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2013

Good morning Exer's!! I hope your having a calm day today. There's always so much to think about and take care of during our quits. There's the constant nagging sensation that we all must feel at first. A kind of confusion that at times can be really hard to understand. We wonder about our quits and what might happen next as if we're helpless to change the circumstances of our lives even though we know that when we quit, we actually did change those circumstances.

It really doesn't matter if it's about quitting smoking or any other major change in life, when we hitch a ride on the wings of change, it can be both a wonderful and terrifying experience. Change never comes easy it seems, especially if it's a major change to one's life.

It's human nature to fear the unknown. I know no matter how confident I am that I've always been nervous on the first day of a new job. Though I have an idea of what would be expected of me as well as how to perform the needed tasks, I still always find myself nervous on that first day. I think this is more a fear of the unknown. Of not yet experiencing the change in life.

When we're about to embark on a journey that embodies a change in our lives, we use what knowledge we have and because of a little nervousness we begin analyzing the situation and we create all kinds of scenario's to try to be ready for the change. When we decide to quit, we see ourselves in situations without cigarettes and somehow we just can't visualize this. For me there was a kind of resistance from the mind and at first I just couldn't see myself as a nonsmoker. This made me wonder if I was capable of achieving the change that I desired.

And so I created things that I could fixate on. Like Mt. Freedom and the addict within. This allowed me to perceive a little normalcy because it symbolized a journey. It symbolized in my mind a cohesive path to follow. Though I never really knew what I would face in the next turn of the trail I could at least visualize progress. I could visualize a journey with a clear beginning, middle and end. This helped to calm my fears before I actually quit to the point that one of my first quitting blogs was titled, “No fear!”

In that blog I described my last cigarette and what amazed me was first that I never even finished that last cigarette and second that as I went to bed that night I actually smiled because I knew in my heart that I felt no fear. I went to sleep with a confidence that I would be able to successfully ride the wings of change. That the journey would indeed be a doable one even if I still wasn't completely sure where the wings of change might take me.

Most of what I feared might happen never really did and things I'd never even thought of did happen. That's the nature of riding the wings of change. We can soar high into the air, seeing our future for what it really will be. We can land softly in our new changed world by simply understanding the new world we're in. You know, the one without cigarettes in it.

We can indeed create a journey of wonder. It really depends on how we want to see the journey. One thing is certain. On this journey you will come out a better person. A healthier person and yes, believe it or not, a happy person. One that lives a life of freedom. One who takes what is given to them and turns it into that magical thing that we call peace.

So if you haven't already, grab hold of those wings of change. Let them take you high into the air so you can see your future as it really well be. So you can visualize the freedom that lies ahead in your future.

Trust in yourself because it is us who must really make the journey a success. Together we will weather anything that tries to stand in our ways. Together we will climb Mt. Freedom and leave our fears and doubts at the trail head because that's just baggage that we don't need. We can climb over those boulder fields and yes, sometimes we can even completely miss them and blaze a new trail around them that others can use when they choose to ride the wings of change.

When the fear tries to get you, look to the summit. When the world seems so different, look only to the summit. That's where our futures lie! That's where we can at last stand tall, grab that banner of freedom. Wave that beautiful banner high over our heads and shout out to the world, “I did it!! I'm Free!! And all I had to do was ride those wings of change out of a world that I thought I knew and into the land of freedom!!”

It really is worth the effort!!

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Good morning Exer's!!! Hope all is well. At times when we quit it can feel like we're in a cage. Sometimes it can even feel like we'll never get out of that cage. We can see that shiny new world that we want so badly through the bars but for some reason we just can't seem to find the door to it.

We feel like we're circling around the perimeter over and over, feeling the same things over and over and after a while we just get tired of staring through those darn bars! This is the physical cage of our addictions. The part where the body actually feels the true physical withdrawals. Over and over again on those first days we must feel the endless demands of the body as it longs for it's fix. And we have to say no over and over again until at last after about three days, we find the door.

