Being free to speak openly about mental health and substance use problems can help us move forward so we can explore more ways to stay balanced. Being honest and kind with ourselves can help us reach our goals.

Cannabis didn’t just offer me an escape–it was like part of my identity.

Activity steps

  1. Watch Leif’s story video. 
  2. Walk through Leif’s story handout.
  3. Working in  pairs or small groups, explore the questions first, and then
  4. Debrief as a group or in pairs, using 4 D’s worksheet as a reference.
Reflect and discuss


Leif says using cannabis was part of his identity. It was a big part of his life growing up, and the high helped him escape from the present moment.

  • Consider the things in your life that make up your identity. Why are they important to you? 
  • How would you describe your way of dealing with situations you want to escape or avoid?

Cannabis and tobacco

  • What are your thoughts on Leif’s explanation of the connection between cannabis and tobacco? 
  • What are the pros and cons of quitting two things at once?
  • Have you ever tried to change two behaviours at once? If yes, how did it go? If not, what is your approach to making changes in your life?

Human connection

Leif says it would have helped to have had an open conversation with someone who empathized with him, rather than pitied him.

  • What do you think he means by open conversation?
  • What’s the difference between empathy and pity?
  • How does having someone to talk to help a person make changes?

Withdrawal symptoms

Leif mentions insomnia as a symptom of cannabis withdrawal after heavy long-term use. 

  • What other withdrawal symptoms are possible? 
  • How does cannabis withdrawal compare with withdrawal from other substances, such as coffee or alcohol?


Leif says he made a choice. He chose to quit using cannabis so he could have clear lungs, a clear head and all the other things he felt he needed.

  • How important is choice when it comes to making changes? Why?
  • What are some ways to help someone making a significant lifestyle change? 


  • What are your thoughts on the ‘Big Leif Little Leif’ comparison? 
  • How would you describe your own strategies for coping with daily hassles? 
  • Who do you talk to when you have something significant to deal with? Why them?