In the last article, I talked about how I quit weed. After trying and failing to quit several times, I slowly tapered my use down until I stopped using weed altogether. I started by imposing a limit on the number of times I got high per week. At first, that number that was precisely equal to the number of times I used per week. See the sly move I did right there? I set myself up for a slam dunk right from the beginning. I started slowly and progressed slowly. Then I cut out one of those times. When I felt stable, I’d cut out another one of those times. Even though things were going at a snail’s pace, I still backslid here and there. Overall, though, my use was definitely trending downward. I just kept on keeping on with the slow reduction program until I’d whittled my use down to weekends only.
I was pattern 4. Which pattern are you?
Eventually, there was nothing left to whittle. The best thing was that I’d quit, but without the drama that’d accompanied my previous cold-turkey flameouts. And you know what? I don’t even remember the very last time I smoked weed. That speaks to how unmemorable it was. An addiction that scared me (to a drug I thought I wouldn’t want to live without) painlessly petered out. Now I’m marijuana-free and have been for several years, and I’m never going back again. And I say this as someone who was dead sure that there would be no happiness for me without weed. Getting high had slowly become my happy place, and I couldn’t see how that would ever change. How wrong I was. The less I smoked weed, the more interested I became in developing myself. You’ve heard of a downward spiral? Quitting weed placed me onto an upward spiral.
I moderated (or rather whittled) my weed use down to nothing, but there are lots of other approaches. Some have been created by professionals, some by addicts, and one’s even been devised by a Brookline, Massachussetts resident who claims to use his hands to cure people of addictions and phobias of all kinds and goes by the moniker “The Mad Russian.”
A Sample Platter of Substance Abuse Treatments
It’s a free-for-all out there, the curing, managing, overcoming, healing, etc. of addictions. Eventually, there might even be an injection to help addicts kill cravings. (It’s in the clinical trials phase right.) These are monthly injections designed to help alcohol and opiate addicts, not marijuana addicts, but the point is that there’s a range of treatments out there. That this range peacefully coexists—from pharmaceuticals to herbal remedies, religion, therapy, and twelve step meetings—tells us that right now there’s not a one-size-fits-all treatment for substance abuse. All that is to say you shouldn’t get discouraged if something you’ve tried isn’t working. Just move on to another method, but–and I’m just guessing here–it’s probably not a good idea to give the Mad Russian a bunch of dough in hopes of curing your marijuana addiction.
Addiction Refused to Be Pigeon-Holed
Even the people who’ve devoted their entire careers to addiction research don’t agree as to what causes addiction and what’ll best cure it. And a quick perusal of the different addiction models, explained in Todd Becker’s article “Overcoming Addiction,” proves that. If you’re not up for reading the article, suffice it to say that in the world of addiction research and models, you’ve got your medical, psychiatric, autonomous, behavioral models. After that you’ve got your hybrids, the models created by combining those four. Basically, there’s a heap of addiction models out there plus a heap of addiction treatments, which equals addiction is a super-sneaky shapeshifting son of a gun.
By informing yourself about addiction, you’ve taken the first step. And it’s no minor step, either. As we’ve stated before, becoming aware of the ways addiction physically changes your brain and some of the methods that have been used to overcome it is you putting on combat gear and moving to the high ground. Even if you haven’t started the battle just yet, doing a little pre-game research and strategy can only help you that much more when you do decide to throw down the gauntlet.
Next: The non-twelve step organization that’s on the rise and more on mindfulness and meditation.