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All People > Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 > Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Blog > 2011 > June
2011

Well, each day I seem to be getting closer and closer to the freedom I desire. I find that the only enemy left to fight is myself. I find this to be silly at this point in the game and yet the soft whispers are there whenever I choose to listen to them. Thing is, I don’t have to listen to them any longer. Those whispers of the past have become nothing more then a whimper.

 

I find it more and more amusing that my mind still does not give up even though there is nothing that can make me smoke. I’ve already proven that to myself time and time again as I walked the path to freedom. And so today I enjoy the internal strength that I’ve gained. I look forward to that future that I’m still building with each day that my quit continues and I have no fear of giving in. Ever!

 

This is because when I quit, I didn’t think I was going to try to quit. No, I knew I was going to quit. There was no trying about it. I knew in my heart that I was really going to do this and to use the word "try" over the words "going to quit" would have demeaned what I knew in my heart I was really going to do.

 

My resolve was strong as was my desire to be free. My mind was made up even before I realized that it was because I knew in my heart that this was no test. This was no attempt. No, this was a reality and a reality that I really, really wanted to live.

 

I think when we decide to quit that we have to really want that freedom in order to succeed. It must burn in our hearts and be all consuming in our minds for indeed that is where the war lies. In the mind. This is where we really must battle to be truly free. This is why it must come from the heart when we decide to quit.

 

The resolve that it takes comes from a belief in ourselves and our desire to change our futures into something a little more to our liking. But we must know deep down inside of us that this is the path we choose. This is the beginnings of a new life. This is indeed the day that we fight for our very futures and reach out to find the love that awaits us there.

 

That love comes from those that we care about. It comes from those who care about us. Even if at times it seems like other smokers who are in our lives don’t care about our desire to quit, we have to take a moment and realize that this is because they are still wrapped up in their own addictions and this clouds the heart just as it clouded our own hearts. What’s important at these times is that we listen to our own hearts and not the addictions of others.

 

So if you travel along and find that your smoking friends are treating you a little differently. If you find that the world seems just a little different since you quit smoking, look into your heart for quitting takes the agreement of the heart, mind and soul. Quitting requires us to forget about some things that we used to think were important to us.

 

It’s important to remember that smoking never created the conversations with others. No, the conversations came from friendship and if those conversations cease once you quit then just how good of a friend were they? Certainly not a good enough friend to decide to start smoking over.

 

So I guess my point is that no one should ever have the power to derail our quits. Our quits are our own personal thing that resides deep within us. It has to be that way for us to succeed. We have to walk the path to freedom with an open mind. Open to the changes that we might perceive in the world. Open to the new way we interact with others. Open to the idea that what we have chosen to do is a thing that has a power of it’s own. It’s a thing that belongs deep within us for what we have done is decided that no matter what anyone else thinks. No matter how the world might seem different to us. It just doesn’t matter for we are fighting for a true gem in our lives and that gem is FREEDOM!!!

 

Onward to that precious future we are creating right now!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Phantom cravings

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Jun 25, 2011

It’s the same old story. We move along happily in our quits and then out of the blue, BAM!! A craving hits us. This happened to me yesterday. Thing is, I totally expected this because I was doing something that I always did when I smoked.

And then I started wondering. Does my expectation of a crave actually create the crave or would it happen whether I expected it or not? I think the answer may be both and yet this answer is still a positive one. One might wonder how this is.

It’s a fact that the phantom craves exist for almost all of us. It’s true that they can at times cause a great deal of discomfort and for some even shake the very foundations of a quit. They seem to come out of nowhere and at times make us wonder what the heck is wrong with us.

But I see it a little differently for the most part. Being aware that they exist and can pop up out of nowhere is indeed a first step to not letting them derail our quits. I think that by knowing when a crave will hit, we can form a defense against them. We can be ready for them when they appear.

I knew that I would crave because I went and set up tents for my daughter and grandkids. I’ve never done this before without the old cigarette hanging out of my mouth. So of course my addiction responded as anticipated. It sent the signal to me that it was time to smoke.

So to me, it wasn’t so much that I created the craving. Instead because of the past knowledge of my quit, I understood that my mind would indeed create a craving due to the life situation that I was living in. It’s almost a natural response. It’s as if the addiction questions the situation every time it runs into a new one.

It’s up to us to tell the addict within us that "No, this is not a situation where I need to smoke. That’s no longer our world. We just don’t smoke anymore." Soon as always, the craving goes away. And at that point I think our minds have learned a lesson. And another small step has been taken toward the complete freedom that we seek.

So I think I’ll look at each phantom craving as a learning experience. Perhaps something that somehow needs to be experienced in order to continue my progression. I already know how to deal with them but at least I no longer wonder why it happens. I see no need to fear them because I have just a little understanding of them and when they will appear.

After four months, I know they no longer have the power to derail my quit. They simply must be acknowledged and then dismissed for what they really are. The meaningless phantom craving. The mind asking itself that same old question. Is it time to smoke?

And so I move on with my life of freedom, confident in my ability to keep myself safe and secure in the knowledge that though there will be cravings, they cannot stop me from reaching my ultimate goal of complete freedom!

