Good morning EXer’s!!
You know, I just realized that before I came back to celebrate my four year anniversary with you folks that I’d been absent for almost a year. I really don’t intend to let that long of a lapse happen again. After all, this site was here when I needed it and it’s still here for all those who still need it.
The thing that got me most when I returned was the determination that abounds here. I’d kind of forgotten just how determined we have to be to win. We have to take our life and turn it around and what’s weird is that even though we know we’re doing the right thing, it just seems so hard at times to stay true to ourselves. It seems so much easier to just throw in the towel and forget that we ever decided to quit.
On those first hard days, we tend to look at our current discomfort rather than thinking of the future, where the reward of what we’re doing now really lies. Believe me, I’ve been there. Waking up with that first crave and telling myself that it’ll only last a moment or two. Feeling that dryness in the throat as I thought about what I was giving up.
But the reality is that we’re really not giving up anything and by staying true to ourselves, we gain everything! And so the confusion starts. We begin questioning ourselves and yes, even our resolve. We find ourselves in a constant turmoil that seems endless.
Since I haven’t been around in a while, I thought I’d revisit some of the internal tools I used to make things easier. I had to find a way to quit dwelling on the present discomfort and begin looking to that future that I so badly wanted to see smoke free.
I’ve always known that visualization is an incredible tool when applied correctly in that the right thought or “pictures” can motivate the mind, body and soul to work together in ways that might not otherwise be achieved.
For this reason I invented Mt. Freedom and the addict within. Two ways to “picture” my journey into the unknown. Mt. freedom represented the journey to me simply because of the nature of climbing. There’s always a little doubt the first time one climbs a mountain. Doubts about one’s ability to make it to the top. Doubts about getting lost or wondering if we have the stamina to complete the climb. And to look upward and see a summit that looks so very far away. That was something I knew I could use.
And so on those first days of freedom I began that climb in my mind. I put out that last cigarette and that represented the first step onto the slopes of Mt. Freedom. For the most part I could use the image of me always looking ahead to the summit where the prize of freedom lives, rather than looking at the current steps that I was taking.
But then came the old internal screaming! That endless background noise that we all experience at first. This is what I named the “addict within”. I did this so I could put a face on my discomfort. So that I could understand what my mind was trying to do to me. And once I assigned a face to my screaming addiction, I was able to tell it to shut up!
I learned that if one can keep the mind involved in the reward rather than the actions it takes to achieve that reward than the journey becomes easier. If we have a thing that we can assign the craves to, then yes we can tell it to shut up, or even go to the point of telling it that it will not win. We can talk to our addiction as if it were a child throwing a temper tantrum.
There are as many ways to quit smoking as their are people, I think. We all have to find our own ways to cope but in the end, we all get to the same place. A place of peace and freedom and when we get to that place, it makes every day of hardship so very worth it.
I do hope you can find your mountain, whatever it might be and that you eventually reach that summit. The view is incredible from the top!
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!