It isn’t really the substance that is addictive, but your relationship or the narrative that you have constructed around the substance that is addictive.
Depending on who you ask, cannabis can be very addictive or not addictive at all.
If you ask psychiatrists and rehabilitation specialists, they will refer to “Cannabis Use Disorder” as proof that cannabis is addictive. But if you ask lifelong cannabis consumers like myself to quit cold turkey for a month or two, we would be able to do so without breaking a sweat.
This brings us to an importance cross road: Is it the substance that makes the addict, or does the addict choose the substance?
My greatest addiction didn’t have anything to do with substances
I could cite the various different studies on different substances, compare addictiveness qualities and argue that one drug is more addictive than another.
I wouldn’t be wrong.
However, as someone who can become quite obsessive with strategy challenges; one of the most difficult addictions I had to deal with had nothing to do with a substance.
I struggled with excessive gaming for years and while I wasn’t physically consuming anything, it was one of the hardest addictions for me to break.
I found quitting cigarettes after 15 years of use was easier than quitting gaming.
Now, did I have a justifiable reason to blame the game for my addiction? Or was it me; the addict choosing a vehicle of obsessive compulsion?
After having quit two very different addictions, I can surely say that while the substance may have addictive qualities, it’s always the addict pulling the trigger.
Are you blaming the addict?
In a way, yes! The addict definitely is the single most important factor in any type of addiction. The problem is that the addict loves to shift blame.
When I was excessively gaming, I would reason different justification for my actions to avoid the very real issues that was plaguing me.
The addiction was simply an “easier choice” for my unconscious mind to process than to deal with the underlying issues. Thus, in essence, all addiction is a means of escapism.
Unless you are ready to deal with these underlying issues; the addiction will only continue to manifest in your life in order to avoid facing up to your hidden pains.
Addiction is mental malware that requires an anti-virus
The thing about an addict is that the addict knows what they are doing is not beneficial to their bottom line, but they do it anyway!
This is because the addiction has rewritten your mental algorithms to embed itself within what you believe to be your personality.
In reality, the story of “you + your addiction” is the most compelling work of fiction you have ever created, filled with emotional nuances to convince you that “THIS IS YOUR BURDEN!”
However, it was when I quit smoking tobacco — which according to some sources put it within the same addictive levels as heroin or cocaine — that I realized that addiction is mental malware.
I read the book “EASY WAY TO QUIT SMOKING” by Alan Carr, which essentially deprograms your brain by addressing the main “reasons” why you smoke.
The book doesn’t try to force you to quit, it simple begins to put things into perspective and in my case, before the end of the book, I threw away my pack of smokes and never looked back.
This wasn’t the first time I managed to “reboot my system” – but after this second cigarette purge I believe I am completely done with the habit forever.
What are you trying to avoid?
Understanding that it isn’t really the substance that is addictive, but your relationship or the narrative that you have constructed around the substance that is addictive.
When I managed to unravel my mind and rewrite the underlying narrative around tobacco, I enjoyed the withdrawal pangs. It was a sense of victory every time I felt like shit.
I understood that the tobacco addiction and the gaming addiction were interlaced; one helped sustain the other. When I managed to quit gaming, I was ready to let go of smoking.
But before any of this, I had to make a decision within my inner-most being about my addictions. I had to face the music and take a cold hard look at my life.
It was only when I made these internal adjustments that the addiction fell off me like it was yesterday’s news.
It’s always you — it’s never the substance!
Similarly, to the people who say “cannabis ruined my life” or “it’s because of cannabis,” you’re still missing the point.
Cannabis is a plant. It has no will of its own. Cannabis doesn’t buy itself, load itself into your pipe, light itself on fire and forces you to get high all day. That is 100% you.
But here’s the good news. If it’s you doing it, it’s you who can undo it too!
However, to achieve this you will first need to take stock of your life. Ask the tough questions;
- What in my life is so shitty that all I want to do is escape it?
- What needs to change for me to be happy? Realistically?
- What do I need to change in my life so I become the master of my decisions?
It’s about taking full ownership of all your problems. It’s not because of any of the excuses you can come up with. It’s not your circumstances, it’s not your trauma — it’s malware that needs to be interrupted.
The Sticky Bottom-line
If you want to blame the substance for your fuckups – you still haven’t learned the ultimate lesson of Addiction.
You’re the one in the driver seat and just as easy as you got on the ride – it’s just as easy to get off. The question is; do you really want to or does your current configuration of misery satisfy your needs enough that minimal to no effort is good enough.
But the moment you’re ready to let it all go, that change happens deep within the core of our beings. And once this choice is made, nothing can stop you — not even relapses.