Red alert

Shit's just got real.

I want weed

Reaching for a smoke because things feeling shit? Firstly, this isn't surprising or abnormal since weed was probably your go-to coping mechanism before you decided to make a change. But wait!

Could it be self sabotage?

The reason this is happening, could be because you've jumped onto a toxic train of thought. If one of the following feels like you, just realising this may be a great relief, and ease your desire to use cannabis.

  1. All or nothing thinking, when you see things in only black or white with no inbetween. When you are in this headspace you might think something like “If I can’t be the best, it’s pointless trying at all” or “If I don’t succeed in this job, I’m a total failure”.
  2. Over-generalising, thinking that because something has gone wrong before, it will always go wrong. In this case you might find yourself thinking “I've already slipped twice,  I’ll never be able to quit this for good”.
  3. Negative mental filter, always blocking out the positive. When you only see the negative things you can start to focus on them. This leads to a false view of the situation.
  4. Converting positives into negatives. It’s too easy to reject your achievements and other positive experiences by deciding that they “don’t count” for some reason. You might think something like “I only managed to not smoke before now because there wasn’t a lot of pressure on me”.
  5. Assuming the worst. Even when there is little or no evidence to support it, you might jump to the conclusion that someone is reacting negatively to you.
  6. Mind reading. Thinking, “My friend interrupted me twice. I must be so boring,” even though there is no truth in it.
  7. The fortune teller error. You anticipate that things will turn out badly and are convinced that your prediction is set in stone. The danger is that these negative expectations become self-fulfilling. When you think, “this relationship isn't going to work” or “I’ll never be able to stop smoking” this kind of thinking can contribute to it becoming true.
  8. Making a mountain out of a mole hill. Exaggerating the impact of things will only convince yourself that if something goes wrong it will be totally unbearable.
  9. Don’t mistake feelings for facts. No matter how strong a feeling is, it’s not a fact! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking “I feel like a failure; therefore, I am a failure”.
  10. Don’t make everything about you. Try not to blame yourself for everything unpleasant and don’t take responsibility for other people’s feelings or behaviour. If your partner has come home in a bad mood, don't assume you did something to make them like that.
  11. Don’t diss yourself. Often when we do this, it's an over-reaction to a mistake we might have made. If you're dissing yourself, you might think things like “I don’t deserve any better”, “I’m an idiot” or “I’m weak, stupid or ugly”.
  12. Avoid statements that use “should” and “must. They can lead to guilt and set you up to be disappointed. Directing these kinds of statements toward yourself and others will make you feel frustrated, angry and resentful. Instead of “I mustn’t get angry”, think "I'm relaxed about this".

Or is it because I'm feeling awesome?

If this is you, then it could be that this feeling is actually a trigger for you. Positive feelings can also make you want a smoke. You might want to celebrate, or when you're already feeling really good, you might feel like cannabis will make it even better. If this happens there are a few things you can try. First, remember there are countless ways to enhance a good feeling, not only cannabis. Try doing something else you enjoy that you can’t do when you are smoking.

Flip the situation and think about the times when cannabis did not make you feel good or when you felt guilty because you smoked. You might also want to remind yourself why you originally decided to change.

And don’t underestimate the power of just being content with the good feeling you are experiencing. Think of what you would be sacrificing by ruining it with cannabis? Is it worth it just to feel a little happier now?

Red Alert Button Transparent

Damn, I slipped

A slip is when you use cannabis after planning not to. If you've had a slip, don’t beat yourself up. Yes, each slip feeds a craving, instead of starves it; and yes, it's a hurdle on your path to change. But realise you’ve taken huge steps already, and this setback does not mean you’ve failed.

It's not a major crisis (remember de-drama ), it's a chance to learn. Ask yourself where things went wrong, and devise an action plan.

Example

Trigger: I went to Ben’s place where everyone was stoned and before I knew it I was smoking up.

Action plan
1. Avoid Ben's place for a little while
2. Practice delaying the next visit to Ben's place
3. Identify the reasons I went to Ben’s place when I know he's a heavy smoker (See below)

Why did it happen?

Some slips are situational, others could be intentional. Why do you think you used cannabis again? Can you identify when it first occurred to you that using cannabis might be a good idea?

Intentional slips

Maybe quitting seems like too much effort. You might get tired of the whole thing and take a night off, or you might decide that you deserve a reward for your hard work and having a smoke is how you reward yourself. If you find that you slipped intentionally, go to action 3. The ups and downs of using and think more about the reasons you decided to change. Do you need to update your journal entry? Go to action 4. Am I ready to change? Are you?

Unintentional slips

No matter how dedicated, you might have a slip simply because you couldn't resist. You could kick yourself when you realise that the urge would have passed in a short while, so think about what can be improved. Are there trigger situations you're finding too hard? How can you deal with high-risk triggers more effectively? Update your journal entry on action 11. Deal to your triggers with your new plans.

Is pot use a problem for you?

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