And so I can now stand on the summit of Mt. Freedom and wave that banner of freedom high over my head for though I still may feel those phantom cravings, I understand them. But more importantly, I have tasted freedom and it tastes good! This is what I live for now. This is how I crawl out of my addiction. By wanting freedom more then death. By nurturing my future every day that I live. By telling myself that though it can be a hard journey, it really is worth it!!

Well, the walk out of no man’s land is indeed becoming a reality. The urges are becoming little flashes in the mind rather then an actual craving. To me it feels like the mind is finally giving up it’s fight with itself. Although there is just the whimper of what used to be, I still expect the old addict within to give it one last, incredibly strong try.

 

Why? Because this is how it seems to work. The mind is indeed tiring of the constant struggle and is indeed finding it’s own kind of peace. The peace of a mind no longer divided. And now the real healing process can begin. But as I heal internally from the struggles of addiction, I know that the addict within has only stepped back. He has tired of the constant fight and is perhaps resting.

 

But still, I anticipate the last final attempt from my addiction before it gives up once and for all. And I anticipate that this will last anywhere from a day to several days. But I also believe that this will be the last major attempt of the addict within. So I remain vigilant in my quit and will not allow this day that might come to derail all that I have done when it happens.

 

So for now I will enjoy the newly found peace that is within me. I will enjoy the fact that my shattered inner self is now healing and reforming into a new and better me. I will relish in the fact that soon I will not only have reached Mt. Freedom’s summit but I will also be climbing the real mountain of my dreams. This was the reward that I promised myself in the very beginning.

 

So to all of you that are just starting out or to those who are already walking the path to freedom for a while I have to tell you, this is indeed the prize that we all seek. To be free of addiction and to feel the wonder as our divided minds begin to reform into a mind without an addiction controlling it.

 

Though the journey may seem long, it’s a journey that is worth every moment. So never even think about giving in. Never think about lighting another cigarette because the main thing about losing an addiction is that it takes an investment. That investment is time. That’s just the way it is. And if time is at all precious to you then remember when you feel like you might give in that this time cannot be wasted. It’s not fair to ourselves to work so hard and then just give it all up in one weak moment.

 

Remember the freedom that you long to feel rather then thinking about that nasty cigarette. Remember that what you do right at that moment can determine what your future is going to be. Remember that there are so many who are standing with you and are ready to prop you up if you just ask for a little help BEFORE you ruin all that you’ve already fought for by lighting that cigarette.

 

Remember to have a little faith in yourself for if you weren’t strong enough to complete the journey then you wouldn’t be where you are right now be it one day, one month or one year. We prove to ourselves with every passing smoke free day that we can indeed do this. We really can find our freedom. So why would we ever want to give that up!

 

Fight on my friends! Fight for that freedom. Fight for you future. Fight for the one’s who love you and the one’s you love. Fight for the right to live a life filled with the precious days that only an EX can know. But mostly, fight for yourself because every life on this planet is precious. Every life has something to give and when we shorten our lives needlessly who knows what the world might miss from what we might have done?

As I progress onward, it seems that things are becoming more normal to me. The urges when I get them are becoming just a normal part of life. Still, I look to the day when they are mostly gone. Actually, they are mostly gone!

 

This is the time when the journey changes just a little. You see, I’ve walked out of no man’s land and have entered the realm on the other side. And what do I see? That I still must walk a wary path! Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a horrible situation. Just one where I must be careful. I really do see myself as a nonsmoker and yet I know it’s not quite over yet.

 

There’s still a bit more to do to complete the mission of freedom. This could be a very sensitive time in my quit for you see even though the world has formed into one without cigarettes in it, I must still watch for the phantom memory to pop up. I haven’t yet lived a full year as a nonsmoker and as such I will still find times when the memories will create these phantom urges.

 

Until I’ve lived every experience that has been tied to smoking in the past, I still must be cautious. I must still hold onto my resolve. Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving this new life of mine. I can smell things better and taste things like never before! I can breathe fully and my body is just full of newfound energy! My mind is clear of the clutter that an addiction can fill it up with and this allows more room for some serious if not fascinating thoughts.

 

Now that I’ve been through the fire, I see each day with a new passion. At times it reminds me of soaring to the heavens like an Eagle! I can feel a love for life like never before. Quitting has transformed me into what I always wanted to be. Free!!!

 

That’s right, though I must still be wary, I am indeed free. This my friends is the prize that we all wish to attain! I can tell all of you that have taken jonescarps 130 day challenge that it is indeed worth making it to that day. I still have 9 days to go but I can already feel the freedom. I can feel the last of the tentacles of my addiction being pulled from me. I can feel a life on the other side and I want to tell you it’s so very worth the hardships that we must face to get there.

 

It’s worth all of those days when we must train ourselves for that new life. It’s worth it because as I’ve always said, "What you do today will determine your future!". In fact, I remind myself of this fact every time I get up in the morning. This strengthens me and reminds me of why I’m doing this. For the future!!

