Good morning Exer’s!
Where do I start? Oh yeah! Tonight at 8:15P.M. I will have achieved two years without a cigarette. There was once a time when I wouldn’t have believed that I would see this day. I think that’s the case for a lot of us when we first start out with our quits. It’s the day to day experience of being smoke free that really builds our future of freedom. By staying true to ourselves and keeping our commitment strong we trudge along toward that life of freedom that we so long for. And take it from me as well as many others who have been where I’m at now, it’s well worth the fight.
For me it all began with a thought. A thought that admittedly scared the heck out of me. But a thought it remained for a long, long time. You probably know what I mean. After all, we all know that we shouldn’t smoke and we know why, and yet we keep on doing it. At least until the day that we turn that thought into a reality. The day that we overcome the fear of the unknown and actually quit.
For me there was a defining moment when I knew that my thoughts had become a reality and what did I feel? Fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of feeling uncomfortable and yes, fear of losing that old friend that had been hanging with me for most of my life. But there’s something funny about the face of addiction, (and I mean funny in a rhetorical way). To me, the face of addiction is like a mask that we hide behind. The addict that lives within us has a way of deceiving us and I think we let those deceptions happen because we’re afraid of life without cigarettes.
For me, the first thing I had to do was remove the mask of deception. And how does one go about that? By facing reality. By understanding the harm we’re doing to ourselves. By taking the time to first admit that we are addicts and then take that knowledge and use it to stare at the harsh reality that is our addiction. Cigarettes are not our friends. Would a friend rob us of life and health? Would a friend enslave us? Would a friend lie to us even as he was killing us? I think not!
As for fear of the unknown, I began researching all I could as my quit date approached. By the time my quit date had arrived, my fear of quitting had vanished. I simply put out that last cigarette and went to bed, secure in the fact that I would wake up a non-smoker. As for the discomfort, I used the nicotine patches to alleviate some of this. The thing I learned about the patches is that they don’t completely remove the cravings. They just take the edge off of them. This allowed me to learn when and how to deal with the cravings. I used the patches for six weeks as advised and quit using them on time, ensuring that I didn’t become addicted to the patches!
And so came that first week. Sure it was hard but nothing as bad as the addict within had tried to convince me that it would be. The first day became the stepping stone that I would use for the second. One day at a time I fought for my freedom until it became a week. And then it became a month and then a year, soon to become two years.
Do I miss smoking? Not at all. Do I still get a craving? Sometimes, but they just make me laugh because I no longer wear a mask of deception. I no longer see myself as a smoker. I breathe not only the clean mountain air but also breathe the air of freedom and believe me, that freedom tastes sweeter then anything I’ve ever tasted before because though I created my addiction, I also climbed out of it and once a person is enslaved, how could freedom taste like anything but success?
And so here I am, on the top of the mountain looking at all that I’ve accomplished in the past two years and one thing is certain. Every day I can wake up with a smile because the worst is now behind me. There is no longer the crushing weight of addiction to overcome. I’m living life and loving it free of the distractions that my addiction used to create.
I mention all of this in the hopes that someone might get something out of my past experience. I’ve found that often there is a glimmer of something that another can use in almost any blog.
So to all of you who are "thinking" about quitting I would have to say, "Don’t let that thought drift away. Instead, turn that thought into a reality. The best time to start is right now because you cannot build a different future if you do nothing to create it and there is no better future then the freedom that comes with beating an addiction."
To those who have just started I would have to say "Good for you! It may seem hard now but soon you’ll understand that it’s all worth it. That there is no nobler cause then to fight for your very life. There’s no better way to show those you love how much you love them then to extend your life by quitting in order to live a longer life with them.
"Never believe for even an instant that you cannot do this. It takes only a moment to give in to yourself so always watch for those moments of weakness that could derail your quit and soon you too will be on the other side of this moment in life and what your doing right now can do nothing but improve it."
To those who are free and yet still struggle I would say, "Remember no man’s land. The time when your over the worst and yet still vulnerable to yourself. We must be on guard until the day that we can truly laugh at our addictions."
To those old timers who were there for me in those first hard days I would say, "Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your help. There is no greater element that can help us in our quits then the advice of those who have ‘been there’. Seeing your achievements makes others believe that they too can achieve what might otherwise seem impossible. Your selfless dedication to the lives of others has indeed saved lives and improved the lives of many. Your lessons have been learned and I return here so that you can see the fruits of your work. Another life saved."
And so I continue on to year three, always aware that there is an addict within but confident in the fact that I have indeed learned Dale’s lesson and that lesson is that once you can truly laugh at your addiction then that addiction loses it’s power. This is a truth that has been proven to me not only by him but by my own experience.
I have at last stood on the summit of Mt. Freedom, confident that though my addiction and myself must live together forever that I now have the upper hand for you see, I LOVE MY FREEDOM and would never do anything to lose that.
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!