If I Want to Stop Smoking Weed, I Need to Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
You really must understand that. Say it to yourself right now. Out loud. In previous articles, we acquainted you with the term mindfulness. In this article, we’re going to break down how mindfulness can help you quit marijuana. In fact, let’s review the arc of this entire website. Let’s review how we are trying to help you quit using weed because that’s why you’re here. You’ve said to yourself (and maybe to others): I want to stop smoking weed. First, you learned the mechanisms of addiction. Then you learned about what’s happening in your brain and body when you use marijuana. Next, we explained that knowing those things = your foundation. On top of your foundation goes self-compassion. On top of self-compassion goes the quitting strategies. (We’re going to give you some quitting strategies and ideas for meditative activities in the next few articles.)
Ok, it’s likely you’ll need to try a couple different quitting strategies before you stumble onto one you can deal with. As Tommy Rosen, yoga guru with 20 years’ sobriety, says, “Deep and expansive healing from addiction requires many perspectives, techniques, and resources.” Note: Your foundation and your self-compassion must already be in place and stay in place no matter which quitting strategies or techniques you use.
So let’s look at mindfulness. It’s of the three components of self-compassion, remember? (The other two are self-kindness and common humanity.) And how do we become mindful? Meditation. Meditation is a practice, so it’s usually called meditation practice. It’s something one practices regularly. There are different types of meditation practices designed to achieve different results, but almost all of them are based on mindfulness. To learn how to cultivate mindfulness through meditation, you couldn’t do much better than to read what Thich Nhat Hanh, who is “one of the word’s leading teachers of mindfulness and meditation,” has to say about it. It’s written clearly and simply, and you should read it.
Mindfulness Helps People Recover from Addiction
The link between mindfulness, a/k/a mindful awareness, and addiction recovery is well-known. As Jenna Hollenstein, in her article “Secrets of Effective Meditation,” puts it: “Clearly there’s something about the ability to stay in the present moment that’s vital to recovery. Addiction literature contains many examples of where meditation and recovery meet.” Hollenstein goes on to say that texts in which meditation and recovery intersect “encourage readers to examine the thoughts and feelings behind addictive behaviors.” Examination isn’t always pleasant, but it is necessary. Examination can leverage the power thoughts and feelings can have over you. In other words, if you have the presence of mind to observe your thought, it automatically follows that you don’t necessarily have to side with that thought.
Thinking “I want to stop smoking weed”? Mindfulness makes you more aware of your thoughts
Mindfulness is different from the way most of us think. We usually spend most of our time either avoiding or glomming onto our feelings. Mindfulness, however, gives us the power to refrain from doing either. For example, out of nowhere, apropos of nothing, you may be gobsmacked with a desire to get high. Mindfulness allows you to have a choice of getting on board with that feeling or letting it pass. Similarly, if you have the thought, “I want to stop smoking weed,” you are able to acknowledge that you are having that thought and then decide whether or not you want to act on it.
Mindfulness and addiction
Mindfulness Creates New Options for Automatic Behaviors
Hollenstein explains how she has benefited from mindfulness meditation: “Put simply, meditation made me react less.” As she became able to “step back and observe [her] own thoughts and feelings,” she noticed that they all followed a pattern. They would rise, stay with her a while, and then fade. She emphasizes that they always faded. In other words, no matter how strong, good, bad, or annoying a feeling is, it eventually fades. Having the ability to “decide whether any action was needed,” as Hollenstein has put it, is mandatory if you want to make a decision that no action is needed when weed cravings hit.