It was requested by two people that I bump/turn this into a blog. So I'm doing so:
Ya know - this is a learning process. For all of us. And it's an on-going learning process. I never stop learning about how to remain smoke free - even after three months shy of a three year quit. That's one of the reasons I stay connected to this support group. I was with a another support group that dwindled down to nothing before this. And if this one died tomorrow, I'd find another. Because I don't trust myself to do this on my own. I need constant reminders. Because I'm a cigarette addict. Not a nicotine addict, a cigarette addict. And all THAT implies. And all that implies - is - the psychological addiction to it. Nicotine addiction? Are you kidding me. That's not what this is about. It's about belief. And believing that it relieves stress, believing that it keeps us from gaining weight, believing we need it for whatever darn reason we believe it cures us of, stress, anger, believing it tastes good.... All lies. But all truths too. For in smoking and inhabiting that world for as long as we have, it HAS become true for us. Belief creates matter. Belief creates what IS for us. That is why, I think, it is so hard for some of us to relieve ourselves of this addiction. Because we have turned it into a belief system of sorts. That and the fact that it DOES create a "high." It does alter our brains. FACT. And that high feels good. And we, obviously, want it again and again and again. And when we don't get it, we feel deprived.
But then I go back to this thinking: before I started smoking, before I became addicted to it, before it altered my brain chemistry - I never wanted, nor needed, nor craved, nor felt denied, nor couldn't handle stress any better, nor was I a slave. I could take a break and not think about a cigarette, I could finish a meal and give a cigarette not a thought in the world. I could have an argument and didn't know a cigarette might make it feel better. I could be on the phone and not have a cigarette in my hand nor even contemplate the fact of such. I lived my life without the thought of smoking in it. Wow. And wasn't that a beautiful time. I was a child, and free. I didn't need to feel proud that I didn't smoke. I simply didn't WANT one. I had tried them when I was five, stole a pack from my mother and thought they tasted really BAD.
So what happened? Life happens. And we need to prove ourselves, or become like the "in crowd," or we need to experiment and try all there is to try. The trouble is, when you try this, when you've not gotten your "high" the first time, you try again. Because there must be SOMETHING you're missing, because everyone else is enjoying it. So, you try again. And each time you try again, it gets easier to inhale all those poisons. And every additional time you inhale those poisons, they finally get ya. Because they've literally altered your brain.
They got ME. For many, many years. Too many. But I'm one of the lucky ones. Thus far. I don't have a picture of myself as an avatar with oxygen tubes connected to my nose, as one brave lady I know put up for all to see. Because someone loved me enough to continuously badger me until I finally gave up and tried to quit - for him (wanting to KILL him every time he badgered me) - I am heading into a three year quit. This quit of mine is every fragile. Why? Because I know I could start again in a heartbeat. Why? Because the "idea" of smoking, the remembrance of the pleasure it gave me is every present. This is my truth. I tell it. Because I know there are others like me out there. And it may help. If this truth frightens a newbie, I'm sorry. If it helps an oldbie, like me, I'm glad.
I'm not out there in the world gloating about my quit. Not one of those who goes to a movie and thinks about how grateful I am to not be one of those who are huddled outside prior to the movie, smoking their last. That thought really doesn't occur to me any more. I wish I COULD smoke without consequences. I enjoyed it. I really did. That chemical concoction inhaled after dinner meals was really pleasant. It was not pleasant at the end of the day after smoking too many before bed, however. Dry mouth, unpleasant taste. Phlegm the morning after. But I did it anyway. Just like you did or do.
I'm grateful that I don't smoke any more. But I still want one. But I won't have one. Because I'm grateful I don't smoke any more. And if you understand that, you'll understand my particular quit.