Remember that first day that you decided to quit smoking? I remember the fear that I felt when I thought of this. Someone on this site mentioned having panic attacks, and I said I never had one while quitting and was right, however when I first thought about quitting I think I came as close to a panic attack as one could without having a full blown one.
I was sweaty, visibly shaking, my head was pounding and my footing was unsteady, and all of these physical things happened just from thinking about quitting! I was amazed, and the only thing I could do to calm myself was recommit to smoking.
I lit up a cigarette, but the thought of quitting never left my mind for some reason. I eventually calmed and again started thinking about quitting. I mean, I had enough reasons to quit after all. I was coughing sometimes for an hour every morning, even as I smoked those first morning cigarettes.
This initial reaction told me that I was very badly addicted and that I had some learning to do. I used my past to figure this part out for you see, I once had hepatitis C, before the days of Harvoni where the treatment of it was two drugs that had horrible side effects, and the course of treatment was six months.
I drew from that life lesson to help me with this one. The same fear existed before I started these treatments as the fear I felt when I thought of quitting. That’s when I realized that change was what I was afraid of. Fear of the unknown.
And so I started working on this fear. I already knew how important support was when entering a new world, or rather changing the world I now lived in to something better. I knew I needed support. That’s when I found EX, and I knew that as far as support went, that was all I would need.
As I learned more, I realized that there was no magic cure for quitting. That no matter what, there was a period of discomfort that I would have to go through. For this I would need incredible resolve. Support could help me with a lot, but I knew that this was an internal battle that would have to be won by me. No one else could do it!
And so I studied. I learned about addiction. I tried “practice quits” so I’d be ready to fight off the craves. I read all I could about addiction as I continued practicing to quit. And one thing I know for sure was when I put out that last cigarette, I was no longer afraid! In fact, I was excited to begin the journey.
I used the patch which gave me some confidence, and I’d used them before so I was ready for craves that do appear even when wearing the patch. Not to say those first days were easy, but I was on the right path and I knew it! I never lost sight of the future that I was fighting for.
I never stopped dreaming of the freedom that always seemed just around the corner. Even when I felt the discomforts that the screaming child of addiction created within me, I still marched on, seeing the beauty that was getting ever closer with each passing day.
As the days turned into weeks and I realized that I might make it, my excitement grew, and my mental picture of the freedom that was awaiting me grew with it. I realized that I could now see through the cloud of my addiction and past the lies of addiction to my new reality. I wanted that reality so badly that nothing would stop me!
And now I stand on the summit of Mt. Freedom, looking down those long, hard slopes. I can see so many toiling on their own climbs. And when I can I throw ropes down the slope to try to make the ascent easier for those who follow, I do.
There’s so much wonder at the end of the journey. Things are just brighter and cleaner. Freedom feels as good as I dreamed it would. And the peace within the mind is such a wonderful calm. There’s so much in the future for you if you can just stay focused on the prize! We’re not wasting our time when we quit smoking. Where taking our lives back!
Looking forward to the smiles in your futures! All you have to do is stick to the path and never, ever give in to yourself!!
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!