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 Yamas & Niyamas - Restraints & Observances
 Help with removing non-substance addictions
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3189 Posts

Posted - Oct 21 2008 :  3:01:08 PM  Show Profile  Visit CarsonZi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Message
Namaste Friends,

I am struggling with an addiction to smoking. I have recently realized that my addiction is not to the substance I (usually ) smoke, marijuana, but in fact to the process of smoking in general. This is not the first time I have dealt with a non-substance addiction as I used to use methamphetamine and heroin/morphine via injections and even after quitting both substances had to continue injecting saline solution for almost a year after just to satisfy my need to poke myself with needles. Eventually my veins started to get really hard (not to mention hard to find) and I realized I was in danger of physically hurting myself even though I was no longer injecting a substance so I stopped. Even today though the desire to inject even just water is still there. The power felt while injecting oneself is comparable to little else in my opinion. But my current issue is that I would like to stop smoking. I have pretty much cut out all cigarettes, I may smoke 1 or 2 a week if that now, and I have considerably dropped my marijuana usage, but I still have this intense need to smoke something after I eat, before I meditate, and throughout most of the evening. I realized recently though that I am not addicted to smoking pot. If I have none, or if it is not an appropriate place to smoke, I usually revert to a cigarette and am fine with that. Even just a half a smoke is enough. I just need to smoke something it seems. This is a habit that I know is not bettering me in any way, and it is a skin I would like to shed, but I am not sure how to go about doing this. I have been smoking (something) for well over half of my lifetime, (I'm only 27) and am finding it VERy difficult to drop my attachment to inhaling smoke. Anyone have any suggestions on how to break this desire?


Edited by - AYPforum on Oct 21 2008 5:34:54 PM


351 Posts

Posted - Oct 21 2008 :  5:34:54 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Moderator note: Topic moved for better placement
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4854 Posts

Posted - Oct 21 2008 :  7:02:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shanti's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Carson,
This has been discussed here:
Smoking and alcohol are not just substance addictions.. they are lifestyle addictions.. and very hard to stop because there are just way too many triggers that can make you want to smoke or drink.
One way to stop is HALT.. anytime you have a strong craving.. HALT.. see if you are H(hungry), A(angry), L(lonely), T(tired)... either take care of the problem.. like if you are hungry.. eat.. or distract yourself for a few min and you will see the craving will go away.

If you are down to just 2 cigarettes is a week.. I don't think you have a chemical addiction.. it's more of a mind addiction.. the kind that are hardest to let go.. but not impossible.

Wonder if the addiction to inject yourself would be like addiction to cutting? Anyway.. again.. it does not matter what mind addiction there is.. meditation and distraction work the best.

Hope these help.

Something emc posted here may help.
Originally posted by emc
Great post, darrylc! In my experience, though, it happens more and more often that when I realize how much ornamentations and "blingbling" my mind has added to a person, a thing, a situation etc, it sort of takes away A LOT of the enjoyment of it that used to be there. It is impossible to enjoy it like I used to, when I at the same time see how I fool myself into believing untrue stuff about it. I feel ridiculous. I stop.

It's like... say I like chocolate pudding a lot. Enjoy it a lot. Gives me a sense of feel good and relaxation. Then I go to therapy and start to remember that I started to eat chocolate pudding everytime my mom didn't have time for me. It was just a pain killer, relieving anxiety from being not seen and feeling lonely. Then suddenly chocolate pudding gets a different connotation and no longer gives me a sense of feel good. It awakens sorrow, which is the real underlying feeling. So I might enjoy chocolate pudding, but now for the reason that it shows me who I am, how my strategies have been trying to protect me from pain, and it is a constant reminder of my journey of self-inquiry. I am no longer able to enjoy it when I know why I enjoy it. If I on top of that gain knowledge of how damaging chocolate pudding is for my body (lots of sugar that is just giving me a kick, disturbing my insuline balance, making me gain weight etc etc) and how I support a system of sugar addiction in the world that people do not fare well from, because many, many more than I have learned to suppress anxiety with sugar etc etc... well... then more and more things add to my insights on what that previously enjoyable chocolate pudding actually is about in a larger picture. Detachment becomes easier, at least for me.