 

So keep going my friends! Keep up the good fight. Never give up and never give in! I want to see all of you standing on the summit of Mt. Freedom with me. So every time you feel an urge, shake it off. Every time you think you might give in, stick something besides a cigarette into your mouth. Every time you think this journey isn’t worth it, look to your new future that is just over the horizon for once you take that first step and tell yourself that you are no longer a smoker, this is indeed the first step towards freedom.

 

Sure, it’s a fight. Sure, it can seem miserable at times but in the end it all passes. In the end it becomes a memory. All it takes is the passage of time and before you know it, you too will be shouting from the mountaintop, urging all those behind you onward to the summit. Waving that banner of freedom for all to see and throwing ropes down to ease the climb!!

 

So though I may still be in the fire, it’s really not to hot here. No, it’s more of a comforting fire for it is indeed the fire of my future. It’s just the way it is on the other side when we have at last decided that we deserve our freedom. Once we realize that we’ve earned it! So keep climbing. Scratch your way to that summit. I can’t wait to see you there for the view is spectacular!!

 

Onward into the future I created yesterday!!

 

 

As I approach a new mile stone in my quit of four months, I find myself reflecting on the journey so far. How those first hard days became a memory just as I always believed they would. How the days really did become easier with the passage of time and a realization that my world is no longer a world with cigarettes in it. This in itself makes me happy.

 

I think of those who I took the journey with and wonder about those who have taken a different path in life. The one’s who chose not to complete the journey for whatever reason. And then the one’s who just kind of faded away. My hope is that they are still smoke free and living a life of freedom. We all deserve life over death. We all deserve to live free of our addictions. All we have to do is want that freedom badly enough and then go for it!

 

I think of how the addict within has changed over time. I think of how I’ve changed over time as well. For together my inner addict and myself have been on the same journey. We have fought each other as we progressed onward. He has tested my resolve and I have won.

 

And so I move on, each day bringing a new commitment to my quit. Each day convincing me that freedom is still attainable simply by my actions on that day. I live the urges when they choose to appear. I stay aware of them and then dismiss them, knowing that with each one I dismiss I come closer to that final freedom that I want so badly.

 

I know it’s there. Right over the horizon, beckoning to me with every breath of new life that I take. I see the mountaintop and it is indeed much closer now. I know in the very depths of my soul that this journey is indeed worth taking.

 

And then I think of all of you who are just starting out. The confusion and yes, sometimes wonder that we feel as we learn ourselves. As we learn just how strong our resolve is. I think of what you might be feeling right now and long to ease your burden as the internal conflict begins. I want so badly to reassure you that the path really does get easier and I understand now that these things can only be believable if told to you by someone who’s been there.

 

Nicotine addiction is indeed a strong addiction but it’s one that can be beat. All it takes is a belief in ourselves and a desire to live a life free of the shackles of addiction. It takes a commitment and a desire to see yourselves in a world without cigarettes. Together we can reinforce what is already within you but the bottom line is that only you can break free of your addiction. Only you can stand strong. Only you can keep yourself from giving in.

 

And then I look to those ahead of me and pick up all of the wisdom that I can for to know what the path is like around that next bend can propel us onward in our quest. It can take the mystery from it. And when we know what’s ahead then we can prepare for it. We can learn from it and then we can pass that knowledge to others who might need it. I’m grateful for that knowledge and because of this I will use it as intended. I will not demean that knowledge by not succeeding. For at times when others believe in us that can help us to build a believe in ourselves.

 

It’s been an amazing journey thus far and one I intend to finish!

 

See you all on the top of Mt. Freedom!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Day 115 " Why?"

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Jun 16, 2011

I often wonder why so many seem to slip back into the addiction. I wonder this for a variety of reasons. One being the selfish one of course. I don’t want it to happen to me. I have to face reality all of the time and realize that any one of us can slip if we allow it to happen.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t feel weak or anything like that but at the same time one has to wonder. We’ve all been warned about the perils of no man’s land. We’ve all been told about the phantom memories that pop up and try to derail our quits. We all listen daily to the tips and warnings of others who have walked the path before us and yet the addiction still gets some of us.

 

Usually it seems to be stressful situations that cause this. Life changes can be a culprit as well. But I don’t understand how it translates into smoking. How do we end up listening to the whispers of the addict within and more importantly, how do some end up believing those lies. What is the catalyst that causes some to lose a quit. Sometimes years down the road?

 

I guess the reality of the matter is that it’s up to each of us to protect our quits. It’s up to each of us to keep our resolve strong and never, ever give in. This takes a bit of work I think. Along with patience and a belief in one’s self. Perhaps what happens is we become to confident in our quits and let our guard down. Perhaps it’s because we perceive life’s challenges a little differently when we quit and because of this we fool ourselves into believing that life’s challenges can be easier to deal with when we smoke. Or perhaps it’s because when some of us quit, we really don’t want to. Perhaps it’s because we didn’t prepare enough before our quits. We didn’t build that strong foundation before our quits.

 

The bottom line is that I will remain aware and vigilant throughout the course of my quit. I will always remind myself that the most important thing in my life right now is to stay quit. I will keep a wary watch on my addiction and I will never forget that though I’m recovering, I am still an addict and as such still vulnerable.

