Finding Our New Normal
We don't recover from Nicotine Addiction by smoking cessation alone. We recover by creating a New Normal where it is easier to maintain our smobriety. If we don't create a new lifestyle, then all the factors that kept us in our addiction will eventually catch up with us again.
We don't have to change everything in our lives. But there are some behaviors that have been getting in our way, and they will continue to get you into trouble until you let them go. The more you try to hold onto your old life in recovery, the less well you will do.
Here are the three most common things that people need to change in order to achieve recovery.
Change Our Environment
Thnk in terms of
- People who we smoked with or who are related to our smoking.
- People who we have conflicts with, and who make us want to smoke.
- People who we celebrated or relaxed with by smoking.
- People who encouraged us to smoke either directly or indirectly.
- Places where we used to smoke.
- Places where we bought our sickerettes.
Things that remind us of our smoking such as:
- other smoking paraphernalia.
- alcohol use especially in excess.
How can we avoid high-risk situations? Of course, we can't always avoid these situations. But if we're aware of them, they won't catch us off guard, and we can prevent little cravings from turning into major urges.
Little Changes we can make make a BIG difference such as
- taking better care of ourselves.
- eating a healthier lunch so we're not as hungry at the end of the day.
- participating at BecomeanEX so that we don't feel isolated
- helping others boosts our confidence and our commitment in our own quits.
- learning how to relax so that we can let go of our anger and resentments.
- developing better sleep habits so that we're less tired.
Remember H.A.L.T. (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired.)
Recovery isn't about one big change. It's about lots of little changes. Avoiding those high-risk situations helps us create our New Normal so that it's easier not to smoke.
Make a list of your high-risk situations. Addiction is sneaky. Sometimes we won't see our high-risk situations until we're right in the middle of one. That's why it's important that we learn to look for them. Make a list of your high-risk situations and to keep it with you. Go over the list with us so that we can spot any situations that you might have missed. Make the list and keep it with you. Some day that list may save your life.
Learn to Relax
There are only a few "reasons" why people smoke:
- to escape.
- to relax.
- to reward ourselves.
In other words, people smoke to relieve tension or stress.
The first rule of recovery is that we must change our lives. What do you need to change? We need to change the way we relieve tension. Everyone needs to escape, relax, and reward themselves. Those are essential coping skills for a happy life. But smokers don't know how to do those things without smoking.
If you manage to stop smoking for a while, but don't learn how to relax, your tension will build until you'll have to relapse just to escape again. Tension and the inability to relax are the most common causes of relapse. Relaxation has changed my life. There is only one reason why people don't relax – because they think they're too busy to relax. It goes something like this, "I know it makes sense, but I've got so many other things I have to do."
Ask yourself how much time you spent on smoking. If you add up all the time it takes to buy your sickerettes, smoke them, deal with its consequences, and plan your next relapse, you'll realize that relaxing for twenty to forty minutes a day is a bargain.
Relaxation is not an optional part of recovery. It's essential to recovery. There are many ways to relax. They range from simple techniques like going for a walk, to more structured techniques like meditation. Meditation is an important part of that mix because the simple techniques don't always work. If you're under a lot of stress, you may need something more reliable like meditation. Use any of these techniques, or any combination. But do something everyday to relax, escape, reward yourself, and turn off the chatter in your mind. Numerous studies have proven that relaxation reduces Nicotine Addiction relapse.
An addiction requires lying. Most of us had to lie or deceive about buying our sickerettes, smoking them , hiding its consequences (especially to ourselves) , and planning our next relapse. An addiction is full of lying. By the time we've developed an addiction, lying comes easily to us. After a while we get so good at lying that we end up lying to ourselves. That's why we often don't know who we really are or what we believe in. We have long ago forfeited our values to our addiction.
The other problem with lying is that we couldn't like ourselves when we lied. we couldn't look ourselves in the mirror. Lying traps us in our addiction. The more we lie, the less we like ourselves, which makes us want to escape, which leads to more smoking and more lying.
Nothing changes, if nothing changes. Ask yourself this: will more lying, more isolating, and more of the same make us feel better? Nothing changes if nothing changes. If we don't change our lifestyle, then why would this time be any different? We need to create a new life where it's easier to not smoke.
Recovery requires complete honesty. We must be one-hundred percent completely honest with the people who are our supports: our Family, our Friends, our doctors, our Community at becomeanEX. If we can't be completely honest with them, we can't do well in recovery.
When we're completely honest we don't give our addiction room to hide. When we lie we leave the door open to relapse. That's why we insist on quit days meaning not one puff ever!
Honesty won't come naturally in the beginning. We've spent so much time learning how to lie that telling the truth, no matter how good it is for us, won't feel natural. We'll have to practice telling the truth a few hundred times before it comes a little easier. In the beginning, you may even have to stop yourself as you're telling a story, and say, "now that I think about it, it was more like this..."
The Chance to Change Our Lives
Our addiction has given us the opportunity to change our lives. Changing our lives is what makes recovery both difficult and rewarding. Recovery is difficult because all change is difficult, even good change. Recovery is rewarding because we get the chance to change our lives any way that we decide to. Most people sleepwalk through life. They don't think about who they are or what they want to be, and then one day they wake up and wonder why they aren't happy.
If you use this opportunity for change, you'll look back and think of your addiction as one of the best things that ever happened to you. People in recovery often describe themselves as grateful addicts. Why would someone be grateful to have an addiction? Because our addiction helped us find an inner peace and tranquility that most people crave. Recovery can help us become the person that Our Creator wants us to be.