That age old question an addict asks himself:
Will I ever be happy again?
It's fascinating to me sitting on my 8th Anniversary to realize that there was a deep belief that
Smobriety would be miserable and that I would never have fun again!
What is night with my buddies when the room isn't full of smoke?
I grew up with this painting in our den. Liking dogs I spent hours watching it and defining the word fun with this picture! I watched our family gatherings of getting a foursome and playing bridge all night while the ashtrays filled up.
Every home I visited the hostess would invite folks for a cigarette from her fancy cigarette box and her adorned drawing room lighter. All the gentlemen carried a silver or leather portable cigarette box in their jacket pocket with matching lighters and the ladies had little crocheted purse with pearls sewn into them - again with matching pearl and crystalline design on the lighters. Beautiful crystal ashtrays set on every living room coffee table and bedroom bureau.
Then the laughing and joking and relaxing (adult) fun began!
So friends, family, fun and happiness were all tainted with nicotine pollution before they even formed into beliefs.
Beliefs are very challenging to change. But I have radically changed my core beliefs about smoking.
As a child I believed that smoking is grown-up, the forbidden fruit for kids because it brought so much beauty, happiness, fun that you had to mature into the privilege of participating (like the never spoken among adults word - sex)
[Will I get struck by lightening for saying the forbidden word?]
All of these memories along with my own happy memories linked to Sickerettes! When these same folks passed one by one in their 60s from one cancer or another nobody made the connection - this aunt from breast cancer, that one from leukemia, this grandfather from pancreatic cancer, that grandmother from bone cancer. - had nothing to do with tobacco - it must be those newfangled radios, tvs, telephones and other gadgets - not cigarettes.
Doctor after doctor told us how great they were for one's health!
I felt so responsible when my Mother sent me to Safeway to purchase her Cigarettes and came back with the right change! I stood a little taller when I was allowed to hang out iwth and smoking adults and vicariously enjoy the fun!
Changing such core beliefs is a huge challenge. It took Years and Years of retraining in school, on the news, through observation but it never really sunk in until I was diagnosed with Emphysema and therefore, COPD at age 52. And then serendipitously I was laid off and found my new job in Assisted Living where I daily eye witnessed the long term consequences of COPD.
At Eight Years of FREEDOM from Addiction I have learned how to filter those beaustiful, fun, happy days, from the ever present Sickerette. Much of the fun had to do with gather, playing, sharing, yes - showing off a little, but it wasn't really that box full of dead leaves wrapping in paper and dipped into thousands of poisons!
So I don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. We really did have Fun. We really were Happy.It really was relaxing but Sickerettes are not required to make that happen.
I kept the good and rejected the bad elements of those memories and they're still precious memories of my youth!
Smoking is not required!