Quitting Your Pot Habit
Identify your emotional triggers. Prepare for change before you set a quit date.
New question. "Why do you smoke weed?" It’s not a trick question and the answer is pretty obvious. Most (if not all) people smoke weed when they enter a particular emotional state. This emotional state triggers the urge, and then you find yourself smoking up to satisfy the urge, which is actually artificial. You’ve accomplished nothing.
Changing your emotional state when your brain sends you the familiar message "Let’s smoke a joint first…" is a powerful technique to break the cycle. Once you try confronting that emotional trigger, and replacing the response with something else, you will be on the road to success, and not another failed attempt to "cut down" or quit.
Addressing the root cause of marjuana addiction is the key to your decision to stop smoking marijuana. But, you are going to have to change your habits that go along with your pot smoking daily routine.
One common complaint I’ve heard from people who couldn’t break the cycle before is "I can’t fall asleep unless I smoke a joint before bed." In my humble opinion, this comment comes from people who are flirting with the idea of quitting weed, not from those of us who are committed to quit weed smoking for good. I say this because your problem with difficulty falling asleep without a nighttime joint is part of your old routine. Breaking that routine, and adjusting the behavior that led up to the nighttime joint is how you fall asleep naturally tired. I can give you a hundred suggestions on how to make yourself tired enough to fall asleep without continuing to abuse your same old bedtime marijuana story.
Changing your personal schedule to include some new activities is one of the keys to success. If you always smoke a joint and play video games after work, playing video games after work when you get home just isn’t going to work. If you wake up, make a coffee, smoke a joint and read the newspaper before work, then waking up, making a coffee and reading the newspaper isn’t necessarily going to be the easiest. Find a new activity or alter your current activity to replace that which directly follows your joint smoking time on a normal day.
For example: In my case, I was used to coming home from work, taking a shower, making a snack, waiting for my roommate to get home (about an hour or so), then getting high and watching a movie or TV, and then continuing to smoke joints until I passed out. In my case, the joints satisfied that initial craving to change my current emotional state to one of being "satisfied," although I knew that I was actually the opposite in my heart. Regardless, after the first joint, subsequent ones simply weren’t worth fighting. Before I knew it, my entire night was blown, and I was waking up with a headache the next morning – usually late in the morning.
"After the first joint, subsequent ones simply weren’t worth fighting."
I had to take myself out of the situation. Since I wasn’t going to move immediately, I did this by taking up running. Go ahead and roll your eyes. I actually hate running and hardly ever run anymore. But at the time, it allowed me to leave the house when my roommate got home with pre-rolled joints waiting for me. By the time I came back, I was sweaty and needed a shower, hungry for real food (not take out pizza), and physically tired. Although it was excruciatingly hard to run after being a sedentary pothead for so many years, it felt good. Running also made me painfully aware of how out of shape I had become, and how much my lungs had been damaged. I had a new goal: run a mile without feeling like I was going to die while leaning on a telephone pole two blocks from my house.
The point here is not create a new self-righteous army of ex-pothead athletes for the 2012 summer games. Simply, it’s just that you need to find creative ways to take yourself out of the places, and away from the people, as well as break your old schedule. If you do everything else the same and just remove pot from the equation, you’re in for a tough ride.
Now, back to my first point – Identifying the emotional trigger for your first joint of the day.
"Identify the emotional trigger for craving weed, which leads to your first joint of the day."
When you wake up tomorrow, do something different like – walk to the nearest coffee shop, get a magazine, and read for a bit before your work day starts. Get a fun breakfast treat or a smoothie to go with your coffee. Whatever. Now, think about what smoking a joint would do for you today. We both know the real answer which is that it would make you feel a bit numb, eventually moody and tired, and after that maybe a bit anxious. So, your "wake-and-bake" isn’t helping anything.
Underneath that urge to get stoned lies the truth, you want to change your state of mind to a happy one, where you’re OK with everything in your life and happy with where you’re going. Only we both already agreed that you are aren’t. It’s difficult, but admitting to yourself that you aren’t happy with your routine and your current path in life is important. It makes your determination to change even stronger and more resolute.
