Quitting Weed Day 31: Control Your Mind or it Will Control You

Yesterday was my birthday and also marked the end of my first month of freedom from weed, so I was in a celebratory mood when I wrote my post yesterday. While I had much to celebrate, I didn’t tell you about how I’d been feeling physically and emotionally. I was quickly brought back down to Earth last night.

We had a long, four-day weekend over Easter. My wife, who works for our school system, was off from work, which, since I work from home, can present problems for my productivity. I enjoy spending time with her, and we always have a great time together, so when she’s home it’s easy for me to blow off the things I’m trying to do to replace the income I used to make and just hang out with her.

Over the long weekend I noticed I was feeling sluggish and fatigued a lot of the time. My joints were achy, I had lower abdominal and back pain and was well, pretty “loose,” if you get my drift. Monday night I really started to feel crummy and my sleep was interrupted all night. Yesterday I felt a bit off again, and last night, after dinner I was exhausted, achy and certain I was in for a good night’s sleep. I got about three hours. I was sure there was something wrong with me physically (I’ve always been a bit of a hypochondriac).

After a couple hours of trying to get to sleep last night, I decided to get up and go to a different room to read so I wouldn’t interrupt my wife’s sleep. Meanwhile, she—as she often does—(she’s my biggest supporter) took matters into her own hands and started researching marijuana withdrawal and this morning told me, “Everything you’ve been going through is related to your withdrawal.”

Of course, I’d researched this topic plenty and knew a few of the things to expect while withdrawing, but I’d been feeling so good about myself that I totally overlooked the fact that it’s only been a month since I quit smoking weed. I smoked it for a long time, so a month is kind of like comparing a year to a century. I guess I was feeling like I was out of the woods, but I’m not even through the thicket. My brain and body are still adjusting to life without weed, and the duration of that process varies among individuals.

Then I remembered something she told me on Sunday as we were paddling around in our new canoe and I was feeling cranky. She told me it had been a long time since she’d seen me in a bad mood, and she was right. Since quitting my job I’ve been in much better spirits overall.

That’s when it all hit me like a smack in the face: For those five days, including yesterday, I was completely out of my routine, which isn’t good for me, especially when I’m trying to make positive changes to my life. I’m a very routine-oriented person. Normally you can set your clock by my actions. My routine in the morning since quitting my job is get up at 6:30, meditate, go for a walk, make my wife and me breakfast, see her off to work and then be in the shower by 8:00. None of that was the case at all over the long weekend, until this morning, and I can feel the difference in myself already, despite only three hours of sleep.

Anxiety comes with withdrawal from marijuana, and boy, do I have my share of anxiety. I always have, and up until a month ago I used weed to control it…to cover it up if nothing else. But since quitting weed I’ve relied heavily on my routine, particularly meditation, to help me deal with my anxiety. These past five days, without weed or meditation, I’d been feeling everything physically and emotionally, especially anxiety; anxiety about my physical ailments, about money, about family, friends, not eating healthy…you name it. I’ve felt completely off my game but couldn’t understand why.

I can’t just smoke it all away anymore, so feeling emotions is all new to me again. What I continue to learn is that feeling emotions is important to growth. We have to feel the bad emotions as well as the bad, and it’s how we respond to them that helps us grow. I just needed a reminder that things aren’t always going to be all unicorns and rainbows. We’re all human, and part of being human is having to suffer from time to time, whether we like it or not.

Our minds can get carried away, like mine did over the weekend, so it’s up to us to control them and stay in the present moment as best we can. Easier said than done, I know, but it’s so worth it to make the effort. I’d be lying if I said I’m feeling a hundred percent today, but I can tell you my attitude is a hundred percent better than it’s been, and it’s making a huge difference.

So, today I’m resolving to get back into my routine and stay there, whether it’s a weekday or not. I’m going to re-commit to taking care of myself physically and mentally, because I’m so much happier—and so is everyone around me—when I do.

Take care of your minds, folks, or they’ll take care of you.

Yours in Freedom From Weed,

Jeff

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