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Addiction or Association?

  • anonymous Asks ...

    This seems like a frivolous question but I want to know it coffee is a trigger risk for addiction. I used to smoke a lot of pot and drink a lot of coffee, often together. I really liked the buzz I’d get after a good joint and 2 or 3 strong espressos. I went on a cleanse and stopped smoking marijuana, cigarettes and drinking coffee. It was very difficult for me and quitting marijuana was by far the hardest. I had been smoking for a long time and was definitely addicted. It was getting to be too much in a bad way.
    This afternoon I decided to have a coffee with some friends at the coffee shop I used to frequent. After a couple of coffees I had this almost overwhelming urge to light a joint, and since everyone in that place smokes it would have been very easy to get one. It scared me and I left before I smoked but the cravings haunted me all night and I almost left a couple of times to go and buy some pot.

    Because I used to always smoke marijuana and drink coffee together that I will always associate drinking coffee with smoking? Do I have to stop drinking coffee for ever or will this association go away at some point? I can’t believe how tough it’s been for me to stop smoking pot…and just when I thought I was in the clear here we go again…

  • Dr. Lani Chin Says ...
    Dr. Lani Chin

    It seems like you're talking about two different things.  Although associations can certainly lead to addictions, an addiction results in physiological differences.  Often individuals who use a substance will report feeling anxious if they cannot use or obsessed with trying to use once they get the urge.  It seems like what you're talking about is more of an association.  You were likely self medicating by using caffeine to feel "up" and marijuana to bring yourself back "down."  When you're drinking coffee it is likely difficult to deal with the effects of how stimulated you feel by the caffeine if you don't have something to bring you back "down."  Additionally, I think you are battling more of an association since you were able to push away the urge you had to smoke marijuana and eventually go to sleep.  You could benefit from some individual therapy to understand why you are wanting to use substances.  There are likely some issues you may be covering up by using.  If you cannot afford therapy, seeking support from some Marijuana Anonymous meetings could be beneficial.  Good luck to you.

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