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An Elder's ELDER

Posted by Giulia Champion Oct 18, 2013

I was just looking back at some of my quit smoking files I haven't looked at these in a long while and I'm glad I did. It reminds me of where I came from, and where I've come to.  And it reminds me of the Elders back then on that site whose wisdom was part of my life process and quit journey.  My wisdom comes in part from this lady's wisdom and advice.  She was one of my greatest teachers.  (This group was a 12 step group based on AA) I hope she is still smoke free and still putting out this kind of amazing wisdom......




  Aug.  4, 2006 (“We” can do what “I” cannot)


I will admit that the anticipation and anxiety each time I said "this next cig is the last one" or "tomorrow is it, no more smoking" always got me. It made me manic, emotionally ship-wrecked, physically hyped. I smoked like a fiend just before numerous quits. The last "hoo-rah," I threw myself a lot of "final suicide parties."
Even on this last quit, I had one burning in the convenient cigarette holder slot of the ashtray, one lit in my hand, and the end of a crushed butt still smoldering and trying to catch fire again amongst the other crushed filters and ashes crammed in such a small circle of hard plastic that once was my ashtray. 


What I remember most about each quit was the fear. The Addiction Grip. I can't do this, I thought.  It's going to be so hard, I thought. I don't have what these other people have to quit, do I?  I'm so addicted! How will I function without a cigarette, I questioned.  How can I get passed the cravings?!  I'm going to be a wreck! I'm going to miss them, I'm going to need them, I'm going to want them. It is so easy to buy them.  I'm going to lose it, I just know it! I need something to get me through this!  Maybe I should talk to my doctor about some psychiatric drugs???????


Oh my God! Hello! Insanity? Hell yes...What a Mind F***! Sorry, sometimes certain words just fit the occasion. This is one that does for me when I describe this addiction.



Scary stuff if you ask me now. I cannot believe I ever allowed myself to get that screwed up. Sorry, but that's how I feel about it. Drugs will do that. Addiction will do that. I was not functioning on any level that can be considered "right" or "normal" for my mind or my body...especially knowing what I know now.


 Well, here's the thing. Everyday I just got to want to stay quit and get through that day. And keep adding onto those days. As time passes, it is 1,000 times easier. I am sitting at 87 days right now. Evolving, emerging, maturing emotionally, and physically feeling the best I have in years. 


I still have my moments and my days, but I quickly realize that it is simply habit as well as emotional and spiritual immaturity that sends me 'thinking for a cigarette.' Does that make getting through life not doable? No. 


A toddler learns to walk, a toddler learns to talk, a toddler learns to express emotions in a healthy and more mature way, a toddler learns to think for themselves. I'm learning to do all four, as an adult. I am gratefully being given a second chance. That child goes to bed at the end of the day having made a little more progress. A child wakes up and starts it all over again. A child does not worry about the problems of tomorrow. No, a child lives for today, just as our Higher Power intended for us all along. I am doing the same. 


Now that I have started this journey, I can't stop walking, I can't stop talking, I can't stop learning. Nor do I want to, I am enjoying the emotional maturity, the better physical health, and the continual spiritual growth. Far cry from the smoldering "internal" life I used to have, that's for sure.


To arrive here I had to do one very important thing. Forget "I". "I" tried to quit for nine months on my own, it didn't work. Once "I" joined this group, "I" became "we." "We" can do a lot if you allow it, if you truly embrace "we." "We" includes the group, the meetings, a quit buddy, a sponsor, the Steps, a Higher Power. 
"We" can do what "I" cannot. Try putting that on a big piece of paper taped to your refrigerator or some place that you will see it often. It helped. When the cravings are tough, read it, and surrender to those words. When the cravings are tough, DO something that supports that "we" can DO something about it. Call somebody, post, go to a meeting, scream up to God if you must, call your quit buddy, get a sponsor, whatever it takes, make it a "we" situation instead of an "I." Because in the beginning, "I" was a using addict. "I" needed help beyond myself. That means one or more people. 


 There are no excuses in the Universe worth using nicotine. It's a chemical killer for the addict as well as his/her family and friends subjected to it, it's yet another toxic pollutant for the environment. Nope, no excuse at all. It has absolutely no benefits whatsoever, not one.
"We" can quit, as a matter of fact, "I" know "we" can. 




Love Cigarettes?

Posted by Giulia Champion Oct 16, 2013

This blog was brought on by another person’s response on a blog.  That’s the beauty of this site.  One never stops learning and thinking and being and doing and experimenting, hoping and living and striving to overcome and understand the nature of this addictive beast.  That’s what this journey as a non smoker is all about.  We are not the “never have been there non smoker.”  We’re the “have been there ex-smoker.”  (Or the struggling to be free one.)   There’s a HUGE difference. 
This is  not about forcing your brain into thinking of cigarettes as evil and horrible.  You'll never win at that.  It's not a natural thought process for us addicts.  We’ve spent too many years on the opposite side of that thinking coin.  We’ve made up as many excuses as are imaginable to keep our smoking selves alive, to give us reasons to continue on with this death.  Even though we know it’s killing us.  Slowly.  That’s a big ship to try to turn around.  That ocean liner of excuses and addictive thinking.  It’s enormous.  And it doesn’t happen overnight.  And it doesn’t happen after a month, or even a year.  It’s a gradual turning - through experience, continued education, and application of that knowledge learned.  We’re ADDICTS.  This isn’t a mere ‘habit’.  We’ve altered our brain scheme in a major way.  We’re physically re-wired it and need to pull some of the plugs.  Habits also alter our minds in impactful ways, but addictions are a whole different ball game.  I have a habit of getting up and drinking coffee, but if I don’t have time for that I’ll forego it ‘til I do, or until it’s past coffee time and skip it altogether.  My morning cigarette?  Nothing would have made me forego that.
The loathing of cigarettes only truly occurs after you  "get it."   Only after you've been quit and grasp emotionally the horrors of this addiction by reading and getting to know those people who are experiencing those horrors.  Who are living 24/7 with oxygen.  Who have COPD.   Who have had lung transplants.  Who are on this site trying with all their love and all their might to say to you PLEASE DON’T WAIT ‘TIL YOU GET TO WHERE I AM.  But even given all that, you’re still not gonna loathe that which you believe gave you comfort.
 Yeah, yeah, I knew cigarettes were bad, that they lead to COPD,  cancer, etc.  But it wasn't a reality in my brain.  It wasn't - there wasn't an emotional connection, it was purely an intellectual knowing.  And it's the emotional knowing that makes the difference.  Until that happens within us, it's just not going to be believable.
We can hate our addiction, but we can’t force ourselves to hate cigarettes, that which we are addicted to.    So I would suggest that rather than try to force yourself to hate them, accept that you may be one who will always be partial to them.  Like me.  You’ll walk past the smell of someone smoking and go “ahhh..”  And that’s ok.  As long as you don’t dwell on the thought and act on the urge.
And for the newbies, believe me when I say - the more time you have in as an ex smoker, the less impact those crepuscular cravings will have.

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