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When I personally quit smoking pot on May 1st of this year, I had it all planned out. I had quit last year for almost a year before I let a family issue get to me and went back to the weed to feel comfortable again. I’ve since learned that I’d been smoking pot for so long that I never really ever learned out to cope with stressful situations without it. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit, but I’m 51 frickin years old and I still don’t know how to deal with many life situations without weed – but am proud to say that I am learning more and more every single day.
But I digress, I did go back to the evil weed after more than 350 days without it. Very bad decision, but after just one toke I was fully back into my old habits. After a couple days, I told myself that it would be ok to smoke it up for ski season – and that I did. But once ski season was over, I was determined to get weed out of my life for good and that target date was May 1st.
So whether you decide you are going to quit today, next week or next month, make the decision and do it! When you are ready to quit cold turkey – that is all at once – the best thing is to get rid of your stash, your smoking utensils, rolling papers, pipes, bongs, vaporizers, whatever you have that helps you smoke weed – or even think of weed. Maybe you need to get rid of your Hightimes magazines, weed posters, certain t-shirts or anything that makes you even think of weed?
The goal here is to cut down on any temptation to smoke marijuana as much as possible. In that same vein, you might want (or have to) change some of (most of?) the people that you spend your time with. It’s going to be extremely difficult for you to resist temptation to smoke pot if you are hanging around with your dope smoking pals who are constantly trying to pass you a joint, a pipe or the bong – especially when you first quit.
When you are quitting pot, the temptation to go back to it is usually the greatest in the first 2-3 weeks. It’s very easy to tell yourself that you are too stressed out, too this, too that – or that you will quit again after the party, the concert, the camping trip, ski season, etc. Don’t fall into that trap. Remember why you decided to quit smoking in the first place – and stick with it. You do want a better life for yourself, don’t you?
You will probably want to keep away from your stoner ‘friends’ as they will either try to drag you down to their level – or you will be tempted to go back to your comfort zone of smoking with them again. That said, after you are solid with your decision and have made it through the first month or two, it shouldn’t be much of a problem to hang out with these people once in awhile. For me, I can be around people smoking weed with no difficulty, but the bigger issue is that I no longer have a desire to be around them … You might find the same thing too.
When you decide to quit all at once – or cold turkey, it will help you to tell people about what you are doing. You don’t need to send out an email to 4,853 of your closest friends (like I did), but the more people you tell about it, the more accountability you are creating for yourself. You don’t want to have to go back and tell all those people that you screwed up and are smoking the dope again …
Although there are many people (mostly lifelong stoners who cannot admit they have a problem) who say that marijuana is not addictive, I can say from personal experience that it is very addictive to me – and a whole lot of others too. Be prepared for certain withdrawal symptoms including lack of sleep or insomnia, lack of appetite, irritability and a bit of emotional instability. For some fun and to see what it is like watch this video of me 15 days into my first quit:
You will probably also experience night sweats and some bad dreams. The good news is that most of these symptoms will go away rather quickly, mostly in the first 2-3 weeks, although you still may experience an occasional nightmare or some irritability after that point.
When you are quitting the use of cannabis/pot/marijuana/dope/weed/medical cannabis, I have found that it is important to sleep as much as possible – even if you have insomnia, sleep when you can. If you work during the day and cannot take naps, don’t use this as an excuse, simply sleep when you can.
Quitting pot will give you all kinds of extra time that you might not know what to do with at first. It is extremely important to use this time to create some healthy habits for yourself. Remember that you cannot live a truly whole and fulfilling life if you do not take care of yourself #1. To me that means that I have to take care of my health, before I can be happy, successful or really help others in any meaningful way.
Healthy habits that have been effective for me including eating healthy, exercise, and outdoor activities. I actually started eating healthy (I’m what is called a ‘clean eater’) some time prior to deciding to conquer pot, but I really believe that fueling my body and brain properly helped allow me to make the decision to quit smoking pot. Read some books or blogs about healthy eating or if you have any questions for me, please let me know. I’ve learned a lot about nutrition over the last few years and am fascinated by how much there is to know, so I am constantly learning about this subject.
Exercise can take a lot of different forms. For some simply taking daily long walks is enough to get their blood pumping, and help them feel healthier. Others may want to jog, swim or work out at the gym. Personally I get a lot of relaxation from long workouts at the gym and feel like I’m missing something if I don’t get them in at least 5 or 6 times a week.
As far as outdoor activities, most of them require some level of exercise and some people may choose to get all of their exercise outdoors. Since I’ve quit smoking pot, I have spent a lot of time hiking and biking outdoors. I’m really looking forward to ski and snowboard season and the challenge of being in the mountains for the first time without pot! I’m sure it will be a challenge, but one that I know I am up for – and I love skiing and snowboarding!
As well as healthy habits, I’ve found that quitting pot has allowed me to create a number of other good habits. Creating these good habits has also helped me stay off the pot! Good habits that have helped me personally include helping others, reading, writing, watching movies, making videos, actually cleaning up after myself and keeping my work and home environments clean. When I was smoking weed, I very rarely had the patience or desire to read a book or watch a movie – now that I’ve quit, I actually get a lot of enjoyment out of both. Writing and making videos have both been effective tools for me in my quest to stop smoking marijuana. They have helped me get my ideas out, helped me think things through – and create some level of accountability. My first video ever about quitting pot has over 60,000 views and a lot of ongoing comments (not all positive). It’s through those videos and this blog that I have been able to help encourage and teach others going through similar circumstances. I now know that I have A LOT of other people looking to me to be an example that change is possible and I take that as a serious responsibility – that has greatly reduced the chances of me ever smoking pot again.
In the end, when you are quitting cold turkey or all together at once, there will be some highs and lows, some tough points in time, but you can and will make it through. Each challenging day you get past gets you one step closer to living a full and happy life without weed.
In the next couple of posts we will examine other ways to quit smoking pot – by tapering off or by getting professional help.
Have you purchased the Complete Guide to Quitting Weed yet? How committed are you? You are worth the investment!