You already know what the outcome is for inaction and smoking more weed – more of the same – a frustrating cycle of trying to make your situation seem better than it is, and continued denial that somehow it’s going to get better all on it’s own.
Now you’ve identified the one emotional trigger – "The Fix":
"Smoking marijuana every day is an attempt to make your current situation better than it is – an attempt to make whatever you’re about to face O.K."
Good intentions – just misguided! You’re trying to improve your situation – only problem is – you just picked the worst way. Getting high doesn’t make anything change or get better. Externally or internally, physically and emotionally – things actually get slightly worse each time you light up. Your problem with Marijuana dependence is compounded further and you become incrementally less healthy. Your obligations and responsibilities become more overwhelming, and you avoid situations where you will be pulled out of your comfort zone. Nothing actually changes or improves, everything slowly gets worse.
So, go ahead – you can actually really improve your situation. Next time you feel like smoking a joint, change a light bulb instead, or go to the hardware store and get some stain and refinish that old chair in the basement, or mow the neighbors lawn for free, or change the cat litter, or go to the mall and get your watch fixed. Sound like stupid stuff? I promise you it’s not. Replacing your learned response to each emotional trigger with self-satisfaction, accomplishment, and real results is going to feel better than you think, marijuana withdrawal is a whole lot easier to handle when you’re focused on a task.
Another emotional trigger – "The Reward":
"I just did all that hard stuff, so now I can relax, take a break and reward myself by getting high – because I’ve earned it."
We all do this. Rewarding ourselves for accomplishing some ordinary task like going to work or getting the car fixed, or paying the bill after the phone gets shut off, or going to family dinner is all wrong. The reward is in completing the task itself, not the process of getting through the task to reach the reward at the end. If this were true, we would all be dogs. Very simply put, this is how you found yourself stumbling through life trying to get that weed reward, while missing out on the reward that comes from accomplishing all those real things to the best of your ability.
After a few days of re-training yourself to stop smoking weed, you will find that you can actually relax a bit more and the cravings won’t be nearly as powerful, and more than likely your life will be starting to take a new direction. That’s what we are after here – improving your situation and your life. Not satisfying the need to improve your situation with a false remedy, but actually doing real things that have real tangible results.
Just to be clear, this information isn’t for people who smoke weed on vacation once in a while. This information is for people like you and me – who smoke(d) weed every day – and spend more time worrying about whether to get 5 grams or an ounce from our dealer, after we’ve spent half the day tracking them down, armed with money we borrowed from a buddy until we get paid next week.
I don’t waste my time with all that bullshit anymore, and now I’m here to help you get away from that unhealthy lifestyle as well. Because that’s what the chronic weed smoking lifestyle is – bullshit.
Keep reading, There’s so much more to say about how to break free and quit smoking pot for good. I’ve been weed-free for over 10 years and never have craved it once since I quit. I have no problem being around people who smoke joints. If I end up in one of those situations, I don’t feel panicked or tempted, smoking up just doesn’t interest me in any way. I know exactly where I would be if I started again and that isn’t anywhere I want to go.
There is an endless list of reasons to stop smoking pot, and you should read through that list regularly if you think for a second that marijuana isn’t a destructive habit.
Here’s your homework:
"Make your own personal list of good and bad points about your pot habit."
I already know how this list will shape up, but please do it. Be honest with yourself and admit the parts that make you feel good when you smoke pot. Then think of everything in your life that is negatively affected by your pot habit. I’m sure one column is going to be longer than the other by quite a bit. It sounds like a cheesy thing to have to do, but do it anyway, it’s part of identifying specific things you really want to change – the same things you’ve been trying to change all along, just with the wrong tools. Marijuana rehab could be a lot worse right? At least I’m not telling you to rent cot in a nursing facility.
Keep reading. We are going to put everything in perspective and get you on your way to stop smoking weed for good.