Edited by - Shanti on Oct 21 2008 7:07:09 PM
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3189 Posts

Posted - Oct 21 2008 :  7:25:45 PM  Show Profile  Visit CarsonZi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Shanti and thanks for your post.

I am quite familiar with the HALT method but my problem, as you've said, is not the substance itself but it is a lifestyle addiction or a mental addiction. I am addicted to inhaling smoke. I don't like cigarettes, never have, they have never been an issue for me, it is the marijuana smoking that is more an issue now. I only smoke cigs now when it's not reasonable to smoke pot. And like I said I have managed to cut out all "excess" pot smoking, and am down to smoking after meals (twice a day) and in the evenings before bed. And occasionally smoking before meditation practices. (Usually if I am having issues with physical symptoms like restless leg, or stomache ache or something) But cutting out these "smoke times" has proven to be quite an issue for me because I don't see much of a reason to quit right now. It doesn't seem like it is doing anything but good for me, yet I know it is not "purifying" and I need to stop at some point. Getting to that point may be difficult as it's not a "rock bottom" type of thing. Often for me I have to hit a "bottom" before I realize I need to change. With the needle addiction it was coming to the realization that I could develop some serious physical complications due to the hardening of my viens and the fact that I had used every accessible one hundreds of times. But with smoking pot, my original and longest addiction, I just don't see myself hitting bottom because of it. I need to find another reason to stop, and it has to be drastic I'm afraid.
About the needle addiction being similiar to cutting....I see the similarities from a non-IV drug users perspective, but they are really quite different. When I was maybe 10, I started cutting myself. Making upside down crosses in my arms and chest etc....but I think that was more to do with the enjoyment and desire to understand pain while creating "art". Kinda like my now mostly tattooed body. But with the needles it was ALL about power. The rush. Even if I wasn't injecting something psychoactive, the feeling of sliding the needle into the vein properly and watching the plume of blood puff into the chamber when pulling the plunger back, and then letting loose the touniquette, and slowly depressing the plunger, came with such an incredible feeling of overwhelming power...power over myself and my state of being. Most people are scared of needles, and I think I thrived on that....on the fact that I was capable of doing something so scary and so volatile to most people, yet so liberating and life affirming to me, gave me an attitude and a feeling of "I'm SOOOOOO much better then you" to the rest of the world. And the fact that I was really good at injecting myself without anyone knowing, (not even my fiance of 8 years could tell) or being able to tell heightened it all the more. That was a really hard addiction to break. Probably my second hardest yet. NOW I just gotta figure out how to quit this need to inhale smoke.
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3189 Posts

Posted - Oct 21 2008 :  7:28:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit CarsonZi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
PS. Sorry, I wrote back before I saw your PS. I really like the quote from emc and the whole "chocolate pudding" analogy. I will try to take a fresh look at WHY I am needing to smoke at certain times and see if I can't change the way I feel about why I'm smoking then.....Thanks again.
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4854 Posts

Posted - Oct 21 2008 :  8:02:39 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shanti's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Originally posted by CarsonZi

I am addicted to inhaling smoke.
NOW I just gotta figure out how to quit this need to inhale smoke.

In the above thread Ether posted:
Originally posted by Etherfish

This is a nicotine free cigarette that is made from lettuce that is a substitute for tobacco. I don't know how it would taste, but they did research it a lot and it's selling a lot. It's to help people quit who like smoking. I'm not endorsing it as I don't smoke, but i've heard a lot about it and it's clinically tested:

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brother neil

752 Posts

Posted - Oct 21 2008 :  8:34:55 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
I used to be a smoker, I quit smoking proabably 20+ times in my life. sometimes for a week a month, and a couple times for a year. Currently I dont smoke, have not smoked in a year in four months I think, I dont keep track of it. My personal advice, fall down and get up. Dont beat yourself up for falling. SOmetimes it helped me to set a target date. I did not like to keep track of how mnay days, if I quit today, tomorrow is just another today. Now just become aware of your smoking. Be careful of trying to do too much at one time. THe ego may get really mad and that is not good for me. The ego may also say you need to do more then you need to. Good luck brother
we are love, we are joy, we are in God and God is in us.
brother neil
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4854 Posts

Posted - Oct 21 2008 :  9:08:52 PM  Show Profile  Visit Shanti's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Originally posted by CarsonZi

And like I said I have managed to cut out all "excess" pot smoking, and am down to smoking after meals (twice a day) and in the evenings before bed.

