Matt Witt – Breaking a Habit

6 minute read

Ok, the time has come to come clean: For most of my life I have smoked marijuana on a daily basis. A habit that I have fostered while making excuses to justify it and convince myself of the positivity of the act. In a way I am almost proud of my dedication to the plant. We fell in love! I enjoy smoking and it has served a purpose in my world; I found it emotionally balancing, I found it inspiring and used it as a creative tool, for inspiration and self investigation. To begin with, but this is no longer the case and the last 30 days of rest have helped me to come to terms with the fact that it’s probably not serving me anymore. 

I have thought long and hard about publishing this article, it’s a public confession of something I am not particularly proud of, it’s something my family have no idea the extent of, and I have always been reluctant to speak about it with anyone at all.  I rested on the resolution that, by wording it out and by placing the words in the public domain I would be reinforcing my decision to stop working with the plant. This would help me stand up to my habit, focus my intention and bolster my will power. Perhaps I can write this habit out of me.

I present this article as a means to an end, to encourage myself on the path to sobriety. I hope it might also provide an example that others can relate to, with whatever habit they might have, that they would rather not. I don’t care what is your vice, I simply want to share my experience of stepping out of habit. At least, readers might find it interesting and it might help to shed light on their own addictions, to whatever.

This month of rest, which incorporated a two week exodus to Greece, allowed me some time and space to call into question certain aspects of my life, some habits I nurture that perhaps no longer serve me. It might be said that this edition saved my life, who knows where a continued habit such as this could lead, perhaps to my own personal hell. Taking time to rest has certainly altered my direction and trajectory and there are real world examples of this appearing as I write these words.

One friend described it as a form of self torture. I understand it as a form of dislike for yourself manifested in a habit that slows you down at such a rate it’s barely noticeable, but accumulates over time to leave you incapable, sheltered and somewhat lonely, stifling yourself voluntarily, this has been my experience. Where once the plant reduced my anxiety, lately, perhaps for years, I felt it having the opposite effect, where once it used to keep me concentrated, I now find it tires me. Where once it would spark ideas, and encourage exploration, now it dampens my spark and discourages social interaction. I realised I was clinging to this bubble, this comfort zone, it gave me an excuse not to take proper responsibility in my life. To protect myself from real human relationships, from emotional pain and true connection.

I am now 21 days in to the break up, and although the physical withdrawal symptoms have calmed, I am still suffering from the psychological symptoms, which have always been a lot harder for me to overcome. The grooves of this habit, run deep though my neural circuitry, my mind keeps presenting excuses to succumb, to take a smoke. But I am blowing these desires off, I am working with my will power in a way that I have never done and slowly new habits are forming. I am turning towards words, towards art, to overcome the desire to smoke. It is understood that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, if that’s so, then I am on the brink, double that and I will be free of this. 

It’s not all negative. To form a relationship with a plant brought me closer to nature. It took me to China where a friend of mine grew all sorts of strains on a hillside amongst the native hemp. It taught me about synchronicity, the power of intuition, it brought people into my life who otherwise I might not have met and who proved to be beneficial to me and I to them. It took me deep inside, it opened up my mind, made me passive and non reactive, (which is both positive and negative trait). It helped me listen and watch. It brought me an intense intimate relationship with myself, and my inner world, it brought about inspiring pieces art, a repertoire of gentle, calm folk songs, it opened up language, helping me to be more inventive, it taught me about intuition. But now, these things have been learned and integrated, I have no need to keep repeating the same experience. The time has come to let go entirely. 

On the surface my habit was under control, I would smoke a couple of spliffs in the evening, I didn’t see a problem with that. I have spent long periods of time sober, and  especially in the last few years; when I was in Thailand living at a Buddhist Temple, taking part and managing meditation retreats, long swathes of time were spent without the plant. I believe these experiences in foreign lands were an important part of the process of letting go of this relationship too. The tuition I received from monks on the nature the mind, the nature of habit forming, the connection to my body through yoga, the repeated cleansing of the mind, and then the repeated returns to habit, all this has allowed me to arrive at this point. A lot of growing up has happened in the last 4 years. A lot of letting go. I went from man child to man proper. That’s a tough admission at 35 years old!

Each time I had a break from the habit, I found my life changing in ways that amazed me, socially I became someone who I didn’t think I could be, a speaker, a leader, an inspiring role model (not self proclaimed). But each time, at the first opportunity, I would revert to the old ways, like I couldn’t wait to get back to it. And all the opportunities and life changes faded away again. 

I was afraid to step into my full capacity. I was not ready to climb out of my smokey burrow and approach the real world. Now I am.  Over the last 5 years, a lot of learning, resolution, and processing has occurred, and this last few months, with the introduction of Wake up screaming into my life seems to be a culmination, the turning point, the point at which I gain proper control of my habit, and the point I step properly into being without fear.

I sit writing this, with my little bag of weed in the draw beneath me, untouched, and with no intention of breaking the habit of not smoking, it still calls, but I am exercising my will power to an extent that I have not been able to do in the past. I am failing to fail.

One dear friend once said, “you won’t hold down a relationship with a woman while you are in a relationship with a plant”. True, it does feel like the deepest and closest relationship I have fostered throughout my life is with a plant. There is nothing negative about this it’s just a different approach, but it is one I wish to move through.

I wonder if this deeply engrained habit and commitment to a plant is to do with counter balancing our collective disconnection from nature. I wonder a lot of things. I wonder how I have justified it for so long, staying locked in to the cycles. Marijuana provides windows inwards, but it doesn’t help to move outward and expand, it doesn’t help me to release things the things I need to let go of, the habit itself for example.

Rest has broadened my horizons, it has taught me to write and speak a new world into existent, at least from a subjective point of view. I was walking down a foggy path barely able to see past the end of my own nose, let alone 10 steps ahead. 30 days of rest have brought the light flooding in, I cannot only see the forest and fields that surround me but I can also see the epic space, the stars, and the marriage of masculine and feminine as the guiding light up ahead.

It feels like myself is melting down, I see visions of my being crumbling into dust, and rising in flames, reforming again. I am melting in a ladle, reforming in the furnace.

The epic scale of letting go of a habit that has been with me for 15 years or more, is not to be underestimated. I am bursting at the seams, happy, ecstatic, energetic, I feel like the whole of reality is reorganising itself to accommodate my action in this direction. The fall out is unknown and will be surprising for sure. I am already surprising myself with my outward action, my willingness, the love I am dedicating to myself is shining through and people can see it. 

I feel I must also mention the following: if you are reading this and relating it to your own crutches and habits, you want to take action but struggle to see the path, then read Jordan Peterson’s 12 rules for life – I have listened to JP lectures for over 2 years and despite having pissed off certain minority groups with some of his opinions, I have found his psychotherapeutic points of view steadying, directional and enlightening. He is taking part in part in psychological therapy on a mass scale with his videos and now the 12 rules book that throws all his most important techniques and real life examples into one place. He has been such a great help to me in calling myself out.

Rest forced me to look at myself unscrupulously and Jordan Petersen slapped me round the face and helped me to see the error of my ways and the way towards correcting them.

I feel this 30 days is the conclusion of 5 years of building myself to point where I can let go of this habit and move into a new epoch my life. One directed more fully outward, with clarity, firm intention towards defined aims, in hand with the feminine manifested in human form.

If you want to talk about this, feel free to get in touch: matt@wakeupscreaming.com

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