I just read a great post from an ex-marijuana addict on the uncommon-addiction forums. It deserves some more exposure!
I was you. I smoked at every opportunity, all the time for over a decade. Weed took precedence in my life, I could not bear to be without it for even a day. I always found money to buy weed, I loved the whole ritual surrounding it…or I thought I did until I realized I was numb. I no longer felt anything, I had become almost completely negative in my thinking, I hated seeing a dumb, grey skinned, red-eyed stoner moron staring back at me in the mirror. Then exactly a year ago I said ‘No more’ and I quit. So I wanted to return here, which was a great source of support for me in the early months of the quit to share everything I have learned in reference to kicking an addiction and what I experienced as a result of it.
1 – The first time I felt a benefit was about 2 days after quitting. I stayed up late one night watching a movie and afterwards had to just get some laundry out of the machine. As I folded the laundry, I felt a wave of melancholy wash over me…a kind of nostalgia, it was a subtle emotion I had not experienced for a decade, it was so subtle and so penetrating, I remember feeling overjoyed that I was feeling something real and not inducing a feeling via a 3rd party. This was just me and my emotions.
2 – I had incredibly vivid dreams, every night. I would wake up in pools of sweat, at first the dreams were persecution dreams with nightmarish qualities and gradually the imagery, though bizarre, became spectacular, like the most far-out and wonderful spectacle I had ever seen! When I got stoned, I just got blackness every night. No dreams. How can a person rob themselves of their dreams, they are a natural wonder.
3 – I became more sociable. I started to just appreciate the joys of communication with my fellow beings rather than hiding from them, or feeling some sense of shame or guilt at the fact I was stoned, or just social inadequacy at the fact my mind worked so slowly and my short term memory would embarrass me when I forgot what the hell I was talking about in the middle of a sentence! It truly is socially crippling. A stoner limits themselves to feeling the only people they are on a level with are other stoners. Combine this with the fact that the other stoners also have awful short term memories etc, it makes for a limiting social life.
4 – I had waves of misery and elation. Some days I would feel fantastic and almost hyper, other days I felt miserable and like I didn’t really want to face the world. In the early days, this was more extreme, after about 5 months I would say I felt as though I were on an even keel. This is psychological adjustment. If you are a long term smoker, you have left a relationship with the psychoactive effects of a plant that has influenced your world view and the way your very brain works. After five months, I felt like I was myself. Myself in a way I had never experienced, having been stoned since adolescence!
5 – Creativity. I work as an artist and marijuana always had appeal for me because I could easily work when stoned and I could do so to a high standard, enough to be regarded by my peers and respected for my talents. But I was terrified I would somehow grind to a halt creatively if I gave up marijuana. This is a huge misconception, to credit a plant with imbuing ones self with talent is to believe that anyone who smokes could become an artist, but the plan tis just along for the ride, it is neither here nor there, if anything it is a hinderance to the energy you need to be fully expressive. Also when you produce work with a sober mind, it is far more satisfying because you become aware of what is of you and this is liberating and life affirming. You are the vessel that creates and how wonderful to think that you were born with the ability and it is not attributed to anything else!
6 – Money. You just have more of it to do more worthwhile things with! This is a no brainer, but I would count it as a lesser benefit but it is enabling.
7 – Confidence. The feeling you are not burying your head in the sand or running away from anything. The feeling they you are yourself, eye to eye with reality. This is life affirming. You feel whole, that you are yourself and that it is enough.
8 – Relationships are just better. You feel more honest and as a result enjoy communication more and don’t have anything to play down in terms of an addiction. No more making up excuses for things because you are stoned and thus relegate your human relationships in favor of your relationship with a plant. The joys of just being with people and appreciating the simplest of sincere communications. Our relationships with our fellow beings are the MOST important aspect of any of our lives, a stoner loves, but not completely because they give that little bit less and we all know deep down that life is all about giving.
9 – The freedom from cynicism. I used to be cynical about so much because I think marijuana gave me a kind of arrogance regarding the nature of reality. I would look at the world around me, at all these straight people living their lives, going about their business and participating in the mundanity of everyday life and I wanted to remove myself from it because as a stoner, I always thought there was so much more that was more important and the majority of the world didn’t see this etc. As a result of this warped perception what I am describing here as cynicism actually seems to me to be a psychological mechanism of justifying ones weakness’ and fears and giving them a context in which they seem like some sort of superior insight, when in fact it is just warped, negative thinking. Now I feel restored to healthy cynicism about those things that require cynical thinking and healthy respect for those aspects of life that are mundane, but real!
10 – Now after one year, I look back and the whole idea that I made myself a vessel into which I could be filled with the generic characteristics of a plant and allow them to puppeteer my personality completely ridiculous! Clearly for years, I felt the need to do this for some reason, but a year after quitting I look back at all the wonderful things that have happened, I have moved into a great new house, I have rediscovered my passion for many interests and new ones and met people who have become excellent friends, people I would never have crossed paths with had I continued being a stoner! The value of this to me is immeasurable!
So if you are reading this and thinking about quitting, I hope something in here reaches you and helps to motivate you. Just bear in mind when you quit, the hard part is not being rid of the plant, that is easy, you just don’t ingest it or buy it etc, you just stay away from it. The hard part is coming to terms with yourself, which ultimately ends up with you feeling stronger, more complete and enriched. What more could you want for yourself? You will be better placed for that which life has to offer!
So good luck to all you people wanting to quit, if I could do it, so can you!