So, you’ve been thinking about quitting weed but you just can’t seem to do it?
Or maybe you don’t even want to quit. And yet, here you are, for the 5th time since the beginning of the year, browsing the internet in search of “why quit smoking weed” advice.
I get you. I’ve been there.
Quitting my addictions has been at the heart of my self-healing and self-care process.
The thing is, I had been thinking about quitting weed (on and off) for years before I finally got to it and just… quit.
I would have probably gone another 10 years smoking, had it not been for a few things I will be discussing here.
If you wonder why you just can’t quit smoking weed, or can’t seem to even want to quit, then perhaps this post will help.
If not, well… sorry :/ Maybe now is just not the time for you to quit smoking weed. That time might still come later.
Just keep being kind to yourself.
Okay, so enough chitchatting. Here are:
9 Reasons why you just can’t quit smoking weed
1. You haven’t actually decided to quit smoking weed
Just because you have been thinking about quitting weed on and off for the past decade or so does not mean you’ve decided to quit.
Thinking about something and deciding you want that thing are two different realities. And addictions are addictions before they hard to shake.
Maybe you are unconsciously waiting for some Weed God to descend upon you and grant you your wish of “not smoking anymore”?
I have news for you. There are two ways to change a behavior: wait for external circumstances to change it, or make yourself change it.
Now, think about it for a minute: what kind of external circumstances would “force” you to quit smoking weed?
- Moving to a new country where weed is illegal?
- Developing a life-threatening disease that stops you from smoking? (Guess what? Even that won’t magically cure you of your desire to smoke. You would still have to stop yourself. I actually know someone who had a lung removed, and still kept smoking daily).
- Dating someone who “forbids” you to smoke? Wouldn’t you a) resent that person, and b) still try to smoke in secret?
They all sound like depressing reasons to me.
It still seems better to decide for yourself to stop smoking weed.
Now, how do you decide you will quit smoking? Well, that’s partly what I will be discussing here, and a topic for another day. I will just add: learn to truly care for your body and learn to respect your body;
- How do you love your body, even when you don’t like your appearance?
- How do you make yourself do the things you don’t want to do, but know you should?
2. People around you smoke weed too
An important reason why you are not able to quit smoking is that weed is so easily available to you.
Even if you were to not buy any today, you would come home and find it there waiting for you. Maybe your boyfriend/girlfriend smokes too. Or perhaps it’s your roommate or your friends?
Regardless. That’s not great.
I won’t lie, I had to leave some relationships behind to finally quit smoking weed.
I’m sorry. Did I burst your bubble?
I don’t know if there is another way around it. If you are the kind of person who can quit smoking weed despite the fact that your boyfriend/girlfriend/brother/sister/roommate smokes too, then kudos!
But I’m guessing that if you are here reading this, then it’s probably not been that effective, has it?
3. Smoking weed has become your reward
One reason why you can’t quit smoking weed is because you have associated weed with reward. Every time you accomplish something that feels hard (or not so hard), you reward yourself with weed.
You did the dishes? Great, let’s light a joint.
Made your bed? Let’s celebrate with a joint.
Finished a long day of tedious work? Joint time!
And so, when you think about quitting, all you see is the loss of your feel-good toy.
What will be your new way to reward yourself now?
Right now, when you think about this, all you see is emptiness. All you ever used for rewarding yourself was weed.
Oh well, fear not. There are plenty of other ways you can reward yourself. Right now, you just can’t see them yet because weed has taken over your whole life. But trust me. Once you start smoking less and try out new things, you will slowly start to find things you enjoy (again) and will be able to identify new ways of rewarding yourself.
- A tasty home-made dessert with a nice cup of tea by the window;
- A peaceful evening walk in the park with your boy/girlfriend (holding hands);
- Dinner with a good friend;
- That riveting book you’ve been dying to read;
4. You want to maintain all your other bad habits
Another reason why I just couldn’t stop smoking weed for good was that I was maintaining all my other bad habits.
In fact, I was using other bad habits as ways to either comfort myself or reward myself for not smoking.
For example, if I was having a bad day after my first x hours without smoking, I would go and buy pizza, doughnuts, desserts, fries, ice cream, etc. You know, all the foods you think comfort you but actually make you feel 10 times worse after?
Here’s the thing, these high-glycemic, processed foods are the very reason why you are more likely to relapse.
“A low-glycemic, plant-based diet is one of the things that make your brain a willpower machine (…). [Sleep, meditation, physical exercise and low-glycemic, plant-based diet] end up giving you back far more willpower than they originally take” Kelly McGonigal Talks at Google.
I know it sounds like it would make it all harder, but if you want to finally succeed in your attempts to quit smoking weed, now might be a good time to quit other unhealthy behaviors as well, like a poor diet or lack of physical exercise.
Related post: How to reward yourself effectively?
5. Because you haven’t fully faced the consequences smoking weed has had/will have on your life
“Are you comfortable with being who you are today in 30 years?”
A good reason why you probably haven’t been able to quit smoking weed is that you have not truly faced yet:
- what your behavior has cost you so far, and
- what consequences maintaining this behavior (smoking weed) will have on your life in the future.
