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2011

Still finding success on the path to freedom. Had to come here and see how many days it’s been since I started my journey. I was more curious then anything. The last few days my internal addict and I have been having a bit of a conversation. The addict tries to tell me that it’s O.K. to smoke. That it’s O.K. to live the life we once lived together. And my addict has indeed tried to get very loud!

 

But once again I realize that the voice of the addiction can only get as loud as we let it. It can only scream so long as we listen, for if the screaming of the addiction falls on deaf ears then eventually the screaming stops. The good news is that thanks to those who have walked this path before me, I was quite aware that this would eventually happen to me. Because of the knowledge of those before me I was ready for this latest attack form my inner addict.

 

The objective for me is not to try to run from it but rather face it head on! See it for the irrational thing that it really is and in this way expose the addict for what it really is. An irrational part of my brain that continues to try to get me to live a life I no longer wish to live. An irrational piece of the puzzle that in itself shows me the rest of the puzzle simply by it’s very behavior.

 

It is nothing to fear. No, instead it’s something that I think we all have to live before we reach that mountaintop. It’s just a part of the process of putting the addict to bed once and for all and until we live this part of the process successfully, then the addict will continue to sing it’s irrational song to us. It will continue to try to change our focus. It will continue to try to convince us that we’re not happy with our choice even though we know in reality that we really are happy with it.

 

The addict is only dangerous if we let that part of us change the ultimate goal that we seek. The addict can only harm us if we let it. It simply has no power of it’s own over us unless we decide to give in.

 

And so I climb on realizing that the summit I saw ahead was the first of many false peaks on my climb. But will I turn around? Of course not! I will reach that first summit and look for the next as the climb continues. I will shed myself of my own addiction as I climb on only looking back in order to learn from what I’ve already achieved. Never doubting that my next step will be a good one. Always looking ahead for the true summit of Mt. Freedom!

 

This is my quest and no addiction is ever going to keep me from winning that goal. No addiction is going to convince me that the goal of life is not achievable. No addiction is going to take away what I know in my heart is the right thing to do!

 

And so I move on, happy that I stopped and took a little breather in order to write this blog. Happy that I took a moment to look around at the beauty of the climb. Content in the fact that though I’ve reached the first of what may be many false summits, I’m still climbing. I still have not slipped from the path. I’m still one day going to reach that final summit and plant my own banner of freedom for the next that may be following on the path.

 

And I’ll leave maps just as so many have done before me for the journey doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be scary. We just have to look to the trailblazers who have come before us and think just a little about how we too can one day send the light of freedom in the direction of all who need it. How we can show others our own map that we wrote as we climbed onward so that no one is ever blindsided by the addict within. So that all we encounter along the trail have the same chance that we did. The chance to understand that freedom never comes easy but in the end, everything we do to achieve that freedom is worth it!

 

Onward up the mountain!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Day 61 - Belief

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Apr 23, 2011

That’s where it all starts. If we can believe that we can quit smoking and I mean really believe it, the rest simply starts to fall into place. When I first decided that it was time for me to lose my addiction, I was terrified at the thought of it. This caused me to look at what the heck was the matter. After all, what I was thinking of doing couldn’t be a bad thing could it?

This was when I realized what the fear really was. It was not a fear of quitting. No, it was fear of failure. A fear that I would not succeed! But until I realized this, I assumed I was scared of the actual quit. I didn’t believe that I could do it. And a doubt in one’s self can be a devastating thing when one is trying to change a lifestyle. When one is trying to change a future.

This led me to the proper mindset to achieve what I needed most. A belief in myself. A belief that I indeed intended to choose life over death. A belief that I can beat an addiction that was ingrained into every part of my being.

Once I believed that I really could beat this addiction. Once I believed that I was going to take control of my world and be free. This was when I was able to move on. This was when I knew that not only was I going to quit but that in the end I was going to love that new life.

This was when I could honestly see myself as a non smoker. I could see in my minds eye that I was going to win this thing and that the only one who could stop me was myself!

From that belief came the confidence to continue building my quit plan. My fear turned to an incredible excitement as my quit date grew ever closer. And when that day came, I was more then ready. To me, the moment I put out that last cigarette was the moment that I won my fight because I believed that I would win!