 

These are the things that I can do for myself. These are the things that I MUST do for myself for I will not allow an addiction that I have worked so hard to lose take me back to the drab and sad life that I once lived as a smoker.

 

I think the answer is that each one of us is responsible for our own quits. Each one of us must stick to our commitments. There is no amount of coaching that can keep us from losing our quits. Only we can keep it safe. We just have to remember that smoking does nothing to change a situation. Smoking does nothing to ease the mind. Smoking only tries to kill us and I will commit to myself that I will always remember why I quit. I will always remember that though it’s hard at times, it’s still worth it. I will always remember that so many have done this before me and shown us all that we can do it too.

 

I will never surrender. Never give in and never forget that the addict is still out there, waiting for that weak moment in our lives to pounce on us and try to make us lose our resolve. I think so long as we remember what those before us have told us then we have a fighting chance. We can succeed! And I for one intend to be another example of this.

 

NO FEAR!!!

Something I wrote for a project that I thought I'd share.

 

Truly, my experience began with a single thought. That thought was, "I’m going to quit smoking!"

Really that kind of thinking should generate some excitement within a person who is about to undertake this monumental life change. When I first allowed this thought to enter my mind, what it actually generated was a strange kind of terror within me. I realized right away that this thought did indeed hold a kind of power over me.

Perhaps this is why it takes so long for some to actually take the next step which is turning that thought into a kind of reality. Turning that thought into an actual quit. I think the reason for this is that we don’t possess the knowledge we need when we first decide to quit.

We don’t really understand that nicotine has created a powerful addiction within us. To me, this addiction turned the thought of quitting into a monumental fear of the unknown. Sure, we thought about quitting a lot in the past as we smoked yet another cigarette. In fact, I often thought about quitting as I was smoking. I think this is because so long as I was still smoking then my mind didn’t take the thought so seriously.

And then came this one day that was different. I had a lot of stress going on in my life at the time and found that I was pretty much chain smoking. I realized that I could never be one of those people who could smoke just one or two cigarettes in a day. No, for me it was all or nothing. Either I would smoke endlessly or I would quit. There was no in between for me.

And so on that day, I made a commitment to myself to quit. Not just to think about it but to actually do it! Instantly, the fear appeared. I was truly terrified at the prospect. I remember having sweaty palms and that I was shaking. In a way, this proved to me that I was serious. It proved that I had taken this one thought past the point of thought and had instead turned it into a reality that I intended to live.

I also realized at that moment that I needed some help. I found the number to the local quit line. I grabbed the phone and then set it back down. I lit a cigarette to calm myself and then put it out and picked up the phone again. I couldn’t believe the internal conflict that was going on inside of me.

I forced myself to dial the number realizing with each shaky entry on the telephone keypad that this was how it was going to be. One step at a time. The phone rang and I almost hung up. What was wrong with me?

A councilor picked up and asked if I was already enrolled in the program or if I would like to enroll. I thought about this for a moment and I swear my hand was reaching out to disconnect. I told her I wanted to enroll. She took my information and asked if I’d be interested in using nicotine patches to aid me in my quit.

I decided I was going to need all the help I could get and told her that I’d like to get those patches sent to me. She set up the delivery of the patches and asked me some questions about triggers and urges.

I really had no idea of what she was talking about at the time and she explained that triggers are life events that causes the brain to send a signal to the body that it was time to smoke. Now understanding what she was saying she asked if there were a couple of these triggers that I could work on in the next week.

I chose smoking at night and that first cigarette in the morning. We agreed that I wouldn’t smoke at night when I woke up and that I would delay that morning cigarette by ten minutes, adding ten minutes to this until I reached an hour. I agreed and was set up with a web site that they ran and told that they would call me in a week to see how I was doing.

I hung up and realized that I was still shaking violently and felt cold sweats. I lit a cigarette and began thinking about what I'd just done. Was I really going to go through with this thing? Could I go through with this thing? Do I have what it takes? Do I have the resolve?

So many conflicting emotions were going through my mind as I finished my cigarette. But one thing was certain. My thought was no longer a thought. It had become a reality. I really was going to quit smoking or at least give it a try. I knew I needed to calm down. The ball was now in my court. My future was now in my control. All I had to do was follow through. And I have to be honest. I was still scared!

But indeed, it all starts with a single thought. Translating that thought into a reality is indeed the first obvious step to quitting. It’s the moment when we decide to take control of a large part of our futures. It’s the moment when we decide to change our lives forever.

For me it was the moment that I realized I must conquer this fear within me and fight my way to that first day. That first moment when I put out that last cigarette. I must learn a life that no longer has this evil creature influencing so much of it. Costing so much money. Costing so much health and potentially costing me a bright future.

So when you find yourself facing that day. When you realize for the first time that your thought is no longer just a thought, this is the time to embrace your future. This is the time to overcome your fears. This is the time to walk a path that has been walked by many before. This is the time to begin a journey that you can build on for the rest of your life!

Man, the days have been passing by. The quit is growing in length and for the last couple of days, I haven’t had a single memory dredge up an urge within my mind. That’s not to say that tomorrow won’t be different but I always believe that it’s important to enjoy the good days so that they can be remembered on the not so good ones.