One of the most effective exercises I did before deciding to quit was to take a few days (hours) to truly acknowledge how smoking weed had impacted my life thus far.
The idea is to sit down and list all the ways smoking weed impacted your life, both negatively and positively. Examples include:
- The financial cost of smoking;
- My relationships/friendships;
- My health;
- How it contributed to the fact that it took me 5 years to complete my thesis;
- The mountain of debt that resulted;
- The constant anxiety;
Part 2 of this exercise consists in taking a good look at yourself, the road that you are on, and the future that awaits you.
Then if you have (or had, in the past) goals, compare where you think you are headed now, to this goal you had.
Ok, so now, how likely are you to reach that goal?
(If you have/had no goal… then look at where you are (realistically) headed, and ask yourself if it’s something you are comfortable with).
- Do you have health issues? Have they been worsening in the past years? Has your smoking been improving your situation?
- Where are you financially?
- Will you be able to retire comfortably?
- Do you have the energy to keep working just as hard (or even harder) for another 30 years?
- Is your memory improving?
- Are you satisfied with your relationships? Your work? Your salary? Your health? Your housing situation?
“Most of us feel like our future self is a stranger (…) but what researchers found was that the more you feel like your future self is a stranger that’s different than you, the less likely you are to do things to protect that future self’s health and happiness. Why would you bother doing things like saving money for some stranger, when you could spend it today on someone you know and love?” Kelly McGonigal Talks at Google.
Honestly, check out Kelly McGonigal’s book, The Willpower instinct, or just watch the video mentioned above. It was a game-changer for me in how I approached (and succeeded in) quitting many unwanted behaviors.
6. Because you haven’t yet found something that you want (other than quitting weed)
Quitting weed (or any unhealthy habit for that matter) is not about quitting something; it’s about what you want to gain.
You have probably not been able to quit smoking weed because you keep thinking about what you are losing.
This is a depressing way to look at things, and also, it makes the whole process of quitting even harder.
If, however, you find something you want (that smoking weed prevents you from obtaining), then you at least have something to walk towards.
For example, instead of constantly fighting with your inner self who won’t stop screaming: “I don’t want to quit smoking weed!!”, you could replace that thought with something like: “I want to be clear-headed and interview for this new position in two months, and I want to get it. I will earn 20 000$ more per year and can finally move out of that sh*thole I’ve been living in for the past decade”.
Guess what, if you keep telling yourself that every day (instead of: I don’t want to quit smoking weed!), you are more likely to not smoke, get that job, and move out of your sh*thole.
7. Because you haven’t realized yet that it’s not about quitting weed, it’s about what you will do now with your free time
If you keep looking at it as not smoking (or not eating dessert, not drinking, not doing this or that…), it becomes very depressing. And you are probably more likely to fail.
If you keep thinking about not smoking, guess what your mind is focusing on?
You guessed it: smoking.
When you stop smoking weed, you suddenly find yourself with a lot of free time, time that was previously spent smoking or being high.
And the funny thing is, not knowing what to do with yourself causes you anxiety. Anxiety that you try to make go away… by smoking.
If rather than thinking of it in terms of not smoking weed, you actually searched for and tried new things to do instead, you would be more likely to succeed in your attempt to quit.
Personally, in the first 2 months when I quit smoking weed, I just spent hours outside walking every day. Sometimes until pretty late in the evening. I was too brain-dead to come up with anything else, and sitting in the house and watching endless crap on the internet just made me want to smoke.
So, I spent time outside, walking, exploring every corner of my city.
That was the best thing I could have ever done and I seriously recommend it.
8. Because you are not kind to yourself when you relapse
I tried and “failed” at quitting weed (and cigarettes) a hundred times. Okay fine, that may be a slightly exaggerated number, but honestly, I tried many, many times.
Guess what? If I had told myself how stupid and useless I was every time I had a relapse, I would not be sitting here, weed-free, writing on my blog (that I did not have when I was smoking, btw), telling you how to quit smoking weed.
Relapses are an opportunity to learn and try again, this time, with brand new knowledge about yourself.
You will most likely have relapses. And studies actually show that speaking to yourself with kindness and compassion after a relapse makes you more likely to succeed in your attempts at quitting (smoking).
Perhaps one of the reasons why you just can’t seem to quit smoking weed is because you don’t show kindness and compassion to yourself when you inevitably have a setback?
Related post: Don’t beat yourself up after a relapse. Do this instead.
9. Because you keep thinking you can do it gradually
One of the reasons why I was never able to quit smoking weed was because I kept thinking I could do it gradually. You know, keep weed at home and just, somehow, resist temptation.
I don’t know how many times I tried that crap.
Let me tell you. It never worked.
The only way I was able to quit smoking weed, was when I finally flushed it down the toilet.
If you keep buying and buying more weed while still telling yourself that you will gradually slow down with the smoking until you finally stop (!) and realize it never worked… that’s because it probably won’t.
I’m sorry to say this, but: time to get flushin’!
- How I made myself stop smoking weed (even though I didn’t really want to)
- Why I decided to quit smoking weed and how my life has improved since.
- 26 Habits that helped me overcome depression without medication
- 9 Things that make my social anxiety go through the roof!