After reading a powerful article about the effects of fear, I’ve come to realize that understanding fear is important for understanding many other things. Everyone experiences fear at some point. The typical response to a fearful situation is the fight or flight response. To flight is to run from what you’re afraid of, and to fight is to work to destroy it. Let’s look at why you may be afraid to quit smoking weed.
There are things to be learned from fear, though – things that don’t require a fight or flight response. If you seek to understand why you feel fear, instead of running from it or trying to destroy it, you can learn a lot of different things about yourself.
Among these things is the relationship between an individual and chronic drug use. A lot of addicts maintain their drug addictions because they’re afraid to quit. They’re afraid to return to sober life, they’re afraid to lose the connections they’ve built, they’re afraid to face the reality that they’re hiding from.
Marijuana smokers aren’t often faced with the daunting problems that addiction to hard drugs create. Still, there is undoubtedly an aspect of addiction that daily pot smokers must face. Daily users of marijuana often have a very hard time returning to life without marijuana. In many ways, it’s likely that fear is one of the underlying causes that stops them from quitting.
What Does Fear Mean To You?
The article goes to redefine fear under several different acronyms. Each of these can be memorized and used as a mantra during fearful situations. If you apply these definitions to fear and change your response to frightening situations, you can learn to overcome that fear.
Overcoming fear is more effective than fighting or running from it. It provides a deeper understanding as to why you feel fear. This allows you to avoid any fearful situations that might cause negative reactions in the future.
F.E.A.R. : For Everything A Reason
Behind every scared little boy, every anxious poet standing on stage in front of a thousand people, and every other kind of fear, there is a reason.
Why do you smoke weed? What’s the reason behind it? Are you hiding from something? Are you trying to alter your perspective so you don’t have to see what reality’s showing you? A lot of people use marijuana to ease their anxiety and stress. This shows a state of fear – they’re afraid of facing their stress and anxiety from a sober mindstate and eliminating it without marijuana.
Once you understand that your use of marijuana is guided by fear, you can begin to understand the problems that led you to using it in the first place. If you’re afraid of dealing with something – be it a mental state, like anxiety, or an external situation – smoking weed doesn’t cure the problem. It might be a nice bandage, but you won’t be able to cure your problems until you acknowledge them.
For those who smoke weed regularly to combat mental problems, they find sober life difficult. Without marijuana, they are high-strung, depressed, or anxious. Weed is their crutch, and they’re so reliant on it that sober life becomes unbearable.
F.E.A.R. Face Everything And Recover
A lot of people are afraid of the prospect of recovery. Be it recovery from past trauma, recovery from abusive relationships, or recovyfrom addiction – many people remain entrenched in these situations because of their fear of rehabilitation.
For those who use marijuana chronically, the thought of recovery can be scary. If they’re using marijuana to bandage deep-seeded issues, facing these issues can seem frightening. They will no longer have their crutch and will be forced to battle the problem head-on.
A lot of people require counseling, or at least support from family and friends, to overcome fear. If you’ve been using something to help you avoid facing your problems, it’s not easy to get rid of that something. Often, people avoid dealing with it and end up stuck with the same problems. Reaching out to friends, family, and support groups can be a lifesaver for people who use marijuana as a crutch.
F.E.A.R. Find Excuses And Reasons
“Life isn’t fun without weed.”
“All my friends smoke weed, so I have no choice.”
Two things that are not uncommon to hear among pot-smokers who don’t believe that their use is a problem. People are quick to make up excuses to hide the fact that they’re afraid of something. Sometimes fear is seen as a sign of weakness, and nobody wants to appear weak.
Unfortunately, in terms of addiction, using excuses only solidifies the problem. Life is not boring without marijuana, and it’s possible to have friends who smoke weed and enjoy their presence without partaking yourself. These sorts of excuses create a continual cycle where the user believes they can’t function without marijuana. Meanwhile, their dependence will spiral out of control. The user is convinced that they don’t have a problem and that there’s nothing wrong with what they’re doing.
The real reason underneath a chronic habit is almost always fear. Fear of judgment, fear of acceptance, fear of boredom, fear of pain. Making excuses for the daily use of marijuana is making an excuse for you not to have to deal with these issues.
While it may not seem too terrible to smoke weed everyday, it would be even better to not to have to worry about running out of marijuana! If the plant suddenly became hard to come by, you’d be left with all these underlying issues and forced to cope with them without any idea of how to do so.
At least consider the reasons behind your chronic use of marijuana, and try to understand them. If you smoke it because your friends smoke it, don’t be so afraid of finding new friends or facing your current friends sober. If you smoke it because you’re bored when sober, find out what it is about marijuana that makes things more interesting and try to replicate that. There are always solutions that are better than giving in to your fear.
F.E.A.R. Frantic Effort to Avoid Reality
As we’ve mentioned, a lot of people use marijuana everyday to put a screen between them and their reality. If you’re stressed, anxious, and depressed as a sober individual, then that is a reality that you should face and improve upon. Using marijuana to avoid this reality may seem effective, but there are still bound to be times when the depression and anxiety make themselves felt, even through your self-medication.
Since marijuana doesn’t impair your reality that much, it can be easy to believe that you’re still facing your problems on a daily basis. You can still think, analyze, observe, and make judgments when you’re stoned. The problem isn’t an inability to judge reality – it’s the inability to accept that your baseline reality has a problem. This problem is what makes you feel that marijuana is necessary.