Soon the memories will no longer be of smoking. It’s just the way it is. After enough time, the mind gets tired of dwelling on a given thing. And when the memories of smoking become boring to the mind then I think they’ll just fade away. But not yet!

No, this is also the nature of a quit. We must be wary of that sneaky addict who’s only goal is to smoke. Who’s only goal is to act like the screaming child within and stamp that foot and demand a cigarette! Thankfully I keep him locked up tightly. It’s easy to imprison him. All it takes is a little resolve and a belief in yourself.

 

All it takes is knowing that you are a nonsmoker. All it takes is a desire to be free. Today, I look up the slopes of Mt. Freedom. I haven’t looked up there for a while and man that summit looks so much closer. The cool tundra under my feet just helps to propel me onward and upward.

That snow field in the distance that I must traverse seems to be looming closer now but do I fear it? Of course not! Will I slip on it? I don’t think so simply because I’m still being quite careful with my quit. I’m still keeping a wary eye on that addict within. He’s like a cat right now that’s thinking of doing something. Acting so innocent as I look at him and yet I know what he’s capable of. I know he’ll try to shake my confidence. He’ll try to push me into the shackles of my own addiction once again.

But he won’t succeed. This too is just the way it is. Every step I take closer to the summit is another step further from my original goal. Form the day that I quit. It’s another step closer to freedom. Don’t ever think that how long it takes to complete this goal is a problem. Instead, look at far you’ve already gone. With each step forward we have more invested in our quits.

So when we grow tired of the journey and wonder if it will ever end, this is the time to look down the slopes of Mt. Freedom. This is the time to see how far you’ve come already. It’s the time to understand that giving up now and finding ourselves once again at the base of the mountain is really something we don’t want to do. We cannot falter. We must remember that even though the steps can seem hard, their not nearly as hard as they were in the beginning.

At a certain point in our quits I think we must look to the past as well as the future. We must see what we’ve already done in order to build our determination to reach our final goal of freedom. And we must look to the future to remember why we started our journeys in the first place. In this way we can keep the lessons of the past close and still look to the days of freedom that are just over the horizon.

This is why we never give in. This is why we know that one puff can change everything for even if we only slip, we still must retake the ground we’ve already trodden. We still must fight the same fight all over again. And really, why would we want to do that?

So never let the addict within convince you that the game is over. Never let the trials of life tell you that smoking is the answer to your problems. Never believe the deceptive whispers of that addict within. The one who wants to take from you all that you have accomplished for in the end. At the moment that we give in. This is when the cloud of deception that is our addiction is lifted. This is when we wonder in mental agony why we ever listened to the lies of our addiction. For once the shroud of lies of the addict within is lifted, this is when we realize once again that smoking is not the answer. This is when we realize that our addictions paint a rosy picture that is just that. A picture not born of reality.

And this is not the time to discover this. No, the time to discover the lies is before we derail our quits. Before we give in to the addict within. In this way we can indeed walk to the summit. We can indeed find our freedom. We can indeed live that future that we so badly want and we can leave the addict on top of that summit as we walk free once again!

Oh, what a feeling that will be!

Onward and upward!!

When we quit smoking it can feel like such an overwhelming experience, especially if we’ve never experienced anything like it before. If we’ve never had the internal conflict within ourselves that smoking creates. If we’ve never had to try to control our own emotions even when the addict within intensifies every emotion we feel.

 

When this happens, it’s so easy to look at the negative aspects of quitting. It’s so easy to feed our internal addict with thoughts of how horrible this quitting business really is. And rest assured when we do that, our internal addict is more then happy to help us to intensify the entire experience. We can actually fuel that part of us that doesn’t really want to quit simply by how we perceive our quits.

 

It seems like it’s so much easier to see the negative then the positive. I think this is because the negative part of quitting really is right in front of our faces. The discomfort that comes with the physical parts of our quits. The reality that some part of us really doesn’t want to quit. The memories that come when we no longer smoke.

 

These are the things that can either drive us crazy or in fact can propel us onward to freedom. It’s really how we look at things that make a difference. The reality that every one of us knows to be true is that smoking is deadly to us. Smoking ruins our futures and robs us of so much freedom and money. We know these things and we know that though these are negative things, if we quit they suddenly become positive because what we’re doing is reversing what once was a negative aspect of our lives.

 

And yet it’s so easy to forget these positive things when we begin our journey. The body and mind scream at us on those first days causing us to question our very commitment to our quits. The days drag on as we observe the changes that are taking place in the world around us. Really, it’s not so much that the world changes as we do.

 

I noticed when I went outside the other night and looked around. It was such a beautiful sunset. The kind I used to watch while smoking. I realized at that moment that yes, my addiction had spun itself deeply into every aspect of my life. My addiction had at one time had me convinced that nothing could be the same without cigarettes. That the world would somehow transform into a place of darkness or hopelessness without cigarettes. That there could be no life without the comfort of the nicotine.

 

This is yet another of the many fallacies that an addiction can create. In reality, the world is much the same. There is still the same beauty that was always there. There is still that feeling that we get deep down in our souls when we look at the beauty that surrounds us. There is still that same life for us to enjoy only now we can enjoy it free of the shackles that were our lives before we quit.

