Ever wonder why some people have an easy time quitting while others just seem to go through hell? I’ve often wondered that myself. Though I’m in no way an expert, I do spend a lot of time analyzing my quit experience, trying to understand it as thoroughly as I can in the hopes that there might be something there for others.
I would call my quit one of the easier ones. Thing is, I still felt the cravings and urges just as much as the next guy and yet when I go back to my very first blogs while I was quitting, I find that I was handling it quite well.
The only thing I can think of that made my quit seem easier than others is preparation. I never took my preparation lightly and thought of my quit constantly during that time. Coming here and blogging helped me to stay focused during this very important time of a quit. I read all that I could.
Another thing I did was what I called “practice quits”. These were times during the day that I wouldn’t have a cigarette for longer and longer periods of time. Sometimes going as long as six hours.
For me, this was an important part of learning my quit simply because it gave me some idea of what was going to happen when I put out that last cigarette. The difference was that I knew I was going to be able to satisfy the addiction after denying it for a while, meaning it really wasn’t a “practice quit” but rather a learning experience for the future.
I also prepared mentally using images. I’ve always believed that at the very base of our thinking, the brain responds better to images rather than words. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to read as much as possible. It just means that for me, I used imagery as a means of dealing with this hard task in my life.
When I created Mt. Freedom in my mind's eye, it was a symbol of freedom. The summit signified the ending of a long journey. The banner of freedom that stood on the top of the mountain signified the freedom that I was longing to achieve.
The addict within was a part of myself and yet it wasn’t. It was my means of coping with the voices that divide our minds when we quit. I’d discovered these voices during one of my practice quits and as such, I was somewhat ready for them to appear when I did finally quit.
I pictured the addict within as a entity dressed in long, white robes. It had no face per se, but it could show expressions in the form of color. To me, this signified what I could learn from the addict within.
And after so much preparation, the day that I put out that last cigarette I realized that I had no fear! Just a burning desire to begin climbing the slopes of Mt. Freedom. To see that summit! But the only way I could ever see that summit was to take the first faltering steps on the path to freedom.
And so I put out that last cigarette and smiled as I saw myself at the trailhead of what I knew was going to be a hard and yet incredible ride! Every morning, I would wake and in my mind, I would look to the summit of Mt. Freedom. So far away at first and yet so easy to attain so long as I didn’t stray from the path.
Every morning I would look behind me down the slopes to see how far I’d come and then I’d trudge forward, the slippery slopes and boulder fields reminding me that life’s events have nothing to do with the journey of freedom. That freedom is a separate thing from all else that was happening. And I wanted it so badly!
I would converse with my addict within, eventually laughing at it every time it would send me a signal to smoke, for though I kept him with me, I never let him bother me to much!
We all have to take that first faltering step on the path to freedom to win. And we always have to find ways to teach our addict that we won’t give in to it’s tantrums. It’s just the nature of the quit. But it doesn’t have to be all bad. It’s really only as bad as we make it for our path lives inside of us.
I wish you the best in all you desire to achieve!!
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!