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

Quitting is such an interesting phenomenon. We know we should quit. We know it could very easily kill us to continue. We know in our hearts that it’s not something we want to do. There are so many reasons to quit and really, so few reasons not to. So why does it seem so hard to us at times?


To me, it’s because we never really wanted to quit in the first place. Our addictions creep into the deepest places within our beings and creates a scenario that is based on lies. Not on facts. We feel that we enjoy smoking. We feel that our lives would be so empty if we were to quit. We feel like the entire world will change and that we will never be happy again without those cigarettes.


But as I mentioned, these are the lies of an addiction. These are the ways that we used to convince ourselves that smoking is O.K. And it’s embedded so deeply within us that I think we have to understand that we really, really don’t want to smoke. We have to convince ourselves of the truth. And that truth is that there is nothing good about the cigarette.


It’s a strange situation that we must cast ourselves into in order to be successful. I think a large part of our pain comes from the fact that we do indeed fight ourselves and the very beliefs that are at the core of our beings. I don’t really know why or how the addiction becomes so deeply embedded into us. I just know that it is.


This fact should make the tobacco companies that have worked so hard to enslave us pretty darn happy. After all, they can be fairly confident that all of the chemicals and means of delivering massive amounts of nicotine to us is indeed creating the situation that brings them so much profit. Their methods do indeed create an addiction so strong that we find it almost impossible to even think about quitting without a huge discomfort welling up inside us.


Thing is, it doesn’t have to be this way. We prove that every day that we manage to keep our addictions at bay. We prove this every time we take that first step and find a way to convince ourselves that quitting is indeed an option. That quitting really is something that can be done and that yes, we won’t die from nicotine withdrawals. The sad fact is that we will die if we don’t stop.


And so we all take that first reluctant step into the unknown world of freedom. We force ourselves at first to believe that what we’re doing is the right thing. We build a foundation that is firm enough to stand on and then we embark on a mission like no other we’ve ever done before in our lives!


We shake and hate those first days as the cravings tell us that smoking is the only thing that can make us feel better. We fight and scratch our way through and realize that yes, we can live without this evil addiction. We realize that yes, this is the right course of action to take. And yes, we have been fooled by the sweet lies of our addiction.


This is indeed a tipping point in a quit I think. The day that we can see through those lies and force ourselves to continue on the right path in life. The one without cigarettes. And even though the mind fights itself as we continue onward, we begin to find a new strength within us. We begin to understand that this is how it’s going to be.


This is when the childish temper tantrum of our addictions begins to ease. This is when we start to believe that we will indeed win this war with ourselves. And this is the day that we find a new understanding of ourselves. A day when we can start to understand that there is indeed a kind of peace waiting for us down the road. The day that we know in our hearts that all this is so very worth the freedom that we are creating on our horizon.


So the next time you question if this whole thing is worth the internal trouble that it seems to create. The next time that you doubt that you can do this long process of quitting. This is the time to look at the lies of our addictions and see them for what they are. This is the time to understand that though you never really wanted to quit, you still did and you did it for your future. You did it for yourself and even more importantly, you did it for the ones you love and for the bright and happy future that you so badly want to see.


This is what makes the whole thing worth it. The future! And just think of how much you learn about yourself with every step that you take. These are things that will help you for the rest of your life!


So rather then thinking that this journey is to hard, cherish each moment of success. Cherish each day that brings you closer to freedom. Cherish all that your learning about yourself and rather then thinking about the discomforts that you might be feeling right now, think instead of the bright future that is just around the corner. That’s where your freedom lies and when you get there you’ll know it was so very worth the effort!

I do hope all is well with everyone and that our quits are safe. Me, just living and loving a life of relative freedom. Not total freedom but close. I still get the occasional urge here and there but I just consider this to be a reminder of the wonderful thing I’ve done for my life and my future.


Keeping a commitment simply strengthens us in ways we never really thought about. Our desire to be free is strengthened every time we say no to an urge or trigger. This is indeed a kind of blessing when beating an addiction. Every action that we take toward freedom makes us stronger until one day we can indeed feel safe from our quits.


