After scrolling through some blogs this morning as I do every morning, I found a very common theme. I have a tendency to want to understand why people lose their quits and when. Probably to prevent myself from doing so, but also to understand more about addiction and how it works.
I've noticed with myself now being almost 6 months quit, that I have the fleeting thought more prevelant now more so than before about just trying a smoke. If I don't buy a pack, I won't be tempted to smoke them all. Just bum one once in a while and see how I do. I like being totally honest in these blogs for myself and for others that may feel shy about admitting to it or don't want to face the consequences. I do this mostly for myself to look back on when these crazy thoughts pop up. I know they will pop up again, because I'm getting the hang of these cycles I'm going through.
I wrote a blog a while ago about the cycles beginning all over again. For me, personally, it's becoming a very cyclical path. The first go-around with this thought of trying one was an all-encompassing crave that I had in the very beginning. I found myself driving to the gas station on autopilot to buy a pack and came home. I also would reach for my cigarette pack when I wanted to relax. It wasn't there anymore but I still reached for it. That was in days 30 to 40.
Then the next cycle of this sadness/anger/frustration/etc was when I was in my cleaning spree. I was cleaning under the sink and found a butt stuck somewhere. I subconsciously started lining them up on my utility cart I have in my kitchen just like I used to do when I ran out. I threw them away, of course, but I did just subconsciously perform the task of lining them up like I was going to smoke them. I also noticed when I was figuring out how to get my treadmill in my house that my uncooperative FedEx man so nicely left by my garage, I subconsciously reached for my phantom pack of cigarettes when I was trying to figure out how to get it in the house. I was starting to master my tools of dealing with the times I smoked the most. That was in days 60 to 90.
The cycle came back again. This time it wasn't as intense as it was the last time, but it still came around. This time it was sparked by my husband cleaning off the porch of his fishing equipment. He has the ice fishing mode, the cat fishing mode, the bass fishing mode, etc. I saw a lone butt that must have been stuck underneath a box or something. The first thought out of my mind was oh, wow, there's a couple of hits left on that. Dismissed it and went about my day. But it stuck with me for some reason. I had the fleeting thought of you've been quit for so long, just a couple puffs ain't going to kill ya.
Now, getting back to my scrolling through blogs. I've noticed that either around 75 days to 6 months, some become very comfortable in our quits. We may reach the happy place or the sad place. It's at that time when we either think we're unbeatable or beaten down. That one cigarette isn't going to make a bit of difference at this point. One thought is screw it, I can't do this anymore. Or it's oh, I'll be fine. I can control it. I just need this right now. I know of people who just occassionally smoke and they don't have a problem. Let's just try it and see what happens. Maybe I can control this.
STOP, DROP and ROLL. When this craziness enters your head, take a few seconds. Think way back on day 1 or think back on when you were “cutting back”. Now ask yourself, were you really able to hold the addiction down then and what is making you think you can hold it down now? After all this time, how can you even entertain the mere thought of it. You're dipping your toe in the crazy pool. You know as well as I do that one leads to two leads to ten and boom, you're right back to where you started. Is it even worth it for that 5 minutes? And why exactly are you thinking you need that, what are you replacing or consoling? You know you're going to go through this all over again. There is no such thing as the next time it will be easier. You know what to expect, but why are you even thinking about that expectation? If you burn your hand on a hot stove, it causes pain, blistering, why would you go and do it again?
Smoking is a habit. The nicotine in the cigarette is the drug that you're addicted to. That gray haze envelopes our emotions, good or bad, and stuffs them away. We've automatically been performing this task for years. But it can be broken, modified, replaced. It almost reminds me of a dying battery. It's very strong at first. But when it doesn't get recharged, it just dwindles away to nothing and dies out. It will flicker from time to time and even spark maybe, but it gets weaker and weaker. So hang in there, embrace these goofy cycles, pay attention to them, blog the heck out of them, they do get lighter. They are not as intense. I'm not going to say easier, because there's nothing easy about this. It becomes more manageable and shorter duration. You're going to have sparks from time to time, but they do die off..........