I often wonder why we don't give ourselves time to heal during our quit journey. When we are sick, we give ourselves time to heal. When we break a bone or sprain something, we give ourselves time to heal. And when we lose a loved one, we grieve and give ourselves time to heal.
But when it comes to quitting, we get impatient. When are the craves going to leave? Why do I feel so anxious? Why don't I feel better? When does it get better? How do I stop these feelings? When, what, why, how?
Stop for a moment and really think.
Picture all the cells in your body working frantically to heal the damage you did when you were smoking. Getting rid of all those deadly chemicals, restoring the oxygen in your blood, strengthening your bones and skin and teeth and muscles.
Then picture your brain. All the sudden deprived of the very substance that kept it happy and relaxed for decades. DECADES!! The pathways in your brain were grooved out so well that other parts didn't have to work at all. Now? The neurotransmitters are firing into blank space and also frantically searching for the nicotine it needs to continue to function as it had in the past.
Ok, your body is attempting to heal, your brain is attempting to function.....now picture yourself as you have been for years. Coffee...cigarette. After meals....cigarette. After cleaning house....cigarette. Driving....cigarette. Workout....cigarette. Work.....break and cigarette. Walking...cigarette. Everything in the world that you did, you did knowing you would smoke after. Everything. That next cigarette was there when you needed it. Now you don't smoke and you don't know how to live a smoke free life!! What do you do instead? What will feel as calming...as relaxing....as a cigarette? Truthfully, nothing can replace it exactly. After all, you were addicted. But you can learn how to function as a non-smoker. You can learn what true calmness is. How to relax in a healthy way. How to enjoy things without killing yourself while doing it.
But it all takes time. It takes deliberate concentration. It takes focus. And it takes a willingness to be extremely uncomfortable at times. You may be, you may not be. You get to decide. But you can't rush recovery. There is no finish line, no final action, no stopping point. Recovery is a journey. But is a journey filled with light, health, pride, and joy. Give yourself time to get through the icky to reach the good. Because it's there, waiting for you. Time helps you heal and time will help give you a smoke free life.