And.. in your case you know one of your triggers.. need to smoke after a meal.. if you can distract yourself at that point.. so after a meal, plan on doing something that will keep you busy.. occupy your mind.. you may find the craving to smoke that one gone... If it is a mind addiction.. distracting helps.

Edited by - Shanti on Oct 21 2008 9:40:05 PM
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969 Posts

Posted - Oct 21 2008 :  10:15:46 PM  Show Profile  Visit Scott's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
You know there are "legal buds" right, Carson? I ordered some once in freshman year of college as a joke to give to a friend in place of his weed...we tried it and it was somewhat similar.

You could use that for a while so you aren't getting the THC anymore.
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3189 Posts

Posted - Oct 22 2008 :  10:54:10 AM  Show Profile  Visit CarsonZi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Everyone and thank you all for your generous input.

After reading through this all late last night, sleeping on it, waking up this morning and reading it again, it seems as if many of you are suggesting that I switch my substance and continue smoking a less "harmful" (maybe I'm assuming this since noone actually said that) substance like wild lettuce (and I have lots still, used to make an opium from it, so I could actually do this easily) or legal buds whatever. I guess my question to those of you suggesting this is..."Is smoking legal herb or wild lettuce or whatever any better for me then smoking pot?" Is this not just like me switching from heroin to methadone especially if my addiction is smoking and not THC? I spent a lot of time last night thinking about this and I realized that the main reason I developed a habit of pot smoking in the first place is because it slowed my brain down a bit and made it easier for me to focus on one thing at a time etc....Now, now that I have a daily meditation practice, I find that I am smoking marijuana for this exact reason again. It calms my mind-chatter, makes it easier for me to watch my thoughts, and it makes it easier for me to let go of stuff. (I guess I should also mention that I have a bit of an eating disorder if I don't smoke pot. I am very skinny to begin with, 5'9" and maybe 140 soaking wet, and if I don't smoke any pot, I can't eat. I have ZERO appetite. My body can be so desperate for food that I am literally throwing up bile, but can not force a bite of anything down my throat. Literally. Now saying this, I should also mention that this problem has gotten a lot better since I dropped being vegetarian because of getting headaches from excess energy in the head due to AYP overloads, and this is not really how it is as much anymore...but I am dangerously thin and cutting out marijuana completely may cause this to reoccur I don't know)
Basically what I'm trying to say is...does it really make a difference what I smoke? Especially if weed helps so much with making my life more balanced? Is it truly necessary to stop smoking weed in order to become "pure"? What if I stopped smoking weed and just started eating it? No more smoke right? Marijuana seems so beneficial to me in this yogic journey that I am now wondering if it is really necessary to transcend use early in the journey? Thanks again for all your wonderful thoughts and suggestions. It truly is wonderful to have a group of people to be able to bounce these types of ideas off of. (Moderators please feel free to move this topic to the Cannibas thread should you see fit.)

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1608 Posts

Posted - Oct 22 2008 :  1:55:23 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hi Carson,

Have you considered using the very same strategy you used for getting over your methodone addiction? Just cut it back little by little very slowly over time?

Smoke 3/4's instead of a full amount each time and then 1/2 and so on? Once you reach a negligible amount perhaps then reduce frequency of smoking very gradually?

Just a suggestion,
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3189 Posts

Posted - Oct 22 2008 :  2:07:35 PM  Show Profile  Visit CarsonZi's Homepage  Reply with Quote  Get a Link to this Reply
Hey Anthem,

Yes, this is what I have done and am currently doing to stop smoking....I used to smoke a quarter ounce every day for about 15 years and now I am smoking well less then and eighth ounce a day. And like I said above, my frequency is down to just a few specific times during the day now.

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