Staying Clean Strategies for Maintaining a Cannabis-Free Lifestyle

Get expert tips to overcome cravings and build resilience!

After the preparation, the three phases of cannabis withdrawal, and 15 helpful tips, we now move on to the fourth and final part. This section addresses the question of “How to prevent relapses during withdrawal and stay clean in the long run?” For this, we need to understand addiction triggers and how they are activated.

1. How to avoid relapse after cannabis withdrawal?

You need to reinvent yourself! If you don’t change your life and habits, you will eventually fall back into old patterns. Avoiding certain places and people is one way to do it. However, the most important thing is to constantly remind yourself why you wanted to quit smoking weed. Additionally, you must keep the cravings under control.

2. Why would you want to start smoking weed again?

Why the hell am I thinking about smoking weed again? It may seem crazy, but even after all the efforts, unpleasant days, weeks, or even months, this craving can still arise. But that’s part of the process.

You are in a new situation that initially feels strange and unfamiliar. You have stepped out of your comfort zone! It is important that you work on your life from the third phase onwards (the realization phase).

When you are satisfied, the craving won’t be as strong. That’s a fact! We want to smoke because the state of being “high” feels better to us than the sober state we are in right now.

To better cope with this sober state in the beginning, you need to work on all five areas of your life. Once you have brought these areas to a satisfactory level, you won’t have such a strong need to escape anymore.

  • Social contacts (friends, partnership, family)
  • Finances (security)
  • Career (personal fulfillment)
  • Leisure (hobbies, adventures)
  • Personal sphere (fitness, growth, mental stability)

To minimize the craving, it is also important to address acute problems that occupy your mind every day and need urgent resolution. Solve these problems instead of pushing them aside. Only then will you create the foundation to deny legitimacy to the craving.

2 men and one women smoking weed and looking at the camera

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3. The craving pressure caused by cannabis

Before I share three helpful tips, let’s briefly discuss the concept of craving pressure. Craving pressure is a response triggered by stored memories. The thought of using cannabis leads to the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with anticipation, the experience of being high, and the subsequent effects. When faced with craving pressure, you have two options in how you respond.

3.1 Allowing Craving Pressure

Simply allow the feeling to arise and try not to resist it. If you can accept it and let it happen, it will dissipate relatively quickly. This requires a healthy relationship with oneself and one’s mind. Allowing without judgment is the rule. Craving pressure is not present 24 hours a day, just like with any addiction. It comes and goes. Over time, you can reprogram your thoughts and live well with this approach.

3.2 Distracting from Craving Pressure

If you find it challenging to allow craving pressure, the second option is distraction. This method also allows you to reprogram your brain. You can achieve this with the simplest things.

For example, you can drink a glass of water every time the feeling arises. If the thought persists, you can also turn to alternatives such as exercise or going for a walk. Anything that distracts you is beneficial.

Again, as time passes, craving pressure diminishes. You gradually become accustomed to it, and the life of a cannabis user will eventually feel more foreign to you than the life you are leading now.

This may sound strange at first, but through countless exchanges with long-term cannabis users, this sentiment has been repeatedly confirmed.

man on a lonely road, walking into the sun

4. 3 Tips to Prevent Relapse

Is it ever easy to control the urge during the three phases? No, it’s not. But what happens after I’ve completed the seven weeks? Am I cured then?

Unfortunately, no. In my opinion, cannabis users are similar to alcoholics in this regard. Former cannabis users should always be aware that a relapse can happen at any time. It can be triggered by the loss of a loved one or simply by too much stress.

Alcoholics and cannabis users remain at risk of addiction for life. From personal experience, I can say that it is very rare for someone who was once dependent to be able to use cannabis occasionally. While there are some people who, after years of abstinence, are able to control their consumption, they are the exception.

I could give you many examples from the community and people I know where individuals went from saying “just once today” to “only on weekends” and eventually back to daily use. That’s why it’s important to be proactive and make the right decisions to avoid getting into a “tempting” situation.

4.1 Avoiding cannabis-using friends and certain places

Taking the first steps towards quitting cannabis may require temporarily distancing yourself from certain friends and environments. While it may seem challenging, this approach is aimed at setting a strong foundation for your journey. By avoiding places where you used to consume cannabis and friends who regularly engage in it, you minimize the risk of triggers and create space for personal growth.

True friends will understand and support your decision, giving you the time and space to adjust to your new lifestyle. Once you’ve overcome the daily cravings, you can gradually reintegrate these friendships. However, it’s important to communicate your needs and ask them not to consume cannabis during your time together.

This period also offers an opportunity to evaluate the authenticity of your friendships. Some relationships may have been based solely on shared activities or substance use. During this time, you’ll discover who your true friends are—those who genuinely care about you as a person and wholeheartedly support your decision.

Remember, surrounding yourself with a supportive network can greatly contribute to your success in staying clean and building a healthier future.

2 man and one woman holding a joint in their hands

„You are the only one responsible for giving you the life you want. Read that again.“

4.2 Create your own Motivational Videos

Who can motivate you better than yourself? No one! Creating your own motivational videos can be incredibly effective. During the initial stages of cannabis withdrawal, simply click record and talk about your situation.

If you feel awkward motivating yourself, just speak about how you’re feeling!

Pour out your thoughts and emotions. Share how you’re doing, what you’re going through, and what worries you. When you see yourself in the video, you’ll be able to view it from a different perspective.

There’s someone sitting there who’s not feeling well, and the only person who can change that is you! It’s an incredibly unique situation, but it’s very helpful for those days when you think, “Just once won’t hurt!”

4.3 The list of reasons why you quit smoking weed

The list of reasons is an essential component of your journey to maintain a cannabis-free lifestyle. It not only serves as a constant reminder of your initial decision to quit but also provides a solid foundation for your commitment.

By keeping the list accessible and regularly reviewing it, you can stay focused on your goals and maintain a strong sense of motivation, even during challenging times. When faced with the temptation to relapse, the list acts as a powerful deterrent, reminding you of the negative consequences you sought to avoid and the positive changes you have experienced since quitting.

Moreover, the list serves as a valuable tool to combat cravings and prevent relapse. Each time you read through it, you reinforce your determination and strengthen your resolve, reminding yourself of the numerous benefits and rewards that come with staying clean.

Embrace the power of our list of reasons and let it guide you on your path to a fulfilling, cannabis-free life.

woman about to write in her book reasons to quit weed, laptop in the background

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, staying clean from cannabis requires commitment, determination, and a proactive approach. It’s essential to understand the underlying reasons for quitting and use them as motivation during challenging times. Building a strong support system, engaging in healthy activities, and adopting positive coping strategies are vital for long-term success.

Creating a structured routine, setting realistic goals, and celebrating milestones along the way can provide a sense of accomplishment and reinforce your commitment to staying clean.

Remember, staying clean is a continuous journey, and it’s important to prioritize self-care, manage stress, and seek professional help if needed. By staying mindful, resilient, and focused on your goals, you can embrace a fulfilling and drug-free life.

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Alex and I’ve been a part of the QSW team since 2014. I started smoking weed when I was 15 and quit when I turned 28. Now I want to help you quit too. I always appreciate comments!

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