I hope everyone is doing well today. There was a time so long ago that I can’t even remember it when I wasn’t an addict. Of course, it was during the innocence of childhood. This realization was one of disbelief at first for you see, I’d never thought much about when I became an addict. After all, once I was addicted, things like that became rather unimportant.
What was important was making sure I could support my addiction, as is the case with most addicts. This became my first thought in the morning and at times my last thought before bed because I was only thirteen at the time. Too young to buy cigarettes and to stupid to see that there was a reason for that law law existing.
By the time I was eighteen, I was a full fledged addict and I lived that way for most of my life. The concept of quitting was simply that. A concept that would pop into my mind and then be pushed back to the farthest reaches of my brain.
By the time I decided to quit, I had no concept of what life would be like without cigarettes simply because it was so long ago when I’d had a life free of addiction and that life was well hidden from me by my own mind.
For many years, I’d entertain the idea of quitting and then simply forget about it because well, that was just easier. But one day in the blink of an eye, my wall of addiction came crashing down and I could peer into my future, and what I saw was incredibly ugly.
Somehow, in a single day, my quit became more than a concept. It became the makings of what could become reality. I was trembling just at the thought of quitting. My heart was pounding and I’ve never had one before but I thought I was having a panic attack. I was that scared of just the concept of quitting and almost gave up on the idea right then but there was a problem. This nagging cough that I had for hours every morning for hours at a time. This I knew wasn’t normal and for that reason as the coughing started once again the next morning, I knew for the first time that I was going to quit forever!
But because I had no reference to go by as to what life would be like without cigarettes, I knew I was going to need some help. As most of you know, I called the quitline and ordered patches and found a link to this site and somehow I knew that was all that would be needed. You see, I now had the resolve to quit. I just had to learn how.
I read and got a solid quit plan together with the help of this site, and then set about showing myself what a life of freedom might be like. I used many methods for this. Practice quits where I’d quit smoking for most of the day, just to find out what the withdrawals might do to me. I tracked my triggers and urges, learning about my enemy which was actually myself, and the addiction that I harbored inside of me. I cut down to four cigarettes a day and when I was sure I was ready, I stepped into my new life.
I know everything seems so intense when we first quit. We don’t know how to act without that cigarette in our hands to guide us. I remember jumping into the car on that first day and smiling. The reason was that before I quit, smoking and driving went hand in hand, or rather hand to mouth, if you get my meaning. I knew that when I entered my new life, this would be a hard one so I quit smoking in the car on day 1 of my preparation. This was a trigger I was ready for!
So many times as I learned my new life I’d reach inside of myself and I discovered that I now had time to look ahead. I realized that when I smoked, I really had very little time for just plain thinking. I was too busy feeding my nicotine receptors. But when we quit, the mind does have a bit more time and unfortunately for some of us, the mind tends to do what it always did and start thinking about the addiction.
This in turn creates discomfort, or what we perceive as a long endless crave. I found distraction, especially mental distraction to be a very useful tool to me. As such, I created Mt. Freedom as the symbol of my journey to freedom. And a quiet place at the foot of it where I could reflect. I created every little detail in my minds eye, down to the blades of grass and the clouds in the sky, and sure enough when I finished this exercise, the crave seemed easier. I had managed to get my mind to focus on new things besides my addiction and you know what? It felt good.
My point being that every person is different and as such every quit is an entity of its own. The answers to helping us to quit live inside of each of us. We just have to see through the wall that we created in our quest to remain enslaved in order to find it.
What we can do is offer a little support and understanding. The process is the same in a lot of ways and we can teach you that, but the little things that really make a quit successful has to come from inside, because that’s where the battle’s fought.
The rewards that await you are incredible! There’s so much peace in the world of freedom. I look forward to the day that you too will feel that peace and know that it all started in the blink of an eye . . . .
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!