Exploring Sobriety? Taking a Tolerance Break with Comedian Alyssa Yeoman

Episode 235

Show Notes

Alyssa Yeoman's Break From Weed

Have you considered exploring a tolerance break from cannabis? Dive into comedian Alyssa Yeoman’s meticulously planned t-break in our latest episode. Whether you’re intrigued by Dry January or Sober October or you’re seeking insights into your relationship with cannabis, join us as we delve into the profound impact and outcomes of taking a break from weed.

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[00:00:00] Ellen Scanlon: This podcast discusses cannabis and is intended for audiences 21 and over.

[00:00:12] Ellen Scanlon: We’re three months into 2024, and I’m still calling this the year of the weed drink. Have you tried one yet? All across the U. S., you can have Cann, the low dose, delicious, and sociable cannabis beverages shipped right to your door. Use promo code, do the pot for 20 percent off when you visit drink, can. com.

[00:00:34] Ellen Scanlon: That’s drink C. A. N. N. Try a can today and have a great time without the hangover. Thank you for supporting the brands that support our show.

[00:00:58] Alyssa Yeoman: [00:01:00] I was both the scientist and the participant and I really dove into it from a methodical approach because it made me feel excited about what was to come. It made me feel very empowered around what I was going to do and how I could be ready for something like this.

[00:01:20] Ellen Scanlon: Welcome to How to Do the Pot, a podcast helping you feel confident about cannabis.

[00:01:26] Ellen Scanlon: I’m your host, Ellen Scanlon.

[00:01:34] Ellen Scanlon: You just heard from Alyssa Yeoman, a Washington state based writer and comedian. Have you chosen to stop drinking for dry January or for sober October? If you have, then you’re familiar with the idea that sometimes a break from a substance can bring real insights into what’s helping you or might be harming you.

[00:01:58] Ellen Scanlon: Stay tuned. We have a future [00:02:00] episode coming about cannabis and alcohol. Today though, we are going to talk about taking a break from weed and we’ll hear what Alyssa learned from conducting a very intentional experiment. Alyssa tried a tolerance break, also known as a tea break. Whether you love weed every day or once a month, a tea break is when a person stops consuming cannabis for a designated period of time.

[00:02:30] Ellen Scanlon: The goal is to uncover how you feel without weed. Studies show that your body can build up a tolerance to regular cannabis consumption and a tea break can be an effective way to lower that tolerance. It also might mean you need less cannabis to feel the way you want. Why try a tea break? Many reasons.

[00:02:53] Ellen Scanlon: And the most common seem to be wanting to lower your tolerance for health reasons. Wanting to save [00:03:00] money or trying to take a closer look at what’s working in your daily habits. For many years, Alyssa Yeoman was a social media manager for the cannabis education company Leafly, and she co hosted their podcast, The Roll Up.

[00:03:16] Ellen Scanlon: She’s had a lot of experience with cannabis consumption and with cannabis education. In today’s episode, Alyssa will tell us what worked and what didn’t when she decided to take her first tea break and what the planning and the day to day of taking a tea break is like. If you’re considering one, Alyssa has some great tips for how to make it successful for you.

[00:03:50] Ellen Scanlon: Before we get into this week’s episode, I am so grateful to the people who have been asking how they can support the show. Please tell Alyssa. [00:04:00] All your friends. Word of mouth is a great way to help us grow our listeners. Another thing you can do is sign up for How to Do the Pots newsletter. It’s a twice a month resource that helps you feel confident about cannabis for health, well being, and for fun.

[00:04:18] Ellen Scanlon: There are already thousands of subscribers reading and replying with comments and tips. And the more the merrier. We couldn’t do this without you. Please go to DoThePot. com to sign up. Thank you. I really appreciate your support for the show.

[00:04:45] Ellen Scanlon: Alyssa had been smoking weed regularly for over a decade before she considered whether she was still getting the positive benefits that she used to from the

[00:04:55] Alyssa Yeoman: plant. So I started smoking weed in my early twenties, around 22, [00:05:00] 23, and I really never stopped. Maybe when I went on vacation, I wouldn’t smoke or when I moved to a new city and didn’t have access to it, I wouldn’t smoke, but I’d never really evaluated my relationship with weed up until this point.

[00:05:14] Alyssa Yeoman: And when I decided to take a tea break, I was at a point where I was smoking and finding myself really in a bad place. I would smoke and I’d end up ruminating on a lot of negative thoughts. And I blamed that on the fact that I was kind of smoking at any old time, not really thinking about it, going to grab the plant in moments of boredom or moments of anxiety, just anything.