Cautiously we step through it, wondering what will happen next. Sure, we've been told how the journey will be. We've even been told a seemingly thousand different ways to quit by what seems like a thousand different people. We felt as ready as we could be but the bottom line is that the withdrawals must be experienced before we truly understand them.

And so after a bit of time in the cage, we take yet another step on the road of life. Warily we look at our new smoke free world and in a way it looks so different. It looks so cold and colorless because of the loss. The stupid loss that we can't seem to shake the feeling of. As we take yet another step on the path to freedom we realize that the world hasn't changed at all. No, it was us that had changed. We're what makes the world look so different. And this realization actually adds a spring to our steps for you see, we now realize that we don't smoke anymore. We now understand that we're embarking on a new and wonderful path and there can be no stopping us now!!

And then we feel the first breath of the dragon. That evil creature who has moved inside of us and spread tentacles throughout not only our bodies but our very lives! The creature starts whispering to us as we continue walking the path. We try to ignore it but slowly the thoughts creep into our minds. The dragon uses the tentacles that it grew into us to try to sway our resolve. To make us feel like the path is so long and endless.

At times we might succumb to the endless whispering. We might actually give the whisper the power to ruin our day. To shake our resolve. We might pause for a moment on the path and take stock of just what we're listening to. We might listen just enough to understand that these endless thoughts are indeed the very essence of what we must destroy!

We find our weapons in various places along the path. Some are supplied by others and some we find within us. As we begin to understand our enemy, the weapons become real. And yet we wonder how to use these weapons for the dragon lives inside. The dragon has had a long time to prepare for this battle. We stand and wonder for a moment and then we step inside of ourselves and see the face of the dragon. The monster that is our addiction.

We draw our sword as the creature laughs at us, giving us pause. The sneer of the creature gives us the strength to swipe at it and we rip out the first tentacle of our addictions, causing the dragon to scream loudly at us. We take a step back and wonder if we can ever kill this nagging creature. We swipe again and another tentacle is ripped away. And then another and another.

The dragon is becoming weak now. The dragon has met it's match for you see, we didn't just come to fight the battle. We came to win the entire war!!

Though at times the struggle can seem so hard it might be that we just don't understand the nature of the struggle. It takes time to learn our personal dragon. It takes a resolve that has to come from deep inside of us. A will to change that which would ruin our future.

The rewards of the journey way outweigh the discomforts that we must face in order to be free.

Go for it! Your walking the walk of a winner! You are taking your life back and it all started way back on that first day when you thumbed your nose at the addiction and said I will live like this no more! I am ready to take my life back!! I am ready to defeat my addiction and nothing and I mean nothing can stop me!!

All it takes is a willingness to walk into a new and wonderful life. A willingness to achieve something wonderful and a willingness to fight for your life of freedom!!!

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Good morning Exer's!!!

I've been absent a few days due to doing a bunch of needed chores before fall sets in. As I was working I realized that what I was doing were things that I always did while smoking. It was a brief aha moment and I began looking for those urges to begin. I did this so that I would be ready just in case. But those urges never materialized even though I gave them the opportunity by thinking about them.

To me, this is what it's all about. As we fight our internal battle for freedom I think there's a moment when we really do become free. A moment when we understand that we really do belong in the world of nonsmokers. We really do feel a lift within ourselves every morning and that lift comes from the fact that urges carry no more power then they did before we lit our first cigarette so long ago.

But of course we must first go through the processes that is the quit. We must first understand that we are addicts. The next thing that must be done is to forgive ourselves for our past transgressions. We must understand that though we did effect our bodies negatively for a long, long time that we now see the light. We now see through our addictions enough to decide to quit. And once we start that quit we have to understand that through forgiving ourselves we strengthen our ability to quit because there's just one less negative thing to think about.

So first forgive. Then move on to that glorious first smoke free day! The day that we take our first cautious step into the land where freedom lies. Though it doesn't feel very free on those first days the reality is that we must find a way to survive them in order to move on. That's when support can be extremely crucial. On those first days, we're sort of testing the waters and so long as we get through that first week, then there's something to build on.

