How Meditation Helped Me Quit Smoking Cigarettes and Weed in 2 Weeks

I started smoking cigarettes back in 1992.  I started smoking marijuana not too long after cigarettes, maybe a couple of weeks after.  That’s a good 26 years of smoking.  And it would be a complete waste of time to calculate exactly how many cigarettes I might have smoked, but that’s about 189,940 cigarettes, which, without adjusting for inflation, could amount to about $47,485 at a measly $5 a pack (I know it’s much more now, but I don’t want to make myself sick).  So that’s basically an extra $50,000 I could have right now if instead of smoking, I saved the money.  And if I wanted to calculate how much money I rolled up into joints or stuffed into a bong hit, I would be way too depressed to finish writing this sentence.

If it were just an intellectual problem, then it would have been solved in an instant.  But the problem was much deeper, and it required a totally different approach.  The approach of not making any approach at all.  I didn’t go into my first meditation class thinking I would quit smoking cigarettes cold turkey, and I didn’t think I would ever quit smoking weed.  Marijuana has become so accepted these days, and is even used by many people to aid with meditation, that it wasn’t even a question.  So how did it happen?

The thing that got me to quit was a simple exercise I was given.  It was an exercise in awareness.  It goes like this:  For 1 full day, from the moment you wake, till the moment you go to sleep, you practice being two people.  1 person is the normal you, that goes throughout your day as you usually do.  The other person just watches.  Just notices the things you do.  Doesn’t judge you, doesn’t mock you, doesn’t analyze you.  Just watches, observes, takes notice. 

here's my face talking

This was my introduction to awareness.  It’s a very simplistic version of it, but it really had an impact on me.  At its very core, this is what mindfulness meditation is.  With this simple approach, I realized how much I wanted to quit, and how quitting smoking was not something I wanted to do in the future, it was something that I needed to do right now.  It was a present moment awareness that I could not disregard.  

Now I’m not saying this technique will work for everyone.  There are also many other factors at play, some of which I still probably am not completely aware of.  But for me, it worked so fast, and looking back it seems like it was so effortless.  Maybe at the time it was a bit of a struggle, but I can say for certain that this struggle is so worth it.  If I could hold all of the struggles I’ve had in my life in front of me, that would be one of those that was most worth the effort. 

It’s not just the $50,000.  That’s just the measurable aspect of smoking, so that’s the easiest to put into words.  But this is not the thing that I was even aware of when I turned my awareness on.  I was aware of my mental state, my physical state, and my emotional state every time I would light up.  It was so hard to turn those things off if I were to do this exercise fully and whole heartedly.  And I was very determined, because I had made a promise to someone.  I promised to give this thing a try, and not put it down until I was sure that it didn’t work.  And I was determined to show this person how much it didn’t work… and that may have been the very thing that made it work!

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