No matter how hard we try or how much preparation we do, once we finally quit there are times or perhaps even days when it feels like we’re walking in another place, or a different world. Our minds just can’t seem to focus and the distracted mind begins to become annoying.
And then, to make matters worse, we lash out at those who are the closest to us as if it’s their fault that we have to quit. I know I lost a couple of quit attempts in the past because I just couldn’t stand myself! So in other words, I used my feelings of anger as my excuse to give into myself. The problem is that my anger was real. A reaction to losing my addiction, and as such I knew there could never be success until I could get past this obstacle.
After my last quit attempt, it was several years before I tried again. The fear of failure can be a powerful deterrent to one who wants to quit and yet can’t seem to find a way out of the fog that blinds us to the truth.
On my last quit attempt a bit over six years ago, I knew I was terrified the moment I seriously decided to quit. I knew that I had this anger trigger to deal with and that I had to find a way to get past it before my next quit, and I found that this was the foundation of my fear of quitting. That horrible unfocused anger that always seemed to hit me at just the wrong times.
I used what I called “practice quits” to help me to navigate this issue. The first time, I told myself that I wouldn’t smoke for an hour. To my surprise, this seemed way easier than I thought. I figured out that it would be easy, because I knew that at the end of that hour, I could smoke.
The next attempt was two hours and oh yes, there it was. That unfocused anger! I made a note of it and for the first time tried visualization the very next day. I decided that I’d practice a quit for four hours and when the anger came, I’d try to first focus on it. To learn its source. To try to understand it.
Sure enough, the anger was there after about two hours. Why couldn’t I have a cigarette? I mean I was just practicing. Right? My mind began the whirlwind of withdrawals and by the third hour, I was ready to kill someone or some thing!
This was a time when I learned a few very important lessons. The first thing I figured out was that I wasn’t angry with others. I was angry with myself for ever getting in this situation in the first place! I was angry that smoking had to come with consequences. I was angry that I had to quit. And somehow, this anger seemed to project itself at anything that moved. But the revelation for me was that my anger had nothing to do with anyone but myself.
And if I was going to succeed in this quit, I had to forgive my past. I had to teach myself to look to the future, rather than allowing anger because of my past. And I figured out that I needed to change my thought patterns so that I could get past this thing that I knew would be an excuse when I put out that last cigarette. After my four hours, I lit up a smoke and of course calmed, allowing me to think of what I’d learned. For me, the anger was no longer unfocused. I could now tie this anger to a specific event, and as such through understanding I knew I could control this anger so long as I wanted to.
And so I learned each morning to assess how I was doing emotionally, before I ever got out of bed. If I was feeling sad or angry, I would consciously create a peaceful place, right down to feeling the soft, gentle breeze on my face. I built my calm spot within my mind during my preparation and by the time I quit, I had a firm grip on that crazy anger.
There were so many more things that I had to learn to climb out of the fog that was my addiction, but this was one of the main ones that I had to learn. My point is that if you know of something that will make you fail in a quit, take a little time to analyze it. Figure out what can be done to fix it before you have the stress of quitting piled on top of everything else.
In my opinion, there can be no better strengthener to a quit than knowing what to expect. We can’t know everything until we start, but the more we understand of ourselves in the beginning, the better the outcome.
And if you’ve already quit, it’s not to late to learn about yourself. It’s never to late to improve. Just keep fighting and never be afraid to ask for advice when you’re in the fog. That’s what we’re here for. To help to make what seems insane sane again. To help you to know what to expect. But most importantly, to walk the path with you so that perhaps the strength of the many can help to protect your quit.
The rest is all up to you. Go for it! There’s so much waiting for you once you take that first step.
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!