Soon we have that first month behind us. We begin to believe that we might have what it takes to make it to the end. To find that freedom! This is when we really need to be thinking of our futures and let the past be just that. The past. The part that we can't change. What we must focus on is the future that awaits us. That freedom that tastes so sweet. That summit that is so very attainable!

And yes, as the months pass we begin to feel a little bit of that freedom. By degrees we become calmer and more comfortable in our new lifestyles. We can see what at first is a glimmer that we can latch onto, knowing full well what that glimmer is. It's the freedom that we want so badly and it's there for the taking if we can just latch onto it! If we can nurture it and make it grow!

And as we walk that path the glimmer becomes a burning in our hearts. A belief that before long we really will be free. That like me, one day we can all look for those craves and find peace in the fact that their no longer there.

So wherever you are on the path to freedom, take a moment every day to look for that little glimmer and when you find it, grab hold of it tightly. Hold it close to your heart for this is the star that we long for. This is the star that one day will burn so brightly within you that you too will understand what I understand now . . .

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Good morning Exer's!! Life must be good because we're living it!!

I was giving some thought to the triggers and urges that we all must face when we quit smoking. The two little items just happen to be right at the center of the entire quit. If it weren't for those triggers and urges, I think anybody could quit smoking.

To me, a trigger is a life event that reminds us of smoking. This is where we ourselves create an unpleasant situation simply by not only remembering but allowing ourselves to almost savor the memory of our past lives as smokers.

And then there's the urges. This is a more physical manifestation. I believe that it comes from a part of the brain that doesn't know right from wrong. A part of the brain that reacts to stimulation such as nicotine. This part of the brain sends those signals out for us to smoke on a regular basis. Again, it is a stimulation or reflexive type of feeling, at least for me.

I think it's the part of the brain that creates urges that is the true essence of the addict within. This is the screaming little child that must be trained in order to find peace because as long as the addict within continues to scream at us in very physical ways, then how can we find calm? How can we see past the noise of our addictions in order to feel that freedom?

At times I think that we add even more trauma to our quits when we get an urge because we tend to see it as a weakness within ourselves rather then the mental impulse that it really is. We then begin to analyze why we still feel the urge to smoke months after we've already quit. And because we do this, it at times makes us angry not only at ourselves but at the entire situation of quitting. Some even go as far as to believe that there will never be a calm. There will never be freedom.

But the reality is that this is thinking out of frustration. We want so badly to taste that freedom and yet it seems like we're our own worst enemy. At times we even question our resolve simply because the discomforts of losing an addiction can seem so endless. It just seems easier to give in. But it doesn't really have to be that way.

We have to remember at all times that these urges are short little bursts or impulses that our brain produces just as it did when we actually smoked. But this is where the problem can arise. If we grab hold of that impulse and allow it to enter into the forefront of the mind, then it becomes more then a simple impulse. I think we, (usually without realizing it) grab on to that impulse and attach to it a mental desire to smoke.

This in turn makes the situation so much worse! I think the reality is that once we understand that these are quick little impulses and treat them as such then things get easier. This is when we can see through our own mask of addiction. This is when we can see the freedom looming just over the horizon. This is when we can get back to the business of taking our lives back.

So I guess what I'm trying to convey here is that though we will all feel those urges. Though we will always try to understand and be ready for our triggers. Though each battle seems like an uphill battle, in the end we do win the entire war.

There really is freedom out there my friends. There really is hope for a new life. That hope started the day we decided to quit and slid that thought past our own addictions to make it a reality. And that hope grew with each shackle of addiction that we removed from ourselves very carefully and one at a time until there were hardly any left.

Sure, it's a process and one that most find unpleasant. But it's a doable process so long as we stick to the fact that we love life. We love freedom. And most importantly, we're here to fight for that freedom! We're here to take back our lives! We're here not because we have to be but rather because we WANT to be!!

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

I AM YOU!!

