I tried to quit smoking marijuana many times. Normally I would just tell myself that I this was my last bag, and not put any more effort into it than that. Clearly this wasn’t working.
“If you want to get the the same results, keep doing what you are doing”
I had to change what I was doing. It has been 10 years since I first smoked pot, and 7 of those years have been an excessive, chronic marijuana addiction. Because I was stoned so often, it was easy to ignore all of the growing problems associated with my addiction to weed. I took the time to step back and really evaluate what my marijuana addiction was doing to my life.
Most people can’t quit because they don’t know what to expect, or don’t have a plan. If you want to be fully prepared and successful when you stop smoking weed, check out the Quit Marijuana Action Plan.
Smoking 4 or 5 times a day, every day, chews up A LOT of time. I wrote 4 separate pieces about how Marijuana has negative effects on my life. This is the first stage of the recovery process. It is necessary to identify why I want to quit so that I can quit more driven to quit more easily.
I believe that it is a great idea to create an inventory of all of the reasons that I want to quit smoking weed. This servers 2 purposes: To clarify the negative effects of marijuana addiction in my life, and to use as a reference guide when I crave smoking pot, and think about relapsing.
Why I Quit Weed #1 - Physical Side Effects
Respiratory System: My respiratory system takes the largest toll when I smoke pot. I do not breathe as well as I would if I did not smoke at all. From attempts at quitting in the past, it takes about 2 weeks to a month to notice a change in my lung capacity. I currently have a wheeze if I breathe out quickly. My lungs have also been burnt from inhaling smoke that is way to hot, it usually hurts for about a day, then goes away. I also find myself holding my breath and creating tension in my body for no reason, like I am trying to hold in an imaginary hit of weed. I need to take slower, deeper, breaths.
My mucus production is through the roof. I don’t have the weed smokers cough right now, it seems to come and go. I DO awake everyone morning with a stuffed nose. If I get a cold, it takes me a long time to beat it. I had nasal congestion from late July to early October this year.
Skin: My skin doesn’t look good. I think this may be a blood circulation and oxygen thing from smoking pot. You know how you can look at a 60 year old and tell if they are smokers or not….I think that to a lesser extent smoking weed does the same thing. I quit smoking for about 3 months a couple years ago and noticed that my skin, particularly my face was way smoother and healthier looking. I also noticed when I quit that the bags under my eyes, and surrounding pores looked way smaller and better.
My thumb and forefinger are also discolored from holding onto joints and blunts. It is pretty common to burn the skin slightly when I am going for the last hit on a roach.
Eyes: My eyes get bloodshot and itchy when I smoke weed. When I smoke heavily, my eyes get kind of dazed, 1/2 open, and I don’t focus well. However, I will admit that smoking pot does improve night vision.
Teeth: One of my teeth is getting stained from tar and resin in the joints I smoke. I was smoking between 1-5 joints a day. So it does add up and it is visible to me.
Eating Habits: You are what you eat, and when I get stoned, I eat shitty fast food – and lots of it. Taco Bell, McDonalds, Jack in the Box etc. When I am too stoned to drive and too lazy to walk there is always pizza or Chinese food that can be delivered. Not only is this terrible for me, it also costs a lot of money. I don’t go to the grocery store that often because I don’t want to go stoned, so I would just smoke more pot instead and eat junk food. 7-11 is 24 hours, but the hot dogs are only good until about 2:30 am. I have put on about 15lbs in the last 2 years.
Lack of Exercise: I don’t do physical activity nearly enough. I used to be in excellent shape and need to get back to where I was before. Swapping the smoking habit and high for the exercise habit and high is a priority for me. My cardiovascular system has been beat up from all of the pot smoking. Once I have quit smoking weed, I should see that rebound pretty well – especially if I push myself with bike rides and hikes.
The Negative Effects of Marijuana on my Relationships:
As seen in Part 1, and Part 2 I believe that it is a great idea to create an inventory of all of the reasons why I want to quit smoking weed. This servers 2 purposes: To clarify the negative effects of marijuana addiction in my life, and to use as a reference guide when I crave smoking pot, and think about relapsing.
Friendships: Most of the people I associate are stoners, or smoke pot sometimes. Because so much of my life is lived whilst stoned, it is easiest to associate with people that enable me to get high. I also turn down or spoil friendships because I don’t call people back or check my messages on a regular basis. Being stoned is a comfort bubble, as long as you exist within that bubble, the rest of the world can wait. Marijuana is the common theme of most of my friendships, very few get deeper than that.
Commitments: Because weed effects my short term memory so much, I am often late or forget about commitments that I should honor. I also do not like to commit to any regular or scheduled activity, because it may interfere with my ability to smoke pot and get high.
Girlfriends: I went through a period of hiding the fact that I smoked weed from my girlfriends. It always backfired. Every relationship I have had or attempted has been negatively affected by my smoking. For example, multiple times I have left a date early to go smoke pot alone, or have my mind on getting high rather than paying attention to the person I am with. I can also be very quiet and introverted while high on marijuana, so it makes it difficult to maintain conversations, sometimes even eye contact. Basically, I resent that a girlfriend interferes with my unrestricted access to smoking marijuana, and the mental and emotional state of being high.
