Pushing past addiction

An honest account of the effect weed had on one young man's life and how he's managing after quitting weed.

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Overcoming addiction can be a long road. Often it can feel isolating and pointless as you struggle to justify why you are giving up something that provides some sort of positive experience. Talking with someone who has overcome the same challenges you have faced can be really motivating and help you refocus your energy, reminding you why you decided to quit in the first place and how rewarding your efforts will be in the end. Knowing other people have had similar experiences can keep you on track and heading down the right path.

We recently spoke with someone who has worked very hard to overcome his addiction to cannabis over the last six months. At his peak, he was heavily dependent on weed, using it every day until he eventually realised he was addicted and it was having a negative impact on other areas of his life.

At your peak, how much cannabis were you using per day?

Up to, if not more than five grams. 

When was the last time you used cannabis?

Three months ago. I made a conscious effort to reduce the amount of weed I smoked about nine months ago. However, it was about six months in that I truly took control.  

What was the catalyst/describe the moment you decided to quit weed?

I can’t pin-point the exact reason why I decided to quit, though I do remember that I no longer enjoyed getting high and I found that it was starting to affect my day-to-day life. It wasn't until I admitted that I was addicted to cannabis that I was able to stop. I had tried without success on a number of occasions before, but I always found a way to intellectualise my addiction. I realised that I was just being clever and justifying my behaviour. 

What positive changes (if any) have you noticed since you quit?

I have always struggled with anxiety, though after three months without smoking cannabis, I have noticed a dramatic change in how often the attacks happen. I do struggle to switch off now, weed was always my outlet, and I now have to teach myself to how to relax. 

 

What are some of the drawbacks (if any) of quitting?

I can be a little more irritable at times because I no longer rely on the weed to calm me down or sleep – although this is getting better each day. 

How did you go about quitting?

I went cold turkey, I suppose I did cut back, but more out of failure to stop than anything. Smoking and quitting weed is an incredibly personal experience. I really enjoyed the times that I did smoke. I always said weed enhanced my life, but as soon as I noticed it had started to have a negative impact, I put in motion a plan to change. I think it’s important that people ask themselves, does your habit have a negative impact on your life, and are you being true to yourself?  

What was the hardest part of quitting?

The social aspect. It took me a little while to adjust both my actions and mentality. I refused to become a victim, and always declined a smoke, instead of going on some rant about why I didn't want weed. It’s important not to let the drug take control on either side of the journey. 

In the past you’ve been quite a vocal cannabis advocate, how has your opinion of the drug changed?

I still stand by what I said previously, I don't think the criminalisation of cannabis helps anyone. My experience has been fortunate, I have had a very supportive network of friends, close friendship with my mother and an educated understanding of drugs. In another life I wouldn't be so lucky, so I think we need to be as supportive and caring as possible to those with addiction. 

What advice or recommendations would you have for someone who is thinking about quitting?

I would suggest seeing a counsellor or therapist to uncover why it is you smoke in the first place. Despite what you think, there is usually a reason or a catalyst, and there’s always a way to stop. I don't think there is any right or wrong way to go about it, I just think it’s important to share your own personal experiences to help other people down the right path.

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