Quit anniversaries have passed & been celebrated quite a few times now for me. Many who celebrate their anniversaries after many years of smobriety state that they have even forgotten that they used to smoke. If true, good for them.
I remember myself as a smoker. Time has certainly changed things up and has changed ME but I still remember how it was to be entangled in active nicotine addiction. I remember how I felt, how I thought, how I was daily paying homage to cigarettes and what it took to get myself free from it.
Is it a curse to remember I used to smoke? Maybe but maybe not. I don’t think of it every day or every week or even every month but there are reminders or “flashbacks” of it still for me at times. I may be doing something, may be somewhere, may be thinking about something or even just get a whiff of blooming flowers with the change of seasons that can bring back a memory of my past smoking behavior. It’s not a craving. It’s a memory.
I don’t want to erase my memories. I occasionally get a memory of times in childhood … and I smile. I even have some very specific memories of myself at a very very early age. They are a part of me.
I don’t want to erase all my smoking memories. When an occasion causes me to remember myself as someone who used to smoke … I also smile. I use it to pause to remember & appreciate that I am smoke free now. I see a smoking memory as a precious gift which reinforces my smoke free choice no matter how much time has passed. It keeps my gratitude front & center. These memories are also a part of me.
Smoking was such a huge part of us so why wouldn’t it be a part of our memory DNA? It’s realistic & perfectly normal to still get glimpses or memories of our smoking past sometimes even after being quit for some time. Our old smoking life includes both good & bad memories just like our childhood memories. Our past is still a part of us. To deny our memories is to deny a part of ourselves.
It’s OK to remember. It’s a gift for many of us not a curse or even a predictor of a bad outcome. It’s really okay. You are normal. Remember, kick the thought out (don’t romance it), and then just keep moving forward smoke free. Smile! Keep enjoying your Freedom!