I haven’t been here much and many of you may not know me for that reason but I had to come by and share this special day with you for you see, I’ve reached another mile stone in my quit. I’ve made a year smoke free!
It’s been a journey though obviously not an impossible one. And so I thought I’d share a little of my experience with you on this day. Last year, when I decided to quit I have to admit, I was terrified by the idea. The cigarette was such a large part of my life. It seemed like it was intertwined into every aspect of my world. Or so I thought.
The reality is that smoking only controls you as long as you let it. It only holds as much power over you as you give it. And quitting to me is not so much a decision as it is an attitude. A complete change in an old addictive thought process. At first for me it was a kind of retraining exercise. A way of thinking a little differently then I had in the past. I called my addiction the addict within in order to put a kind of face on what I considered to be my enemy. A thing that must be beaten in order to achieve my ultimate goal of freedom from the oppression of addiction.
I visualized a tall mountain that must be climbed in order to win my freedom. I called this mountain Mt. Freedom and I traveled it’s slippery slopes in my mind as I beat this addiction. For me it helped to be able to visualize my fight with myself in terms that I could see clearly in my minds eye. A living enemy that I could look at and understand by treating it as a separate entity even though it lived within me and in reality was me.
I’m not saying that this is a method that will work for everybody but it worked for me during the hard part of my quit. During the first months when we have to be continuously on guard because we all know that the addict within will do all we let it do to derail our quits. But it does get easier. It does get better. And it’s well worth the fight in ways that you will only know when you reach that summit. When you conquer that addiction that makes no sense. An addiction that does nothing for you but will kill you.
And what I mean about quitting being more of an attitude then a decision is that until you really know you want to quit. Until there is no doubt in your mind of success then the journey becomes much harder if not impossible to complete. For this reason I feel that preparation is an intricate part of a quit. This is when we build the foundation of our quits and so long as that foundation is strong then we can use it as the first building blocks. We build that foundation out of understanding and acceptance. We understand that yes, we are addicts and once we accept that fact then we can move on to ridding ourselves of that addiction.
And when those first days smoke free become a reality then everything you learned before your quit comes into play. Then day by day. Step by step we begin to recreate our lives without cigarettes. We begin to retrain ourselves simply by living a life free of addiction. This is when the addict within tries the hardest to derail our quits. This is when we need every bit of resolve that we can muster in order to see the reality of our addictions and rise above that reality. This is the first steps toward freedom.
And then day after day as we move forward we discover almost by accident that yes, this journey is getting easier. Our internal arguments are quieting down. Our minds are beginning to accept that we no longer smoke! We begin to realize that freedom is no longer a shimmering mirage off in the distance. No, the freedom suddenly becomes the reality that replaces what was once an addiction. A reality that once owned us. A reality that has changed into a new world that doesn’t have cigarettes in it.
Still, as an addict I will always keep my guard up. I will always ignore the sweet whispers of the addict within mostly because those whispers no longer make any sense to me. They no longer hold any power over me and the main thing is that I now live the attitude of a non smoker.
So if your just starting out on the path to freedom, take heart in the fact that you can win. Look to that future where your new found freedom lies. Never accept that you are anything but a non smoker and I can tell you something that I always told myself when I first started this battle with myself.
I always said that what we do today will determine what our future will look like. We can have a bright future of freedom or we can create a future of enslavement simply by the actions that we take right now in this moment. Me, I chose freedom and because of my actions of a year ago I am now living the future that I chose.
What will your choice be?