I Have No Control

Quick post, I’ll write something more detailed later.

Basically, after a few years of not smoking, I thought I had power over the addiction. Then, I smoked a few times with friends (never bought any myself).

Then in the last few months I found a dealer and started smoking regularly. And it quickly became a case of constantly being high. Wake and bake. Leaving the house only to get food. Ignoring calls, messages, emails from anyone and everyone.

It almost destroyed several relationships. Dragged my mood way down. Compromised my business.

But it’s now been 4 days without bongs. I did the ritual of smashing my bong and binning all related paraphernalia.

Mild withdrawal symptoms… waking in the morning very sweaty, trouble falling asleep, low appetite. But I’m not craving it. I think I do have power in quitting (have done it enough times!).

It’s all or nothing for me with weed.

From here on in it’s going to be nothing.

37 months: How many bongs did I smoke in my life?

I ponder this question often – how many bongs did I smoke over my 15 years of smoking? Although I think of this often, I don’t think of it for long, I quickly get that thought out of my head, because I don’t want to know the answer.

  • Marathon 8 hours smoking sessions with a bunch of people after a night out on pills.
  • Weeks of wake-and-bakes, and constant all day smoking.
  • Weird smoking challenges I’d set myself – to smoke a quarter ounce in a night.

I quickly stop myself thinking of it because I try hard not to live in the past.

Rather reflect and be happy it’s been over 3 years since I stopped smoking BONGS!!!

Multiple bongs, weed

21 months: Still clean

Just a real quick post so people don’t think I’ve relapsed. I get regular messages from visitors to this site, asking if I’m still weed free and telling me of their struggle to stop.

A common theme is that you keep trying, and keep failing. If you go back to the very first posts on this blog, you’ll see that I did the same – failed horribly many times – but the key is that we all keep/kept trying again and again to quit.

So read my story. See how I dealt with it. Come up with your own strategies for an effective quit process.

And don’t stop sending me messages. I’m not a professional or anything, but maybe a sentence of encouragement or advice can help you to give up marijuana forever.

Now for some inspirational eye candy…

17 months: Don’t be so hard on yourself, quitting isn’t easy

Why do I feel so ashamed after spending a weekend getting high?

Why do I feel so guilty that, again, I’d set out to not smoke this weekend, but found myself picking up a quarter of an ounce and demolishing it over a couple of days?

Did this shame and guilt drive me to stop quitting bongs? It was definitely a part of the reason. But mostly the shame and guilt made me feel like an absolute failure who was out of control.

Perserverance

Fail, succeed, repeat

I tried to quit and failed waaaaaaaaaay more than 19 times. Now, most days I take the time to remember how great it feels to be bong-free. And this is the point I’m trying to make in this post…

What doesn't kill you...

Before my current abstinence of almost 1½ years – with the exception of 1 year spent living overseas, in a country where being in the same room as marijuana could land me in jail for 7 years – generally I never lasted more than a week or so without smoking over 15 years of being a stoner.

When I picked up the bong again (and again, and again), everything was fine – I got high and forgot about everything outside of my lounge room. But the next day, I was super mad at myself. Not being in control of your actions is very frustrating.

Weed isn’t a problem when it doesn’t control you. Some people I know can have a random joint on a weekend and not have even a hint of a craving again. Me – would continually chase the high, and succumb to another stoner stupor. When it doesn’t control you – it’s frustrating as fuck… and if you’re reading this you probably understand…

Is being hard on yourself useful?

My psychologist doesn’t think so. Continually putting yourself down is bad for your general mood, and for me it was a factor in a downward spiral into depression.

But if I was never hard on myself, what would have been the trigger to stop smoking weed? In hindsight, if I knew what was going on, I would have reflected more on how it made me feel after coming down from the high – disgusted, ashamed, guilty, helpless – and instead of dwelling on it, use it as ammunition for my quitting arsenal.

