There was a time when freedom was nothing more than a dream. A time when I’d light up a cigarette and romanticize the idea of quitting. I’d think about how nice it would be to watch a movie without either having withdrawals or having to miss part of it in order to smoke. I’d think about how nice it would be to hike and climb mountains without the drag that a cigarette can bring. To breathe better. And just to feel better.
I lived with that dream for years, never letting it become any more than a daydream because that would change everything if I did. After a while, I started adding a few more things to this dream. Thinking of how nice it would be to no longer wake up and cough for a couple of hours every morning. How nice it would be to no longer have to ignore the nicotine that ran down my bathroom walls after a shower. How nice it would be to smell better or even better, to be able to smell at all!
I went on like this for many years until one day, I decided to make this dream a reality. It seemed so easy at first, until I realized that I was now serious! That’s when the fear started. A fear that seemed to start in the depths of my very soul. What the heck was I thinking? How could I give up the foundation of what had been my life for all those years? How could I give up something so enjoyable? Why would I even want to?
I think the first time we change our dream of quitting into something that might become reality, a huge fear consumes us. And that fear is rooted in a couple of things. The first is the fear of failure. The fear of going through hell without ever succeeding. And the second fear for me was a fear of change. I simply couldn’t see myself as a nonsmoker and for this reason, I couldn’t believe that I could ever quit.
This was the main thing I worked on during my preparation time. Seeing my world without cigarettes in it. And at first, this was really hard! But this exercise taught me so much, about myself and my addiction. I would day dream of my future, relaxing without a cigarette and more importantly, smiling. I’ve always believed that imagery is a means of getting all parts of our beings working together. And I knew that if my internal image of myself was as a nonsmoker, that things would in the end be easier.
I had that mental image in my mind when I put out my last cigarette and you know what? I actually smiled to myself the moment I began my quit journey. I simply put it out, looked up at the mountains and smiling, I walked into the house.
When I woke the next morning to begin my first day quit, I really felt calm as I applied my first patch. I remember that day was hell! Not because of the quit but because of the job we had to do that day. And yet I still caught myself smiling inside, and this increased my confidence.
I worked through that first day and was surprised at how easy it was. Not that my entire quit was easy, but the beginning really was. This is another thing I always remember to mention to others when I talk about quitting. In a lot of cases, the first days really are easier than we expect. I think this is because we put so much thought into what that first day will be like, and nine times out of ten, the day itself is nowhere near as bad as our expectations of it were.
Though we have to be careful on those first days, the time that a quit can really get us is after a week or two. I think this is because we feel more secure in our quits, and then when the craves hit out of nowhere, we’re not always ready. We feel like we’re suddenly going backwards rather than foreword. And for some, the resolve crumbles from this unexpected day.
All I can say is that for success, we must be vigilant for quite some time. We must be prepared down the road just as much as we are on the first day. This can save us, so long as we’re ready for it.
Always remember that what you do today and the choices that you make today will determine what your future will look like tomorrow. I hope that yours is a bright one and look forward to the day that you too will be free, because that’s what it’s all about is that final future of peace . . . .
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!