Still, just from those who have quit for long periods of time I know that we must continue to be watchful of our quits. We must continue to understand that at any time an urge can pop up out of nowhere. This is only an issue if we give into these phantom urges. The only strength they possess over time is the strength that we ourselves give them.


I’ve actually reached the point where I can be aware of my urges, laugh at them and move on without ever really being bothered by them. Perhaps this is the freedom that we seek. Perhaps this is the way it is for an ex addict. Always the possibility of urges because we lived so long as smokers and yet we find ways to take the wind out of those sails. We find ways to ignore those ridiculous thoughts of smoking.


So yes, our lives do become free by degrees. Our thoughts do eventually become the thoughts of those who never smoked with time. Our hearts do become free of the torture that is caused by quitting an addiction. And really, it all started with a belief in our hearts that we could do this. It all started by building the strength that we need to succeed and then taking that first step and forgetting that we are smokers. It all starts with a desire to live a future that is free of the addiction of smoking. A desire to be there for our loved ones and to see them grow and enjoy their own lives.


So yes, though we made mistakes in our past we must forgive ourselves for those mistakes because if we don’t. If we dwell for to long on our past mistakes, we could lose our commitment. So never beat yourselves up over what you’ve already done. Instead look to the future. You can’t change what you’ve already done but you can change what lies ahead in your lives. You can live for the brighter days ahead that you are creating right now.


And it really is worth every torturous day that you might feel. It really is worth taking the time to live a more harmonious life. It really is worth the effort to see our futures as something filled with life and knowing that down the road no matter what we thought before, we will be free of the shackles that we created for ourselves. We will be free of the doubt in ourselves that an addiction can create within us if we let it. We will be free to seek new goals that we never thought we could achieve because with this one action that we take in our lives, we prove to ourselves that we can do anything we set our minds to do!


To me, when we can fight that internal war with ourselves and win. When we can create a life free of addiction. When we can feel the beauty that is life. This is the day that we are truly free even if the addict within still tries to destroy all that we’ve done.


So all I can say at this point is enjoy the freedom that we’ve worked so hard to create. Dwell not on the lies of our addictions but instead dwell on the new world you’ve created. The one without cigarettes in it!!

So often we look at the things we really enjoy doing. They can be small things or really large things. Thing is, they’re important to us because if we don’t find the joys in life then it becomes difficult to keep pushing on. We begin to question why we even try. And this in turn can lead to depression.

I think this is a large part of why we find it’s so difficult to quit smoking. The addicted brain tells us that this one act is one of life’s little pleasures. The addict within sees things differently then the reality that we know to be true. The addicted mind doesn’t want to give up this thing that seems to make it feel better. This thing that over the years has become so much a part of us that we can actually believe the lies that the addiction tells us. Over time our addiction digs so deeply within us that we can’t even see our lives without those cigarettes.

During my time of preparation before my quit, I had a slight understanding of this. It became evident when I realized that I really did see the cigarette as an "old friend". I knew that my addiction told me that this one act that I spent so much of my waking time performing was indeed one of the most precious little pleasures in life. I understood that because the cigarettes occupied so much time in my day that it would be hard to replace that old friend.

This was a kind of understanding that went a long way toward the building of my quit plan. It was something that I knew would have to be fit neatly into my quit for without thinking of this one little detail I knew there might be a chance for failure. And to me, life itself was just a little to precious to allow failure. I knew there had to be a way around this addicted thinking. There had to be a way of convincing myself that this little pleasure was killing me.

So even as I smoked on those last days, I visualized my life without cigarettes. This task is not as easy as it should be for some reason and when I first began this exercise, my mind rebelled at every attempt. I was feeling an irrational fear of being without those cigarettes. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that I really didn’t need these things to get through my day.

This taught me a few things. The first being that the cigarette had a huge hold over me. It taught me that my brain was indeed rebelling against itself at just the thought of not smoking. Still, I’m glad I performed this exercise because with each day that I visualized myself without cigarettes, it brought my mind closer to acceptance. It brought my being closer to the idea that I really could have days without a cigarette.