Quitting isn’t easy, acknowledge the fact that you’re attempting to stop (which is mandatory as motivation for eventually quitting) and celebrate the small wins – those few days or a week or two when you didn’t get high.

Personally – I celebrate the victories, which is one reason why I keep blogging about it. It’s a useful reminder that you can be awesome, and feel great for quitting.

15 months: Don’t change addictions*

*Don’t change to another bad addiction!

The first weekend of this month was a long weekend here in Australia (no work on Monday!). Come Monday evening, and I was feeling ashamed of myself. I did little-to-nothing all weekend, and my recycling bin was overflowing.

Stacked on top of and around the recycling bin was a lot of empty beer bottles and cans – plus the empty cartons of some very shit food, pizzas, desserts, etc. I spent the weekend escaping from myself… getting drunk, watching movies and being gluttonous.

Setting goals, moderation is OK

Looking back at previous months, I’ve mentioned a few times that I don’t want to replace weed with alcohol. I enjoy a couple of beers on a weekend. A couple on a Friday night after a long week at work, a couple after a few hours of kayaking on a lazy Saturday afternoon.

So last weekend I set myself a challenge. I didn’t want to get drunk all weekend, so the goal was to have no more than a 6 pack worth of standard beers from Friday afternoon to Sunday. That would give me a little-chilled-out-buzz, but not get me drunk. While I came very close (went just one 500ml can over my limit!), I proved something to myself (again)…

Realising that you’re out of control or failing to stick to your morals, standing back and realising that something is wrong, then taking actions to rectify the situation, is a very powerful moment in time…

I’m training my brain to conquer the shit that happens in my life. After years of trying to quit weed and failing (many, many, many times), I’d almost given up. Never give up – one small success can start snowballing into a massive change in your life.

Smoking through denial

For many years, I told myself that weed was not the problem. If I wasn’t high, I wanted to be high… I wanted to be high all the time, because when not stoned, there was always a nagging feeling of guilt, that I wasn’t the kind of person I wanted to be.

So I smoked. I smoked a fuckload of bongs. I smoked, passed out on the lounge, woke up at 4AM and smoked some more. I smoked until all I needed was to endlessly watch movies (that I don’t remember), gorge on crap food, drink some cider for an extra buzz (was never a beer drinker while a stoner) and forget about everything.

Don’t escape

I don’t want to get drunk every weekend, because it’s just another escape. Weed was an escape from the messed up workings of my anxious and depressed mind.

Quitting is hard – not only because of the drug dependence, and the way of life you become accustomed too – but because you have to come face to face with what’s going on in your head and in your life.

Face it.

Be with yourself.

Find out what’s going on in your head, and figure out what needs to be done to turn your life around.

P.S. I missed posting last month, but I’m still weed-free! This post was prompted by a reader, just like you, commenting on their quit progress. If you’re going through quitting, or need to quit, I’m happy to chat!

13 months: Why bother quitting bongs?

Last week the 13 month milestone of no-weed passed. Today, all I can think is…

Alone. Depressed. Anxious.

While quitting weed was the best thing I’ve ever done for myself, sometimes I wonder why I should care. For 3 years there’s been no girlfriend, I have only 1 friend. My marathon of smoking bongs shut me off from the world, and every now and then it feels like there’s nothing in the world for me anymore.

Don’t waste the hard work, don’t waste your life…

"Lost time is never found again" photo by Brandon Kidwell
“Lost time is never found again” photo by Brandon Kidwell

I start thinking about giving up (again), and starting to smoke (again). But if I’m just going to drift through this life in a stoned haze, then what is the point of it all? So to help keep me motivated to stay off the bongs, I tell myself that getting to this point was hard work …

… sure, there are bad days (where I start thinking really negatively like this), but after being clean for over a year there are way more good days.

Just need to keep reminding myself that there are plenty more good days to come.

P.S. I say bongs as that is what I almost exclusively smoked. Sometimes I used the vapouriser, but the instant rush of ripping a solid cone was what I was after.