[00:05:37] Alyssa Yeoman: I wasn’t like saying, I want to smoke. and do this thing, or I’m smoking to accomplish this. And I also really wasn’t regulating how much I was smoking at any given time. I would smoke maybe a whole gram joint before really realizing how high I was and taking a step back to say like, Oh, I was maybe high enough after two puffs and feeling in a good spot.

[00:05:58] Alyssa Yeoman: But I was kind of taking myself [00:06:00] to a mental level that was really unhealthy and felt honestly a little bit almost mentally damaging. To everything I was going through at the time. So I knew it was time to reset my relationship and my rituals and my intentionality around weed. And I knew that taking a tea break would be a really good thing.

[00:06:23] Alyssa Yeoman: It was time to, as a friend says, open the windows and clear out the fog. To kind of have a whole new perspective. It had been a long time since I had really been with myself as a non weed smoker and I wasn’t drinking alcohol at the time. So I really wanted to experience life like in complete sobriety and see what my mental clarity was like and really get in tune with who I was at my core without.

[00:06:54] Alyssa Yeoman: When

[00:06:55] Ellen Scanlon: she started, Alyssa wasn’t sure what she’d find out from the tea break. [00:07:00] She was committed to being open to whatever might happen.

[00:07:04] Alyssa Yeoman: With the tea break, I was really looking to see how it really affected my stress, anxiety, and also, How much money I would save. I really wanted the reset on my tolerance, so I was like, let me track all these things and see how I felt like without the plant.

[00:07:20] Alyssa Yeoman: So I think I was just looking to accomplish some sense of clarity around who I was, some sense of clarity around how I felt about weed and just take that moment to feel and be and be with myself.

[00:07:33] Ellen Scanlon: Rather than casually starting a tea break, Alyssa recommends having a clear plan. She says this planning will really help set you up for success.

[00:07:45] Ellen Scanlon: If you’re thinking about taking a tea break, you can do it for any period of time that feels right for you. Keep in mind that it takes about three weeks for cannabis to leave your system entirely.

[00:07:58] Alyssa Yeoman: I knew I wanted to take five to [00:08:00] six weeks off, and I ended up taking seven weeks off. I did stick to my plan, and I think a part of sticking with that plan was really I had built in some accountability for myself.

[00:08:10] Alyssa Yeoman: I was journaling every day how I felt, and tracking my stress levels, my anxiety levels, my mental clarity. I was giving myself a word of the day of how I was really feeling. And I was also making weekly videos on my Instagram and on my TikTok around Tea Breaks. I was like, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to document it.

[00:08:28] Alyssa Yeoman: And documenting it will really help me stick to a plan. People are watching every week. I’m going to have to be honest if I did smoke weed. And it also just gave me an outlet to really like, Beak on it in a really authentic and free way. So I couldn’t believe when I got to the six week mark that it had already been six weeks.

[00:08:49] Alyssa Yeoman: And that’s how I ended up kind of into the week seven realm. And it was fabulous. Felt good to accomplish something and to stick with something. Alyssa shares

[00:08:59] Ellen Scanlon: how she [00:09:00] started by prepping for her tea break.

[00:09:02] Alyssa Yeoman: I prepared for my tolerance break by essentially lowering the amount of weed I was smoking before I got to the cold turkey point.

[00:09:11] Alyssa Yeoman: So I was smoking like several times a day. I was dabbing. I was using a high, high amount of weed. I was a power smoker. And so I didn’t want to go from. Power smoking to absolutely no smoking, and I’m going to slowly go down to like only doing smoking like once a day or twice a day, and then I went down to once a day and so that by the time my tea break rolled around, I had gone down to only once a day and I was already feeling a difference then.

[00:09:38] Alyssa Yeoman: And once I got down to that point, it made it much easier to just go cold turkey. Cause I was like, okay, I’m only doing it once a day. I can cut out this one thing a day and replace it with something else that I could do, whether that was documenting my tea break, journaling or exercise.

[00:09:55] Ellen Scanlon: Alyssa found that asking her friends and family about which clear goals to [00:10:00] track helped her with

[00:10:01] Alyssa Yeoman: accountability.

[00:10:02] Alyssa Yeoman: I was ready on the smoking part, but the empowered part, I think I got through just really hammering down what I wanted to track and what I wanted to get out of the tea break. I asked my friends, I asked my family. Family, what they would find interesting if someone tracked in the tea break. So that kind of got me pumped, you know, to hear what people were excited about.

[00:10:22] Alyssa Yeoman: And I think just really like laying down the foundational work of, Hey, this is what I want to do. This is what I want to track really made me feel like empowered. Like I was taking on something like I almost embraced it, like this research project on myself. I was doing the study of one. I was both the scientist and the participant and I really dove into it from a methodical approach because it made me feel excited about what was to come.

