This is for anyone trying but unable to quit smoking weed.
I won't take up your time reading my long story. Suffice to say that I started smoking when I was 12 and have been smoking everyday for the last 13 years, usually from when I woke up to when I fall asleep. The longest I went without it during those 13 years was for 9 days, during a family vacation in high school. I've been clean for over 3 months now and it's honestly been the greatest time of my life. I've come to enjoy life in ways I never thought possible. Of course there're still ups and downs and I often have cravings, but I owe a lot to these websites and wanted to share with you what really worked for me. I've scoured articles and books on marijuana abuse and addiction in general and here's what I've come to see as the most important things you can do to get and, more challengingly, stay sober from weed.
Dealing with the physical symptoms. If you've quit or tried to quit recently after smoking frequently for a long time, you probably notice there're some gnarly side-effects: insomnia, anxiety, appetite/digestive issues, irritability, headaches, depression, nausea, muscle tension, sweating, and others. If there weren't bad side-effects then you probably wouldn't seek help stopping. There's no easy way through this and motivation may be hard to muster, but you gotta be proactive to get through this sh*t. It's not easy, but if you are, you really will come out the other side stronger and more resilient (and yes, there is another side. this sh*t won't last forever, even if it really feels that way.)
- Exercise: This may be the most important part. Do aerobic exercise everyday for at least an hour. Whatever gets your heart-rate up and keeps you sweating for 60 minutes - do it! Lifting weights or flow yoga doesn't count. Go running, swimming, do challenging yoga. Whatever you find you like to do, f*****g do it. Everyday. This will help so much with sleep, mood, anxiety, headaches, muscle tension, and takes you mind off smoking and cravings. And that hour you spend working out is an hour you didn't relapse. If you feel like smoking, go workout instead, immediately. Just start putting on clothes for the gym and f*****g go. Have them ready in the car if you need to Put as few obstacles between you and what you gotta do as possible so you don't have time to talk yourself out of it. You'll forget about the craving and get out of your anxious mind for a while. Don't go crazy and workout for 4 hours a day (some people do actually get addicted to working out during recovery) but an hour a day will do wonders and build healthy habits after you're done smoking so you don't fall back into it. And build a larger daily routine with exercise as a key part of it.
- Eat Well: Eat 3 healthy means a day at consistent times. I'll probably say this a lot, but building a daily routine is crucial. Eat light; try not to eat meat, especially red meat, for more than one meal a day; don't eat soon before bed; and cut out caffeine (I know that part sucks, but it will make sleep, anxiety, sweating, etc. easier to deal with). And when you do eat, really try to enjoy it - don't eat in front of the TV or compute. Get some good, healthy food and enjoy eating. Eating is f*****g awesome and releases feel-good neurotransmitters, and when your sober and your sense of smell and taste come back, it will feel even better.
-Sleep: For me, this was the hardest part - lying in bed, staring at the ceiling, sweating, feeling anxious and hopeless. It sucks. But after about 3 days you will sleep. It may take up to 3 weeks for sleep get back to normal, but when it does come back it will be better quality sleep than you ever got after smoking. You'll wake up with so much energy and be proud of yourself for not giving into smoking the night before. And you'll dream again too. Other than eating well and exercising, try to create some nightly routine: take a hot shower/bath, brush your teeth, etc., and do it at the same time every night. Don't look at screens before you go to bed (they trick your mind into thinking it's daytime); and if you can't sleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed for a little while and read a book then try again (this will help so you don't associate being in bed with being awake). A hot shower/bath will help you relax. Light a candle, listen to some music, and put on some white noise or ocean sounds or something when you're falling asleep. You can ask your doctor for a non-additive sleep medication if you really need to or get some CBD (make sure it has no THC in it, and you can order CBD online without a prescription).
Hygiene: This may seem obvious, but people who are depressed or stoned all the time probably ignore parts of it. Hygiene will give you more structure in the day and give you small, manageable goals to easily achieve, which make you feel good about yourself, and caring about yourself is really important. Brush your teeth, bathe everyday, get haircuts when you need to, get some clothes that make you feel good, and just make an effort to give a sh*t about yourself in general. You really will feel better about yourself that way.