These problems need to be addressed from a sober standpoint if they’re ever going to be fixed. Continuing to avoid the reality of your problems is unhealthy and tends to make them worse.
F.E.A.R. False Evidence Appearing Real
The article states that, while danger is real, fear is not. Fear is a product of our thoughts. It’s something that we create in anticipation of an unpleasant situation, but it really does nothing to help us. It only makes us apprehensive, over-cautious, and paranoid. Understanding the reason behind your fear is the key component to eliminating it.
A lot of people who use drugs regularly create false evidence to justify their usage. They create a reality in their minds that is unmanageable without the drugs they use. They believe their stress is unbeatable, or that their depression will never go away.
These things are not true, and they do not have to hold you back from having a healthy sober life. The first step towards recovering and fixing these things is acknowledging the fear that has prevented you from trying to recover.
F.E.A.R. Forget Everything And Run
A lot of people with addictions are running from something. They’re running away from the reality that they don’t want to face. The more they continue to use, the further they distance themselves from the chances of fixing their problems.
The easiest solution when faced with any sort of difficult problem is, for a lot of people, to avoid it. As we mentioned earlier though, this is part of the fight or flight response. Neither of these choices benefit you in the long run. The only chance you have to overcome your issues is to stand strong and face them head-on.
Fear Is The Real Reason For Most Chronic Habits
You now know that fear works its way into the mind in a very subtle way. People act out and do things habitually without even realizing that they’re afraid of avoiding the alternative.
What are you afraid of? Identify the reason behind your fear first. The 10 most common uses of marijuana can almost entirely be routed back to being caused by fear. They are:
- Marijuana as medicine. The user is afraid of pain or medical complications. (For chronic conditions, this is a completely reasonable reason to use marijuana. The underlying mechanism of fear, however, is the same. Fear.)
- For the effect of THC. This is kind of a no-brainer and I don’t know why they included this on the list, since every other entry on the list relies on THC’s effects.
- To relieve stress, anxiety, anger, etc. Fear of these emotions, or fear of an inability to prevent what might happen when they are acted out on.
- Popular culture endorsing marijuana. People who cater to pop culture norms are often afraid of individualism and expressing what they truly support.
- Low perception of harm. I can’t really imagine anyone using marijuana solely because “it doesn’t hurt you.” Neither does throwing apples at the wall, but people don’t do that everyday.
- The opportunity to try marijuana presents itself. Again, there are other underlying factors here that would need to be addressed. Why would they agree to try marijuana? Likely because of one of the other reasons.
- Peer or family pressure. The fear of not being accepted to the fullest by your peers or family members.
- Being born to believe that marijuana is non-taboo. In families where marijuana is regularly smoked, people can be raised to believe that it’s totally fine to smoke. Somewhere down the line, though, this generation-spanning habit likely originated out of fear.
- Curiosity. Fear of having lived without experiencing something that could be great.
- To relax. Fear of restlessness or anxiety in a sober mindstate.
You can see that most reasoning behind the chronic use of marijuana is, in some way, related to fear. This isn’t bad – it’s just a different perspective. It’s a perspective that can help chronic users find a path towards huge personal growth.
Turning Fear Into Success
To turn this fear into success, you must first acknowledge it. That’s the toughest part.
Let’s look at a couple examples.
- You use marijuana because you were pressured into it.
- That’s the surface reason. The fear beneath that is that you are worried that your friends won’t accept you if you don’t smoke weed.
- To work towards personal growth and success in this regard, identify that you’re afraid of what people think of you.
- Talk to your friends.
- Ask them if they actually care whether or not you smoke weed.
- Chances are, they won’t care.
- If they do care, then chances are, they aren’t friends worth keeping around.
- You use marijuana because it’s all the rage in popular culture and the cool kids in your town do it.
- That’s the surface reason. The underlying fear is that you don’t think you have enough to offer. You’re afraid that your core personality isn’t cool enough for the pop-culture crew to accept you.
- To overcome this fear, realize that the only reason pop-culture is popular is because a lot of people conform to it. This means that a lot of people might not be living their lives to the fullest extent. They might not understand entirely who they are.
- You can use this opportunity to do things how you want to do them.
- Don’t follow cultural norms just because other people follow them.
- Follow your heart and see where it takes you.
- Oftentimes you’ll find yourself going against the norm. A lot of the world’s most popular musicians and artists became this way by fighting against the norm! Express yourself to the fullest, always.
Overcoming fear can be difficult. You might need to find new friends. You might need to find a therapist and overcome some deep-seated mental issues. You might even end up moving to a new town to find a group of people who welcome you with open arms – even when sober.
The reality is that fear does not get you anywhere, and that actions taken as a response to fear only kick the problem under the bed. This allows the problem to flourish and become more serious, making it more and more difficult to eliminate.
Facing that problem takes courage and determination. It will likely cause a lot more fear before you’re able to fully acknowledge it. Doing this can be scary, but it will be worth it. The rewards that you can reap after conquering your fears will follow you throughout the rest of your life.
The key to doing this is staying present in the moment and following the goals you’ve set for yourself. When you know what you truly want, no obstacle will stand in your way.