Six Steps to Freedom: Breaking Away from Marijuana Use

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Even with all the right support, marijuana addiction can be tough to break. Recreational marijuana use is now legal in 19 states, and triggers are bound to pop up anywhere. If you’re struggling with an addiction to marijuana, there is hope for getting free and taking back control of your life.

Here are six steps to breaking a marijuana addiction.

1. Acknowledge the problem

While some individuals choose to use marijuana occasionally without it causing dysfunction in their day-to-day life, marijuana use can easily spiral out of control. Peer pressure, cravings and life stressors can drive you to use a substance more than you ever wanted to, and admitting to an addiction can be the first step in recovery.

Making a change in your life involves more than just confessing to a marijuana addiction. In order to make real strides in your treatment it is important to acknowledge an addiction as well as the root of the problem. Whether you need to address past trauma or heal broken relationships, getting yourself on the right path requires acknowledging any issues that have prevented you from getting clean.

2. Share about your struggle

The second move you can make to end your addiction to marijuana is to be open about your need for help. Breaking free from an addiction on your own is not only isolating, it’s dangerous. Relapse is much more likely when you have no social support in getting clean.

Enlist the aid of a family member or friend who can help you in your recovery. Pick someone who has your best interests at heart and is free from substances. At this stage you should also reach out for professional marijuana addiction treatment. A counselor or therapist can offer a listening ear as you share about your struggle.

3. Identify your triggers to use

Everyone who struggles with substance use has triggers that aggravate addiction. A trigger could be anything in the environment, or any mental stimulus that induces a craving for marijuana. A trigger may be obvious, like seeing a blunt, or something more subtle, like hearing a song on the radio that you used to listen to while you used marijuana.

Regardless of what your triggers are, pinpointing them will be key in your recovery success.  Every time you feel a craving to use marijuana, backtrack to what was going on around you. Who were you with? Where were you? What were you feeling? As you continue this exercise it will get easier to identify and anticipate triggers so you can avoid or handle them smoothly.

4. Learn how to cope through triggers

While some triggers will be easy to avoid, others will not be. Sometimes triggers are hard to see coming and may catch you off guard. Others will be inevitable even if you can predict them, like work or family stress. One of the skills you’ll learn in marijuana addiction treatment is how to deal with the triggers you can’t circumvent.

In treatment you’ll also learn to develop what mental health professionals call “distress tolerance.” This means you’ll slowly build up resilience and be able to handle discomfort without resorting to marijuana use. There are hundreds of strategies that can help you stay strong against the temptation to use drugs, and when you’ve fostered these skills, you can say goodbye to an addiction for good.

5. Take care of yourself

Recovery isn’t sustainable if you’re not building up a lifestyle that reinforces it. In order to get clean and stay clean you’ll need to practice self-care, get enough sleep, eat well and move your body. When you are taking time out of your day to focus on your health and wellbeing, you’ll be more motivated to protect what you’ve worked to build.

6. Look out for progress

There’s no way to sugar-coat it, when you’re in marijuana addiction treatment, you’re bound to have hard days. Triggers may sneak up on you or stress may feel overwhelming. There will be major obstacles to overcome, which is why it’s so important to recognize progress and celebrate it.

Generally, a treatment plan that you collaborate on with a mental health professional will have goals and objectives that measure your gains. When you achieve a benchmark, you’ll know you’re on the right track and get an extra dose of inspiration.

The most important step

Working on your own to get free from an addiction to marijuana can feel fruitless. Inviting professional help into your journey can bring the healing you deserve. While admitting to a problem can be scary, a few moments of bravery can get you the treatment you need.

The help you need is only a phone call away. At the Light Program you can find services for substance use and mental health concerns in a variety of program options. Reach out today at 610-644-6464.