In a sun-filled room overlooking a smattering of palm trees, power lines, and cement-and-terracotta bungalows, a 73-year-old recovering alcoholic rolls a joint.
Frank, whose name has been changed for this story, doesn’t particularly like the feeling he gets from smoking cannabis, but he doesn’t hate it either. And he admits it helps him sleep.
High Sobriety, the southern California rehab center where Frank is staying, incorporates cannabis into its treatment regimen for people with drug and alcohol addiction. Frank hasn’t touched scotch, his former drink of choice – or any other alcoholic beverage, for that matter – in 30 days.
A month ago, he was living alone and drinking around the clock, despite repeated warnings from his physicians about negative interactions between alcohol and the medications he takes for high blood pressure and other age-related health issues. During a bender over the holidays, Frank knocked over the carriage holding his daughter’s 10-month old baby. Concerned, his family took him to Alcoholics Anonymous. Nothing stuck, and Frank’s health continued to decline.
So one day last year, his daughter called up Joe Schrank, High Sobriety’s founder, and asked if he could help.