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!!