 

So really, contrary to what our internal addicts tell us, what we are doing is one of the most positive things we could ever do for ourselves. The benefits really do outweigh the temporary discomforts that we must go through at first. And with each step that we take, the cloud that is our addiction clears just a little more. The mist that our addict has worked so hard to place in front of our faces begins to fade and the reality of what we are doing begins to take total control of our minds and bodies.

 

We begin to lose the belief in what the addict has been whispering to us all of these years. We begin to see life for what it really is rather then see the illusion that is our addiction.

 

But really, once we get past that point in our quits where we can put away our fears. When we realize that we really can walk this world without cigarettes. Once we know once and for all that our freedom is within our grasps. This is the day that we know it was all worth it. This is the day that we kick the negative out of our quits and smile in the realization that yes, we are free and yes, the world looks like quite a positive place indeed!

 

Onward to freedom

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Day 109 - Stress

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Jun 10, 2011

Man, what a day it was yesterday! At 5:30 P.M. we got a call from the hospital. An older man who lives with us was ready to come home right away. This took us a bit by surprise. We knew he would eventually be released but they gave us no time to prepare. He had a toe amputated and will need a lot of help for a couple of weeks.

So I became his advocate since he had no one else. Needless to say, the stress was really there and yet there was no need for a cigarette. The idea popped up once or twice through the evening and was of course dismissed easily.

This is because I no longer associate smoking with stress. The two really do not belong together. At least not in my reality. I learned early on that one of the keys to quitting is to disassociate the cigarette from the triggers. In reality this is easier to do then one might think.

The method I used was straws. That’s right, straws. I’m sure you’ve heard others mention this but it really worked for me and here’s how it worked. I placed a few in a plastic bag and carried them with me. Every time I had an urge that was directly associated with a cigarette I would reach for one of these straws. I don’t really pretend to smoke them or anything like that. I simply reach for them when the impulse to smoke struck me in the past.

It was really an experiment at first and turned out to be something that worked well for me. Don’t get me wrong, I still get the occasional urge but that urge no longer translates to giving myself an addictive substance. It really doesn’t have to be straws. It can be anything that we can reach for instead of a cigarette. The main thing is that we disassociate the triggers and urges from cigarettes. Once this is accomplished a big part of our battle is won. At least that’s how it was for me.

I don’t even think of reaching for cigarettes anymore. In fact, about the only time I do think of them is when I sleep and that’s only in dreams. The dreams are simply my mind working out the details of my new life without cigarettes. It’s the mind calming that part of the brain that never really agreed to quit smoking. It’s the mind retraining the addict within I think.

And so today I will go out there and take care of things for my friend, confident that no matter how much stress I encounter I will not smoke. I might find myself breathing in some sweet air, but there will be no cigarettes.

What started out for me as a battle within my own mind for control over my own life has now turned into that future that I thought of when I first decided to quit. You know, the one without cigarettes in it. I’m now living that future that I created over three months ago and it feels good. I know in every part of my being that I made the right choice when I decided to quit.

I know in my heart that I will never be a smoker again. It’s just not a part of me anymore. And I’ve learned how to deal with the addict within. To keep him close but always in the background and with each passing day, this too becomes easier. So almost all of the goals that I set for myself in the very beginning are now so close to completion.

And so I can say once again to those of you that might be following on the path that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is a time down the road when we can feel peace within our hearts. There really is a new life awaiting you if you can just get through those first few weeks and having made it this far I can tell you that the discomfort you might be feeling now in those first hard days. That feeling that it will never end. These are things that I can now say from experience do pass. These are things that do end. The light is indeed at the end of the tunnel and it’s the light of freedom from ourselves. It’s the light that contains all of the newfound wisdom that we pick up along the way. It’s the light of our futures and so long as we never give up on our quits then I can promise you that this light is brighter then any light we’ve ever seen for this is the light of success and the light that is created when the addict within is at last calmed.

Keep your quits close to your hearts. In the end, I can already tell it’s worth it!

You know, I was just thinking about everything that happens when we quit. How we must face life’s many challenges in a new light. We can no more just deal with these problems. No, we must also always protect our quit. Of course this is the most important thing in our lives for a time.

There’s always good and bad points in everything we do in life. The hope is that the good outweighs the bad. But it’s kind of a balance of life that we all seem to encounter in this world. If we didn’t have the negative side of things then how could we appreciate the positive?

In fact, the world might be kind of boring if everything were perfect. This is because our minds are geared to look for challenges and to seek the best solutions to these challenges. So if something isn’t challenging enough for us then I think we begin to look for new challenges. It’s just the nature of us humans.

But it’s what we do to achieve our goals that matters most. It’s how we go about creating the scenario that we need to win. It’s about how we learn from each challenge we overcome and how we apply that knowledge to the next challenge.

So really, life is all about growth and in order to attain that growth we must learn and we must apply our past knowledge to the next tasks at hand if we are to continue our progression. This is why a web site like this one is so important to us. Because we’ve all experienced the horror of addiction. We’ve all felt or are about to feel what the addict within will try to do to us when we try to shed ourselves of him.