And so far I have. So far this experience though a unique one has been as expected. Sure, the first few days were hard and sure there have been hard moments along the way but I never lost my belief in myself and I will never allow my addiction to take that belief away. This belief is as ingrained into my being as my addiction was.

And as I remove each tentacle of my addiction from myself, I also will replace it with the belief in myself. The belief that I will never smoke again and because of this I do not see my quit as some monumental burden. I see it simply as proof that if we believe it, we can be it!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Day 60!!

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Apr 22, 2011

Wow! Has another month gone by already? Seems like it was just yesterday when I started this amazing journey. I call it an amazing journey because there is so much involved with a successful quit. It takes just a bit more then simply deciding to put the old cigarettes down. It takes a kind of determination that many of us have never experienced before.

It takes a belief in oneself and a commitment that runs deeper through the body then any commitment before because of our addiction. It takes a vision of ourselves as nonsmokers, for if we cannot see ourselves in this way then it’s so much harder to make the lifestyle changes that are needed to succeed. It’s way harder to believe that we can indeed succeed if we don’t first commit ourselves to the changes that must come with quitting.

But really, it’s not all bad. All of the above are traits that we would like to achieve anyway. Our quits are like a gateway to a new and improved life. We just have to keep plugging along until our new lifestyle becomes the norm rather then our past one.

And for those of you who are just starting the journey, soon you will be where I am now. Writing about two months without a cigarette. Writing about how good you feel about your achievement. Seeing for the first time that you really do care about your future. You really do care about seeing your loved ones grow. You really do care about health and life. These are the things that no one can take from you for you will have earned it as you progress along the path to freedom.

So never believe that the journey has to be bad. Never believe that you cannot achieve your goal. Taking that first faltering step is the hardest part but once that is achieved there is nothing left to do but stick to the goal of life. There’s nothing left to do but live the dream you’ve created for yourself and soon, all the discomfort and fear of slipping just sort of fade away.

But I also must warn you that the addict is still there, waiting for that chance to pounce on you when you least expect it! It’s just another part of the journey that we must face. We seek freedom and it will come but not before we live those memories of our past. Not before we bury our addict deep inside of us where he can only attack us on occasion.

And so long as we know that he’s there, his power is diminished. So long as we understand that these silly urges is all he has left to fight with, he loses his power. This is why he sneaks up on us at odd times I think. Because we learn to control him most of the time. But at times we may become just a little to confident and this is when the addict will pounce simply because that’s what he does.

So really all I can say is that freedom does indeed come with a price. Taking back our futures does indeed cause some discomfort. But in the end, it’s all worth it. And when we look back at what could be considered a fight for our lives. When we look back at those first hard days. Then we can smile my friends for we know deep inside of ourselves that not only have we conquered our addictions but we have also found things within ourselves that we never really knew existed.

We have found traits that we never knew we had and when we are free of our addictions. When we are free of the internal fight with ourselves. This is the day that we can indeed say that yes, freedom does come with a price but that freedom is worth it!

Onward to freedom!!

As I continue on the path of freedom, I find myself looking at others around me more. The thing is that almost all who I work and live with smoke. Some of these people I love dearly and at times it becomes difficult to watch. Not because it makes me want to smoke but rather because it’s almost like looking into a mirror of the past.

I see the addict for what he truly is exposed in the actions of others. I see the enslavement that smoking really is. I think like any addict we tend to ignore these things when we’re smoking simply because it reinforces our own addiction. Ignoring the fact of our addiction gives a strange kind of credibility to the addiction itself.

In my opinion we never really see these things until we seriously decide to quit. The addict keeps itself in the forefront convincing us that we’re doing just fine the way we are. This same addiction is what strikes fear in us when we even think of quitting. This is because when our addictions are in full swing there is a kind of power over us.

This is why I always treat my addiction as a separate entity from myself even though I realize that the war is with myself. But it makes it so much easier to see the addiction for what it is when we treat it as it’s own entity. Something that can be studied in a more realistic fashion. Something that can be conversed with.

In this way I find it quite easy to ask my addict questions such as why do you want to smoke. Why don’t you stop fighting this thing that we are going to do and so forth. I can study my addiction more in the fashion of seeing it from the outside looking in. This helps me to distinguish my addiction from the part of myself that wants to be free. It gives me the ability to question the addiction itself.

