Jokabel Del Villar started smoking when she was 17 years old.
She quit cold turkey in March 2023 and hasn't smoked since.
She still believes marijuana has benefits, but it wasn't helping her anymore.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Jokabel Del Villar. It has been edited for length and clarity.
I started smoking marijuana socially when I was about 17. It was a way to connect and share space with friends, and I loved doing it.
But over the years, I started smoking more and more. By 22, I was smoking by myself. I got my medical marijuana card and used cannabis to manage my anxiety. Rolling a blunt was no longer a social activity and a way to connect — it was a way to get through my day.
Looking back, I can see the signs that I was starting to abuse weed. It became the first thing I did when I woke up in the morning and the last thing I did before I went to bed at night. Weed was constantly on my mind, all day, every day. I was worried about whether I would run out, thinking about trying a new strain or texting my boyfriend to come smoke on the patio.
I quit cold turkey 167 days ago
In March of 2023, I realized that my marijuana use was standing between who I was and who I wanted to be. I strongly felt that the best version of myself didn't smoke. She knew how to deal with problems head-on, with a clear mind.
Smoking weed had become a crutch for me. It let me sweep my feelings under the rug or escape them. I didn't need to confront my emotions because I could blow them away with a puff of smoke.
That's when I decided I was going to quit. I didn't scale back or ease into it. One morning, I just decided, today's the day. I posted a TikTok about it, saying, "I'm going to make cocktails and hope my brain gets tricked, so we can survive it." I was shocked when the video got more than 750,000 views.
My boyfriend and best friend still smoke
At first, my boyfriend was going to get sober with me. But ultimately, he decided that wasn't the right decision for him. I live with him and my best friend, and they both still smoke while I stay sober. I respect their choice, and they respect mine.
Still, being around them smoking can be tricky. I still get cravings a few times a week. I used to roll their blunts for them, finding enjoyment in something that I did many times a day for years. Other times, I'd just sit outside and enjoy the conversation and the smell of their smoke.
When I'm having a hard time, I tell them. I might say I really wish I could smoke right now. But I know that smoking doesn't align with the goals I'm working toward, including getting physically fit and securing a new career. I like to be intentional with my actions, and I know that smoking wouldn't serve any purpose in my life right now.
I believe marijuana has benefits, but not for me at this stage
I thought I'd stay sober until my 30th birthday, which was about three months away. But that milestone came and went and I liked how I felt. I've decided that I'm going to stay sober indefinitely.
It's super helpful to know that so many people are in a similar spot. I've had lots of messages from people who want to stop smoking or feel like their cannabis use isn't serving them anymore.
I'm a firm believer in the power of marijuana as medicine. I've seen that smoking weed has helped my sister, who is disabled, and my brother, who also has medical concerns. My boyfriend uses marijuana to enhance his meditation and yoga practice.
Marijuana has many benefits. I don't want to take away from that. But when it got to the point that I couldn't personally see a benefit from smoking, I knew it was time to stop.
Read the original article on Insider