Good morning EXer’s!!
I hope all is well with you. I was just thinking about that period before we quit. A time when the journey is more of a thought then a reality. A time when we try to learn all we can to help carry us through what we know will be a confusing time in our lives. We study our enemy, the addiction and try to understand what makes that part of our minds tick.
It’s a time of self reflection and yes even doubt that we might not be able to complete a task that we have deemed the most important task of our lives, or at least the most important thing that we can do for our futures. I mentioned before the visualizations that I used to help me with the journey but before I quit, I hadn’t yet developed any of my tools.
I, like you was terrified of what I was about to do. Things were easy when I kept the thought of quitting as just that. A thought. But the moment I understood that I was going to transform that thought into a reality. The moment that I really knew that it was going to happen not in a world of scenarios but rather one of reality. This was when the fear really came to the surface.
I delayed my quit date several times looking for that perfect moment to quit. This was simply a manifestation of my fear trying to get me to delay the inevitable. But slowly I saw through the false realities that my addicted mind was trying to deceive me with. Slowly I came to the realization that on the 20th of February in 2011, I would smoke my last cigarette.
I remember building up to that fateful day. I studied and used my pack tracker to manage my addiction as the days went slowly by. And then at last the big day came. I would smoke my last cigarette at around 8:15 that night. The day was pretty uneventful. A perfect day to begin a new journey.
I remember stepping out on the porch and staring up to the summit of those 14,000 ft. peaks that I live at the base of. This was something I was always in the habit of doing. Smoking a cigarette as I stared at the beauty before me. But this cigarette was different for I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this would be my last, or rather the beginnings of something amazing! The first step on the path to freedom!
I lit that cigarette and inhaled deeply. Hmm. It didn’t taste any different than the ones that weren’t my last. Somehow I thought this one might magically taste different. Perhaps different enough that I’d never want to smoke again. But it’s never really that easy for us. And so I stared at the mountain and wondered if it would look different without a cigarette in my hand. Realizing how silly this thought was, I put out that last cigarette not when I’d smoked it to the end of the filter.
No, I put it out about halfway through it and walked into the house confident that I had done this right. That I had taken the first step on a path to something amazing! And I did indeed see those fourteeners in a new light for now the mountain symbolized my journey. The slips and falls that can happen if we’re not careful. I saw the snow fields as warnings and the boulder fields as a learning technique, symbolizing learning how to walk differently. How to leave the safety of the path and learning to travel in uncharted territory. I remember sleeping well that night. In fact better than I had in a long while. Perhaps this was because on this night I was no longer thinking about quitting. No, on this night I was creating a new and wonderful future for myself. On this night I was embarking on a journey that so far has been quite successful for me.
And everything I hoped for in my future came true. My health improved dramatically. My immune system is stronger than it’s been in I don’t know how long. My breathing is so much more precious to me and now, with the shroud of addiction lifted from my mind I can enjoy the peace that comes with losing an addiction. I can enjoy that freedom from what used to be my own tortured and addicted mind.
I can now live the new reality that started on that one day so long ago with a single thought that permeated my soul until it could no longer be denied.
So take that first step as cautiously as you can. Stay on the path and always keep your eyes on the summit. The place where you can finally find that world that you dreamed of when you first thought of quitting. It’s there. Just a bit of a climb is all but what the heck? We gotta start sometime and so long as we don’t waver from the path. So long as we stay true to our futures instead of worrying about our past. So long as we remain true to our new desires in life to be smokefree then there can be nothing that will stand in our ways for you see, once you finally make that commitment to quit. Once you see past the mask of your own addictions then there can be nothing but freedom!
Keep climbing my friends. Your prize awaits you in the future! What you do today will determine what your future looks like tomorrow.
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!