This was of course the first step toward digging the triggers out of my mind and bringing them to the forefront where they could be studied. Once I lost the fear of living without cigarettes my mind began focusing on HOW to do it. I began focusing on a new reality that I intended to live. And with each passing day my thoughts about smoking began to change. I still didn’t hate the things but I was really beginning to realize that I didn’t need them. I was beginning to see through the fallacy of my addiction.

These things can be done not only in the beginning but throughout the course of our quits. Until we can see ourselves as nonsmokers, there is still a risk of losing our commitment. There is still a risk of relapse. Not that this is the only way to stay safe, it’s simply one step in the process I think.

I guess what I’m saying is that no matter what phase we’re in on our quits, we can always strive to strengthen our quit. We can always put forth a little more effort and find ways to see things differently. See things in a way that our addiction doesn’t want us to see.

This in itself is another form of freedom that we achieve along the way. The freedom to see things as they really are and not as our addiction would like us to see them. The freedom to see our lives without cigarettes in them and this in itself will bring us joy as we strengthen our resolve. This can give us hope when we might not feel so hopeful. This can help to carry us through to the day that the cigarette has no meaning to us. To the day that it has no power over us. To the day that we are truly free!!


Whispers of life

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Aug 19, 2011

So much has gone through my mind since that first day I quit. It’s just kind of the way I am. I reflect on things endlessly, trying to understand and when I can’t understand then I try to make peace with it, whatever it is that I’m thinking about.

Quitting smoking really does open some unique doors in our lives if we look for them. We find ourselves dreading a given day or event simply because we know it will create those urges and to us it’s uncomfortable at the very least. At times we try to avoid those situations until we can trust ourselves just enough to get by without relapsing.

This is indeed a decent method and I would always recommend staying away from the things that might make us smoke at first but the bottom line is that we will sooner or later have to face these situations and most likely feel the discomfort of those urges. I guess this is just another part of the quit process. We have to live through every aspect that we built our addiction on before we can really be free.

But to me, the freedom comes in degrees. It begins the first time we put out our last cigarette. In a way, this is the moment that we free ourselves from the control that cigarettes had over us. It’s by no means over and it’s hard to see this wonderful freedom at first but it’s there. Every time we say no when we would have normally had a cigarette we become free. Thing is, this allows us a lot of free time that we never had before. To me it's important to fill our minds with other things besides the quit because when we dwell on the quit, the quit becomes harder simply because we’re thinking about the discomforts of it.

But once we get through the first couple of weeks we begin to hear what I call the whispers of life. This is the days of acceptance. The days when we begin to believe that we really might be able to pull this monumental task of quitting off. We might truly realize our freedom.

We gain confidence from the very act of creating our new world without cigarettes and each day that we remain true to ourselves we become more and more confident. As our minds calm we begin to find time to take stock of what we’ve achieved so far. The mind begins whispering all of the positive things that we’re accomplishing to us. We begin to dare to look ahead and see a brighter future. And more importantly, we begin to believe in that future.

And so the more we believe in ourselves, the louder that whisper becomes. Soon the whispers of life becomes louder then the sweet lies of our addiction. Our minds at last begin focusing on what we’re gaining rather then focusing on the lies that tell us everything that we’re loosing. For me when this happened it felt like a tipping point in my quit. This was the moment of acceptance and once again a new level of freedom.

No more was I dwelling on the loss. No, instead I was staring straight ahead into the light of my future. I was seeing it in ways I’d never seen it before. I gained a new perspective and lost my fear of quitting once and for all.

So though the road may seem hard and endless at first, it’s important to realize that every day is a building block on the next. Every day brings you closer to the day that we all dream of. Every moment that we can not only hear but believe in the whispers of life brings us closer to our freedom. It brings us closer to the end of the torture of addiction.