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Aug 13, 2013

Good morning Exer's!! I hope this day finds you well and as calm as life will let you be. I was just thinking about the fact that just like you, I too once had to start a journey that was both fascinating and terrifying. It was and still is a journey that means so much to so many. It's a journey that at the beginning seemed like an impossible obstacle and yet so many of us have achieved the amazing freedom that is at the end of the journey; the top of the mountain; the days of health and peace.

I went back to some of my older posts to reflect on the journey for now I feel safe enough in my quit to actually look back. I read my first blog that I posted here. That was indeed a blast form the past or perhaps even another life. Definitely a different lifestyle. It reminded me of all those jumbled thoughts that we face at first. It helped me to remember how scary a quit can be at first. The doubt that one feels when thinking of quitting. We see so much as negative on those days even though what we're going through is a positive thing. Rather then bore you with the actual text, I've provided links to those posts that reflect many of the things we must go through in case anyone wants to read the actual posts.

Anyway, the next one I looked at was the description of my first day quit. It reminded me of that first morning that we all must face. How I knew I was forgetting something and realized that my mind didn't want me to leave without the cigarettes. After all, I'd been chained to them for so long that it was hard to see my way out the door without them. I discovered that as it is for most of us, that first day wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I think this is because we set ourselves up for a horrible day and our minds create all kinds of screaming scenario's. Thankfully for me as may be the case for many others those scenario's were unfounded.

I found that at the one month mark, I was still feeling those urges fairly strongly though the resolve to continue was always there. I reminded myself on those days that today is not how it will always be. No, one day I really will reach that summit. One day I will feel the calm that awaits us all. One day I will come to the realization that all of this was worth it!

From there I walked into no man's land. At that time I spoke of the phantom craves. The ones that can sneak up on us out of nowhere and in some cases even derail a quit. I even mentioned a moment when I knew I was going to crave, simply because it was one of those life situations that bring those craves about. Understanding is indeed a key to all of these situations that we must face on the journey.

Next I wandered into my one year anniversary. I of course wrote a long passage. But the one thing I really noticed was how much calmer I seemed to be feeling. How confident I was in my ability to fend off any of those urges and craves. And the fact that there really is a kind of peace as we learn our new lives without cigarettes.

And then of course I had to review my two year mark. A lot of what is there is a lot of what I share with you now.

My point is that a little over 900 days ago, I was you. The one just starting out. I felt much of what your probably feeling right now. I wondered how long the journey might take before I could feel comfortable again. And on that first day of the quit, I was you. I was a little scared of losing my resolve and a bit confused over what was going to really happen next in my life.

And for those of you in no man's land, I was you! I too had to walk through that treacherous place and work my way to the other side. What a place it was! But just as I did, we can all navigate through by taking just a little care and keeping our guard up!

Quitting is indeed a journey. One that many have walked and one that many more will walk successfully. I wish you success where ever you are in the journey and look forward to the day that you are me as I am right now!! Free my friends! So very free!!!

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

My first blog at BecomeAnEx. When I was in preparation.

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011-blog/2011/01/07/the-beginning-for-me-preparing-to-quit

 

My first smoke free day

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011-blog/2011/02/22/day-2-smoke-free-the-journey-continues

 

The one month mark

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011-blog/2011/03/25/day-32

 

No man's land

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011-blog/2011/06/25/phantom-cravings

 

One year anniversary

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011-blog/2012/02/20/day-365-a-year-in-the-life-of-a-reformed-addict

 

Two year anniversary

https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/blogs/Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011-blog/2013/02/20/two-years-smoke-free

Living a life free of addiction! It reminds me of a journey through the seasons. As with almost any change that we must make in our lives, there is a process to go through. A kind of tearing down of our very essence in order to change the true essence of ourselves.

I see this very same thing in nature so often. The forest fire that brings new life by heating the trees to shed their seeds as the ground is cleared for the new and glorious young forest that will replace the less perfect one. Or something as simple as the death of a flower in order for it to become the seed of life for the next year.

As in nature, we too must undergo a bit of a transformation when we want to change something in our lives. Something that has been there for so long we can hardly remember what life was like before we transformed. Before we succumbed to our addictions. That life of purity. That life that we know is there for the taking if we can just get through the transformation period.