[00:10:48] Alyssa Yeoman: It made me feel very empowered around what I was going to do and how I could be ready for something like this.[00:11:00]

[00:11:04] Ellen Scanlon: Alyssa started feeling positive results pretty quickly after starting her

[00:11:08] Alyssa Yeoman: T break. So the first week of the tea break, I really felt good. I saw already like my anxiety was lower, my stress was lower. I was feeling like mentally clear. This is all in day one. But the other thing surrounding that is I was exhausted and I was having crazy nightmares.

[00:11:26] Alyssa Yeoman: So as much as my attitude and everything like that felt positive, week one was really hard just in the simple fact I was so tired and I was having these incredibly vivid dreams that I hadn’t had for years at this point. So I think readjusting to sleep and my sleep schedule was really hard. It was also a lot harder to fall asleep at night.

[00:11:43] Alyssa Yeoman: I wasn’t falling asleep the moment my head hit the pillow because I was like high already and I could just fall asleep. So adjusting on those two points, I made it. Incredibly hard, but I made it past the first week and everything kind of started settled down in week two, actually almost into week [00:12:00] three.

[00:12:00] Alyssa Yeoman: The last week of my tea break, I felt phenomenal. The nightmares had cleared. I was still having vivid dreams, but they weren’t as scary anymore. My sleep had gotten back to regular and better and I was feeling very relaxed and able to just conquer anything. My anxiety was at an all time low. I had a mental clarity that I didn’t have.

[00:12:19] Alyssa Yeoman: I felt productive. I felt open to the world and in a new place. I have really readjusted my relationship with weed and my relationship with myself. And it was so nice to like get reacquainted with who I was without weed.

[00:12:34] Ellen Scanlon: Alyssa’s journaling practice helped pinpoint what was working for

[00:12:39] Alyssa Yeoman: her. Through my journaling of the tea break, I learned a lot about myself.

[00:12:43] Alyssa Yeoman: I learned that my stress and my anxiety was actually incredibly low and that I’m mostly a positive person. person and I really do not need weed to make me feel or be more positive, which was shocking. Not that I’ve ever been like [00:13:00] completely negative, but I have found myself in negative spirals or ruminating on thoughts.

[00:13:04] Alyssa Yeoman: And I just found that without weed, I’m a chiller. I’m having a good time. I also have higher energy without weed and I’m just like kind of a happy, easygoing person who’s not really stressed about a lot of things. Every day I had words like focused. I feel happy. I feel productive. When I really take a step back, I feel great without it.

[00:13:27] Alyssa Yeoman: With the windows open and the air cleared out from my head, I have so much more stability. So, I was very aware of those personal patterns. It was really easy to kind of pinpoint what was stressing me out in the day to day when that would come up. I could say it was this moment at work or this is what dysregulated me.

[00:13:49] Alyssa Yeoman: And I wasn’t hazy and confused about whether or not it was the weed or some other things that I had done during the day that weren’t necessarily productive.

[00:13:58] Ellen Scanlon: Alyssa’s first tea break was so [00:14:00] successful that she decided to try another one. The second time though, she didn’t really plan it. That created a pretty different experience.

[00:14:11] Alyssa Yeoman: So my second T Break was not as successful as the first. And I think that’s because I just went into it willy nilly, like, Oh, I’m just going to start doing a T Break every year. So I think what changed from the first really was, like, the lack of dedication to it. The first one was exciting because it was my first one, and I had all these feelings around it, and I was going into it like a scientist, doing my method.

[00:14:35] Alyssa Yeoman: Run in my program. And with the second one, I was like, Oh, I’m just gonna take a tea break. I really didn’t think on it more than that. So I didn’t know what I wanted to really change from the first. I was like, maybe I’ll track this. Maybe I’ll track that. Like, here’s some things that kind of happened in my first tea break.

[00:14:51] Alyssa Yeoman: It didn’t work out. Well, I didn’t get to where I wanted to on the second tea break. I didn’t last Nearly as long. I missed the [00:15:00] plan a lot more because I didn’t have any intentionality around like why I wasn’t doing it. I was like, I wish I could be smoking right now and never really got to the point where I was like, okay, let me readjust so I can make this work for myself.

[00:15:12] Ellen Scanlon: I asked Alyssa what she learned about her relationship with cannabis from the whole process.

[00:15:19] Alyssa Yeoman: Weed is something that is very helpful to me when I use it. in a ritualistic way. Basically weed works best for me at the end of the day when I have nothing left to do and really something I enjoy socially or before like a good movie or something like that.