12 months: No Bongs, No Pipes, No Pot – 1 Year Milestone!

Yesterday a significant milestone was achieved…

No weed – not one rip of a bong, not one drag of a joint – for…

One year ... and counting! Weed free, no bongs, no marijuana!

Know thyself, and stay quit

The last time I went this long without marijuana was when I lived overseas for 1 year, living in a country where penalties for all drugs were extremely harsh (from memory, about 7 years for even being in the same room as someone smoking weed). That year was extremely tough for me – I was a different person (short temper, irritable, not sleeping, drinking a lot) , and after a few months I realised that I’d been battling severe depression and anxiety since about 10 years old. It all came crashing down on my a little over halfway through my dream of living overseas, and it totally destroyed my life for the next year. As soon as I got back to Australia I started smoking again, literally on the day arrived.

Today I’m armed with knowledge and determination that makes every single weed free day easier and easier. Knowing who you are, why you weed has been such an issue for you, and what can trigger you to smoke, are all essential in staying away from pot.

Your comments have helped me stay clean

Last month I wrote that your comments on this blog have inspired me to stay away from weed. Sometimes it’s one simple sentence, sometimes a few paragraphs. People are reading this blog from start to finish – seeing my struggle, how it took multiple attempts to get where I am today, and often there are bad days mixed in with the good – and people are getting the strength and inspiration to get through the first few days without pot.

A massive thank you to everyone reading this and everyone who has commented: you inspire me (far more than you’ve said I inspire you)! 

This is huge – celebrate your success in staying away from marijuana

So to celebrate, I’m going to treat myself. For many months now I’ve been super disciplined with money – rarely eating out or buying nice things for myself. Tonight will be an indulgence from my favourite Thai restaurant, a couple of beers, while I enjoy a late night watching the start of a great series of cricket matches – Australia v England in the first Ashes Test (GO AUSSIES!).

Will be buying myself a nice photography related toy (probably a new lens) and will spend a couple of hours doing something good for myself – discovering my passion and starting on a path to leading a happier life.

Cheers to one year, and more more to come!

11 months: Can blogging help you quit weed?

11 months… these numbers are getting big, and next month I’ll be celebrating the big 1 year milestone. Think I’ll treat myself to celebrate…

There’s one thing that keeps me blogging here – your comments. Every couple of weeks someone will post a comment, saying how they’d lost all hope of quitting weed, and then they found this blog. Here are some inspiring comments:

A commenter after 4 days of not smoking…

Your blog serves as an inspiration to me and I really hope you continue posting updates because your success is what drives me to become THC free.

And then the same person 3 weeks later…

just wanted to let you know that I read your blog every time I feel cravings and it always makes me not want to smoke again. Its been 27 days so far and I’m going strong, thank you so much for the motivation.

Inspired to quit…

I just read your whole blog from 2012 till now and it has inspired me to start my quitting process

Looking for motivation…

Just wanted to say I found this on google and I really enjoyed reading some of your posts. Gives me motivation to keep going. Rock on, brother.

Or simply…

Congrats, I’m so proud of you.

Self expression

It’s hard to talk to others about what it’s like going through the marijuana quitting process. During the early days of quitting I had to stay well away from all temptation, that meant not spending time with friends who smoke, who are exactly the kind of people who can understand what you’re going through. Months later I find I can be around weed smokers, it’s like it gives me power… every time I walk away from a party or a night with stoner mates and I haven’t smoked, my power to stay quit only gets stronger.

Photo from 99 Steps of Progress - Self-expression
Photo from 99 Steps of Progress – Self-expression

I find that blogging about my stop smoking journey has been super helpful in expressing my thoughts – be it the hardest of bong quitting times, points of near collapse or milestones of success. Expressing myself in this way helps in the understanding of how my addiction works and what are my biggest triggers to smoking weed again.

