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!!!