For me, this is something that helps me to make sense of the entire quit process. It helps me to free myself of myself enough to look at what’s really happening in my quit and how I can improve on what is already there.

But now I see my addict in others as well. Every time they must stop working and go outside to feed their addictions, I see the addiction. Every time others get irritable because they can’t smoke, I see the addiction. Every time I see them stop and pay all that money for a pack of cigarettes, I see the addiction.

And so I continue on, happy with the fact that I am becoming free of my own addiction. I remain dedicated to my quit and will never give that part of myself that I call my internal addict the power over me that it once had.

Why would I? That would mean a lack of freedom now wouldn’t it?

Well, still walking along on the path to freedom. Today is day five nicotine free! And the funny thing is that last might I had some pretty strong urges. Stronger then I’ve felt for a while. When they first started their assault, I wondered about them and then after a little thought, I smiled to myself and thought, "Ah, my internal addict and I haven’t communicated for a while."

 

And I instantly understood the urges for yesterday was day four without nicotine and as such, my internal addict who is really just the part of me that hasn’t given up smoking yet was laying in wait for me, ready to pounce at the first sign of weakness which would be my first day completely nicotine free. My first day without the training wheels of the steady nicotine I’ve given myself for the past couple of months.

 

And so I went and found my trusty old straws, stuck one in my mouth and went on with the evening secure in the fact that I will not derail my quit today. I will not give in to this latest temper tantrum of my addict. And with resolve I also knew that I would not let this be a vulnerable time for me. No, instead I used this experience to learn more of myself.

 

I spent a little time conversing with that part of myself that still wants to smoke and explained to myself that there’s no reason to let these little urges bother you. There’s no reason to dwell on that which will do no good. Instead, it’s time to step outside. To embrace the triggers of old and to demonstrate to myself that these triggers no longer hold any power over me.

 

And so I did just that. I stepped outside and instead of wanting a cigarette, I cherished the view that I’m so lucky to have before me every day. I looked deeply into the clouds relishing the fact that these were no longer winter clouds but rather were spring clouds. I looked all around and saw the world as it is without those nasty cigarettes.

 

Then I went back inside feeling secure in the fact that I had indeed spent a little time with my internal addict and that together we learned something we always knew. That there’s really no reason to smoke. There’s really no reason to remain enslaved by the nicotine for life is quite sweet without it. Life is a miracle that must be respected and the best way to respect that life is by living as healthy a life as possible.

 

It was a moment to understand that though life is now different, that difference is not a negative thing. No, that difference is the most positive thing I’ve done for myself in quite a while. I know that one day the part of my brain that is my addict will decide to give up or at least slow it’s endless and fruitless attempts to derail my quit.

 

I look forward to that day for then I can use the resources that once belonged to the addict for something more useful then thinking about smoking. I can use those resources in ways that might be a little more positive.

 

So as my addict and I continue our little internal war, I see a kind of future that goes beyond the future that my addict wants for me. I see my world as a much brighter place then the addict would like it to be. And I see myself much happier without the cigarettes then I ever was with them.

 

And so I begin a new day completely free of the chemicals of cigarettes and I wonder, "Will my life ever be the same?"

 

And as I close this blog I have to say that I’m smiling for you see the answer to my question is quite simple. My life won’t ever be the same. It will be way better!

 

 

Today marks another milestone in my quit. This will be my third day nicotine free! I put my last patch on last Friday. On Saturday which was supposed to be my last patch day, I simply decided not to wear it. To just get this over with as soon as possible. So tomorrow, all nicotine should be out of my system and I can embark on a new phase of my quit by throwing away the training wheels!

 

It’s been an interesting ride so far. A ride that started a couple of months before my actual quit when I built the foundation for my quit. I remember using those pack trackers to cut down my cigarette consumption from thirty a day to nine. I remember how this one thing taught me so much about my addiction for with each cigarette that I didn’t smoke, I learned how to cope. How to deal with urges and most of all it built a confidence in me that I really could do this. I really could be free!

