I hope everyone is having a wonderful smoke free weekend! I know I am but then I always do these days simply because after all the hard work that we must do to beat this addiction is over, well then we get to enjoy the benefits of it and that all starts with a calming of the mind and body. It just happens over time when we manage to lose our addictions.
Of course getting to that point is what we’re all about. Although the process of quitting is a deeply personal thing that we must do, there is still strength in numbers and the wisdom of those who have "been there" is an invaluable asset to our quits simply because sometimes we have to try to understand exactly what’s happening to us.
Like that first day when we decide that we no longer smoke and the addict within begins complaining. Quietly at first and then building into a crescendo of noise that becomes almost impossible to ignore. And then the next day and the next, each one building on the last both in our resolve and internal strength.
Then comes that next week and to me, this is the week that surprises a lot of people because they know the nicotine is out of their systems and yet the addict within is screaming at the top of it’s lungs at us, as this addicted part of the mind tries to determine why theirs no more nicotine.
It’s a week where we can begin to lose our resolve if we’re not careful because no matter how much we prepare, we’re still forced to use the knowledge of the first week to try to understand the second. Thing is, once the nicotine is gone, then we have to fight the longer battle with ourselves. This is what is meant by relearning a life without cigarettes.
I know that very quickly I morphed from an addict terrified of losing my addiction into a relatively calm addict who has indeed lost his addiction. There was a tipping point for me in about the third week I do believe. This was when I began seeing myself in my minds eye without cigarettes. It was a kind of silly exercise that I did where I would close my eyes and think of some past memories. I was actually amazed to discover that almost every one of those memories had cigarettes in them. I was smoking or holding a pack or lighting one up or buying a pack.
Perhaps this was the musings of an addicted mind changing the memories slightly to include cigarettes. I don’t know for sure but it gave me something to work on for you see, we can change our perceptions any time we choose to with just the tiniest bit of effort. And so I thought about those same memories and consciously took the cigarettes out of them. To me it was like I discovered a tool that the addict within was using on me. Dale actually gave me the idea when he said that he believes we have to relive all of the memories of smoking before we’re truly free.
But the bottom line is that from that day forward I would take a little time to modify how I saw my world. I took a little time each day to reinforce the fact that I don’t smoke. I still got the urges but somehow for me it was easier to blow them off, perhaps because I was no longer shackled so much by memories of smoking.
I think there’s lot’s of events like this that we discover as we quit. We’re forced to dig deeply into our very souls in order to win. We see ourselves in ways that we never saw ourselves before. We grow day by day and learn that with enough resolve we can accomplish anything we put our minds to. This is an internal growth that can be carried with you for the rest of your life so even before you really feel the freedom that’s awaiting you, your still accomplishing things that you might not yet realize.
So take each lesson that you learn on this journey and use that to build on the next. Never for a moment think that your not achieving exactly what you want to achieve so long as you remain true to yourself. And always look ahead to that bright future your building right now.
Keep your eye on the ultimate prize of freedom and only look back to learn and before long we’ll all be standing on the summit of Mt. Freedom together, laughing and patting each other on the back for you see, though we had to do this journey alone we also found a way to do it together.