Let's break these down into bite sized pieces and then sort of put it all back together.
1. While nicotine certainly has an effect on brain chemistry, let's not try to say that smoking a joint and smoking a marlboro red are the same thing, okay? Put another way, I have no objection to the surgeon who's about to operate on me stepping outside to have a quick cigarette before picking up the scalpel. I have a huge objection to Dr. Homeboy sitting around the Hospital Lounge doing bong hits with his cronies before cutting me open.
2. Yes, people in recovery may suffer from more than one addiction, whether they were both present when they stopped drinking or the other manifested as a coping mechanism some time during their sobriety -- yes, that happens. I can't quite sign on for sliding "frequently" in there. You're coloring your argument in a subtle way to minimize both what happens to some people and your maybe pot smoking. "Happens all the time" is a great device for that, but I don't think it's a fair characterization at all. And when it does, are you saying that that's what you want for your life? More addiction? It's not about getting to keep your chip, it's about living in the Sunlight of the Spirit -- happy, joyous and free. And yes, people "act out" their fears and frustrations and juvenile, stubborn unwillingness and defiance in other self destructive, even addictive ways, but no one every got arrested for "shopping driving" or crashed a car because they were sleeping around.
3. I claim my sobriety date as the day I stopped drinking because (ready?) IT IS THE DAY I STOPPED DRINKING. You can play with definitions and make word games all you like (and you've certainly come to the right man to indulge that). But really now, my sobriety date is the day I am clean and sober from (ab)using any chemical which effects me from the neck up (I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT MEDICINE UNLESS ITS BEING ABUSED -- poke around for the other blog posts on that topic if you take umbrage to that brief parenthetical aside). My sobriety date is not the day I became free from all problems, escape mechanisms or self destructive compensating behaviors. EVERYTHING alters the brain chemistry in one way or another. My interpretation of your logic is that it's flexible enough to equate going without sleep for several days as a kind of slip, since that changes your brain chemistry too, so how come someone who hasn't slept can say they're sober? If they do then I should get to smoke pot and say I'm sober too because that's not fair!
4. No doubt as you read this answer so far you had a number of "but what about...!" come up. That's using hypotheticals to argue your point, and you can do that all day if you want to: "But what about someone who crashes their car because they're so obsessed with someone they're not watching the road?" "But what about the way someone's behavior changes when they crave a cigarette -- that's mind altering!" Here, I want to play too: "But what about how when people listen to music through headphones too loud it can effect their inner ear and their balance and so it throws their brain chemistry off? Isn't that mind altering?" "But what about people who drink too much coffee? Caffeine is certainly effecting them from the neck up!" Here, I'll put it very plainly: While we certainly talk about mental, emotional and spiritual sobriety in AA, the fact is, the bottom line is maintaining our physical sobriety from alcohol and drugs -- not from every single thing you might do which can change your mood. And certainly NOT as some sort of moral scorekeeping exercise (as it sounds like you're drifting into), but so that it doesn't trigger the phenomenon of craving. Period. The rest is about warding against the chain of alcoholic reasoning which will try to convince me that it's okay to use again... <ahem>
5. Yes, I've heard that Bill experimented with LSD as a part of his spiritual quest. It was the mid-20th century, and LSD was considered a tool to expand your consciousness by some, not a recreational thing. Bill used to take massive doses of Niacin too, thinking that might help the alcoholic brain. Bill slept with another woman while he was married to Lois. BILL WAS NOT A SAINT. He's the guy who, along with Dr. Bob, virtually stumbled across the recipe for how to recover from alcoholism, cobbling it together from some of Dr. Jung's work, from information he got from Dr. Silkworth, and from some spiritual structure he was given in the Oxford Group. But just because Bill cheated on his wife I don't know that translates into the idea that all the married guys in AA get a pass to cheat on their spouses. Bill is not the moral guideline, the inspired writing in the AA literature is the guideline -- yes, he wrote it, but Bill the man is just a man. If Bill jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge...
Dreamer, I'm not here to convince you not to smoke pot. You go right ahead and fire up that secret stash (come on, its even money that if you wanted to smoke you could put your hand on a joint in no time at all, yes?) If you can smoke pot and not drink, and smoke pot and not have it take over your life, then by all means you should smoke pot. I love(d) pot and I don't think there's anything wrong with it for people who aren't addicts.
It sounds to me like you are more than half convinced that you're not really an addict -- and you very well may not be. The Big Book suggests, when people aren't sure if they're an alcoholic or not, that they experiment with drinking until they're sure. Who am I to harsh your buzz?
I'd like to point out that if you're dreaming about smoking pot that is a form of mental obsession, and hmmm... that's a little odd for someone who thinks "Now it seems to me that occasional, very occasional, recreational use of pot might be fun and while I do have fun in sobriety, I really can and do, that little mind alteration thing IS fun and different." I'm not sure how dreams which occur with "some regularity" indicate that if you do smoke pot you'll only do it "occasionally... very occasionally."
Dreamer, I think I've been a little bitchy in this, and I'm sorry, but that's kind of the chord that got struck. Frankly, from what little of your drinking and using history you shared, it doesn't sound to me like if you smoke pot again that it will be some 'very occasional' thing. And that's where I think you should consider this: "It is the great obsession of every alcoholic that someday he will be able to control and enjoy his drinking" (Big Book) Isn't that exactly what is happening with you? You are obsessing about being able to control and enjoy smoking pot, pulling justifications from all kinds of crazy places.
You asked, and there's my answer, but again, I'm not here to talk you out of (or into) anything.
I know I'm an addict. I know that if I were to smoke pot two things would happen almost instantly:
I would want more pot.
I would want to drink.
And I would do both, because the phenomenon of craving would be active in me, and I am powerless to fight it. No one tricked me into believing that, I have accepted that truth from the facts of my past drinking and using.
What are the facts of yours, Dreamer? Do they indicate that you're an addict, or do they lead one to conclude you can indulge on a "very occasional" basis?
If the facts when you look at them -- without distractions, without "what ifs" and "not fairs" -- show you that you ARE an addict, you are on very dangerous ground, and with all my heart I hope you reach out to people around you -- and to a Higher Power as you understand them -- for help. Since addiction is progressive.
And usually fatal.