 

Then as the days drew ever closer for the actual quit, I remember the nagging fear of the quit in the back of my mind. I remember how irrational this seemed to me to fear something that was surely bringing me a slow death or at the very least a future that is less then perfect. I remember the last days before my quit when I read and read everything I could about quitting. I remember going to sleep the night before the quit day and waking up with no fear. It had simply vanished!

 

I was now excited to begin. I put out my last cigarette at 8:15P.M. on February 20, 2011 and knew right then that I wouldn’t miss them. I knew right then that I intended to win this for myself and I realized right at that moment that I was indeed a nonsmoker. I could literally see myself in my minds eye as a person who didn’t smoke. This in itself turned out to be a powerful tool down the road.

 

Those urges on the first few days were tolerable to me with the patch and yet I realized I was still going through the same withdrawals as someone who quit cold turkey. The difference was that because of the patches my withdrawals were less intense for me and as such I gained even more confidence in my quit.

 

Each time I stepped down on the patches, I felt the urges increase and then fade and realized that when I became completely nicotine free that it should be much the same. Thankfully, it was. This being the beginning of the third day without nicotine has already proven this to me. I was indeed prepared for this because I’d already practiced it.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I admire anyone who can manage to quit cold turkey and can understand why so many choose that route. I just knew that this wasn’t going to be a successful route for me and to me when we quit, success is more important then anything else. No matter what it takes to achieve that quit, the most important thing is that we win. That we do not smoke!

 

And so I continue on this journey, taking pride in each careful step that I take to complete the climb. I can now take the time to look around at the wonderful scenery that dwells on the slopes of Mt. Freedom. I can rest my aching mind just a little because I know that though my addict might still be with me, every day it becomes harder for him to get me. Every day we learn to get along a little more. Every day we learn the reality of our quit.

 

So really it all starts with one day, one moment in our lives when we put out that last cigarette. This is the defining moment. This is the moment when we first create the resolve needed to take our lives back. This is the moment that opens the door to our new, exciting and healthier future. This is the moment when we say that no addiction will ever take my life from me if I can help it!

 

After all, it really wasn’t that much fun to smoke in the first place . . .

Moving onward on the path to freedom! I caught a cold yesterday. What an interesting thing this turned out to be. You see, I remember when I used to get sick and smoked. It was such a strange thing to think about.

The lungs becoming less then happy and yet I still smoked! Even though I could feel the burning nasty smoke entering my already unhappy lungs, I smoked anyway. Just goes to show how far an addict will go to keep the old addiction alive!

This time however, I’m not smoking. This time the lungs will be given every chance they deserve to heal. Not only that, after the cold is gone there won’t be the racking cough that I used to get simply because all I’ll be ridding myself of is the effects of the cold without the smokers cough to go along with it. This in itself will strengthen my quit because it’s a reminder of what I used to do. It’s a reminder of how I used to feel.

It’s a reminder that shows me just how addicted I was and as such it’s a reminder of how far I’ve come since I put out that last cigarette. It’s always good to demonstrate to my internal addict the negative aspects of smoking. Just another part of the training process that must take place in order to win freedom.

Thankfully, I always try to look to the positive when I can and as such I see this cold as more of a blessing then a curse. It’s simply a tool to help reinforce my quit! It’s a means of establishing my true feelings with myself. This in itself makes me happy. It makes me realize just how free I’ve become even though the war isn’t quite over yet.

And so today I move on, confident in the fact that I will be much healthier. Knowing that this time I’m doing what my body needs instead of fueling an addiction that does me no good. And you know what? This allows me to smile my way through my illness. It allows me to escape the negative feelings that sometimes come with a cold and instead relish in the achievement that I have made in my life.

It allows me to take a step back and look at the journey. To see it for what it really is. To understand myself which in itself is an incredibly positive thing. But mostly it allows me to see yet another benefit of the freedom I so long to achieve!

Onward and upward to freedom!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Day 50!!

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Apr 12, 2011

Half way to the century mark today. It’s amazing to think that just a short time ago I began the journey for freedom. It’s been an interesting journey so far to say the least. Learning myself and the parts of myself that live inside. The brain divided. This is indeed the life of an addict. It goes beyond just proving to oneself that we can indeed beat our own addiction. It becomes a hard fought journey at times.

