Just sitting here thinking how great it is to be smoke free. To not THINK about a cigarette. Not give it a single thought in my day. Not pine for it, not long for it, not need it, not crave it. Well, that's TODAY, anyway. HA! No, but seriously, I don't sit here in need. Feeling a lack. Feeling unreplete.
Now let me try to go back to that time when I was truly suffering in the quitting process. That week before the quit, the countdown, feeling the terror creep up with every passing day. Oh there was the hope, the assurity, the positivity, the gung-ho-I'm-gonna-do-this! thinking, but overwhelmingly there was the gnawing in the gut. There was the "I've been here before" feeling (because I HAD been there before). And every "before" was EXACTLY the same. If I had to quantify them, they would all be equal. Whether one has stopped for a week or a year or a millenium, once you've started again, the agony of quitting goes back to square one in it's intensity. That's how powerful the drug is. Or shall we say the drugs are.
But here I sit, four years into my quit and I don't hurt any more. I don't pang for one. And I'm a REAL CIGARETTE addict. I walked by a stale stinking cigarette receptical outside of some store the past week and thought it smelled GOOD. How sick is THAT?? And I thought...???What is THIS all about? It awakened some sensory memory in my brain that said, "yum." Briefly. My thought process was: "yuhmmmm, that kinda smells good, kinda, but it's old stale tobacco, what's wrong with me that I think that smells good, but it does, but so what and..." then I dismissed it and went on. The entire thought process was about 30 seconds. Even when someone's on their smoke break hanging outside the store and it's that oh-so-alluring fresh cigarette smoke that really lights up the sensory nerves - it's 30 seconds of temptation at most.
Now if you're new at this game, those 30 seconds can seem like a lifetime. Because you'll dwell on them. Because you're so hungry. I've, fortunately, lost my appetite for cigarettes, so 30 seconds can easily be dismissed. No. Let me make a correction. I have never lost my appetite for cigarettes. I wouldn't walk by a smoker outside a store and try to get a sniff if I'd lost my appetite. It just doesn't create an all encompassing ache any more. The pang doesn't carry on. Doesn't last. It's gone in 30 seconds. And those 30 seconds don't occur all day long like they do when you're first quitting.
The only reason I'm where I'm at in this quitting process (and don't mistake - it IS an ongoing process) is because I've hung on this long. You can't give up the fight. You just can't. If you do, you go back to the horror of starting all over again. And that's something I can't imagine. I don't want to start all over again. It really is easier to stay quit than to quit. If there is any quitter out there who can say different - let's hear from you.
The whole point of this: HANG ON GUYS. IT REALLY DOES GET BETTER. But you have to hang in there. No matter what.
Love, courage, hope, stamina to you all.