And in a way when we quit smoking, it feels like our entire world has been turned upside down. Like we're in a whirlwind that we know has an escape if we can just find it. At first we're a bit surprised at the difficulty that we face to make this change in our lives. We wonder about the endless desire to do that which we have chosen not to do. We fight with the fact that at first we want to quit and yet it feels like we don't want to.

At times we have to literally hold our hands back rather then buy a pack of smokes. And yet somehow we do it. Somehow we find the strength within ourselves to resist ourselves! I think the tables turn in our favor once we make it through that first week. The tearing down process is relatively quick I think.

It's the rebuilding that takes time, mainly because most of us want to be sure that we get it right. After all, why would we want to go through that initial tear down again? Sometimes it happens but for most of us, we eventually get it right. We eventually feel the peace that comes from freedom of enslavement.

So though it may seem hard right now. Though you might catch yourself questioning the validity of the journey, try to understand that you've already been through the worst of it as soon as the nicotine is out of the system. The rebuilding is a glorious part of the journey, though it can be treacherous at times.

But take heart. So many of us have done it before you. So many have proven that this is a transformation that can be accomplished.

With a little work and a belief in yourself, it won't be long before you too see that this new life really is a wondrous place to be! It's so exciting to feel the last of those tentacles of addiction disappear. To feel free at last!

Indeed, once we take back our lives then things look so much better on so many different levels. We can breathe better. We have stronger immune systems. We have a newly found confidence that we can do anything we put our minds to because we know if we can beat an addiction as strong as the one we just beat then we could do almost anything!

Go for it!! All it takes is a little time and you too will feel the peace. The calm that can only come from freedom!!!

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Little lies

Posted by Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011 Aug 10, 2013

Good morning Exer's!!

I hope this day finds you as calm as you can be under the circumstances. I was thinking about one of those things that can really mess with us during our quits. The little lies that the addiction sends us all of the time. I think the reason for this is that we've already faced the fact that we are really going to quit and just like the day that we decided to quit and found a way to sneak that thought past that addict within, so too does the addiction try to slip thoughts past the armor of our resolve.

I think it's the little thoughts that can become the dangerous ones so long as we listen to them. For me, it seemed like my addiction was almost a living thing though I know now that the only way the addiction can live is through me. Only I can give this nagging part of my brain life. Only I can let this part of my mind influence me. And only I can make that part of my mind disappear.

But yes, those little lies that the addiction always tries to feed us is the very thing that can destroy what was once a confident quit. To me, it seems like the addiction uses emotions to sneak those little lies into the forefront of our minds where we might think them.

At times, it's jealousy as in “How come they can smoke and I can't?”

The reality is that we already know the answer to this one and we always thought that we were prepared for this instance and yet we actually find ourselves not only thinking that thought but also giving it a power that doesn't belong to it. Because of our feeling that we have to go through something when others don't, we can discover that we have a small ***** in our armor.

And then as we look at our new and wonderful world of freedom, a thought sneaks past our defenses, one that is attached to a feeling of loss. This is when the thought of “losing the old friend” pops into the mind. Attached to the feeling of loss is the memories of how we would sit there and smoke and for some reason it doesn't seem like such an ugly scenario even though we know that it is.

When we enter a store, a moment of excitement will carry with it the thought that we should buy a pack of cigarettes, even though we know this isn't what we're going to do. And yet because these thoughts are already attached to emotions, we react very strongly to them.

So to me it seems that as we quit and spend each day ripping out those shackles of addiction, that we must first of all be aware of those little lies and secondly be aware of the emotion that is attached to it. By separating the the thought from the emotion, the addicted thought loses most of it's power.

When we separate the thought from our emotions, then the actual thought is once again placed into the correct context and we can see through the mask of addiction to the reality of the thought. When this happens then thoughts of losing the old friend for example just don't make any sense. Stripped of emotion, we see the realities that were there all along. You know, the reality that tells us that we really didn't lose anything but instead were gaining everything!