But we do it anyway simply because we believe in ourselves and our futures. In reality we become free the moment that we put that last cigarette out. This is the moment that the enslavement of the past becomes a reality of the future. This is the moment that while free, we embark on a journey to remain free of the shackles of addiction. We know as those first hard hours pass that our freedom does indeed come with a price.

We feel the misery as our inner selves learn to cope with the physical aspects of withdrawal. Once that is achieved then we begin to learn how to silence that addict within or at the very least take away the power that he has over us. We learn to ignore the pangs that are sent through our bodies.

Many times we fear the future and question our resolve as we struggle onward. This is when we realize that we are free and yet we aren’t. We still must struggle with ourselves to change something that is deeply ingrained within us.

But take heart for over time it does become a journey of life. It becomes a journey that belongs only to us. It becomes a journey where we prove to ourselves just how badly we must be free. Completely free. And this is when the mind games with ourselves begin.

This is when we must take stock of what we’re fighting to achieve and use the knowledge of the past to propel on to the future of freedom. It can seem like a long walk at times, always looking over our shoulder to be sure that there are no surprises. Always walking carefully to ensure that the work we’ve already put into our futures does not become wasted.

For we are recovered addicts in actuality. We are addicts that are free of the substance of the addiction yet not quite free of the mental part of it. Not quite free of the life we used to live. For first we must live those memories as happened to me just the other day when barbecuing. AS I threw on the burgers, there it was! The memory of how I used to smoke when I cooked. How I actually used the cigarette as the timer for my cooking.

And as expected, this memory became a craving. Thing is, when this happens I know that I’ve already been through this. I know what to do to protect my quit and I know that each time I relive one of those memories, I am one memory closer to the end of my mental addiction. I know that with each urge that I overcome in order to remain free that I am indeed where I want to be. A reformed addict who is simply living out the mental part of the addiction.

This isn’t such a bad thing and certainly isn’t something to dwell on. After all, by reaching the point of fighting the mental part of the quit, it proves that progress is being made.

And so I walk into the future aware that in four days I will put on my last patch. Five days from now I will be free of the nicotine as well as the cigarettes. Do I fear this day? Not in the least because I believe I am ready. I believe that when I celebrate my 60th day that I will have no nicotine in my body. I truly look forward to this day. I truly look forward to fifty days from now when I can again recount more of my journey!

Onward to freedom!!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Day 48

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Apr 11, 2011

Moving onward into the life of freedom. This is something that we all long to achieve. That moment in life where the little spark of an idea becomes an entire life to us for a while. It has to be this way for you see, there can be nothing but determination and belief in ourselves when we quit. There can be nothing but a burning desire for freedom in our hearts when we take that first faltering step that we know will turn that little spark into the raging fire of success.

And so long as we faithfully travel the path that we chose to follow, there’s little that can get in our way. Really the only enemy as we continue on is ourselves. For some reason our internal addict has the ability to change our perception of life if we let it. It has the ability to take what we know is a wonderful achievement and turn it into something negative. Again if we let it.

But so long as we keep a wary eye on that part of ourselves that will try to make things look different then they really are and so long as we protect ourselves from this part of ourselves, we will in the end succeed.

It just takes a belief in the positive. It’s always there if we choose to see it. I find so many ways to see just the positive which in turn takes the wind from the sails of the negative addict within. When my addict begins it’s steady scream, I first choose to ignore this simply because it does no good. But when the addict within continues to scream, this is when I stop for a moment and tell myself that I’m allowing a negative influence into my life. I’m allowing a part of myself create a kind of disharmony within my life.

This is something that I can change and I know that. I do talk to my addict as if it was another person though I’m quite aware that it’s simply another part of myself. I tell it to quiet down for a moment. And yes, usually the addict will be quiet for that moment.

This is when I reach deep within myself and pull out the positive aspects of my quit. This is when I realize once again how wonderful a thing this really is. I’m saving my life and my health. I’m thinking now of my future instead of the drab picture that the addict within always tries to create for us. I’m seeing the banner of freedom that was momentarily hidden during my addicts temper tantrum. And once again I’m back on track, secure in the knowledge that though my addict may be with me, he will not get me. He will not win. The winning is for me.

