marijuana, we have lost the power of choice. It is strictly up to the individual to decide whether he or she feels addicted to marijuana. MA has no opinion about marijuana itself one way or another. Marijuana Anonymous exists solely to provide a means of recovery to the suffering addict who seeks help.
Q: What is the effect of marijuana on pregnancy?
A: Marijuana Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues including medical advice or opinions. MA does not know what effect marijuana may have on pregnancy. Some members may have more experience in that area than others, but no more so than the general population. That is a medical question best answered by medical professionals.
Q: What happens at an MA meeting?
A: People discuss their problems with marijuana, what they did to recover, and what life is like now. We have found that as a group we can achieve for ourselves results which, as individuals, we failed at repeatedly.
Q: Does a person have to stop using marijuana to attend an MA meeting?
A: The only requirement for MA membership is a desire to stop using marijuana. We suggest that after your first meeting you keep coming back and stop using marijuana.
Q: If I join MA will I need to stop drinking or using other drugs?
A: The only requirement for MA membership is a desire to stop using marijuana. We have found, however, that recovery requires us to examine our use of other drugs as well, including alcohol.
Q: What is MA’s opinion on the legalization of marijuana?
A: The Tenth Tradition of Marijuana Anonymous states:
Marijuana Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the MA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
This tradition protects the integrity of the organization. From Marijuana Anonymous’ book Life with Hope, page 93:
Anything that can disrupt our unity, and interfere with our primary purpose of carrying the message to the marijuana addict who still suffers, should be avoided.
Therefore, MA has no opinion about the legalization of marijuana.
Q: What commitments do I make by attending an MA meeting?
A: None. There are no records or files and you need not disclose anything about yourself if you don’t want to. No one will bother you if you do not wish to come back.
Q: What happens if I meet people I know in MA?
A: Membership in MA is confidential and anonymous. Whom we see and what we hear in meetings is not mentioned outside of the meetings. People you know whom you see at meetings are there for the same reason you are and will respect your anonymity.
Q: How much does MA membership cost?
A: Nothing. There are no dues or fees. MA meetings pay their bills through the voluntary contributions of those attending. A basket is passed at each meeting for contributions. Marijuana Anonymous is completely self-supporting.
Q: Is there much talk about God in meetings?
A: Most MA members come to believe in the idea of a power greater than themselves. Some call this power God. There is room in MA for all beliefs or no belief at all.
Q: How do I find a meeting?
A: To find a meeting in Madison, view the meetings page. Advanced search functionality including location-based functions are available on this website. A list of lists is available here to help you find a meeting by type, location or by MA District. In-person meetings offer recovery unfiltered by technology, but when you cannot get to one, MA offers text and video online meetings, and internationally accessible phone meetings. Add to your in-person meeting experience by joining virtual meetings at other times.
Q: Do MA members continue going to meetings after they are cured?
A: We don’t believe in a cure for marijuana addiction; too many of us have relapsed. We find it is useful to go to meetings to maintain our recovery. By association with others with our problem, we give each other strength to avoid marijuana use on a “one day at a time” basis.
Q: What is the program of recovery?
A: The Twelve Steps are the program. The purpose of the Twelve Steps are to help us develop a relationship with a Power greater than ourselves, to improve our relationships with others, and to help us find serenity in ourselves. It is recommended you attend as many meetings as you can and do not use between meetings. We suggest that you get phone numbers of other members and call them between meetings, especially if you have a desire to use. We also suggest that you get sponsor as soon as possible.
Q: What is a sponsor and how do I get one?
A: A sponsor is someone who shares their experience, strength, and hope with you. They will help you understand the Twelve Steps and will guide you along the path of recovery. You are free to ask anyone to be your sponsor, but our experience indicates it works best when men sponsor men and women sponsor women.
Q: Can you provide any information that will help me convince my child (spouse, friend, parent, etc.) to quit using marijuana?
A: You can find most of our literature on this website. It explains who we are and how our program works. However, it is unlikely that literature alone will convince someone to quit using. A person cannot be forced or nagged or prodded into recovery; they must come to the realization on their own that they have an addiction and are powerless over marijuana. No chart, graph, or stack of pamphlets and books can convince someone that they have a problem if they themselves are unwilling to admit it. Willingness, open-mindedness, and honesty are vital components of a successful recovery program. These essential traits are not something a person can be “convinced” to possess; they can only come from within. See For the Loved Ones of Marijuana Addicts for more information.