Social: This may be hard with anxiety and without weed, but you gotta get out. Go to AA or MA meetings - they'll give you something to do during times when you used to smoke, keep you social, and teach you to be vulnerable around people without being stoned. Meetings really helped me, and everyone there is going or went through a hard time similar to yours so they won't judge you and you'll meet new, non-stoner people. And also reach out to friends and family. Make easy, manageable commitments like meeting someone for a meal, seeing a movie, playing a game, whatever keeps you entertained and around other people. Isolation will make you depressed and want to smoke again so really make an effort to get out. Spend time in nature if you can - go on hikes, go to the beach, ride your bike, take your dog on a walk, do whatever to just get out of the house and be outside in fresh air and the sun.
Mental/Attitude/Other Info: Please take it easy on yourself. Yeah, if you're reading this then you've probably screwed up, but making the decision to get better is huge and you need to give yourself a lot of credit for doing so. Feel good and congratulate yourself for small things and simply getting through the day without smoking. Pay attention to the good things through the day so you train your brain to notice and enjoy those things more than the negative. Perspective is everything. Don't let that negative voice in your head get you down - when you hear it say something negative, re-frame it in a more positive way - rather than saying "I should or would be X", say "I'm making an effort to be X". That voice in your head is you too but we let it say horrible things so us, so learn to be a friend to yourself. Say what you would say to a friend going through a tough time rather than beating yourself up.
Learn how to meditate, and get an app if that helps. Don't just meditate when you're really stressed. Do it at least twice a day starting for only 5 minutes and slowly progress up to 15 or 20 minutes. Read about how to do it and it really will give you so much more control over your thoughts so that you don't get stuck in racing or obsessive thoughts. Know that getting better doesn't feel better in the short term, and accept that this is a long process - it took years of smoking to get you here so it won't change overnight, but it will change. And you can't just quit smoking and expect it to get better - you need to be actively trying (exercising, being social, etc). The key to quitting and staying clean is building a life that's a better alternative to being stoned. Doing all the same things with the same associations and triggers will be stressful and make you smoke again. You gotta stay busy and do new things to create new habits. Old ones are hard to break but they will break. Build a new routine that feels good.
Take care of yourself. Put joy in your life as much as possible because you deserve it, and make a life that's really worth living (that may seem totally unattainable but it's not! just take small steps and over time it will happen) and get out of your head! Your brain plays tricks on you - like when you feel depressed everything seems horrible - the past seems like a series of bad events and the future looks hopeless - but this is your brain tricking you! Don't buy into it. Thoughts are only thoughts and they will pass. All that exercising and socializing and stuff will become enjoyable, even if it's uncomfortable in the short-term, and will enrich your life after you stop smoking so you don't have a reason to go back to being a lazy, sad stoner. Find new things that are simply fun to do, and do them.
Talk openly and honestly with people - if you can't find anyone then find a group or AA/MA meeting. Connecting with people is huge! Reconnect with old friends or find others who like the same things as you and bond over them. There are social groups for literally every interest and hobby. People are less judgmental than you think - honestly I think everyone is so consumed with themselves that they're really not looking at you - and if they are, who gives a sh*t? They're just wasting their time thinking about you so f**k em - you do you. You really will come to enjoy life in ways that you never thought possible. I would wake up and hit the bong first thing in the morning until night for more than a decade. I've wasted more than half my life smoking, not being mentally present for family and friends and relationships, not remembering things, being spacey, daydreaming, feeling bad about myself, and on and on. It's such a waste.
Please remember to take it easy on yourself. Take it moment by moment and, when going thru your day, simply do the next right thing. Feelings will come and go. You can get through them, and every time you do, you'll get stronger and better at coping. Even weeks after I stopped I would go through withdrawals on and off - it's part of the process and every day you don't smoke is a huge victory. Congratulate yourself for achieving small things through the day. To quit, you truly have to decide that you're really over that sh*t, that smoking simply isn't an option, and that you're ready to move on and take on the challenges in life without the help of weed. You only got one life and there's no redo's, so don't waste it. Much love and I sincerely wish you good luck getting thru this, which you can and will do!