The part of the brain that really longs for freedom. The part that tells my internal addict that his silly little tantrums do no good and as such are pretty much meaningless to me.

And so I continue along keeping my heart, mind and soul in the realm of the positive. Keeping my quit safe and actually enjoying life as me and my internal addict both struggle for freedom. We both really want that freedom. We just express it in different ways is all.

Onward to a new day of freedom!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Day 47 - Urges?

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Apr 9, 2011

Day 47! Wow! It’s been a few days since I looked at my page and was once again surprised. I thought it was maybe day 44 or something like that! Been really busy with work. This can be a blessing and a curse. You see, most of the triggers that I had when I quit were related to work. A smoke when we need to regroup, a smoke when we ran into a snag, a smoke when we wait for drywall mud to dry and a smoke just because we want one!

I must admit I’ve had quite a few urges this week. But really they’re just those same old annoying things that we always get. There’s no reason to think that these urges are worse then they were before. In fact, it’s quite the opposite simply because I understand and have learned to cope with urges. They’re simply a chemical reaction of the brain that sends a signal to the body to smoke. They’re nothing more then that.

And so I continue upward to the summit of Mt. Freedom, knowing that my inner addict is right beside me. He so much likes to remind me that he’s still there always whispering his evil song to me. Always trying to make me slip down the path that I have so carefully trodden. Trying to take away the momentum that I have gained with every step I take upward.

The key word here is trying. Not succeeding. This is the beauty of the quit. I have been learning my addict and know him pretty well. I know the tricks he plays and the methods he uses to try to turn something positive into that which is negative.

But it won’t work for you see, I keep my eyes firmly planted on the summit of the mountain with the freedom banner waving on top. I choose to march forward, keeping my addict in tow because if I do that then I always know what he’s up to. I always know that he’s still with me and this keeps me from straying from the path because he can’t surprise me. He can’t play his ridiculous tricks on me because I’m aware that he’s there. I know what he’s trying to do and I also know that it won’t work!

I’ve chosen life over a death that I myself would perpetrate if I halted or turned back on the long climb to freedom. And so I go on, one foot in front of the other never forgetting for even a moment the wonder of what I am now achieving. The beauty of life that I am proving every day to myself is so important. The learning of my inner self in ways that could never be achieved without an experience like this.

I guess all I can say is that when it comes to quitting, we control our own destiny. We are the masters of our future. We are indeed taking charge of ourselves and freeing ourselves from the very clutches of the addict. Though this may seem hard at times there must never be a belief that we cannot win. There can never be a feeling that we are unhappy with our decision.

This would be new ammunition for our internal addicts. A new foundation for him to spring forth from and try to turn our lives into a kind of hell if we let it be. So I put him in the background and move onward, always seeking freedom over enslavement. Always believing that in the end it’s my mind that will win this war. Always aware that the only one that can take this victory away from me is myself!

I think that over time my addict will give up. After all, as long as I give him no ammunition to work with then what can he really do?

So as I get ever closer to the summit of mount freedom, I will always look down the path just in case there’s someone there who might need me. I’ll always look to lend a hand should that hand be needed for I know that this is a battle that is better fought with others rather then alone. This is a battle where freedom is the prize for all who desire it. And so when I need to, I reach out. When I need a hand to pull me up through a rough part of the path, I find it because I intend to win this battle.

And I gotta tell ya, this is a battle that I WILL win!

Now onward with the climb . . .

Wow! The days just keep flying by as far as my quit goes. It really is wonderful as you get more days under your belt and start living life while continuing onward to freedom. I think that over time there’s a kind of acceptance to the new way of life. First we have to beat all those urges and triggers and then once we understand that part of our quit, we can start to focus more on life itself.

I do however realize that right now I’m walking a slippery slope as I continue my climb to freedom. Still, I can see the banner of freedom up there but I can’t look to long for you see, I must pay attention to the slope I’m on right now. You know, the one where I could fall or slide backwards simply by getting to comfortable with my quit to fast.

This is another part of the quit I think. Something else that must be learned and I have to tell you, this is the phase where the advice of all those who have been there becomes very important for you see, though I can see the entire mountain I cannot see what’s over the next ridge and it’s always good to have a map to consult at times like this.

