How I quit smoking pot after 12 years

I first started smoking pot because I wanted to be cool; I was about 13 years old and this guy I liked smoked it at the time. I thought “he will totally be into me if I get into smoking pot.” I remember feeling at the time, “I don’t really want to do this”, but I convinced myself that if I get this habit out of the way early on in my life I can say that I’ve ‘been there done that’ and somehow I would then be relatable to people.

How I eventually quit smoking pot 12 years later is quite remarkable.

I noticed from an early age just how much pain everyone in the world around me was in and I didn’t connect to that same pain within me so I made myself feel that it was wrong for me to feel so good. It felt like the energy of wanting to hide how great I actually felt started very early.

To live in a way that was less that who I truly was took a toll on me and I started to feel depressed.

In my teenage years I used pot for protection – to me that meant to fit in with my friends around me – and to not feel how sensitive I really was. I was going through depression throughout my teenage years and pot seemed to numb that empty feeling I had inside. It had become my best friend.

When I started working as a hairdresser I went from just smoking pot with friends on the weekend to smoking almost every night . . . and when I wanted a break from smoking I would turn to alcohol.

A couple of years before I started attending Universal Medicine events I was spending at least $20-$30 a night on alcohol, $50-75 a week on pot and then on the weekends I would spend maybe another $100-$200 on alcohol and party drugs like cocaine, pills, MDMA and speed.

Ok, so let’s add that up . . . that’s almost $300 a week on this habit of not wanting to feel me – that is a lot of money for someone who only worked a part-time job. Quitting smoking pot was something I didn’t even consider at this point.

My daily routine

My usual routine would be to wake up at 8am, and push the snooze button till 8:45am; it would then be too late to have a shower. I would throw on some clothes and try to put some lunch together, and then run out the door to get to work by 10am, as it would take an hour and sometimes an hour and a half to get there.

I would then have three cups of coffee or large chai lattes throughout the day without eating much.

We used to serve alcohol at my work, so by the time I was with my last client we would be sharing a drink together while I was cutting their hair.

I would already have three joints rolled for when I finished work and would smoke one out the back of my work, one for the walk home from the train and one when I’d get home.

While I was making dinner I would have a half a bottle of wine or champagne a night, plus a couple of beers.

I had suffered with insomnia throughout my whole life and would say to myself that I smoked pot to help me sleep. Normally at night I could smoke anywhere between one to six joints depending on the stresses of the day. If it was a full-on day I would pre-roll joints and usually wake up around 3am, smoke a joint and then again at 5-6am and smoke another one.

I started work at 10am every day and I thought that smoking this many joints would help me with my insomnia, but I was still waking up at least two times a night and would wake up feeling exhausted.

This routine went on for a good 5 years; sometimes a lot less extreme and sometimes a lot more.

Throughout this time I was extremely emotional, very needy, constantly avoiding confrontation or speaking what I felt was true. I was so scared to stand out in a crowd that I would just adapt to my surroundings and agree with other people’s opinions even if they felt completely wrong to me, or I would say what I thought they would want to hear.

I would constantly neglect what I knew supported me to have this illusion of people liking me, when in fact they didn’t even know me; I was way too scared to show them who I was. All of this was for protection, I didn’t want to be alone, yet this is what I felt in every interaction with people. I numbed that feeling of not truly being me by smoking pot and drinking alcohol.

I knew it was not supportive to drink or smoke and I knew I could live another way but didn’t know my way out of the numbing culture I had been part of. Every time I tried to get out of the ‘numbing culture’ friends would say things like, ‘you are so much more fun when you drink or smoke’, or ‘is something wrong’? Or ‘you only need to cut down and do it in moderation.’

A couple of stop moments

There were a couple of huge stop moments that I had, to try and wake me up and get me out of the ‘numbing culture.’

  • My friend and I went out clubbing one night; we didn’t drink but wanted to get some pot so we met some guys and went back to their house. My friend and one of the guys left to buy cigarettes and left me with the other man for ages; I started to feel something was not right and tried to leave but he locked all the doors and grabbed me. I pushed him and I managed to get the door open and jumped the fence. When I got out I knew that the way I was living had got me to this point and if I kept living in this way something worse could have happened.

  • The other stop moment was ending up in hospital with Transverse Myelitis (swelling on the spinal cord). I lost feeling in my limbs, couldn’t open my eyes if the lights were on as it would make me be sick and there was so much pressure on the brain it felt like it was going to explode. This originated from getting a virus and having a weak immune system. I knew this happened from all the drinking and the partying and how I was not eating or sleeping properly, as I had done a huge binge a couple of days before I ended up in hospital.