Fight your best fight my friends. Look not to the thought but instead to the emotion that is attached to that thought and strip it from the thought. In this way perhaps no man's land might be as little easier to navigate. Perhaps using this method the addict within will lose some of it's power.

We still have to fight to the end. We still have to push those addicted thoughts away every day but I think that with understanding comes a little calm. With understanding comes another weapon and means to fight. We've all got what it takes inside of us and the thing is, it's so deep inside of us that even our very addictions cannot throw that part of us out.

For we are freedom fighters! We are the ones who believe that we will win not just the battle but the entire war no matter how long it takes! We are the ones who will walk the walk of a winner because we will not take slavery as an answer. For on that first day when we put out that cigarette and tasted freedom for the first time, we longed for it. We climbed for it and in the end we will all find it!!

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Things just look different today, though we can't seem to pinpoint just what it is. Or can we? Today is another celebration for all who are smoke free. In fact, every day is a celebration when we work our way slowly and carefully toward freedom. Sure, yesterday might have been filled with endless urges but that doesn't mean that today has to be that way.

And if we had one of those calm days then the same holds true. Each day is a new beginning. What we do with that beginning depends on us. And how we react to those things that we do is also up to us. We can mourn the loss that comes from feeding the old addiction or we can do what we should be doing and celebrate!

We can dwell upon all those triggers and urges or we can see them for what they are and dismiss them before they have a chance to do us any damage. Today is a good day not to smoke. We can worry about tomorrow when it get's here. But one thing is certain. If we remain smoke free today then tomorrow is going to seem like a much brighter day, now isn't it?

After all, when we decide to quit smoking we kind of make a deal with ourselves for the long haul. We have to face the facts of our addictions, learn our addictions and then use that knowledge to defeat what we know is a very negative aspect in our lives.

No matter what today may bring be it a day of urges or a day of peace, never forget that so long as nothing gets in the way of our commitment then we have a goal for tomorrow. Each day that we walk the path of freedom brings us closer to that life of peace that awaits us. Each day brings us closer to the summit of Mt. Freedom. Each day gives us yet another opportunity to laugh at the addict within as he tries to get us to listen to his whispers of death.

For in a way we are warriors! It's true that the battle takes place entirely within ourselves and yet we have to fight for our freedom. We have to take back what was once ours and learn to live once again in the reality of life instead of the deception of addiction.

So go for it my friends!! Take this fight to the very interior of your soul. Take this fight to the depths of your mind where the addict within lives. Spend each new day ripping yet another of those tentacles of addiction from yourself and always keep your eye on the prize because one new day you'll wake up and realize that today is an incredibly good day because yes there is peace. Yes, there is freedom. And yes, life is indeed as precious as we always remembered it to be.

And all we had to do was live the journey one new day at a time . . .

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Good morning EXer's!! I hope all is well with everyone or at least as good as it can be considering the journey. I've always thought that when we embark on a journey, especially a long journey that we try to pack just the right items for that trip. If we were climbing a mountain we would pack our assorted tools and safety equipment to see us through and we would try to plan to have what we need for every contingency that we might encounter.

 

But no plan is ever perfect. Rarely do we have everything we need to finish the journey unless we've taken a similar journey before. And then we learn from the past journey and use that knowledge to ensure that we are better prepared next time.

 

But when we quit smoking, we have to face a journey without any previous experience in a lot of cases. I think almost everyone here has quit once before. But the thing is, when we slip the addict within takes over the second we allow that door to open, blinding us from what we've already learned and doing it's best to keep us under it's thumb. After all, this side of the brain where the addict within lives doesn't understand right from wrong. It doesn't realize that every cigarette is bringing us closer to death. It doesn't understand that we can't receive our dopamine from the same source anymore.

 

This is the side of the brain that really has to be retrained to find what it needs elsewhere. And this is the side of the brain that gives us so much trouble when we quit. It's also the side of the brain that makes our journey seem so darn long!

