How I Quit Smoking Weed After 20 Years

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.

How I Quit Smoking Weed After 20 Years
Photo by Pexels

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 Β£50’s worth every time). I would hate that I was stoned again. I would hate it. But I still wouldn’t stop.

How I Quit Smoking Weed After 20 Years
Photo by Pexels. Sometimes it’s hard to 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.

How I Quit Smoking Weed After 20 Years
The only way is up!

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.

How I Quit Smoking Weed After 20 Years
Photo by Pexels. Personal Development books help change your way of thinking.

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.

How I Quit Smoking Weed After 20 Years
Photo by Pexels. A lightbulb moment.

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.

How I Quit Smoking Weed After 20 Years
Photo by Pexels. The feeling you get from exercise is more wholesome than any drug.

The way I look at it is simple. The main things you need to do:Β 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.







43 thoughts on “How I Quit Smoking Weed After 20 Years

  1. Thank you Chris for being so bold and sharing your experience, you mentioned it before but making a post is a total new level of authenticity.πŸ‘
    No point from blaming yourself, it’s great that you overcame it and you’re now helping others with your experience, it requires a courage and strong personality to say such wordsπŸ‘
    β€œI couldn’t get any lower. There was only 1 way to go.” It reminded me of a quote from the movie β€œFight Club” it’s only when we’ve lost everything that we are free to do anything”
    But it’s not easy to move from underground and shine again, and all alone! I salute your will and strength and kids are always the best motivation a parent can have, more than motivation: a purpose…And that was hell a decision you made! No miracles indeed.,.We are the greatest miracle when we decide to do what’s right!
    But I’m curious about the drugs law there, so the marijuana is obviously legalized but no side effects for smoking it so much; I mean what are the limits?
    Great share as usually and again glad you are what you are today and glad you’re inspiring and helpingπŸ‘
    Much love always 😊❀

    1. Hi Huguette πŸ€— Thanks for the lovely words. Although I don’t think there is any courage involved. It’s just the truth. Hopefully it will help others. Who knows?
      Reminded of a Fight Club quote haha
      I’m well pleased with that 😊 What a movie!
      I love what you said ‘we are the greatest miracle when we decide to do what’s right’. So profound. Don’t be surprised if that ends up in a post haha
      Oh marijuana is completely illegal here. I’m lucky not to have a criminal record. Was never caught with it thankfully. Got taken into a room at an airport once. Got completely searched and my luggage emptied. And they still managed to miss what I had on me. Very lucky.
      The only side effects I’ve had are poor sleeping and very vivid dreams. Quite fortunate really. I can live with that.
      Again, thank you for all the lovely things you say. Very nice of you.
      Much love always Huguette 😊❀

      1. It certainly requires courage Chris do don’t doubt that and I’m sure your words will reach many people even if one person better than keeping them for yourself πŸ‘
        What a movie indeed! See I always forget great movies and songs when asked to choose πŸ™„ this movie is one my favorites!
        I look forward to reading that post haha will not be surprised at all
        Well, not legal? Oh wow that requires strength even if you’re breaking the law but damn you nailed it! They couldn’t find it at the airport? Damn you’re really clever and lucky, both I guess
        Thank you for the information, yes I guess vivid dreams and poor sleeping don’t seem a disaster for such habit
        As always I say the truth and glad you decided to write your experience πŸ‘
        Hope things are going smoothly at the end of the weekend and much love always 😊❀️

      2. Haha I know what you mean. Soon as your asked to name them it’s hard to remember. There’s just too many to choose from. Why am I not surprised you love Fight Club haha
        First time seeing it was unreal. Such a great story.
        Well, I’ve a problem with authority anyway haha That hasn’t changed. Fight the power! 😁
        Haha Just lucky. I didn’t even hide it. It was between two sweaters that they lifted together. Sat on a desk. Then put them back in again haha
        My pants were brown after that πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        Yeah. I’ve been very lucky to have had so little side effects.
        Well I appreciate your truthfulness 😊
        Things going well thank you. Although the dinner is currently in danger again πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        Hope your weekend has been good to you.
        Much love Huguette 😊❀

      3. Oh no! Not the dinner πŸ˜‚ don’t burn the dinner Chris!
        Yes same here with authorities but in other aspects ! I always preferred Mafia over police haha
        Oh well that was hell a luck πŸ˜‚ you should have bought lottery that day πŸ˜‚
        Of course you won’t be surprised I love fight club 😁 but the message in the movie is really powerful
        Take good care and best of luck for the dinner haha
        Much love ❀️ 😊

      4. That luck was a bit late πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        Mafia haha least they’re a bit more respectable haha
        Lucky is right. Honestly don’t know how I was never arrested. A lot of close calls. Crazy times.
        The message in Fight Club was powerful. I don’t think we’re meant to talk about it though πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        Well, dinner is done. Think I’ll be scraping that pan for hours haha
        Much love Huguette 😊❀

      5. Seems it was πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
        Glad you were lucky! Second chances are always great πŸ‘
        Oh yes that part OMG! We shouldn’t talk indeed πŸ˜‚
        You’ll make muscles from scrapping the pan πŸ˜‚

      6. πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ building muscles equally hahhaa
        Good morning and hope you’ll have a great day ahead πŸ™‚

  2. Yet another great post CJ! Thank you for sharing and I hope this reaches those who need to hear it πŸ™‚ your words truly inspire!

