Has your herb lost its lustre? Are you smoking a whole joint to get the same effect you usually would after a few tokes? Are you smoking earlier in the day and later into the night? If you answered yes to any or all of these, you may benefit from a sober period – a temporary break from cannabis. And if those last five words are inducing discomfort at the mere suggestion, then a t-break may be just what you need.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
One month into a self-agreed sober period, and the cannabis cravings are still there. That alone is how I know I need to continue. Being bound by any sort of craving that leads to mindless action is a tell tale sign that the ego is in control. And really, cannabis and the ego should have nothing to do with each other. One of the enlightening benefits of this luscious Earthly gift is that it can free you from your ego, even if only temporarily. It is when the ego gets its grip on the cannabis experience, and eggs you on to turn it into habitual behaviour, that the plant can begin to lose its magic, the reason you started enjoying it in the first place. Smoking more and experiencing diminished efficacy will naturally happen as your tolerance rises. Perhaps you know you need a t-break because it has become an addiction (a mindlessly enacted habitual behaviour), you’re spending too much money, or you simply don’t get the high you want anymore. Whatever the reason, here you’ll find some tips on how to have a successful break from cannabis, and what awaits you on the other side.
Overcoming craving and aversion
In Buddhist philosophy, craving is one of the seven fetters to enlightenment. Craving keeps us bound up in the belief that something is missing from the present moment, when in fact, nothing is missing from the present moment. Try it for yourself: place your awareness on the entrance of the nostrils. Begin to notice the sensations of the incoming and outgoing breath. Hold this attention and say to yourself in your inner voice, “I wonder what my next thought will be?”
In the space between total presence and awareness and the next thought that came into your mind, was there anything wrong? Was there any anxiety? What was there but pure awareness? Even if you only got a millisecond’s glimpse of pure awareness, that’s your major key right there.
Imagine what your experience could be like if you were able to hold this inner awareness constantly. You’d be tapped into the present, where life is always unfolding. Anxiety and depression come with focusing on the past or future, to put it mildly. To be present is to be free, to be aware is to be in your power, and when you’re living in this way, the temporary high of a drug, however wonderful, pales in comparison to the experience of living your full potential, free from all fear, all hatred, all craving and all aversion. The world needs you like this, and you deserve this internal freedom, so it’s time to find your natural high without the drugs.
The spirit of cannabis is within you
Why do you smoke weed? Is it to induce creativity? Is it to calm your mind, and tune out from the incessant mental chatter? To ease physical pain? To open your heart? To enjoy sex and amazing orgasms? To go deep in meditation? Isn’t this plant amazing, that it can facilitate all these things? Cannabis, much like LSD or Cacao and many other plants with medicinal, enlightening properties, is like rocket fuel for your path. Especially when smoked, cannabis can have such a fast-acting effect, of whatever you desire. However, when it gets to the point where your decision to smoke is not of a conscious volition to do so for a specific reason, but because it has become an ingrained habit – when it gets to the point where you rely on cannabis for inducing creativity, an orgasm, a quiet mind – then it’s not aiding you anymore, it’s blocking you from your own inherent powers.
Cannabis is just an extension of us. It is best used as a bridge to discover your inner essence where the spirit of cannabis resides – the creativity, the clear mindedness, the flow. Nothing is separate. Our two eyes tell us otherwise, but the inner eye knows better, knows more. This is Universal Law, backed now by science: we are all energy, all connected, all one, and a commitment to your liberation, regular meditation, sobriety and psychedelic drugs alike will reveal this to you directly. All that cannabis can offer can be found within each one of us. When you find that you’re using cannabis too much and it has lost its potency, you’re being invited to take a break to find the cannabis magic within you.
Be a part-time stoner
There was a time earlier this year when I was smoking more or less all day every day for about two weeks, and it was amazing. I felt so open-hearted. I was engaged in conversations, I played my instruments intuitively and amazingly, and my intuition flowed freely when giving tarot readings and guiding meditations. I went off to serve at a Vipassana meditation course with the belief that ‘I am meant to be a stoner’. That ‘in this life, I am at my full potential when I am high’. I was riding a wave of cannabis’ green glory and felt like I could truly thrive as a female Snoop Dogg.
A few days into sober life at the centre, though, and the deeper truth came out: I’m not living my potential if I’m smoking to induce sensations that I want to feel. I’m living my potential when I’m engaged in each unending unfolding moment of life with pure presence and acceptance of the sensations that are pleasant, and unpleasant too. Boredom, irritation, lack of flow, all these things I was avoiding by staying high… after a while, weed became a plaster, no longer a bridge to my higher self but a roadblock.
Total sobriety is easy enough at a retreat where all temptation is taken away; more tricky when back at home. Here are some tips for taking a cannabis t-break, so that when you eventually reunite, you do so as equals, rather than as addict and master, ball and chain. Once again you’ll be able to enjoy the sweet fruits of the plant, with full potency, free from needing its effects, instead enjoying them as nice but unnecessary additions to the perfectly fulfilled being you already are.
How to have a successful break from cannabis
- TUNE IN. Set aside time to sit with yourself. Get your notebook out and make a list of all the reasons you are taking this break. Leave this list where you can see it every day. Setting it as your phone background can also be helpful when the ego’s voice ‘time for a smoke’ crops up.
- MAKE AN AGREEMENT. Agree on a period of time for this break that feels right for you. You could start with two weeks and see how that feels, and you can always choose to extend it. If in doubt, start small. Be realistic, and avoid disappointment.
- FILL THE VOID. If using cannabis is a big part of your day, such as your post-work reward or morning ritual, replace it with something new. Go for a walk, listen to a guided meditation, or eat a piece of fruit. If the source of your craving is a change in mindset, get yourself some cacao, a non-psychoactive plant medicine that induces a positive change of mindset. It’s a brilliant alternative for those who like the ritual of rolling a spliff. Instead, enjoy the ritual of preparing your cacao into a delicious cup of heart-opening hot chocolate.
- STEP AWAY FROM THE SMOKERS. Remove yourself from tempting situations. Give yourself a chance!
- BE KIND TO YOURSELF. If you break your agreement, be warned: the ego may punish you for it. Remember that the ego doesn’t care how you identify, as long as you identify with something. It doesn’t care if you see yourself as a winner (complete your sober period) or a loser (break your agreement). If you do break your agreement, forgive yourself. Decide to try again, if you want to. Take it easy, do not give the ego the opportunity to turn your self image into that of a weak addict who can’t help themselves. Remember that underneath your temporary personality with all your addictions is an infinite being of pure love. Addictions have nothing on your true self!
Have a break from cannabis. It’s always going to be there, you’re not missing out. Think of what awaits you on the other side: lower tolerance, and the inner peace of knowing that you are not bound by craving, that you can trust yourself to have willpower and take care of yourself. Be happy, be peaceful, be liberated.