But because I have consulted the map, I am aware of just how slippery this slope I’m standing on can be. So I move on warily and yet with more confidence, keeping my eyes roving the vast white landscape above me. Looking for the way through the ice without faltering.

I know my addict is still with me. In fact, we’ve become climbing buddies though we’ve only really known each other for a month or so. Still, it’s always good to point out that banner of freedom to my addict because with enough patience and acceptance, we will eventually be climbing together instead of me towing him up for with time even my addict will understand that freedom is what we want.

I find this journey to be more and more like a discovery of myself and the addict that lives with me. Though our methods of conversation aren’t always pleasant because of the way the addict communicates to us, we still must speak to him for he must be tamed in order to win the mountaintop.

And so rather then shun him I walk with him. Aware that he’s there and what his intentions are but also aware that we are one and the same in body. I chose to teach my addict that I will be controlling my body now, rather then letting him do it. My reasons are simple. He had his chance and chose to build an addiction using a substance that is poison to us both.

Perhaps my addict was confused but if that’s the case then I still cannot trust him. And so I continue on, living with him until we are of the same mind. Keeping him close so he cannot deceive me and keeping a wary watch on him because though I’m the one that has chosen to climb this mountain I realize that I must take him with me for we will never reach that summit until we are of the same mind. We will never reach that summit until we believe in ourselves as a whole unit and not the addict and me.

And so I continue on, never looking back but watching the addict that is travelling with me.

Now, onward to the summit!!

Still continuing forward on the quest for freedom. I stepped down from the 14MG patches to the 7MG yesterday. Felt a few slight cravings as expected but all in all, feeling pretty good! It’s because I’ve learned to cope with those things that make quitting seem so uncomfortable I think. I now see the urges as a physical manifestation of my addiction.

And since the physical part only lasts a few minutes at most, I simply tell myself when I feel those urges that in a few moments it will pass. And of course it always does. I can actually feel the urge just fade away just as I felt it come on. By studying my addiction, I’ve learned my enemy quite well.

Our inner addict really isn’t all that complicated if you really think about it. It has one goal in mind and that is to either make us smoke or make our lives a miserable as possible. But this is where we gain a bit more control over our situation. You see, once you know your enemy, you can create defenses against that enemy.

I started my battle by learning to disassociate my triggers from my urges. I did this by using straws! Every time I got an urge due to a trigger, I’d reach for a straw. I don’t really pretend to smoke it as in I don’t hold it in my hand like a cigarette nor do I smoke air through it. I simply reach for it and swirl it around in my mouth for a bit. But the point is that over time, my inner addict accepted that when I had these urges, I reach for a straw thus taking away the power of a cigarette.

And so I no longer get urges that are directly associated to my triggers. Now when I get an urge, it’s more of a random thing. It just pops up out of nowhere. But still, I get a brief warning like a flash through the brain before the urge ever starts. When I feel the flash I know that an urge is about to take place within me. This allows me a moment to prepare for it and because of this, it simply doesn’t have the power over me that it used to. I wait that couple of minutes and then dismiss it for what it is. A simple physical reaction caused by the brain. And then I move on, free of the urge rather then dwelling on it.

Today I do feel that my concentration is a little off as well. But that’s O.K. because I expected this. This is the same reaction I had to the last step down. This in turn tells me that in two weeks, I will again feel pretty much the same thing only this time it will be different. This time I’ll be stepping down to zero nicotine. Now that’s exciting!

The main thing is not to dwell on the quit any more then we have to. We have to know our enemy but at the same time we have to be able to dismiss it. By embracing the addict within we learn how to beat that addict.

And so I continue on, confident in the fact that my inner addict will never beat me. If it changes tactics then I’ll learn those new tactics and take away it’s power just as I’ve always done. Quitting is no picnic but once we get over the physical withdrawals then it becomes as easy or as hard as we make it. We cannot endlessly fight our inner addict but we can learn how to slam the door on him. We can learn how to take away his power and in the end we can walk hand in hand with that other part of our brain in freedom and perhaps even feel a little smile within ourselves.

It’s the smile of achievement. It’s the smile of freedom. It’s the smile that comes not from fighting but rather from understanding the addict within.

