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!