March 6, 2003 is the day I decided to stop smoking marijuana forever. Actually, I didn’t decide on that day, but that was the day I finally was able to do it. I’d been wanting to quit smoking weed for many years, but I simply could not do it. Only after beginning my transformation and taking charge of my health was I able to find the strength I needed to give up my all-consuming habit.
Some people are able to smoke pot occasionally and it’s not a problem for them. I really don’t see anything wrong with that (don’t get me started on the ridiculous marijuana laws in this country), but I was never able to moderate my smoking. Marijuana truly consumed my life. I was a “wake and bake” smoker for almost 15 years, and my bad habit was negatively affecting just about every facet of my life. Because of my inability to moderate my smoking, I knew that I had to give it up forever. Do I miss it? Nope, not anymore. Giving up weed is one of the top five smartest decisions I’ve ever made in my life. I’ve never regretted it.
I wrote the following three years after giving up pot, and I’d like to republish a slightly modified version of what I wrote this morning.
“As some of you already know, I was a chronic pot smoker from the late 1980s up until March 6, 2003. During those years, marijuana was in complete control my life: everything I did revolved around my ability to be stoned during most of my waking hours. On the rare occasion that I ran out of weed and couldn’t get more – even for just a day, or, for that matter, a few hours – I was completely miserable. I know there are a lot of chronics and former chronics out there who know exactly what I’m talking about. Non-smokers and people who are able to use marijuana recreationally (once a week or so), often can’t understand just how powerful the mental addiction can be in some people. When I was a pot smoker I knew lots and lots of people who were just like me: weed was the sun around which the rest of our lives revolved. I knew pot was ruining my life, but there were times that I truly thought I’d never be able to quit smoking it. Exercise and nutrition changed all that: Just two months after dedicating myself to health and fitness, I successfully quit this 13+ year habit that was destroying my life.
We all have the power to change, but many people fall back on excuses instead of mustering the courage and discipline required to really make change happen. If you really want to change, then you need to follow through … and eliminate the things that are killing you and making you unhappy with how your life is going.
It’s not easy to do these things, and there’s no shame in seeking outside help if you need it. For me it was a matter of deciding what I wanted to change in my life, and then forcing myself to follow through until those changes were my reality.
I had to overcome a lot: I was overweight and out of shape, I smoked 3 packs of cigarettes every day, I smoked pot constantly, I drank alcohol daily, I was lazy, I didn’t exercise, I lacked self-confidence, I was antisocial and I was bitter. For me, the key to my success was diet and exercise. Once I started to get healthy, all those vices became less important to me. One by one, I beat those demons: I refused to give in to my cravings no matter what, and before I knew it I was a changed man.
Not many people know that I smoked pot for the first two months of my transformation. Once I began to lose weight, exercise, eat right and feel better about myself, I realized that I no longer wanted to be hidden away in a stoned shell. I threw away all my paraphernalia and smoked my last bowl on March 5, 2003. I smoked pot daily for almost 15 years; back when I was a pot smoker I never thought I could last 3 days without smoking weed, let alone three (edit: ten!) years. Once I got past the first couple of weeks it was pretty easy. These days when I think back to how I used to live, it’s like looking at another person.
As a reformed drug and alcohol abuser, I can relate to and empathize with the feelings that many of you reading this are experiencing right now. When I decided to change, the emotion I remember most clearly is fear: Fear of facing life without drugs and alcohol, fear of failure and fear of the cravings I knew would consume my thoughts.
Are you sitting in your chair right now and thinking, “He just described my life!”? Listen, I want you to know three things that I believe with all my heart:
1) You are not alone.
2) You CAN overcome your addictions and start living the life you deserve. I did it, others have done it, and so can you.
3) Start now. Get help if you need it, but don’t let another day of your life slip away. Life is an uncertain and fleeting gift: Today could be your last day on Earth – make it count!