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Day 40

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Apr 2, 2011

 Yesterday I blogged on day 40. Actually, today is day 40! Just shows that how many days really isn't as important to me as it used to be. I have to look every day just to see how many days have passed. I love the quit clock. It keeps things in perspective when one needs that kind of perspective.

 Today I can feel myself inching ever closer to the mountain top. It's still a ways off but I can see the banner of freedom waving in the wind there. The climb has been filled with wonder and at times even confusion. Were it not for those who had blazed the trail before me, I might have fallen off the mountain or maybe come close to it. But the wisdom of many here have given me the knowledge to keep protecting my quit at all costs.

 Still, it's nice to look up at that mountain top where the air is clean and crisp. Where there is so much life to look forward to. It really doesn't make me anxious to know that the top is still in the distance for you see, this really is a path that must be trodden carefully. And it's a path that takes time. This is something I understood before I ever took that first faltering step toward that summit.

 It's something that I chose to do anyway. But the main thing is that very soon I'll be holding that banner of freedom up high for all to see who need to see it. The prize that we all strive for no matter how hard that climb may seem, for it's the climb of life. It's the way to freedom.

 Tomorrow I step down to the 7MG patches. This is something to be looked forward to rather then dreaded. This is because it's another step on the path to freedom. It's true that I'm anxious to rid myself completely of the nicotine but as I mentioned, the path to freedom is filled with things of wonder. It's filled with discovery and it's filled with the true wonder of life for even though I'm still climbing, my body is working every day to bring back the harmony of health.

 The body is rebuilding itself every day that I walk this path. So even though I'm not yet free of the nicotine completely, the positive restructuring of the mind, body and soul is beginning. This is because this is how it should be. Regardless of what our minds tell us, the body tells us something entirely different.

 So I guess the moral of my blog today is that if you ever doubt that your doing a wonderful thing for yourself by quitting. If you ever think for even a moment that your going to give in to a craving, this is the time to listen to that healing body rather then the mind. This is the time to feel the wonderous changes that are already taking place within us. And so long as we can feel that positive change within us then eventually the addicted mind will understand this as well and the mountain top will at last be reached!

Onward to the top!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Day 40

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Apr 1, 2011

Still climbing upward on the path to freedom. Still on the path of discovery as each new day passes. I believe that the things we learn about ourselves when we quit can be carried with us for the rest of our lives. Things like not acting on impulses from the mind when they aren’t in our best interests. And one thing that will always be with me is the beauty that surrounds me, which I never really noticed quite as much when I smoked.

This is because when I was driving, the cigarette consumed a large part of my concentration and because of this, I never looked around as much as I do now. Or when I stand on the patio, (which is where I used to smoke) without a cigarette in my hand, I really SEE the beauty that was always there and yet seemed different through the cloud of smoke that I stood within.

I see things in a new light simply because I’m doing something that I know is right. I’m doing something to try to protect my future. I’m doing something that may give me many years to enjoy the new life that I’m creating. And in that new time, I’ll actually really see the world around me. I'll taste the sweet air that surrounds me and yet seemed so different when I was smoking.

As the nicotine leaves my body, I know I’ll feel a new found energy. It has to be that way for you see, I’m not tearing down my body anymore. I’m not feeding it that which will kill it. I’m not demeaning my very life by feeding myself death.

So really, it’s easy to think of the wonderful positives of what we’re doing. It’s easy to look past the temporary discomforts of our quits so long as we can see the benefits rather then the discomforts. It’s really how we decide to look at our quits that matters most.

So never demean what your doing by creating a negative scenario. No, instead write this chapter in your book of life as a wonderful thing that you have accomplished. A thing that only you alone could have achieved for though there’s a lot of help here, in the end it is YOU who is creating this new positive event in your life. It is YOU who took that first step that no one but yourself could make you do. It is YOU who will climb out of your very addiction and know what it feels like to be truly free!!

This is what life really feels like. This is why we do this. And no one or no emotion will ever stand in our way so long as we always seek the positive. As long as we always strive to be free. This my friends is what makes what we’re doing so wonderful! The freedom!!

Now onward into the wonderful life of a non smoker. Onward into the positive . . .