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Trying to quit marijuana?

This article is not about whether or not you should use marijuana - that’s a different topic entirely. This article is simply about learning effective ways to quit and stay quit. This article is for you if:

  • You're an adolescent or young adult marijuana user
  • You've decided, for personal reasons, to stop smoking marijuana
  • You have difficulty quitting for good
  • You want to increase your odds of success
  • You want to try quitting without professional assistance (without getting parents or therapists, etc. involved)

Some people quit with ease and then wonder why others have such a hard time with it, but many people have trouble staying abstinent for good.

If you’ve decided you want to quit, it’s entirely reasonable to try quitting on your own first – you don’t necessarily have to create a lot of drama and get your parents or specialist professionals involved.*

If you’re smart and motivated you have an excellent chance for success, no matter how addicted you find yourself; and you can improve your odds further with a little preparation, such as by:

  1. Learning about what types of situations commonly lead to relapse
  2. Making a plan for how you’ll deal with these high-risk situations

*However, if you try your best to stop using and you can’t do it on your own, then you probably should get some outside help – after all, isn’t the definition of futility doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting differing results?

10 Situations/Mindsets That Lead to Relapse

It’s best to know what you’re up against. Here’s a list of 10 mindsets/situations that are very commonly associated with relapse. Read the list and:

  1. Think about which situations threaten your quit attempt
  2. Think about how you’ll handle these high-risk situations without relapsing

1. Daydreams about the Good Times

You probably had a lot of fun while high on marijuana. After you quit you might feel a sense of loss or grief about the future ‘fun’ that you’ll miss…and never again can feel like a very long time!

When you catch yourself fantasizing about the good times, remember to balance the equation with thoughts of your reasons for quitting.

2. Wanting to Relax

You can learn to relax without taking drugs – but there’s no denying that drugs offer an easier path to instant relaxation. So how will you take the edge off when you can’t turn to marijuana for relaxation?

Learning to relax without chemical assistance takes more effort, but once you learn self-soothing skills you get all the benefits without any of the negative consequences.

3. Socializing

  • When everyone around you is smoking, it’s going to be hard to say no.
  • If you’re used to smoking before meeting new people as a way to overcome anxiety or shyness, you’re going to feel tempted when in such situations.

How will you deal with these types of situations?

4. Thinking That People Are Tired of Sober-You

Do you ever feel like people liked the old easy-going high you better than the new uptight not-high you?

Remember that withdrawal symptoms like irritability can last for a while, and it might take you a few weeks or longer to start feeling like your old self again.

5. Dealing with Stress or Crisis Situations

If you usually squash uncomfortable stress with a joint how will you handle negative emotions without marijuana?

6. Deciding to Test Yourself

After a while, it’s easy to grow overconfident:

  • Sure it was a problem before but now you’ve got it all under control, so why not have a little fun?...Just once in a while....

Remember, it’s easy to talk yourself into relapse; it’s much harder to work back out again.

7. Feeling Like You Need a Break

Sometimes you feel like you need to get away - to take a little mini-vacation from all your problems.

Getting high provided instant escape. What will now substitute?

8. Feeling Like You’re a Better Person High

If marijuana gives you confidence or helps you forget low self-esteem you may feel tempted to use again whenever you feel especially in-confident or down on yourself.

9. Screw It!

When you reach the end of your rope and you’re frazzled and tired and nothing’s going right…it’s so easy to slip into a moment of weakness, think screw it, and accept that joint that’s going around.

(Read the strategies below for tips on how to fight this impulse to give-up.)

10. Losing the Faith

You can’t quit unless you believe you can quit – otherwise, when things get hard you’ll give up before you even get started.

Strategies for Success

There are 2 parts to a successful quitting attempt:

  1. Identify what threatens your quit try
  2. Make a plan for dealing with high-risk situations

So you've already started thinking about the circumstances that lead to relapse, now here are some ideas to help you maintain your resolve during these high-risk situations.

5 Strategies for Overcoming Temptation

Use any or all of the following – choosing whichever make the most sense to you.

1. Wait 30 Minutes

Here's a simple but effective technique:

  • Make a promise to yourself that if you ever decide to smoke again, you’ll wait at least 30 minutes after making that decision before lighting up.

And if you make yourself this promise - be true to it - and really wait like you said you would.

Usually, after 30 minutes, you won't want to smoke so badly anymore and you'll feel grateful and relieved that you held-out.

2. Make a Plan to Call Someone before You Fold

Enlist a friend that supports your quit attempt (probably not someone you get high with) and ask them if you can call should you ever feel strongly tempted to use.

All they have to do is distract you for a few minutes and remind you of all your good reasons for quitting in the first place.

3 Carry a List of Your Reasons for Quitting

It’s easy to get stuck in daydreams about the good old days – about how much fun you had while high – but when you’re craving you rarely spend much time thinking about all the bad times or negative consequences.

  • Make a list of your top 4 or 5 reasons for quitting and keep that list on your person at all times. Whenever you’re tempted to smoke, make sure you take a moment to read your list of negatives first.

Slam on the brakes!

It’s so easy to get caught up in a moment of weakness, or stress, or fatigue or celebration and just forget for a second why you’re working so hard to stay clean; and unfortunately, it only takes a brief moment to undo the hard work of weeks or months. This is why anything you can do to add some brakes to a risky situation helps you to achieve your larger goal of staying abstinent.

4. Carry a Picture to Inspire You

Carry a picture of a person or people that would be really disappointed in you for relapsing and really proud of you for holding-out. Make a promise to yourself that before you smoke again, you’ll take a moment to look at this picture and consider the consequences.

5. Get Out of the Situation

If you decide to smoke again, you’ll have a whole lifetime to do it, so before you relapse, promise yourself that you’ll at least try to hold-off by removing yourself from whatever situation is causing your cravings.1

References
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Page last updated Apr 27, 2015

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