Why is everything that’s supposed to be bad make me feel so good?
Everything they told me not to is exactly what I would.
Man, I tried to stop, man, I tried the best I could, but… you make me smile…
What’s your addiction?
– Kanye West, Song: Addiction, Album: Late Registration
Hello, friend, Coach J here from Anyman Fitness.
Instead of the usual fitness tips, I want to share a story with you.
This is a very personal story, and I hesitate to be truthful about it.
Even though it may scare me a bit to bare my soul, if it helps just one person, it’s worth it.
I am also going to speak in a raw voice here, exactly how I would talk in real life.
So, if a few curse words aren’t your thing, you may not want to continue reading.
Here we go… buckle up… this will be a longer ride than you’re used to…
3 weeks ago, on Saturday, 6/25, I smoked a THC vape pen for the last time in my life.
I’ve always been someone who has vices.
I enjoy nicotine (used to smoke, now I use nicotine pouches and cigars), drink alcohol recreationally, and enjoy a pot toke now and then.
(Nothing harder than that, ever, though.)
It started when many people’s vices begin – in college.
It’s “normal” in college.
It’s f*cked up, but it’s true…
After college, 5 nights of booze per week became 2-3 nights per week, but the habit still persisted.
I had kids at the age of 29, and I still kept up my 1-2 night per week drinking habit.
It wasn’t anything overly excessive, but it wasn’t healthy for me.
I would wake up with a headache and a dry mouth on many weekend mornings.
Again, this is perceived “normalcy” in America.
In 2018, pot became legalized in Michigan.
Awesome, I thought to myself. I enjoyed pot in college, and now it would be regulated to be sure I wasn’t getting black market nonsense.
And it was now just as legal as booze, so the stigma of the “lazy pothead” was fading.
I was anything but ‘lazy’. Anyman Fitness was founded in 2013, and by 2017, I had quit my teaching career to be self-employed, and live life on my own terms.
And now, I could switch out booze for pot, which is much healthier, in my opinion.
At first, I just toked a bit on Fridays and Saturdays, which was just fine. But you know how it goes…
I got used to falling asleep easier with some CBD/THC in my system. And I started having troubles sleeping without it.
So, 2x per week became a nightly habit shortly thereafter.
But eventually, the ‘relaxing fun’ stopped being relaxing fun…
I started getting paranoia. I had a few panic attacks and blood pressure drops while toking.
I actually once stood up from my bed and passed out from a blood pressure drop.
Pretty scary stuff.
Side note – I never, EVER did the ‘wake and bake’ or smoked before my work was done.
My kids were always accounted for and at home/in bed when I smoked.
I was a “responsible smoker” if there is such a thing.
And my wife is a teetotaler anyways, so our kids always had someone there in case of an emergency and someone had to drive.
I just had to throw that out there. Yes, it was daily usage, but it was fairly responsible.
I didn’t hide it, and it didn’t effect anything in my business or my relationship with my wife, family, or friends (outside of my own health/mindset).
My wife was aware I smoked and didn’t care, either. After all, it’s legally the same thing as having a few drinks to ‘take the edge off’.
Anywho, the weeks turned into months, which turned into years… and I was still toking every night.
This is where it started to turn sour…
I noticed my mood beginning to shift. If I was out somewhere at 9 pm, all I would want to do is go home so I could toke and watch TV/chill out.
I became anti-social, and that’s not like me AT ALL.
Everyone who knows me knows I’m outgoing, extroverted, and fun to be around.
I also developed something for the first time in my life – social anxiety.
I would feel nervous about talking to people in social situations. Doing podcasts. Going on business trips/networking. Meeting new people.
That sort of a thing.
I had always been conversational and charming.
But that wasn’t the case any longer…
I would struggle to find words to say during conversations, even when I wasn’t high.
I would get nervous when people were talking to me, scared I would say something embarrassing.
So I would just stay quiet.
It was f*cked up. It was a total 180 from the “me” I had always been.
My mojo was literally gone…
Weed was changing my personality for the worse.
I also became irritated and anxious. So, I did what many users do – I would smoke to get rid of the anxiety, and I would avoid social situations.
It truly IS a ‘vicious cycle’.
THC users will tell you how weed ‘slows down your thoughts’. This is great (at first) for someone with a racing mind (like me).
I’ve always been a super light sleeper. I overthink and overanalyze everything. Weed helped me calm down those thoughts and unplug from the daily grind.
At least, that’s how I justified my usage…
But soon, I started noticing things. I would forget shit. I wouldn’t remember people’s names. I once showed up at my daughter’s school to pick her up and her aunt was already there to do the same.
She said, “You texted me yesterday and asked me to pick her up”, and I responded, “I did?”
I had forgotten about the text. My short term memory was shot from the dope. I played it off like “Haha, it’s been a long week, my bad, no worries!”
But this was a clear sign this wasn’t good.
For about a year now, I knew I needed to quit, but to be honest, I was nervous. I didn’t want to deal with the insomnia that no doubt would come from quitting a substance I’d been using for 4+ years to sleep at night.
So, instead of quitting, I would say “I’ll cut back a little bit”.