[00:15:42] Alyssa Yeoman: More so than I prefer like smoking alone. without a plan. I still love the plant and I think it has a big place in my life and in my heart because it does help me decompress sometimes. It does sometimes spur these creative thoughts where I can kind of move through ideas [00:16:00] with ease and with my inhibitions down and just like let it

[00:16:05] Ellen Scanlon: Before taking a tea break, Alyssa felt like loving weed was It’s a fixed part of her identity.

[00:16:12] Ellen Scanlon: She still loves the plant and by embracing more of a growth mindset, being more intentional about her consumption, it helped open up the possibilities for how she feels about herself.

[00:16:25] Alyssa Yeoman: My relationship with the plant is one that takes care and dedication. Like if I want this to care for me and work for me, I also have to care for it and be intentional around how I use it.

[00:16:43] Alyssa Yeoman: And really be reflective in my use of it. I do have to be cautious of the kinds of strains that I use because certain strains do make me ruminate a lot more or give me the munchies in a way that I don’t really enjoy. Um, I love smoking weed [00:17:00] before, like a good meal with friends where we’re going to kind of going all out on cooking or going to a nice restaurant.

[00:17:06] Alyssa Yeoman: But I don’t like it when I have no, um, I learned that who I am without weed is just as valid and important as who I am with weed. I’d gotten to the point because I was working in the cannabis industry that I felt a little bit defined by my relationship with weed. Like I was like, is this a part of my brand?

[00:17:29] Alyssa Yeoman: This is what I do. And I was like, no, weed is something I use. This is not necessarily a core pillar of my identity. And it’s something that. It doesn’t have to be a core pillar of my identity for me to still love, respect, and feel very fondly about it and continue to preach the good word about what we can do for people in their lives.

[00:17:52] Alyssa Yeoman: Now my relationship with the plant is one. I think of it as like a good friend, like we care for each other. We’re there for each other when we need it. [00:18:00] We hang out with intentionality and have fun when we’re together and when it’s the right time. And I learned that like who I am without the plant is Just a great person.

[00:18:14] Alyssa Yeoman: I, I don’t need it to lower my anxiety. I don’t need it to lower my stress. I found that, like, my mental health is a lot better when I am using things with intentionality and things like that. Since

[00:18:26] Ellen Scanlon: Alyssa’s tea break, she’s evolved her consumption habits to fit her new relationship to weed.

[00:18:32] Alyssa Yeoman: It changed my consumption quite a bit.

[00:18:34] Alyssa Yeoman: I used to be a heavy smoker all day, every day. And now I probably only smoke once a day, maybe twice a day on the weekends. If I’m hanging out with friends or doing something that it really doesn’t matter if I’m high for. So it really scaled me back and put my consumption into a different perspective.

[00:18:53] Ellen Scanlon: You know yourself best and whether a tea break would benefit you and your relationship with [00:19:00] cannabis. Alyssa has some advice if you’re considering

[00:19:02] Alyssa Yeoman: one. I think it’s a great thing for everybody to do at least once in their weed lifetime. Take a break, see how you feel, reconnect with that part of yourself so you know where to start.

[00:19:15] Alyssa Yeoman: I have um, Um, and autoimmune disease. And whenever I first got diagnosed, they have you do this elimination diet where you take everything out of your diet and then you let things back in slowly one by one so you can really tell what triggers your inflammation and your flare ups. I kind of think of a tea break like that.

[00:19:33] Alyssa Yeoman: It is a moment for you to really take everything out and slowly bring it back in to really assess how you feel. And I think my biggest advice for anybody who’s willing to take a tea break is to be compassionate with yourself. Set yourself up for success by preparing for it. Don’t just decide tomorrow.

[00:19:53] Alyssa Yeoman: I’m doing it. Get real with yourself about why you’re doing it. And that’s the best way you can go into it so that [00:20:00] you are not flailing and feeling out of control. Thank you to

[00:20:04] Ellen Scanlon: Alyssa Yeoman for telling her tea break story. If you’ve tried a tea break and wanna share how it went, please reach out. I’d love to hear from you.

[00:20:14] Ellen Scanlon: And if you like this episode, please share it with a friend. We love new listeners and are here to help everyone feel confident about cannabis.

[00:20:27] Ellen Scanlon: Thank you for listening to How To Do The Pot. For lots more information and past episodes, visit do the pot.com. Are you one of the thousands of people who love how to do the POTS newsletter? If you’re not getting it, please sign up at do the pot. com. And if you like how to do the pot, please rate and review us on Apple podcasts.

[00:20:50] Ellen Scanlon: It really helps people find the show. Thank you to writers, Alyssa Yeoman and Joanna Silver and producers, Maddy Fair and Nick Patry. [00:21:00] I’m Ellen Scanlon and stay tuned for more of how to do the pot.



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