Marijuana has many names. Weed. Pot. Grass. I used to think it was a friend of mine. My best friend actually. It was always there. A part of my daily living. I could never imagine a life without it. Yet here I am over 20 years later and it’s gone. Fast becoming a distant memory. Not that I have a great memory. It’s full of ‘pot’ holes. How did I do it? How did I quit smoking weed?
This is my story. It might help you if you’re trying to shake it. Get that green monkey off your back. Break the habit of this drug addiction.
First off, I must tell you just how much it was a part of my life. It was all I really thought about. All I wanted to do. I would have a joint in my mouth within minutes of coming home from work. And would smoke all evening until my last spliff before bedtime to, you know, help me sleep.
Weekends and days off were worse. After breakfast I would have my first joint and would continue smoking all day. If I was going out to do something I would need a smoke beforehand and I would have to pre-roll a few to keep me going. If I was going to watch something on tv, going to a movie, or reading a book, I couldn’t do so without having a smoke first. It was my first go-to for everything.
Smoking it, talking about it, and worrying if I had enough was all I really did. It consumed my mind. I was the weed smoking version of a functioning alcoholic.
I spent years not wanting to be like that. For some reason I couldn’t muster the will power to break the habit. Anytime I tried to quit I would literally last a few hours. I would smoke what I had. Say that’s it. Then a few hours later or the next morning I was on a mission to get some, and get some quickly.
After that next smoke I would hate myself for doing it. I would hate that I wasted so much money on it (I would buy £50’s worth every time). I would hate that I was stoned again. I would hate it. But I still wouldn’t stop.
I practically hid it from everyone except by fellow pot smokers. My then wife didn’t even know the extent to which I was smoking. It was my dirty secret.
I’m not proud of the person I was then. I’m not proud that something had so much control over me. I’m still not proud that I wasted most of my years being wasted.
So what changed? It wasn’t exactly my ‘wife’ leaving a few weeks before our 10th wedding anniversary. It wasn’t exactly that now I was basically a single father having to raise our son. If anything in those initial months I was smoking more than I ever did just to dull the depressing pain of heartbreak, loneliness and worthlessness. At that time I had no intention of quitting. I thought it was the only thing really holding me together.
But after that separation something had changed. After feeling so broken I had decided to try to rebuild myself. Become a better version of myself. I couldn’t get any lower. There was only 1 way to go.
I started reading personal development books. Started to exercise. Little by little my thinking began to change. I started to really believe that change was possible. Not just possible but inevitable. I gradually began to increase the amount of exercise I did. All the while I was still smoking quite heavily.
Then 1 particular day. A day not unlike any other I got up in the morning. Lit a joint up. Took a few puffs…and decided then and there I was done. My responsibilities to my son were too great now. It wasn’t just my life this was going to affect. It was his. He needed a father who was strong. Someone that would be fit and stable enough to deal with any family emergencies. Not someone who couldn’t drive a car to the hospital because he was too stoned.
I threw that joint away. Got my little skinning up tin which contained all my little accessories and threw it in the trash. I then deleted every phone number I had that was either to a dealer or anyone else I knew that smoked. If I had kept one number on there I was worried it would present me with the opportunity to contact them for a spliff or to see if they could point me in the right direction to get some.
Some of those numbers were of people I liked. Not just smoking buddies. But people I liked to talk to. If there was any other way I wouldn’t have done that. But I had to sever all ties. I needed complete separation from anything and anyone connected to the world of weed.
That 1 day turned into 7. For me mentally that was a real turning point. Even though I quit I had worried about the first weekend without it. What would I do? How would I cope? After that weekend was over I had a lightbulb moment. That was a full week without smoking. Every other week would be just the same. All the days were covered. I just had to repeat what I did for every other week after.
What surprised me was how easy it actually was to quit. I had been filling my head with so much positive thinking, feeling good through exercise, and changing the way I thought about things, that it just happened naturally. There was no great build up to it. I wasn’t thinking that I have to quit it. At that particular time I had no intention of quitting. I just did it. After 20 freaking years! I’m done. It’s gone.
I think I’ve been lucky in terms of withdrawal symptoms. The only real problems I’ve experienced have been disrupted sleep and vivid dreams. The first few months I sweated a lot during the night and the dreams were so intense I felt their effect long into the following day. I would only really sleep for a few hours at a time.
My sleeping has improved since then but not by much. The sweating has gone. And the dreams, while still vivid, are less frequent. It’s a small price to pay.
There have been moments since. Moments where I’ve said to myself I would love a bag of weed. Would love to get stoned again. As soon as I think that I know it’s not really true. I know I only think that’s what I want. I know I don’t really. 20 plus years of programming takes time to shift.
There is information out there to help you. There are guides. There are people talking about using various different methods to help you after quitting. Like yoga, eating healthy, detox. I think the important thing is to fill your time with something else. Find a hobby or work towards a goal. Find what works best for you.
I think quitting is as difficult as you want to make it. Mostly it is in your head. But you have to, not only want to quit, but have a good solid reason to do so. You need to have a purpose. Something you’ll value more than your need to smoke.
The way I look at it is simple. The main things you need to do: Change your mindset, exercise, and find another way of filling your time (writing works for me). Break your old habits and create new ones. That’s it. It won’t happen overnight. It’s not a miracle cure. But it works.
It doesn’t take God. It doesn’t take a miracle. I didn’t fall crying on my knees seeking help from a higher power. All it took was that decision. A decision that was based on what I wanted my future to be for me and my son
You might not know it yet but all the power and strength you need to quit lies within you. You don’t really need external help. Nothing ‘out there’ can really help you anyway. You can get all the assistance you need but in the end you just need to help yourself. Your problem lies within. You are the only one who can solve it.
Don’t worry if you quit once then fail. Don’t worry if you keep failing. If you keep failing it means you are still trying. Just don’t give up on yourself. Don’t think it isn’t possible. If it was possible for me it’s possible for anyone.
Change your mind, change your life, leave your past in the past and find your new future. You can do it. You always could. You just have to believe it for yourself.