I put off quitting for a long time. I did actually cut back, though.
I went from smoking a 1 gram cart every 4-5 days to smoking a 1 gram cart every 2-3ish weeks. A big reduction.
It helped a bit, but it didn’t make me feel 100% or anything.
Just a bit less groggy.
I’m not sure what did it, but on Sunday morning of June 26th, I woke up feeling groggy and fuzzy (per usual), and I thought to myself, “F*ck this, I want to feel like me again.”
But I had thought that before, and had done nothing about it.
This time, though, something snapped in my head.
I thought to myself, “Dude, throw it ALL AWAY NOW before you change your mind.”
And I just started gathering vape pens, carts, wires, etc. from my nightstand and hiding spots, still in my skivvies from sleeping, and tossed them all into the garbage quickly.
I took the trash out to the curb and told myself I would NOT go retrieve them.
The trash was collected on Monday morning, and the vape accessories were gone from my life.
But the following Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday nights were something else… let me tell you…
They say you don’t ‘detox’ from marijuana, and it’s not ‘addictive’.
That’s some motherf*cking BULLSHIT, let me tell you…
I detoxed HARD…
Flu like symptoms
Chills/Hot Flashes/Night Sweats
Nausea/Loss of appetite
It was wild, honestly.
I resolved to make it through, though. Within a day, my lungs started to feel a bit better. Within 2 days, I saw a BIG stamina and energy bump in the gym.
I slept about 40 minutes total that Sunday night.
And about 1 hour on Monday night.
Tuesday night, I was able to get 2 hours of light sleep.
So, less than 4 hours of total sleep over the first 3 nights…
But on Wednesday night, I turned a little bit of a corner. I had some light sleep for about 2 hours from 1 am – 3 am. That was the earliest I had fallen asleep in the last 4 nights.
Then, I stared at the ceiling until 4 am or so, until I fell into the deepest, most restorative slumber I’ve had since I first hit the vape pen.
It was a true REM cycle. It almost shocked me, since it had been so long since I had had that.
3 hours of pure bliss.
That’s pretty f*cked up, especially for a fitness guy. It was really exciting to me, though. I’ve had some pretty damn good fitness results these last 4 years, even though I was pretty much devoid of true, high quality sleep.
When you use THC, you “pass out” and get shitty sleep, similar to alcohol.
This is the Catch-22 of pot.
You think you need it to sleep. And yes, you do fall asleep easier. But you never dream or have an REM cycle. And you never wake up feeling refreshed.
You have to force yourself out of bed in the morning, groggy as all hell.
That ain’t no way to go through life. Before pot, I was the guy who sprang out of bed at 7 am every morning, ready to crush the day.
With pot, I was the guy who wasn’t truly awake until after his morning workout, cardio, and sauna were complete, around noon each day.
Also, I would be remiss if i didn’t tell you another killer side effect of being THC-free.
My resting heart rate dropped 10 bpm in the first few days after quitting. It was consistently 74-78 for years, and a few days later, it was steady at 67.
I was thrilled, to say the least.
If you’re in the same boat as I once was, hitting a vape pen, dabbing, or smoking flower each night, there’s some advice I want to give you.
It’s not easy to get through the withdrawals if you’re a chronic user.
Here’s a few tips for you:
Consistent exercise and healthy habits really help speed up the detox process.
I browsed the subreddit r/leaves, which is a forum for those trying to quit marijuana. Lots of people were sharing similar stories and experiences to mine.
It always helps to know you’re not alone.
But the main thing was the healthy habits I had in place.
They REALLY helped speed up the recovery process.
I didn’t waver in my fitness routine during the detox, even though I felt like shit and got no sleep. I framed it as ‘penance’ for enjoying the last 4 years blazing.
I drank lots of water, ate healthy food, lifted weights, got lots of steps in, hit the sauna daily, and just rode it out until the worst had subsided.
Some people aren’t so lucky, are heavier users than I was, or don’t exercise/eat right and the recovery takes months.
They feel like shit for many, many weeks.
Some may be genetically predisposed to taking longer to flush toxins out of their system, who knows.
But either way, I feel SO MUCH BETTER now.
My sense of humor is returning.
I’m smiling more around my kids, and flirting more with my wife.
My agitation is gone and my mood has lightened.
I feel amazing – I haven’t felt this good in a LONG time.
4+ years, to be exact…
If you’ve been on my email list for a bit, you may even notice a slight change in my writing style. My thoughts are clearer and crisper. My brain synapses are firing beautifully.
I feel like I’ve been reborn.
Almost like Bradley Cooper in Limitless, if you want a cheesy reference.
Shit feels good, man. I can’t believe I let pot have a grip on my life for so damn long…
I can’t wait to go on vacation with my family in a few weeks, and focus on THEM and making memories instead of worrying if I would have a secret spot to hit my vape pen in solitude at night.
I even brought my marijuana materials to Disney last year when I went with my family.
There I was, at ‘the happiest place on earth’, complete with my vices and crutches.
Have weed will travel, I suppose…
A few tips of advice for you, if you’re in a similar situation:
1. If anything I have said resonated with you, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
I’m tearing up a little bit as I type this out…
I felt so alone and ashamed of what I had become the last 4+ years.
