~~The hardest part about recovery is when you're not so sure you want to recover.~~ Unknown
Everyone knows that smoking kills, right? So of course it's time to quit and you've now had two days....ten days...two months of no smoking. As everyone congratulates you, you wonder why you aren't as happy for you as they are. And sometimes you wonder why you don't feel like yourself and secretly think that you were much better a person when you smoked.
Addiction doesn't stop once you quit smoking. That's what I think. Just because you aren't puffing away doesn't mean that you are recovered. The physical part of addiction may be over but there is a psychological part that takes longer to recover from. And to recover from it, I think we have to really understand and accept that we didn't really "like" smoking....we weren't really "happier".....it didn't really "relax" us.
We were (are) addicted. We would have needed that next cigarette regardless of whether we were happy with it or not. We would have needed that next puff regardless of whether it relaxed us or not. Nicotine stimulates the 'feel good' neurotransmitters in the brain that make us think we are relaxed and happy. But just as some schizophrenia symptoms make people see things that aren't really there, nicotine makes us feel things that aren't really there. Sort of 'false positives'.
So when we quit smoking and decide that we were happier smoking, that's just addiction's way to get that hit of nicotine back in our brains. It doesn't make our feelings any less real to us, however, and it can be easy to dismiss the idea of addiction with "I don't care. I want to feel like me again."
I hear people here holding on to those feel good moments of smoking. I get it. I really do. It takes tremendous effort to accept that what you're feeling is lingering addictive thinking. That's all it is. But it can be powerful and recovering smokers sometimes don't know how to get out of that kind of thinking. It's one thing to hear "Change your thinking", but it's another to actually be able to do it.
I wish I had the answers for you. Truly. Because I hate that some people struggle and I hate that addiction sometimes wins. But change comes from within, right? It helped me so much when I learned about addiction. But for others it may have been simply a decision to get healthier. Still others it could have been the fear of illness. Quits are as individual as we are. That's why it's so helpful when you post what works for you. Giving options and suggestions can really be eye openers for those who struggle.
Please know that it's never too late to quit smoking and it's never to late to turn your latest relapse into your forever quit. Yes, you can.