Family: I am lucky to have a family that does not demonize marijuana. They are unaware of the extent of my addiction and I feel ashamed of it. I always thought that there were great expectations for me (from both family and myself) that haven’t been met because of my chronic marijuana addiction.
Conversation: I consider myself to be a well-spoken articulate person – when sober. Sometimes my memory gets so bad I forget what I was saying, the word I wanted to say, or I mispronounce a word. If I am itching for weed, my mind is elsewhere and I may space out and not pay attention to the other half of the conversation. I am not as sharp, while high, as I am when sober.
Social Anxiety and Paranoia: When I am in public and stoned, I think I hear people talking about me and laughing at me sometimes. Even though I know this not to be the case, I get quite anxious and embarrassed. I struggle to make eye contact with people when I am baked, and am more likely to introvert myself and my thoughts, body language, and actions. I would never go and chat up a group of girls while stoned – I could do it sober far more easily. I also get anxious about driving, about smelling like pot around coworkers and the general public. I also worry about coworkers, friends, and family knowing about how bad I crave pot, and how much of a stoner I am. No 6 year old says “I want to grow up to be pothead”.
Why I Quit #3: Mental Health Side Effects
Motivation: Smoking pot heavily makes me super lazy. I struggle to get the most basic tasks, like housework done on time. I was always a procrastinator, but smoking pot and being a procrastinator is a horrible combination. This has been called A-motivational syndrome. I need to focus some research on a motivational syndrome.
Concentration: I can’t get in, and stay in ‘the zone’ very well when I am high on marijuana. I am become easily distracted and struggle to get tasks finished. I used to be able to work for hours without noticing the time go by. I now glance at the clock every few minutes and work feels like more a chore than way I have been sober for a few days or more. Sometimes I fade out when people are talking to me and I begin to daydream, or just shut down altogether. This had never been an issue in the past.
Memory Lapses: I forget things. Wallet, Keys, clothing, important dates, birth dates, names of people I was just introduced to, or the fact that I was just introduced to them. Smoking marijuana seems to affect my ability to transfer thoughts or ideas from short term – to long term memory.
Stress: Forgetting things, being late, falling behind, and being anxious and paranoid all of the time is stressful. I am sure you know what I do to relieve the stress. This really is a vicious cycle. I also have to hide this part of my life from coworkers and family which can cause a of stress as well. There is also the fear of being busted by the police, going to jail, or having to deal with sketchy dealers. I don’t like people to know I am stoned in public, so I stress out if I think they do know.
Mood Swings: There is the joy of scoring, and rolling up a fresh spliff, the anxiety of almost being out of weed, the anger and frustration of not being able to find a hookup and many other rollercoaster rides. There is an emotional high knowing you are going to get high, and a low after you are high, knowing you don’t want to do it anymore. I sometimes feel empty when I can’t find anything and am completely out of pot.
Depression: For me, I feel depressed because I eat terribly, break promises to myself, and am highly stressed when trying to maintain an addiction and normal life. When I fall behind and procrastinate, I feel like shit. Keeping busy is the best way for me to break this mindset. When I eat well, exercise and don’t smoke, I feel great. I am usually a positive person, and make sure that my inner monologue is positive as well.
Anger: I feel angry when I am not in control of when, where, and how I smoke weed. I also feel angry and anxious if I have weed, but am doing an activity other than smoking it. This has been a struggle in relationships when I would rather get out of bed, and get stoned, than cuddle up with someone for the rest of the night. I have resented people for interfering with my addiction.
The Negative Effects of Marijuana on my Finances
Cost of Marijuana: My previous post on How Much my Addiction to Pot Has Cost Me, shows how expensive this habit can become. Add it up for yourself, its amazing what happens when this goes unchecked in the long term.
I created this calculator that you can use to calculate how much you spent.
Paying Bills: I forget to pay my bills on time, or even open them. I always leave my banking to the last possible moment. My cell phone frequently gets disconnected. In the past, I have had TV and Phone service disconnected. Not because I didn’t have the money, just I was stoned all the time and never thought of it.
Planning Ahead: I haven’t saved anything for a house. I don’t plan well or have a budget from month to month. I tend to live in the current moment, or just far enough ahead in the future when stoned. Being in the stoned bubble really blurs the ability to look into the future.
Incidental Expenses: I eat a lot of low nutrition, high cost foods when I smoke marijuana. After smoking pot, its common to get the munchies and eat fast food. Also, I am less motivated to make my own food, or even go the grocery store to get new food. When not smoking, I eat healthier and am more conscious of my food choices.
Inability to plan ahead: (2019 update): Looking back – I realized I didn’t have the ability to plan ahead or set a budget. I now budget every month and have more control over my finances. I was able to get out of debt recently and started to put my money toward more productive and healthy activities like a gym membership and better food!