    1. Thank you Evelyn! Very nice of you to say so.
      I too hope whoever needs it will find it.
      I hope you are keeping well. Best wishes to you πŸ™‚

  3. Apologies, long comment ahead!!
    Your determination shines through this post Chris and has the ability to motivate others. I’m sure there are many families being impacted by this issue and don’t know where to turn.

    Write more about the beginning of the end of your addiction. The painful denial, begining of realisation stage. Break it down into tiny steps as if catching someone by the hand… give them an hour by hour or spliff by spliff alternative.

    Name how frustrating it was being caught, endlessly, in that groundhog day prior to your day of enlightnment and decision to change?

    Try to talk to families that have looked on, powerless. How difficult, lonely and painful must their perspective have been? Share their stories. Or share their painful decision to walk away knowing the alternative was to continue to enable the addict’s addiction by not rocking the boat? Acknowledge their pain.

    Keep talking, writing & looking for places to share! Enjoy the journey! Marie

    1. Ah Marie. No apologies needed. I love long comments πŸ™‚
      I appreciate and value your insight on this. Amendments will have to be made. I guess the only reason family wasn’t mentioned is that I come from the traditional Irish family. You know, the ones that don’t talk about anything. So I’d really only be guessing about their perspective. But you’re right. Their pain has to be acknowledged.
      Thanks for the encouragement Marie. Best wishes to you and your family!

      1. We all struggle to marry the warm chatty inclusive family image with the don’t talk about anything to each other image! My pleasure Chris, likewise best wishes to you and your son.

      2. Yeah, there’s usually plenty of talk. God forbid if it’s about anything too serious though.
        Appreciate the best wishes Marie. Take care.

    1. Thank you very much. Glad you liked it.
      I agree with you. The answers do lie within ourselves.
      I appreciate you taking the time to comment. Best wishes to you.

  4. This is really inspiring. I bet it took a whole lot of courage to display your flaws to the world, and to admit your faults. Not anyone can do that. I sincerely admire it 😊
    Usually, people start taking smaller portions and then stopping completely to avoid withdrawal symptoms, but you cut the chase right there and then! I think, based on your post, it has been worth the lack of sleep. I hope your son aknolowdeges the fact that he has a good father. Have a good day/night ☺

    1. Thank you for saying such kind words. Not really proud of who I was but it’s my reality so no point hiding from the truth.
      Oh it certainly has been worth the lack of sleep. And I really appreciate what you say about my fathering ability πŸ™
      Thanks for taking the time to comment also.
      Hope you have a good day/night too πŸ™‚

      1. The past shall stay in the past, unless we must learn from it. Nothing good comes out of rewinding negativity, except for the feelings of guilt, which is great only if you’re writing poems πŸ˜‚

        I’ve just discovered your blog and I am eager to see more posts!

      2. Oh I like that ‘rewinding negativity’. So true. Nothing good comes from it apart from the lessons learned. If we’re sensible enough to learn them.
        Haha Nothing inspires a bit of poetic creativity more than sadness and guilt.
        You flatter me with your eagerness. Thank you πŸ™πŸ˜Š

  5. Such an inspiring post ❀
    Amazing dad you are πŸ˜€
    This reminded me of something.
    When I was 3 years old kid, my dad didn't realize the impacts of smoking that it will affect the people around him as well
    As a baby initially I started coughing.because of his chain smoking
    Later I blood vomited once because of the smoke filled room.
    That was the time he worried a lot and quit smoking .
    It has been more than 22 years he didn't touch it again.
    I'm proud and lucky to have him as my appa ❀ πŸ™‚
    Thank you for writing this

    1. Hi. Thank you very much for your kind words. Very nice of you to say so 😊
      Sounds like you have an amazing dad yourself. I know in that time smoking was allowed pretty much everywhere and people weren’t aware of the dangers.
      That fact that he quit after that terrible incident just shows how much he loves you. There is no greater motivation than a parents love for their children 😊
      It makes me happy to read you saying you are proud and lucky to have him as your appa (never heard that would before. It’s very endearing πŸ™‚). I hope my boy feels the same about me when he’s older.
      I hope you are keeping well and best wishes to you!

      1. Hello.
        yes exactly, there is nothing greater than parents love for their children.
        And you know what? You’ll be the hero for your boy just like my hero.
        You’ll be an inspiration and hope for him being a single parent which is not an easy task.
        Haha yeah you might not have known the word “Appa” which means “Daddy” in my mother tongue.
        My very best wishes to you too πŸ™‚
        Good day ahead πŸ™‚

      2. Awww thank you so much for saying that. Very kind of you.
        I figured ‘Appa’ meant daddy. Such a lovely sounding word. Full of love.
        Best wishes to you and I hope you have a great weekend πŸ™‚

    1. You’re very welcome. Glad you found it inspirational.
      Very nice of you to say you are eager for more posts πŸ™ Thank you.
      Best wishes to your good self.