So if you can, I would try to listen to that whisper, grab hold of it and bring it to the forefront of your mind where it can grow so loud that it actually drowns out the screaming addict that is within all of us. The whispers are simply the sound of your new future which really will be wonderful and though there’s a part of the mind that doesn’t want to see it. Though a part of us cannot even fathom life without cigarettes at first. If we can just grab onto that positive future and believe that this is our reality then we can all reach that tipping point in our quits. We can all face the reality that yes, we are indeed going to succeed. This is the beauty of what we’re trying to achieve here.

So when your down. When you feel like giving up. There’s two things that I would do. First, I would come here and seek out others who understand what your going through. And secondly I would try to find that whisper that you know is there. The one that knows that what your doing is the right thing. The one that sees that wonderful future without cigarettes in it. The one that opens your eyes to the belief that it isn’t so bad. It’s just a little rough patch. The one that knows that all of the hardships you must face now will one day be nothing but a memory . . .

As I reach yet another mile stone in my quit, I find myself reflecting on the past. Those first days when I wondered if I could really do this thing. Really, it does start with the single thought. The trick is to make that thought a reality. At first it seems like we find so many reasons not to quit even though the reasons to quit outweigh the reasons not to, both in fact and reality.

But that’s the face of addiction. Our addiction teaches us to lie to ourselves. It teaches us to paint a rosy picture when in reality the beauty is still awaiting us after we choose to fight for our freedom. The addiction helps us to see things in ways that we know are not real. We see the reality and yet we choose to ignore it.

But then comes the day when we choose to change our reality. The day that we choose to believe in ourselves and our future enough to actually take that first faltering step toward freedom. And I think every one of us at one point or another after taking that step wondered what the heck we’d gotten ourselves into! After all, life seemed so much simpler before we quit. All we had to do was feed our addictions.

But the reality is that with time, we find it easier to ignore our addictions. With time we discover that our reality was riddled with the lies that we told ourselves. For me, this was an important discovery because it taught me to see my world as it really was. And once I could lift the cloud from my own eyes and see how it really was, it made it easier to leave that world behind and embark on a journey like no other. Once the cloud was lifted I could see the path more clearly.

This is the part that takes a little time. We cannot rip the tentacles of addiction from ourselves without replacing that addiction with something else. For me that something else was the dream of my future. It was the mountain that had to be climbed. It was the war with myself that I called the addict within. Yes indeed there were many visions in my world as I learned to win the war against myself.

And now the days are indeed brighter. The days are filled with the wonder of achievement and with strength that I never knew I had inside of me. These are little treasures that we pick up along the way. These are the things that we can keep close and use for so many other wonderful things in our futures. They’re like gems that we can tuck away and use later when we might need them.

I guess what I’m saying is that when we quit and the world looks somehow different to us, it’s important to remember that the world hasn’t changed at all. It’s us that have changed. It’s us that view the world just a little differently then we might have had we not embarked on this journey of life. It’s us that can see a world where we believe in the power of achievement. A world where there is a hope for the future. A world where we can walk with our heads held high for no matter what the future brings, we still know that we did all we could to make that future just a little brighter.

So jump on that horse and ride to your futures. Ride to the place where there is a kind of internal peace that no addict can ever feel. Ride to that place where freedom reins and where the sun is just a little brighter simply because we want to see it that way.

There’s a whole new world waiting for you if you can just take that first step and throw those cigarettes away for good. There’s a shiny new place inside of you that’s waiting to be freed but cannot be so long as we are shackled by addiction. There’s a kind of love of life waiting for you that again, no addict can feel.

So climb my friends! Reach to the stars using the new found belief in yourself. Never for a moment think that you cannot win this. The rewards that await you are beyond the imagination. The rewards are real and tangible. All we have to do is defend ourselves from ourselves and we will be free!

Well, I’m glad to say that I’m still smoke free. To be honest, I was a little nervous about the last few days. You see, for the first time since I quit we went camping. I already knew there would be many strong triggers there that I hadn’t yet dealt with. I knew that for the first time in a while my internal addict would let itself be known.