 

And when a journey takes time, we can eventually lose our confidence. And when that happens we start to see things as if through a magnifying glass. Every little thing that happens seems so monumental. Somehow everything that we do suddenly seems so much harder sometimes to the point that we start to question our own ability to stay quit. We start to wonder if our lives will ever change. We begin to wonder if the mind ever calms or if this is just the world we'll have to face forever.

 

Without the confidence that in turn gives us the ability to believe in our new life, we start to waver just a little. We start to think how a cigarette really might help in a given situation. In other words, we open the door for the addict within to do it's stuff. To try to derail our quits.

 

So how would one go about regaining confidence? How does one learn to slam the door on the addict within? How does one stop the endless nagging that the addiction brings us? First off, rather then look at things as one endless, long miserable journey we can look at it in pieces. First is those first days when we rid ourselves of the physical aspect of the journey. Then comes that first month or two where we learn not to smoke, expecting to feel miserable and knowing that we can do this. Then comes “no man's land”. That dangerous place where if we're not careful, our confidence might waver.

 

This is when we start to wonder if this journey will ever end. This is when we become tired of fighting with ourselves and at times actually think about how easy it would be to just go buy a pack and end this seemingly long journey.

 

If it were me, I would instead look at how far I'd come. I'd look at how different the world seems to me. I'd look for the positive in what might seem like such a negative situation and I would understand that yes, it takes time to find that freedom. It takes time to learn to live that wonderful healthy life that we all dreamed of. I'd remember just how hard those first days really were and compare them to the present. In this way I can see that my world really has changed. I can see that I really did go through a lot to get where I'm now at. And I would realize right at that moment that I didn't want to throw it all away just to quiet the addict within. I would come here to this site where so many feel the confidence and share my woes with them.

 

Sometimes we need help finding that confidence. Sometimes we need just a little nudge in the right direction. But one thing we don't need is to find ourselves starting over because we couldn't find the will to change our thinking.

 

So every day, remember that your building not the future of enslavement but rather a future of freedom! Remember that every day you stay free is not a day of mourning. No, it's another day to celebrate!!

 

And though it may seem hard to believe right now, there really is peace down the road. The addict within does eventually give up. So long as we remain strong and seek help when we need it, then we will reach the summit of Mt. Freedom and we will wave that banner of freedom high over our heads. So keep your eye on that summit. That's where your freedom lies!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

Good morning Exer's! Every now and then I like to write about the imagery that I used during my quit. Many of you already know this stuff but for those who aren't yet familiar with the mountain, I will describe it again.

 

To me,Mt. Freedom symbolizes the essence of a quit. It signifies the struggles that we all must face as we escape our addictions. It's a tall, formidable looking mountain. After all, how could it not be considering what it represents. I used this mountain in conjunction with the “addict within” to help me to understand my journey into the unknown world of a smoke free addict.

 

I created this mountain just before the last day of my quit, and when I put out that last cigarette I visualized myself looking up the slopes of Mt. Freedom, seeing just how far away that summit looked and believe it or not, with a smile I took my first step on the path to freedom. I took that first step onto the slopes of my new life.

 

It was really during my preparation to quit that I created the “addict within”. This was to symbolize the endless nagging that an addicted mind can create. It symbolized the divided mind that we all feel at first and as such it allowed me to communicate to my addiction in ways that might not have otherwise been possible for me. I could tell that nagging part of my brain to shut up if I wanted to. I could see the addict and actually find myself laughing at it's antics. I befriended the addict because I always wanted to keep him close so that I could take away the element of surprise that he sometimes likes to use to derail a quit.

 

And so with the addict within in tow, I took those first careful steps up the path. Each step I took got me ever closer to the summit even though it looked so far away at first. As the weeks past I could see more and more of that beautiful summit growing ever closer. I kept my focus on the top of the mountain and only looked down the slopes to see how far I had come.

 

I navigated many a boulder field and slippery slopes to get to the top and as I got closer I saw a banner waving in the wind, beckoning to me. I longed to reach it! Now, almost running and literally dragging the addict within up that last leg of my journey, laughing because of the wonderful freedom I was feeling, I saw that banner again and do you know what it said? FREEDOM!!!