My way back home – the Gentle Breath Meditation®

I eventually went to see a psychologist to support me with what I didn’t want to feel and she gave me this meditation to practise daily: it was called the ‘Gentle Breath Meditation®.’ The first time I tried this I felt I had won the jackpot. I could finally just be with my body and feel my breath again. Something I had been running away from.

I ended up doing the Gentle Breath Meditation® every morning and every night, and a few months later I started having Esoteric Yoga sessions and that was the moment I felt I could quit smoking pot.

I could finally feel a sense of settlement in my body while practising these two modalities. I felt connected to the essence of myself with the Gentle Breath Meditation® and a spaciousness within my body and mind by doing the yoga.

I finally felt good enough to be completely responsible for what I was feeling, which I had avoided for a very long time.

I started feeling like I had control again and to just allow whatever thoughts were there and just connect to my breath and feel my body.

I used the meditation between clients at work – I would go to the toilet and sit for 3-5 minutes and do the gentle breath. I started to notice this change in my body, like I didn’t have to smoke and drink as much. My eating started to change and I couldn’t drink coffee anymore because I was stopping to breathe so often; I noticed how amazing that felt in my body compared to the raciness and the anxiety I would get from coffee. It’s now been 3 years since I’ve had a drink of alcohol, smoked pot or taken any drugs.

I am choosing to feel what’s true for me more and more each day; I’m definitely not perfect and I use food and emotions to numb myself now when I want to hide or blend in – but now I am more aware of it. There is so much that has changed for me: I am more committed at work.

I go to sleep a lot easier and when I don’t, I know I have not wanted to deal with something that has come up that day. Instead of going for a drink or pot to knock me out, I do the Gentle Breath Meditation® or Esoteric Yoga and this supports me to get out of my head and come back into my body.

Everyone around me has noticed the changes in me, where I have gone from being in complete chaos, disorder, not cleaning up after myself or thinking of anyone else around me and when I did, it felt like it was extremely hard work.

I started keeping things in order, helping others, noticing where things could flow easier with systems, organising what people actually want to help with, and I was thinking of others more. Like I said before, I’m not perfect and have days where I can slip into old habits, but I am now much more aware.

My partner who’s been with me the past 9 years has seen the changes in me and in our relationship; the openness in the way we communicate and the willingness to look at what might be in the way is amazing. The willingness to feel how awesome we are together and how every day we learn something about ourselves. It is completely different and I will have to write another blog to share the differences of how we use to live to how we live now.

I save $300 a week which is $15,600 + $1300 (cigarettes) = $16,900 a year to not be part of the numbing culture. Remember I was only getting paid $26,000 a year because of part-time work. What I am amazed at is I used to spend this much money on not wanting to feel. I’m more committed to life, myself and everyone around me. Who would have thought you would be saving money by dealing with your stuff?

I seriously believe I wouldn’t be here if I hadn't found Universal Medicine and started practising the Gentle Breath Meditation® and Esoteric Yoga, which supported me to reconnect to myself, helped me to quit smoking pot and to understand why I needed it in the first place.

The empowerment I have established within myself is a huge contrast to giving my power away or the not wanting to feel what I was feeling. I’m taking more responsibility for my life than I ever did before, I am more committed to being myself and listening to what I feel is supportive for me and where I am at, rather than blaming everyone around me for my problems (especially my parents).

My parents tell me how proud they are of me for what I am choosing all the time and they feel a huge difference compared to how I used to be. I constantly needed to borrow money from them to pay my rent because I was spending it on pot, alcohol, cigarettes and drugs.

When I came to Universal Medicine I became aware of the many unsupportive and extremely unloving habits I was indulging in and just writing this makes me go, "Wow, I have changed more than I realised" and this is something I am beginning to very much appreciate.

What a group of amazingly supportive people I have met with Universal Medicine and thank you for setting an example of how to truly live life! This has continuously inspired me to take more responsibility and deepen the love and care for myself and the love and care I have for humanity.

Not only did I quit smoking pot after 12 years, but I’ve changed the quality of my entire life.

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  • By Anonymous

  • Photography: Rebecca W., UK, Photographer

    I am a tender and sensitive woman who is inspired by the playfulness of children and the beauty of nature. I love photographing people and capturing magical and joyful moments on my camera.