Blogging about the weed quitting process is also a great reminder of how far you’ve come. I look back at posts from the early days, appreciate how hard it all was and am super pleased with myself that I pushed through. It really is important to acknowledge when you’ve done something great.

Accountability?

A lot of books and online material speak of the importance of accountability, telling other people that you’re quitting. But when you get to a stage where you’ve been smoking pot for half your life, the words “I’m serious, no more weed for me” said to your best stoner mate simply fall on deaf ears – it’s been said a hundred times before.

From personal experience, accountability to others doesn’t work. You need to be ready and really want to quit, otherwise it’s just another half-hearted effort that will lead to more smoking…

10 months: Why I love the zombie genre

Strange title for this month’s post… I’m a big fan of the Zombie genre (especially The Walking Dead, both the TV series and the comics). Over the last few months I’ve been wondering why I’m so into zombie stuff, have been hooked since watching Dawn of the Dead in 2004.

I spend plenty of time in my own head, and while in there have discovered something exceedingly important as to how my mind works: I wish I could start all over again and create a new life from a totally blank slate…

Image by Brian Allen, flylanddesigns.com
Image by Brian Allen, flylanddesigns.com

… which is why I’m such a massive zombie fan: In a post-apocalyptic world, we’re forced to start over. It doesn’t matter who we were before, it only matters who we are right now.

My most recurring dream is straight out of Dawn of the Dead… running through an abandoned shopping mall, a small group of survivors in tow, depending on me to keep them alive. The thing is though, this is not a nightmare, it’s an adrenaline pumping dream that I actually enjoy.

Immersing myself in zombie fiction is an escape. I think I want to escape for two main reasons:

  1. The state of the world today instills a sort of malaise within me. Society is greedy, destructive and inhumane.
  2. I have lots of regrets, mostly to do with my past stoner state.

Regrets

So many times while stoned (or chasing weed) I’ve missed an opportunity or done something that made me feel guilty. So much cash has been wasted, friends and girlfriends lost (or not gained in the first place). I really try not to dwell on the past, but I find myself hanging onto the “depressed” label – or maybe just using it as an excuse.

Sometimes I look at my life now and think… “why the fuck should I even care, I should just get stoned all weekend and forget about everything”. But something keeps opposing that thought, and that something is getting stronger and stronger. I don’t want to pile on more regrets, and certainly don’t regret the past 10 months of being weed free.

9 months: Stoned luck

Lately there’s been a few moments that made me stop and think… as a stoner, I’ve been super lucky not to have had trouble with the cops.

Granted, in Australia the penalties for possession aren’t as harsh as other countries, but I’m lucky not to have lost my license for drug-driving. I was watching one of those Australian cop shows where instead of an RBT (Random Breath Test) checkpoint, the checkpoint was checking for drugs. The police said that while drink-driving is declining, drug-driving is rising higher than ever. And weed can be detected even the day after smoking, compared to other drugs which may not be detected via the mouth swab.

Photo from ABC News
Photo from ABC News

When I was a teenager and had first started smoking (late 1990s/early 2000s) some friends and I were smoking in my car. In the centre console was a McDonalds drink holder, where we put the two bongs in and started to drive around. I got pulled over by the cops (the smell would have been so obvious, we had dutched up the car on purpose) and back then there wasn’t much they could do.

Now that roadside drug testing is becoming the norm, the risk of being caught stoned-driving is very high.

Last weekend I was driving home and saw a P plater pulled over, the contents of his car emptied on the side of the road. There were two cop cars, one was a police dog van and the dog was sniffing through the car. Driving past that car I thought myself very lucky.

In the months before this (now 9+ month!) weed-free time of my life, I was driving around stoned at least every weekend. It’s just plain luck that I was never pulled over. If I had been, the impacts would have been enormous – trying to explain to work why I couldn’t drive anymore…

No more dumb stoned luck, no more driving around paranoid trying to evade cops – I’m weed free and very happy I’ve stayed off it for so long.