I felt like an imposter.
Like, “Here’s this dude who runs a successful fitness biz, but nobody knows he’s a pothead who uses a vape pen like a binky.”
But that’s the thing.
Addiction doesn’t give a F*CK who you are, or what you do.
I know lots of very successful people who use vape pens/pot nightly to sleep.
Businessmen, high achievers, lawyers, and even other fitness coaches (gasp).
And many of them justify it in the exact same way I did.
“It’s just a way to turn off my mind and unwind, bro, I’m high strung.”
That was a cope.
It just took me WAY too long to realize it and do something about it.
2. Marijuana addiction is REAL.
I don’t care what you say. It’s psychologically addictive more than physically, sure, but it’s still physically addictive.
I would know; I lived through the withdrawal symptoms.
Is it heroin or meth?
Or even booze?
No, far from it, let’s keep it real here.
I felt better in about 4 days. It was a shitty 4 days, but it was only 4 days and it didn’t require rehab or a hospital stay.
My sleep is still pretty f*cked, though. That’s going to take some time to re-regulate, I’m sure.
3. Too much of a good thing is universally a bad thing.
I don’t care what it is.
Working out (YEP, I said it)
We all need balance in our lives. If something is controlling your thoughts and actions, it is, by definition, a bad thing.
4. There are TON of people who are potheads who are coping and lying to themselves.
Marijuana legislation *can be* a net positive, but it can also be a net negative.
If you quit opiates using some weed, that’s a good thing.
If you’re a big drinker/alcoholic, and you stop entirely and use pot instead, that’s not the *best* thing, but it IS still better/less destructive to toke each night instead of getting drunk.
Just don’t justify heavy/daily usage by saying “it’s better than booze” – because that’s just an excuse for substance abuse.
If you’re in a similar boat as I was, getting high each night to sleep, and you know you need to quit, use this newsletter as a sign.
For months, our government forced us all to stay inside, shut down all activities, and then kept liquor stores and pot stores open for our ‘enjoyment’.
Because they were ‘essential’…
There’s alway some unintended consequences for our actions, that’s for sure.
But I digress…
So, if you’re struggling with marijuana addiction, it’s time to change that.
THE PERSON READING THIS –
If you’re thinking, “Motherf*cker, that’s ME he’s talking about” – do what I did.
Go get your shit, all your pens and wires and carts and flower and batteries and dabs and bongs… and throw that shit away.
It’s for the best.
It WILL suck for a few days. Or maybe a few weeks. Or even a few months.
But your mind will clear. Your lungs will clear. Your eyes will be less irritated quickly. Your mood will slowly improve. You’ll start to feel like the “you” you used to be eventually.
As I said once before, exercise and diet helped tremendously with me getting through the first week.
This would have been 10x more difficult if I didn’t sweat it out daily lifting, walking, hitting the sauna, hydrating, and eating healthy foods.
If you’re looking to quit THC/vape pens, and you need a proper workout or diet program, you can check out this link.
Many of the programs are free – grab one and use it throughout the detox process.
It will help immensely.
I feel like I have a few life. I’m no longer broody and irritated in the morning.
When I’m driving my daughters to summer camp, I no longer bark at them for “being too loud in the morning”.
(That’s kind of embarrassing to admit… they’re just kids, who are fired up to be going to camp over summer break…)
My Final Thought:
Just because the government said “hey, weed is okay now” doesn’t mean it’s harmless.
Is it ‘Reefer Madness’, causing us all to rape people?
No, not really.
But is it actually ‘healthy’?
F*ck no, not at all.
If you want to help people who may be in my (old) shoes, feel free to forward this newsletter to them.
If you’ve been smoking weed daily, you will never get to the point where you actually quit until you FORCE yourself to do it.
Your mind doesn’t function properly on weed, and your lizard brain will make all the justifications in the world.
And hey, if you received this email from a friend or family member who has forwarded it… there’s a reason they sent you this email!
The person who sent it loves you and wants you to do better!
THROW YOUR SHIT AWAY RIGHT NOW!
You know you need to…
You know you want to feel sober and good naturally again.
The time is now, my friend.
Let’s do this.
I would love to hear back from you if this message resonated with you.
I have 29k people on this list, too, so my inbox could be flooded on this one…
Please be patient. I’ll do my best to get to everyone, but it will likely take some time.
One, last thought…
On Twitter, it’s common to see people tweet stuff like,
“They want you to be stoned, drunk, and addicted – you’re easier to control that way.”
I used to scoff at those tweets.
They seemed like cheap ways to get some engagement and increase follower counts.
But these days, I’m not so sure…
When you’re clear headed, sober, substance free, and focused, you will be UNSTOPPABLE.
Let’s be unstoppable together. 🙂
I hope you enjoyed this edition of the Anyman Fitness N.W.A. Newsletter.
I’ll be back next week.
Hope you have a wonderful weekend.
Of course, there’s only one song that fits today’s N.W.A. Newsletter: Addiction, from Kanye West, off his album Late Registration. (NSFW – lyrics)