Thing is, I was ready for this. I’d already prepared to experience those wonderful urges once again! And this paid off. I did indeed have those urges. Still, it was a wonderful experience in the end for you see I once again reinforced my quit simply by believing that I no longer smoke.


This in itself is enough to give us the strength we need when we need it. And when we successfully make it through a time that we’re not sure of, then we again build that confidence in ourselves and our abilities to beat our addictions once and for all.


Every time we have one of those rough days with our addictions and survive that day is in reality another step toward our freedom. It’s another step toward our new life and it’s another step toward a belief in ourselves that we will never let anything derail our quits.


So I guess this is just a reminder to those who are out of no man’s land that there’s just a little more to deal with. It’s a reminder that we have to be vigilant in our quits. We have to treat our quits with the respect they deserve and we must respect all that we’ve done in order to continue onward to freedom.


Don’t get me wrong, It wasn’t a horrible experience at all. This is because with every day that we live our new lives we learn how to deal with those urges and triggers. It becomes sort of a habit to keep ourselves safe from ourselves. We learn how to understand our addictions and this in turn allows us to live our lives with an understanding of ourselves and what motivates us to lean toward that addiction.


And to me, understanding is indeed a large part of the total battle. This is the knowledge that becomes the power we so desperately need. This is the knowledge we need to remain true to ourselves. It’s a key weapon that must be placed within our arsenal in order to stay free. This is a small price to pay for the benefits that are realized for the more we can add to ourselves to ward off the addiction, the easier it becomes.


Another interesting thing happened during this trip. I haven’t yet climbed the physical Mt. Freedom. That will come next year but I did get a chance to try out these new lungs of mine. I began hiking up an extremely steep mountain. As I climbed I became rather disappointed with the results. My lungs were burning even though my heart had kept a steady pace.


I was indeed happy that the old heart was doing well under this strain but wondered about the lungs. That is, until I turned around. I had just climbed about two thousand feet in a matter of fifteen minutes! Now that amazed me. I’ve never been able to do anything like that since I was a kid!


No wonder the old lungs were burning. I sat down and smiled to myself because of the realization that yes, my quit was really benefiting me in incredible ways! My heart was not strained in the least even though I must have practically ran up this little mountain.


What amazed me was that I really didn’t realize how far I’d traveled because my lungs never informed me with what used to be incredible wheezing and coughing as I exerted myself before. So never believe for an instant that what your trying to achieve is not for the good of your heart, lungs and overall health. Never believe that this journey isn’t worth it.


The bottom line is that if you can get through the first hard days and keep your heart and soul focused on the benefits awaiting you in the future then you will indeed win. If you can always remember that what you do right now determines your future then you will win. And man, when you get to the future that your creating today then you too can smile at yourself. You too can be proud of your achievement. You too can climb that mountain and wonder why in the heck you waited so long to do this!


Never give up on yourself and keep your eye on the prize!!

Just thought I’d stop in. It’s been pretty good as of late. Urges are almost non-existent. I still get them if I have a beer just right at first but that one won’t give me a problem because I’ve dealt with that one since I started my quit.


Thing is, I still have many life events to go through as a nonsmoker. This is why I believe that the journey never really ends. But it does get easier. Rather then fighting a seemingly endless battle, it becomes more of a situation where we must always be watchful and aware of the addict within. We must know he’s there and yet we don’t have to dwell on him. We don’t have to give him any strength.


And when those phantom urges pop up in our lives, this is the time that we discover just how far we’ve come for you see, we no longer give those things any credibility. We really do learn to laugh at them simply because they aren’t important enough for us to ruin our lives over.


This is when we may not be out of the woods completely but we can begin trusting in our own ability to remain smoke free. We can indeed look down the slopes of Mt. Freedom and see the climb we just made. We can at last look to the past of smoking without fear of derailing our quits.


To me, I have found my peace. I have found what I knew would always be there. A kind of freedom not only from myself but also from the very idea that smoking is something I want to do for it is not. It no longer sounds appealing to me and it no longer carries that insane power that it used to carry over me.


