Written by in BlogJuly 7th, 2012

It seems like most people start getting a little overconfident in the early stages of the quit game. Usually within the first 2-4 weeks, as soon as we have a good night’s sleep or the irritability begins to wane, we think we have this thing licked. It’s way more complicated than that. To assume that after 10-20 years of daily pot smoking, we will simply walk away once the decision has been made is making light of a true addiction.

I know the word “addiction” is still hard for many to swallow, especially for smokers who still function day to day, and may even appear to excel in some parts of their lives. In fact, there are many people addicted to substances who still get up every day and go to work, tend to their children, and participate in various social activities.

When we say the word addict, our minds typically picture the bum sleeping under the overpass bridge with no hope, no family, and no job. That scenario is actually the most rare depiction of a common addict. The common addict is the one sitting next to you in church, a member of your local Rotary club, a close family member, or maybe even you.

Addicts aren’t bad people…they just have a bad problem. I still squirm a bit when I have to admit that a drug had so much control over me that I had to refer to the word “addict.” No matter how high of a pedestal we place marijuana on for its so-called benefits, it still has negative consequences. There are consequences with our health, motivation, memory, etc. This is applicable to the simplest definition of an addiction…”use in spite of negative consequences.”

Certainly, marijuana is one of the lowest on the totem pole in terms of negative consequences. But, to deny that they exist is purely delusional. A pot smoker would not have any problems saying that a person who smokes two packs of cigarettes per day has an addiction. Unless, of course, they are the ones doing the cigarette smoking. The addict, most of the time, conjures up very clever ways of justifying their use. Obviously, this leads to the second most common description of an addict…denial.

I recently had a conversation with a reader of The Secret Addiction who, by the way, is an everyday pot smoker. He was upset that I continued to use the word “drug” in the book to refer to marijuana. In his opinion, marijuana is seen as more spiritual, medicinal, and “nutrition” for the mind and body.

I will not dive into the spiritual debate in this article, but the argument of “nutritional” does not fit into any of my perceptions of what proper nutrition is, or should be, for the body or mind. And using the argument of “medicinal’ has to imply that the user possesses an ailment of some sort that the marijuana is intended to be managing or correcting. This is not the case with the vast majority of so-called healthy marijuana smokers.

I will continue to use and can easily defend my use of the word “drug” and “addiction.” In fact, the mere definition of the word drug supports this position.

drug (drug)

1. a chemical substance that affects the processes of the mind or body.

2. any chemical compound used in the diagnosis, treatment, or prevention of disease or other abnormal condition.

3. a substance used recreationally for its effects on the central nervous system, such as a narcotic.

The bottom line is that marijuana is a drug, and it does have the potential to suck people in to the point that the word “addicted” can become a part of their personal vocabulary.

7 Responses to “Calling it what it is…addiction.”

  1. July 7th, 2012

    Jennifer

    Hi Dr. Tony –

    I bought your book, read all the chapters except for the ones you said to wait for. Today is my day 1. I feel motivated, encouraged, and relieved that this is going to be possible for me. I have tried many times to quit before but this time feels different. I’m going to turn 40 in September. I have been smoking for seven years. This viscious cycle ends now. Thank you for all the research you have done to shed some light on how serious this problem is for so many people. I will be using your book and this website as tools to help me through my journey. Here’s to a new beginning!!!

    J-

  2. July 7th, 2012

    Dr. Tony

    Thank you Jennifer! Remember not to forget your reasons for wanting to quit. Keeping them close by will help you maintain your motivation and focus.

  3. September 10th, 2012

    Rebecca

    Hi Dr. Tony!

    I bought your book over 2 months ago and am just now able to sit down and start reading it without being ‘clouded’. I’m on day 2 and so far, so good. I think my biggest struggle with this is that I needed the MJ for medicinal use (crohn’s disease & RA) and I have no health insurance. However…I’m not cool with walking around clouded so I’m making the conscious decision to quit and if I’m sick…then I’m sick.

    I’m going to school full-time, I need to retain so much more medical information (this time around) and I don’t have time to be ‘dumbed down’ by the clouding of this ‘medication’ that I have had to deal with.

    Quite frankly…I’d rather be sick everyday all day…then lose another day. Thank you for writing a book that is inspiring me and helping me through this process!!

    I know this will be a tough journey for me (until I graduate, become licensed and then am able to have a job with health benefits again). I make too much for state assistance and not enough to pay for doctor visits…so, I am documenting this journey in a daily journal/blog, I’ve written down a list of things that I want to do while stoned (posted it above my desk for me to see all the time), and I’m just going with the flow and staying strong.

    Thank you for a book that is real and not one-sided!

    With warm regards,

    Rebecca N.

    • September 12th, 2012

      admin

      Hi Rebecca!

      Way to go on your decision to quit smoking marijuana! I usually stay away from the medical marijuana issues. I think we both know that this form of legalization has been abused by many people simply seeking to get high. However, there are some people that use marijuana for various medical conditions that are obviously beneficial.

      I applaud you for recognizing that this “cloud” you have been toting around has, in many ways, been holding you back. Obviously, this will be a challenge. However, I am confident you can succeed. In regards to the Chron’s Disease and RA, please don’t simply try to fight through these. I am sure you are aware that there are many alternative and healthy ways to treat these conditions.

      Please keep me updated on your progress. I am here to help you!

      Dr. Tony

  4. September 12th, 2012

    Hawkett4295

    I am enjoying the book, the 5HTP and NAC seem to be helping, and I quit a few weeks ago. My biggest help has been Jack Trimple’s book and website Rational Recovery, with your work being a great adjunct. I don’t believe in the various “anonymous” groups or their system of basically keeping people in their dependency and saying you are never fully recovered. Nor do I believe that addiction is a disease. I tried AA and NA in the past, forcing myself to go to one or the other daily for 30 days. I agree with Trimpey’s analysis of the entire co-dependency system. I also recommend “The Codependency Conspiratory – How to Break the Recovery Habit and Take Charge of Your Life” by Dr. Stan J. Katz, Aimee Liu.

    I am revisiting my reasons for having quit daily. I prefer to phrase every one of them as a positive, i.e., “I am a healthy breather” instead of “I am quitting so I don’t get lung cancer”.

    Oh, and thank you so much for the recommendation to look at Uncommon Knowledge and Hypnosis Downloads.com. The Cannabis cessation is great! I also like Impulse Control and some others. I listen to one in the morning and one in the evening. Wonderfully relaxing and the creators really know their subjects.

    The third and fourth (final) things that really helps are:
    1. Deep breathing – I take 3 or 4 very deep breaths, hold them momentarily, then let them out slowly. That and waiting 5 minutes seems to get me past any strong urges. The urges always pass anyway, the breathing helps the first couple of minutes especially.
    2. Exercise, in my case walking. I started at 20 minutes and less than a mile. In a couple of months I am up to 3 miles daily in just under an hour. For me that is aerobic and my lungs have not felt so clear in years. Also, my attitude and resolve are strengthened.

    Keep up the great and vital work. Check out Trimpey’s book “Rational Recovery” and Lois Trimpey’s book “The Feast Beast” if being overweight is a problem.

    • September 12th, 2012

      admin

      Thank you for posting Hawkett! The one thing I appreciate about you the most is how proactive you are in the process. Too many people assume their motivation will be strong enough to carry them through to the end. Although it is important to have our reasons and our motivations, it is the ultimate change in us that creates long lasting results.

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