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Dealing with Dependence on Marijuana
As mentioned above, calling as many behavioral disorders addictions as is feasible is a great marketing tool. As the medical and psychological industries continue to work to change the meaning of addiction to suit their needs, it enables them to make a quick, easy, unchallengeable diagnosis that leads straight to months or years of therapy and/or days or weeks of rehabilitation. $.Ka-ching!
The amount of data, numbers and statistics that have been cited or included within the text within this website has been intentionally kept to an absolute minimum. Data can be manipulated to show that it means whatever you want it to mean, and how can we know if the data is good in the first place; impartial, and a representative sample and not six buddies watching a ball game? Even more problematic is trying to get accurate numbers on how many people go into rehab each year, what they go in for, and how effective (if at all) these places are, because people that enter rehab are not always forthcoming, and statisically typically all lumped together.
With that in mind, the figures below are offered only as a fairly representative example of the figures that are floating about in cyberspace in 2018:
So, about four out of five addicts that 'successfully' complete treatment reacquaint themselves with their drug of choice within five years. Rehab Facilities clearly do not provide results that justify the costs.
Since the focus within this website is (primarily) on marijuana, and marijuana does not cause physiological dependence [is not addictive], this page will concentrate solely on this issue as it pertains to marijuana.
Steps 2, 3, 6 & 7
The famous Twelve Steps have always seemed both fascinating and disturbing. Most unsettling are the parts where the twelve-stepper absolves himself of all responsibility for both the problem and the solution, dumping each on God.
The obvious retort is that if people could do it themselves they wouldn’t need AA or other methods of rehabilitation. What if that’s because throughout their entire lives, from the time they know what 'substances' are on, they're being marketed to and convinced that all addictions are bad, and all addicts need help, and that AA and other rehabilitation is the only answer?
So Simple, Yet So Difficult
There is not a rehab center or spa or hospital or clinic or any other place in the entire world that can cure an addition or dependence. There are two things that need to happen in order to break an addiction or dependence:
Rehab centers, spas, hospitals and clinics can and surely do help patients that are physically addicted to habit-forming substances like heroin and alcohol to safely navigate withdrawal symptoms by means ranging from encouragement to pharmaceutical aide to being restrained. They can try to show patients the light with counseling, religion, logic, audio-visual media and prayer.
Rehab centers, spas, hospitals and clinics may be able to convince you that you want to quit, and they may be able to convince you to say that you have decided to quit, and you may actually quit; but that is not good enough to get the job done. In the long run, the wanting or needing to quit must emanate completely from within you, based exclusively on your reasons, needs or embarrassments - whatever they may be.
It is often said that a person must hit bottom before any real change can take place. That surely isn't always true, but hitting bottom does imply that things have reached a point where soul searching, asking and answering the hard questions, and waking up and smelling the coffee is all that’s left to do. However you happen to come upon your revelations, identifying what you find when you search your soul, answering those hard questions - really answering them, and getting up and pouring a cup of that coffee you now smell will either get you to a point where you want to quit because you want to quit and you don't care who else wants you to quit, or not.
If you want to quit, the hard part is next: deciding to quit. This is where the dependency comes in. A lot of people want to quit smoking cigarettes - really want to - and struggle, struggle, struggle. At least with marijuana there are no physical withdrawal symptoms to suffer through, but that doesn't mean it is always easy.
That Little Dude(ette)
If you have ever had an extramarital affair, you justified it to yourself somehow. He's not paying attention me; she’s not satisfying me anymore; it’s just physical – it doesn’t mean anything. That worked as long as it worked, and then whatever gave out - either the affair or the marriage - gave out. All along, no matter how well you convinced yourself that you were justified, you knew it was wrong. There was a little voice, or guy, or gal, or your higher-self that would not buy it, would not go along.
The same is true if you cheat on a test or betray a friend or steal a candy bar - a voice, or guy, or gal, or your higher-self nags and nags and nags. You may possibly call that your conscience. Let's call it the little dude that cannot be bullshitted.
Taking the time and energy to find the little dude/dudette, and isolate him/her from the rest of what's going on in your brain, and have a 'you to you' conversation with him/her may be something that happens only once or twice in a lifetime. Contemplating marriage or divorce, buying a house or having kids may be reasons to take a hard look. Be assured that the conversation you have with you about addiction and/or dependence will end up being infinitely more important than all the others.
Worth A Try
Nothing works for everyone, but if you are attempting to stop using marijuana and are having trouble, try this:
Tale a couple days off work. By yourself (absolutely no one comes along - not even 'just for the ride'), go to wherever it is you go for peace and quiet - the woods, the beach, a hotel, wherever you can relax and just be with you. It must also be someplace where you can yell and cry and swear without worrying about anyone seeing you, hearing you or distracting you - this is crucial.
Turn the phone off for the entire duration of your stay, and leave it somewhere safe. Do not have alcohol and do not get high. Chill. Look inside, and start asking the little dude those hard questions – out loud. Something like, "So, what the hell is really going on with reefer?" Answer the question - out loud. Keep asking and answering out loud and searching as deep as you can get for as long as it takes. You may lose track of who is asking and who is answering, and that is OK. Don't stop until you have enough information to figure out if you want to quit. If you realize that you don't really want to quit, get high and don't bother setting yourself up for failure. You'll quit when you want to, and not before.
If you do want to quit, keep the conversation going. Ask something like, "So, how in the hell can we pull this off?" How are you going to handle it when Ms. Jones taps on the window late at night, wearing that thang? What are you going to do when everyone else is getting high? What are you going to do if you find some pot stashed somewhere that you forgot about?
What is the unbreakable deal you can make with yourself? What is at stake - just between you and you - that you are not willing to risk losing, even if no one ever knows you reneged but you? What part of yourself and your own integrity are you not willing to forfeit just to get high? What is important; what is more important?
Once you figure all that out (which can take hours or days), you make that deal with yourself, and make an irrevocable decision to quit right then and there all in one motion. You don't get high (anymore).
Never, ever look back. Relax and let it soak in and don't be in a hurry to get back to work or back to town. Take some 'me' time, but do not re-open negotiations with yourself. You quit - past tense. Think about the present and the future and let the rest float away. That decision's been made.
Six weeks later or six months later or six years later, when an aroma catches your nose, or a tune catches your ear, or the memory of a moment tugs at you to get high, you will learn the sincerity of your desire to no longer be a user, and the depth of your decision and convictions. If quitting was someone else's idea, or you were not honest with yourself about wanting to quit, sooner or later you'll say, "Fuck it! I'm gonna get high." If the desire and need to quit was yours and yours alone, and an irrevocable decision was made and agreed upon between you and you, you'll say, "Fuck that! I don't get high."