So keep fighting! Never give up on your dream of freedom. Even if this is your first day on your quit, it’s still that much closer to the freedom you want so badly. Never for a moment believe that you can’t do this thing. The only enemy you really have is yourself at this point.


So nurture your quit. Treat it as a living thing like a flower living in the desert that needs your loving care. For our quits really are about life. They really are about our futures. They really are about a love that we have for our children and grand children, our wives and our parents, our friends and most of all ourselves.


And it’s about freedom. Freedom from ourselves. Freedom from an addiction. Freedom to start enjoying life in ways we never realized we could before! And I have to tell you, it feels good once you get there.


So fight through those urges. Fight through that first week. Make it to that first month where you still must fight but it does get noticeably easier. Then on to the second where you learn how to quiet the addict within. Then that third month where the realization sets in that yes, you really can do this!


And then the fourth month where it all starts to calm down. Where the brain quits trying to get you to smoke. This is the place where you become the master of your addiction. This is the time when we can start living life again and start to believe that we will never give into ourselves. This is the time when the urges become so seldom that they can surprise you when they do appear.


This is the time when you can trust yourself just a little more. But it never really ends. It just fades away . .

You know, there’s a lot of horror stories about quitting. I sometimes wonder about mine. You see, to me it was really more of a learning experience then a nuisance. As I just read, there are thousands of ways to quit. It’s true that the key is not to put a cigarette to your face but really, who hasn’t figured that one out?


I spent a lot of time preparing for my quit and was often told not to over think it. I was told I could think so much about it that it might never happen. I hear that message and for some, this is true. Thankfully for me, this was not the case.


I spent months preparing and perhaps the difference for me was that when I was preparing, that was my entire focus. There were no distractions simply because I believed that quitting was in my future and that nothing was going to change my future except for myself.


I spent my time creating a positive attitude toward my quit. You see, to me quitting didn’t have to be this horrible thing that I must do. Instead it was a positive thing and I knew this. Now, don’t get me wrong. I had those same inevitable urges and cravings. I had those same doubts that we all feel. I had those horrible sleepless night and yes, I had the smoking dreams as well.


But once I made it to that magical day that I quit, I never looked back. There was no point. There was nothing in my past that could help me when it came to my addiction. And so instead I looked to the future. That magical place that I was building with each minute that I was smoke free. What a thrill that was! To see myself free of the shackles of addiction. To know without a doubt that I was pursuing a future that was about to become quite different then the one I was building before.


This in itself added strength to my quit. This added the much needed motivation to keep my quit for you see, when you know that every action you take right now is building a brighter future down the road then how could you even think about changing that future? Again, pointless.


And to this day, I still get those urges and anymore I find them to be amusing. I simply tell the old addict within that it’s always good to see him. It’s always good to know he’s there. And as always, it’s great to beat his intentions. So yes, for me every day is another day that I will win. My commitment to myself is to never give in to my addiction.


And so, if you find that there is ever a doubt about you making it through another day without a cigarette, think again only this time think from your heart. You know you want to stay quit. You know why as well. The answer is a little more then just not sticking a cigarette in your mouth. No, the answer resides inside of each of us.


We are the only ones that can keep ourselves smoke free. No one else can do that for us. It’s just a fact that goes along with addiction. And we keep our resolve in our hearts. Quitting is a labor of love. Love for ourselves as well as love for those who we care about. We want to keep living. Otherwise we’d have never made the choice to quit in the first place.


So gather your strength my friends. Dig deep inside of yourself and prepare for the ride of your life! It’s a ride that is so worth the trouble. It’s a ride that proves to us that yes, freedom is so much better then the slavery of addiction.


So go for it!! Look to your wonderful smoke free future and forget about that past of slavery. There’s nothing there for you anyway and if you really dig deep and try to figure out what your missing, then you too will find the humor in the addiction. You too will gain an understanding of yourself. You too will discover that it really doesn’t have to be that hard because so long as we are true to ourselves. So long as we always understand that we have a future to look forward to. Then there can be no doubt as to our intentions. There can be no doubt that we can win!