Sometimes when we start that journey to freedom, it’s easy to forget how we got there. Those times when our rational thinking is turned upside down. When nothing seems to make sense.
It’s the nature of beating an addiction. It all starts with a single thought. A crack in the wall we built between our rational world and addiction. I remember the day when I stuck my finger into that crack, trying to widen it so I could see what’s on the other side of addiction.
I found it to be a silly thought at first, before I actually believed it could be a possibility. A future that I could create for myself that’s different from the one I’d been living. The more I thought about it, the more the fear manifested itself. I was terrified by the time I decided to make my dream a reality.
It’s this fear that holds so many up from taking that first step on the path to freedom, I think. I changed my quit date several times, trying to find the perfect moment to quit. I managed to keep sight of the actual dream each time I changed that date.
At last I knew, as so many here would tell me, that there is never going to be a perfect day to quit, and so I at last allowed myself to take the plunge! When I did, I was ready. I felt no fear as I took that first step.
But it was like I’d awakened something inside of me. Something ugly and powerful. Something that brought doubt into my world. Something that was telling me that quitting is insanity! How could I have ever believed that I was ready for this?
Somehow, I fought through that first day, the constant argument screaming at me to end this madness and light up that cigarette. That a single cigarette could return me from the madness that I’d created with my decision to quit. What was I thinking?
Still, that evening I felt a little better. I was using the patch and believed that somehow this was giving me what I needed to keep some semblance of sanity. As I began to doze off for the night, little jolts kept running through me. I grabbed onto one of those jolts and realized that there was something there. That my mind was trying to grasp something in this crazy world that I’d created.
This was when I first created the concept of the addict within, I think. It was a small thought at first that seemed to grow within me as I slept. The next morning I woke up and I have to admit that the first thing I thought of was putting on a fresh patch, since I’d chosen not to wear them at night.
Once that was done and I settled down for my coffee, the endless background voice started up in my head once again. I saw it as the dark and evil entity that it is in my mind’s eye. I visualized myself standing up to it, even as I felt the fear of doing it. I told it that it would not win and I pictured it laughing at me. Funny how a mental image can give a person strength. The laughter of my enemy, the addict within gave me a boost of resolve.
I decided right then to get to know this creature that was tormenting me. To understand what it wanted and by knowing that, how to calm it. Of course what it wanted was a cigarette, but I knew I wasn’t going to do that so I simply yelled at it to shut up. It didn’t, but somehow I felt better. In my mind I had identified my enemy. I had found where the constant chatter came from and I now had a name for it. The addict within.
To make a long story short, I took the time to learn all about the addict within in the only way we can. Through experience. When I’d feel a crave trying to sneak up on me I’d think, “Oh no you don’t!” and somehow, this would help to calm me.
When the voices of the divided mind started, I’d tell my addiction to shut up! Of course it generally didn’t but it made me feel better to be able to attack my addiction and it helped me to remember that I was an addict and as such my addict within and myself were going to work together to end this issue.
By focusing on the addiction, I began to understand it. And with understanding comes peace. When my mind began arguing with itself, I smiled and told the addict within to calm down. Eventually the addict within did calm down. The voices became quieter and quieter until they simply disappeared from me entirely.
It’s a tough road to travel when we quit, and we all have to find our own best way to do it but in the end, we learn so much about ourselves. In the end, we feel peace. In the end we just feel so free!!
Always look ahead to where your freedom lies. Look at it as a destination. Stick to your travel plans and in the end you too will be free!! Oh, so wonderfully free!!
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!