The Psychology of Quitting Marijuana

Posted by QWAS Admin on April 22, 2013  /   Posted in QWAS News


The thought of quitting weed forever can feel terrifying, impossible, and overwhelming. In most cases, previous failed attempts at quitting weed add to the lack of confidence that this attempt will be any different. Having been there myself, I can say with confidence that these thoughts are counterproductive, but more importantly, unnecessary. Free yourself from these suffocating thoughts right now.

First of all, banish the idea that you must quit forever. Framing it this way adds far too much pressure to the situation. Secondly, you must believe that this attempt to quit is different and you will be successful.

The Experiment

I like to look at these types of life decisions as experiments. Within the context of an experiment, you can do just about anything, including abstaining from your marijuana habit for a period… even just a day if that what feels right to you. AA and MA will tell you “one day at a time” and that’s fine. However, I like to chunk things. So, I prefer to commit to a week or two weeks or even a month. When it comes to breaking your marijuana habit, or rather “taking a break” from your marijuana habit, a week is a good chunk of time to mentally prepare for.

All of our lives are in a constant state of flux and change. If you can go a day or a week, you’ve proven that you can go a year. Concentrate on today. Plan for tomorrow. Leave the contemplation of future events to Nostradamus and the like.

Participating in your own experiment gets more exciting and the longer you go, the more resolve you will have, and the more ownership you will take over your mounting triumphs. Before long, the positive results of your experiment will become apparent to yourself and those around you. Eventually, your quit weed experiment will become the new normal and you can begin to experiment with improving some other aspect of your life.

Ready, Mindset, Go!

There is simply no good reason you should fail at quitting again. Accept your pot habit for what it is – something that has become a destructive force in your life. There is no room for denial on this. Overcome all objections. Now is the time to abandon all of the reasons you might harbor as rationale for continuing to smoke weed. All that matters is that your inner voice has spoken loudly, pleading for an end to your current lifestyle, and you’re ready to begin the experiment.

This is not the death of a dear friend or a secret lover, this is you gaining your freedom. If you’re reading this, then your habit has become a python, squeezing tight around your chest, restricting your breathing and your movement. Your decision to quit is not about losing something, it is about gaining control, self-confidence, and the ability to live your life untethered. This is perhaps the most important adjustment to your thought process you’ll need to make over the coming days and weeks. Wave two fingers in front of your face and Jedi mind trick yourself into believing it if you have to… either way, it’s the truth.

Fear Not Withdrawal

Educating yourself about potential marijuana withdrawal symptoms is one of the most important aspects of preparing yourself mentally. Understand that marijuana withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to moderate. I hesitate to say severe, because marijuana withdrawal cannot be compared to withdrawal from heroin, cocaine, or meth. While the symptoms of marijuana withdrawal can be uncomfortable, they are not life threatening. If you rolled joints with tobacco, your nicotine withdrawal symptoms will likely overshadow your marijuana withdrawal symptoms. Once you understand the possible range of withdrawal symptoms, you can mentally prepare yourself and take steps to mitigate any discomfort you might have. After the first 2-3 weeks, you should be in the clear.

Persistent anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders are more complex issues associated with ending marijuana dependency. Consult your physician if you’re struggling and need help.

Your First Chunk of Sobriety

Could you go 24 hours without food? Of course you could. In fact, you could survive weeks with no food and only water. So, you can go 24 hours without getting high. Lucky for you, a day without marijuana is going to be far less unpleasant than a day without food. In fact, you can do it easily. A week is also easy. The reason I like a week rather than a day to begin the experiment is because at the end of the week you have traveled a significant distance. You’ve begun to notice some change in yourself and can begin to fine tune your approach. A week is enough time that you won’t want to just throw it away during a weak moment. A week is also easy. Believe it.

Into the Unknown

Once you’ve proven to yourself that you can go one day, one week, you’ll be leaving the comfort of your sheltered cove for open ocean. Now that your sails are up and you’re trimming nicely, point your boat on the course that seems most interesting and challenging to you. Embrace the small hardships you’ll face as the wind and waves batter your little boat. Take time to reflect on the journey you have undertaken and how far you’ve come. The pride you’ll feel in your accomplishments as you bite off bigger chunks of sobriety will begin to redefine and invigorate you.

Believe that this time is different. Expect but do not fear withdrawal symptoms. Manage your commitment to quit by completing small, successive chunks of sobriety. Say goodbye to chest crushing pythons. Regain your self control, your confidence, and self worth. You are a brilliant scientist living in your own experiment and you cannot fail.

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