  6. I am addicted to weed and recently I realized that my time is really being wasted. I have failed quitting several times but with such words and real explained experience, I can do it again. Thanks πŸ™ and it is a sweet read πŸ“˜

    1. You’re very welcome Nicholas. I understand completely man. Don’t worry if you quit and fail. At least you’re still trying! And a day off weed is better than everyday on it.
      I always thought it would be a part of my life…and now it’s gone completely.
      You can do it too! You just have to believe you can. Good luck ✊

      1. You got it man! If you find it any struggle just leave me a comment. I’ll be more than happy to help whatever way I can. Best wishes to you

  7. Enjoyed reading your post CJ! Found your blog from a post you made on Reddit. Funny, my blog is in many ways very similar to yours. Not all the topics, but I want to help people overcome barriers to their success too. I want to help people see what is holding them back and what they can do to finally get to where they want in life. I applaud your strength to get through all that you have. Keep up the good work, you’re inspiring!

    1. Hi Clarrisa. Thank you. I really appreciate you commenting on here as well as on Reddit. So kind of you really πŸ™‚
      I like that your blog is all for helping people too. It’s great to know there are people out there that want to uplift others in helping to improve their lives. If we all do our bit there’s no guessing what lives we might touch upon and improve. Fair play to you πŸ™
      Thank you for your kind words and encouragement. Best wishes to you.

  8. Hi CJ. Don’t know which part of your story as resonated with me, but what I do know is that I am 10 days clean and feeling great and have zero intentions of ever touching it again. Thanks man and good luck for the future.

    1. Hey Mark, that’s great! 10 days man (probably more by now). I think once you get that first week over with you realise that quitting is much easier than you might have imagined. It’ll soon be nothing but a memory and you’ll be much better off without it. Really happy for you and I wish you the best of luck for the future.
      Take care, CJ

  9. Hi CJ. I was smoking for 20+ years.. everyday.. like you if not even more.. I love this article. It’s crazy awesome that I found this article exactly a year after you posted. Last time I puffed was March 28, 2020. I’m doing it for me and my family. It was driving me crazy knowing that I was “about” to be out of weed. Plus this pandemic help me in a weird way. Being quarantine at home with my family, a pot head and broke was not goingt go well… so I quit. First two weeks was hell… mild fever and that got me anxious with the whole COVID thing. Now I do mindfulness exercises and workout. Lucky I have a wife who understands and loves me for who I am. Here I am May 4. 2020.. I still feel high, specially after a workout.. I can’t wait to feel free again. I took it too far with pot.. a 6 pack of beer will last me a month or more.. wish I would have done the same with pot..and now I’m scared to try pot again. Only thing that keeps me going is my family, they don’t need to put through this. Yes I have nasty mood swings and I can’t wait for those to be over too. I’m glad to know we are not alone in this transition. I still have a ways to go but I know I can do it. Thanks and take care!

    1. Hi GameRickster, Man, I’m so glad to hear you’ve taken the step and that things are going well for you. That’s great! Funny what you say about beer. I’m the same. And have thought the same thought about being the same with it as with weed. Pity it doesn’t work that way.
      I think it might help you to know that at one point I did smoke a joint. I had all the ‘reasons’ in the world. My mental health was slipping, I was still struggling with being separated from my ex-wife and being a single dad. A friend at work offered me enough for a joint. I took it. Smoked it that night. It was great. Next day all was fine.
      Then the following week he gave me enough for another. Same story. Except this time I thought I could get a quarter and just be sensible like we are with alcohol. So I got that quarter. Smoked a joint as soon as I got home with it…then kept smoking it until it was gone. Then I got another. Then another. It was about 3 weeks of blazing. I felt just like the idiot I had always been.
      Then I had a moment again. Re-read the stuff I had written and where my mind was then. And just stopped again.
      Just letting you know because it doesn’t matter if you slip on the way. I lost 3 weeks. Whatever little blip on the way is nothing compared to all the weeks and months you’ve gained.
      And you have a wife and family around you. Cherish them. I know I value being sober for the sake of my son.
      I appreciate you taking the time to comment and wish you and your family all the best. If you’re ever struggling just drop me a comment. I’ll be more than happy to chat. Thanks and take care also!
      BTW sorry for the late reply.

  10. It’s nice to hear stories from a long term smoker who quit in mid life…I also quit in my 40s after over 30 years of using. It’s hard to relate to younger people who only smoked for few years.

    1. I know what you mean Will. When smoking is your baseline for decades it is much more of who you are. And the habit more ingrained.
      Smoking for a few years when you are younger is almost a rights of passage now. No big deal. But when those years turn into decades it becomes a bigger hurdle to get over.
      Glad to hear you quit. Here’s to a good life for you. Best of luck!

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