 

I saw myself standing on that summit and waiving the banner of freedom high over my head for all to see! I was so happy as I at last took a long look down the slopes of freedom and that's when I saw so many of you, following the same path to freedom. Climbing carefully out of addiction.

 

And so I climbed back down to fix ropes to make the climb easier. To help those who might need a helping hand over those slippery slopes. To lend a hand to any who might need it and I realized that I felt this way because I knew that no one should have to face the mountain alone. No one should have to wonder which turn in the path to take.

 

So keep climbing my friends! Look to the top of that summit where the banner of freedom awaits you! There is so much peace at the top of Mt. Freedom. And so much happiness from those who have already waved that banner high for all to see!

 

We're waiting for you at the top. We can't climb the mountain for you but we can sure help you blaze a path. I can't wait to see you at the top!!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

So often in life, it's the little things that can mean so much. The simple kiss of a loved one, a moment of kindness whether given or received. And yes, just enjoying a sunrise or sunset; seeing that kind of beauty has the power to fill the soul with such wonderful feelings, to make us believe if even for a moment that everything will be alright.

 

I think the same is true when it comes to losing an addiction and I think it starts long before we actually quit. It starts with a simple little thought. “Why?”

 

Why do I smoke I wonder, when I know it brings nothing good to me. Why is it that I take pleasure in destroying my future rather then building it? What is this thing that motivates me to smoke I wonder? And slowly these little thoughts materialize into a thought that takes us and the addict within totally by surprise. “Why don't I quit?”

 

Because a series of smaller thoughts formed into the one grand thought of quitting, it bypasses the defenses that our addiction creates and allows the thought to form and by the time we realize that we're thinking about taking our lives back, the thought is strong enough that in a lot of cases we actually decide to act on that thought and turn the thought of quitting into a reality.

 

And still, throughout our quits it's the little things that both inspire us to continue as well as try to derail our quits. It's the little thoughts of smoking that if allowed to bloom will become the main thought in the forefront of our day. It can be that one little thought of how we're losing so much when we quit. Or when we feel a pang of jealousy because another can smoke and we can't. These are the little things that we have to work on constantly lest those little thoughts become the gigantic crave that causes us to lose our quit.

 

And then there's the little thoughts of achievement that we feel along the way, like the first day we succeed in our quits. That little thought allows us to continue onward to the next day free of the shackles of addiction. Or when we slowly realize that we can smell better or taste things like we never tasted them before.

 

And when we first quit, we're bombarded with all of these conflicting little thoughts that are so contradictory to each other that almost none of them makes any sense. This is the time to rip the positive thoughts out of your main stream of thought because then you can take all those little positive thoughts and turn them into the main thoughts of the day.

 

It's so easy to dwell on the negative when we quit rather then finding the positive and using that as your shield and sword that will protect you from the addict within. Part of the reason is that we haven't lived this new and wonderful world of the non smoker yet. We have no knowledge of what it will be like to be free.

 

But we can certainly grasp onto the concepts that we read about from others. When we start thinking about smoking, this would be a good time to think about the freedom of enslavement that we feel every day. This is the time to think about that bright future waiting for you if you can just climb a little higher. If you can just keep your focus on that amazing summit. If you can just dream of standing there waiving the banner of freedom high for all to see, so very proud not just of your new found freedom but also of the fact that you turned those positive thoughts into something more then positive. You turned it into a new life!

 

You took those little things and each day built them into something amazing.

 

So take each day as it comes. Try not to let the little things bother you to much. After all, it's really up to us to choose which little things to pay attention to. And it doesn't take long to figure out which will help and which will hinder us in our quits.

 

Stick to the positive aspects of the quit and tell that addict within to shut up! You've got better things to think about then smoking. You've got a new life just around the next bend. Perhaps just over the next boulder field. The ball's in your court my friends. I hope you find the happiness within it and whack it out of the park into your new life of freedom!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!