Many have already overcome these obstacles, and it’s important to share what is learned with others who may be in a different level of their quit. It’s important to ensure that no one ever feels alone. It’s important that we try to understand the needs of another and do what we can to help. It’s important to use our past knowledge to take some of the fear of the unknown away from one who is just starting to take those first faltering steps to freedom.

We have this ability because we’ve fought this battle. We have the power the moment we care enough to make the path to freedom just a little easier for another by using the love, knowledge and compassion that comes from someone who’s been there.

We do this by example and by using our past knowledge of a thing that others might not have experienced before. We try to show others that the goal of life is an attainable goal so long as we continue to overcome the obstacles in our quits. So long as we believe in ourselves and so long as we are confident in our desire to quit.

But really it all starts with the one who desires to quit. No amount of coaching can convince a person who is not ready to quit to actually do it. It just doesn’t work that way. But once that decision is made. Once a person really believes that they are ready. This is when the power of support can be so valuable. This is when one can help another so that everyone wins. This is when we can take pride in the fact that not only have we walked the journey but we have stopped to look around and to see those who might need a little help.

This is how we all win here! It’s really about compassion for our fellow man. It’s about a love that resides within all of us that pours out when we need each other. This is indeed the catalyst of a web site like this one and this is why together we can all achieve our goal of freedom! We celebrate our achievements together, fight together and yes at times cry together. We pick each other up when one of us fall but most importantly, we all WIN together!!

 Never, ever give up the fight!!

As I continue on with my path of freedom I at times become baffled by many things. At times it’s hard to understand what’s going on inside when I’m in the middle of my quit. I find many ways to understand the internal conflict. I find many ways to deal with the fact that though I’m a nonsmoker, I still have a little ways to go. This becomes evident every time I get an urge, mainly because I know the urges are no longer a physical manifestation. It’s just something that I must fight within myself.

This is what makes support so important. If I simply wanted to understand the facts of quitting, I would go to a medical web site and look up the "facts that are related to quitting". If I didn’t already know that the best way to quit is simply not to put a cigarette in my mouth, then I never would have been able to quit in the first place. I mean really. There is more to quitting then just the science of it.

There’s also the emotional side. The part that can’t be jotted down in a medical journal or pasted to a bulletin board for all to see. This is what a support community is all about. Dealing with that part of quitting that cannot be written in stone. It’s about picking someone up when they fall and helping them back to the path that they really want to complete anyway.

It’s about dealing with the part of quitting that cannot be written in a book or rammed down the throat. The part that we cannot see. The part that lives inside of all of us. The part that is different for all of us.

It’s the individual experiences that we find here that make this site so great. As we continue to report our observations about our quit to each other, it helps all who are a part of the community including the one who is blogging. In some ways, it helps another to see things a little differently then they might have seen things before thus allowing them to continue on the path to freedom. There is no single good or bad comment so long as it relates to the task at hand which in this case is quitting an addiction.

There is no good or bad observation when we are trying to quit because the things that we learn might be beneficial to another even if the observation is not based on the science of quitting. If a community reaches the point where some will not blog because of fear of what their peers might think, then the power of support is diminished. The idea of a community of like minded people helping each other to achieve a common goal becomes a fallacy because so many who might have been helped simply slip through the cracks.

This is why I will always share my thoughts about how I feel, what I discover along the path to freedom and how I’m personally achieving my goal even if what I say is not based on science or the simple facts involved with quitting. After all, I already knew most of the facts. I simply came here to live this hell we call quitting smoking with others who are going through the same things.

The power of the many is here. It is real and it’s something that may indeed save many a life simply because we all care. We all feel the same things and we all share those things with each other, gaining momentum for ourselves as well as helping another to gain their momentum so that one day we can all say we did it. We did it together and we did it with a kind of compassion that can only come from a support web site.

It’s the science of quitting that we can read about but it’s the power of the many that can help others to achieve what might at first seem like an unachievable goal. And now I continue onward to my personal freedom. After all, it’s what I came here for . . .

Still free but for the last few days, the memories of smoking have been flying through my brain, creating triggers like I haven’t felt for a long time. They will not derail my quit but they are there, nagging me like a tooth that’s gone bad screams at us just before the nerve dies.

 

I tend to believe that this is the addict within giving itself one last shot at creating the life of an addict. A shot at getting me to give in just that one time. But as always, I know the addict within will once again give up. It’s simply a matter of time for you see, I will not smoke. It’s just not a part of me anymore and eventually the memories will indeed run their course and I will be free!!

 

I write this blog simply to reinforce to others the dangers of no man’s land and the world that lives just beyond it. Though I will not give in, I can see how this last ditch effort of the addict within could derail a quit if we’re not careful. In my opinion the addiction will fight that last fight in every one of us before it becomes dormant. The thing to always remember is that the addict is indeed just dormant and not gone for good. There are always life situations that can create a memory that will once again wake up the addict. There are going to be surprise situations in our lives that allow the addict within to send us a surprise trigger.

