Blog Post created by Giulia Champion on Sep 2, 2013

I was asked to repost this so I am - unfortunately I don't know the author. 

Replay the Relapse

"Those were my wifes stats had she not fallen. Why did she lose her really doesn't matter. Could it have been avoided? Who knows. I posted the following for a good friend of mine earlier today and felt that everyone should read it. Here goes:
    Picture yourself a second or two after you stub out that quit-breaking cigarette. The one that you just had to have because the craving was so strong you couldn't hold out any longer, when that voice inside you was saying.. "Go on, life sucks, you may as well smoke a cig.. y'know for your nerves.." or the other one.. "you've got this beat now.. you are in control.. you can have one just now and again.. go on have one for old time's sake.." So you bum a cigarette, and smoke it and in 2 and 1/2 minutes, you stub it out.

    Now what. Your mouth feels like crap. Your lungs are tightening up. You managed to stifle the coughs .. but barely. You began to squint again because the smoke hurt your eyes. and your fingers and clothes smell again. You either want to throw up, grab some mouthwash, take a shower, or have another.. maybe buy a pack.
    But then you realize what you've just done. After all those times when you said you were going to quit, and then when you finally did, and your family and friends were so happy for you - but not exactly over the moon, because after all they've been hopeful before only to see you relapse - all that enthusiasm is now smashed to pieces on the floor. And all the pressure that drove you to grab that cigarette in the first place - it's all still there. Nothing has changed, except now you've added one more problem: you just blew it.
    And then you realize what you've really done. You had invested days, maybe weeks and months, in this quit. You had made a great decision, one of the few things you really and truly felt proud of in your life, and you just blew it. You just blew the quit that you swore to yourself was the last one. You were so positive, so motivated, and encouraged, you were really on top of it, ahead of the game for once, you had taken control of your life and it felt like a whole new beginning.. and you just blew it.
    You look at that stub in the ashtray. The grey ash and the brown edge to the burnt paper, and the tar stain on the end of filter. You remember the thousands of cigarettes you have stubbed out and think about the tar that came into your lungs as smoke. And you think if smoking that one cigarette was worth it. Nothing's better. You feel a little dizzy now as the nicotine hits your body, even a little nauseous - certainly don't feel the pleasure that you remember the adverts and billboards were promoting during your early years as a smoker. In fact it's hard to remember any time when you felt that pleasure.. just another tobacco company lie.. They helped you to become an addict the first time, but when you smoked that cigarette after you quit.. well that was a whole new decision. You made that one all by yourself - there's no pointing fingers now, you know that cigarettes kill, so when you lit that one cigarette, the choice to smoke was all yours - no-one else to blame. And you just blew it.

    It wasn't worth it.. time after time the slippers' and relapsers' lament how they feel like crap, how ashamed they are, how they have lost confidence and hope, how they hate themselves, how much it hurts, how depressed and they cry and hide and cry some more. And now you are one of them.. the quit losers. Lost in the wilderness, not quite a smoker.. yet and not sure you are a quitter, searching for some dignity, some self-respect out of this. All because of that one cigarette. Because you blew it.
    OK, time to come back.. thankfully this was a "Picture yourself..." so none of this really happened. You didn't smoke that cigarette, and your quit is intact. You take a deep breath and you can still fill your lungs without breaking down into a hacking cough. You can smile, because you are still in control. The craving passes and you can shake your head a little and give yourself a little pat on the back at your success. You remained true the promise you made to yourself on day one. Because none of this really happened.
    Did it ?"

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That spurred me on to write my own Replay the Relapse back in '08.

"My mind tells me I want to I get my purse.....get my car keys (or if I’m out in the car I go to a gas station)....I walk in....I’m already feeling guilty....but my craving is taking hold of me....I ask for a pack of Marlboro Lights Box...there’s a little angel on my shoulder tapping me trying to get my attention....I don’t feel good about asking for a pack....but I want it...asking for a pack - saying those words makes me know I’m about to fail....but I think I will just smoke one....but I secretly know if I do, I will smoke the whole part of me is screaming not to...the other part is simply a gut reaction that has no basis in’s simply a want...but it’s screaming louder...the pack is presented to me...I put the money down...and take the pack...I unwrap it on the way to the car...because I can’t wait...I put the wrapper in my pocket because I don’t want my husband to see it...I’ll throw it out later...I turn the car on auxiliary and open the window because a car closed up full of smoke is unpleasant...I am no longer thinking, I no longer feel the angel’s is just pure feeling...I have lost all control...I take a match from my visor which I’ve left there and light the cigarette...and inhale - gently...because I know that I haven’t smoked in a while and it will seem harsh...and ah God it tastes good...well, perhaps not as good as it was, it is a bit harsh and does make me a little dizzy...oh and slightly nauseous...but I know that will pass soon enough...and by the end of the cigarette, which I smoke down to practically nothing but the filter, I’ve gotten used to it again...what doesn’t occur to me is that I’m now hooked again...that that’s all it took...I think  "that’s it, I’m only smoking this one"...and then I get home having secreted the pack somewhere in my purse...and I know it’s there...and it starts calling me like a siren, niggling at my mind...and you all know the rest of the story....".
Or - the scenario I prefer to imagine:
"My mind tells me I want to I get my to a gas station...walk in...ask for pack of Marlboro Lights Box and at that moment alarm bells start going off in my can’t do this...DON’T do this. You Don’t want to have To Go Through the QUITTING PROCESS ALL OVER AGAIN...YOU DON’T WANT ANOTHER DAY ONE...and as the guy behind the counter is turning back to me with the pack in his hand I literally run out of the place....I get in my car...close the door...and sit there breathing hard because I almost blew it...I was that close...I was that close...and my heart is beating so fast...and I’m gulping air...and I’ve got goose bumps all over my body because adrenaline is pumping through my cells...and I’m not even thinking...just feeling...until slowly it all subsides and thought process comes back and I realize I did it...somehow I did it...I didn’t buy the cigarettes...and I’m rather amazed and a little light headed...and I drive off in wonder with my mouth slightly open....and then remember to thank the little angel on my shoulder...."

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How does your relapse replay go?