Well, folks, only 65 more days to go and I'll be a 6 percenter. Never thought I'd make it this far. To all of you starting out, give yourself 30 days. If that's too long, then give yourself 7 days at a time. After 30 days, you'll think you have this beat but then the frustration looms overhead because you want to know exactly how long this is going to take. They will tell you that it gets easier with time. I know in my case that answer was never good enough because I wanted to know exactly. Exactly when is this going to be over, when is this going away, when is this going to stop. I did my dance with the devil for 190 some days and we were whooping it up. The ups and the downs, the highs and the lows, the back and forth, the push and pull. Now, me and the devil or the devil and I (for you grammar *****) are doing a few slow side to side motion now. You know, those who have no clue how to dance but just want it to look good. My little devil friend is losing his power, his hold, his strength. But I know he'll hang around just in case and I accept that now.
I'll let you in on a little secret. Once you accept that you are an addict to nicotine, once you accept that this will never go away but becomes much more manageable, you are on your road to lifelong recovery. You have to accept that you are an addict, because you see, we cannot just stop at one. One puff is never enough. We have to smoke the whole cigarette and then it's another and another and, poof, the whole pack is gone. Then our little addictive brain kicks in and just waits for another life's dilemma to show up or a perceived dilemma to show up and we're off and running again. The first year is trying. I still have two more months to go until my year mark. You'll be amazed how much you used smoking for masking feelings and how many things you associate with it. Sometimes our anticipation of an event far surpasses the actual event itself. Once we get through it, we think wow, that wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. You see we smoked like chimneys when we had to do something we didn't want to or were nervous about, mad about, but you can make that cycle stop. You have the power to make that cycle stop.
Smoking is an individual thing. We all use it for different things. You know what sets you off. You know what it takes for you to light up one. I've seen a few of you on here that somehow magically find a cigarette from somewhere and call it a relapse, a slip up, a whoops. But you know what, you consciously lit up that cigarette. You chose to light up that cigarette instead of giving yourself that five minutes. I wish there was an exact science to this. I read your struggles and feel for you. I wish I could give you an answer. In my case, it took 195 days, approximately 6 months, to finally get back to the swing of things. My major problem was feeling so damn foggy all the time. My concentration was waning. I still have times like that, but it is what it is. It doesn't bother me much anymore. I made that cycle stop. I have the power to make that stop.
Things in life that would happen would frustrate me or anger me, upset me in general, sometimes self inflicted just to give me an excuse, would send me over the top and have me running to the store for a pack. If you're starting off, throw everything away, lighters, empty out and clean out all ashtrays and put them out of your sight, place them in the garage, the attic. No more smoking in your house. If you have a significant other that smokes, then agree on a place for them to smoke and then just don't go in there. The first 30 days, if I smelled smoke, that would trip me off. Try putting Vicks under your nose so you don't have to smell it. Suck on a menthyl cough drop. Try cutting up straws the length of a cigarette or buy yourself cinnamon sticks and have that between your fingers when you drive or doing something that you normally smoke at.
You have to retrain yourself. Remember this is a thing you did ritualistically for a very long period of your life. Many times we didn't even think about smoking and just grabbed for the pack. I did that many times in my first 60 days. I'd just go and reach for it and it was not there. Go back in my blogs, read them, do you see yourself yet? Go back in some of the other elders on here and read their older blogs, Marilyn, Terrie, Nancy. It's amazing how similar we all are. How we go through somewhat the same phases, the self-realization, the same roller coaster. Addiction is a funny little thing. It just never goes away. It's that itch that you just can't scratch. You scratch it, it comes back twice as bad. Remember your mom used to say, if you keep touching that, it won't heal. Just don't go there. Come here instead. If you don't want to blog, then read, hear the words that people are saying. You can do this. It's doable. It becomes too much, then simply remove yourself from that space and find something else to do. It passes. It goes away. Learn meditation, deep breathing exercises. Terrie has one on her page. And once you get there, it's a glorious thing. It really is. Stick with us. Believe in yourself. You can make this possible. You are your own legacy.