 

Never give in to this! Never for a moment even think that the addict is right for he is not! Never believe that the memories of smoking are the sweet memories that the addict tries to tell you they are. No, instead always remember that the smoke tastes nasty. The addiction ruins our lives and robs us of a future or at the very least changes a future to a less then desirable one. Our memories of smoking are indeed different from reality. The addiction sees to that for us. The addiction tries to cloud our minds and tell us how pleasant smoking is. The reality is that we know it’s not a pleasant experience.

 

So never believe the memories of the addiction. They are false memories that only hold a power over us if we believe that these memories are indeed true. Try to see through to the reality. Always remember the endless coughing and the ball and chain that we drag around with us in order to smoke. Remember the money that was lost with cigarettes. Remember how much time was consumed by smoking that could have been used for so much more!

 

These are the realities to dwell on, for these are the realities of life and not the realities of death that the internal addict would have us dwell on.

 

In the end I had a dream just last night. In the dream I had given in to the addict. I had not only slipped but gone into a full relapse. I thought about how stupid it was to give in. I thought about the fact that I would have to start over with my quit.

 

I looked at the cigarette between my fingers with loathing for I knew that my internal addict was once again calling the shots. I knew that the addict once again had that power over me. I felt weak and afraid to quit again. Afraid that the addict might once again win if I tried to quit again. I felt everything that I’d felt before my original quit and knew that I’d blown it!

 

Then I woke up and you know what? That dream had really helped. It showed me how I would feel if I ever gave in. It reminded me of all of the reasons why I quit. It reinforced my all of my reasons for quitting. It was like I had peered into a future that could be and realized once again that this was not the future I have chosen for myself. This was not a future that I desired and that this is not a future that I will live!

 

I think my mind has indeed once again worked out the addiction and I think my very heart mind and soul chose freedom over addiction once again. I think that I’ll always choose freedom over addiction. I think I’ll always choose quality life over the lies of an addiction. I think I’ll always see the future without cigarettes.

 

Indeed, I am still walking the slopes of Mt. Freedom. I am still firmly on the path of freedom. I am as I always was the master of my addiction. I am happy with my choices and most of all, I’m still free!

 

Onward and always upward!!

I really can’t believe that it’s been 100 days since I started my quit. At times it seemed longer and at times it seemed like the time passed like a rocket! There have been many ups and downs on the journey so far but I must say it’s mostly been ups and the downs have been dealt with in the true nature of a nonsmoker.

 

Never did I think of lighting up because of some situation in my life. I mean really, life is never the same every day and yes we do run into some situations that we find uncomfortable or stressful but that really doesn’t have to translate into smoking. I think the only reason some of us even think that smoking fixes these things is because we used it as a crutch for so long. It was just another of the ways that our internal addict justified the addiction to our minds. Another way to fool ourselves into thinking that smoking is a necessary part of our lives.

 

Still, I do get urges but they are more like the memories that I was told about long ago. And believe me, this is one of the most important things that I’ve learned along the way (thanks Dale). Once we can understand that the urges are indeed memories and not the physical manifestation of withdrawals that we had at first, then it’s easier to comprehend what’s happening to us. It’s easier to find the reasons why we still feel these urges so long after we actually quit.

 

But every time I deal with one of these urges I know that another memory has been dealt with and that this puts me ever closer to where I want to be. Each memory that is relived reduces the power that the original addiction has over us. So, although this might sound strange to some of you, I embrace each of those memories. I go ahead and see that past moment in my minds eye so that I can put that one away, aware that it has lost some of it’s power but also aware that these memories can sneak up on me at any time.

 

Does all of this bother me? Not in the least! I find it to be a part of the process of losing an addiction and I think that until our minds go through the entire process we will never be truly free, though we will still find peace with ourselves. We will still be able to move on with our lives and we’ll be able to do this without the old ball and chain of the past.

 

So take heart! It does get easier with each passing day but we must still bear in mind that quitting is a process and we all must live that process in one way or another before our job is done. We must try to understand how our mind uses those memories to eventually rid us of the entire addiction because quitting in reality is a healing process.

 

It’s the way our minds deal with something so entangled within our beings that it can’t be removed in a week or a month. No, it’s a process that takes time but it really is time well spent.

 

So continue on my friends! Only look back when you need to learn. Always remember that what we do now in the present effects what will happen in our future. And the truth of the matter is that it’s our futures we care about or we’d never have even thought of quitting. It’s our health that matters to us and it’s proving to ourselves that if we believe. If we really, really want something then with a little time and effort we can have it.

 

I look forward to a future that is brighter without an addiction. I look forward to the days and years ahead where I can walk the walk of freedom and know in my heart that though it took time. Though it took effort and though I had to walk a path I never thought I could, I did it and just by starting the path, I know in my heart that I have chosen freedom and that nothing will stop me from achieving that freedom!

 

And just remember, we all start at the same place with the decision to quit smoking. We all feel those same fears at first. We all have to fight and scratch our way through those first weeks but the most important thing of all is that we all find ways to win!

 

No matter what it takes. No matter how hard it can seem, we can all win this thing together. And so I thank all of you for helping me to achieve the century mark with my quit!

 

Onward to freedom!!