So often in a quit there is one thing that seems to stand out, especially in the beginning. And that would be a kind of confusion we experience after we put out that last cigarettes and quite often during preparation itself.
I think there’s a few reasons for this. When we first decide to quit, we’re choosing to change things. A lot of things. In fact, when we decide to quit, we decide to change what had become the very foundation of our lives, simply because as addicts, cigarettes became the new foundation. The very things that we based our world on.
I mean, think about it. As a smoker, the first thought in the morning is to have a cigarette. Actually, the last thought, for that matter. And then we go through our morning rituals, but without our realizing it, we even changed that. Now, along with what we used to do in the mornings, we have to be sure that we have enough of the old cancer sticks to get through, and of course something to light them with.
Then we would power down a couple of smokes right before work, thinking that this will get us through until our break, and yet before that break we’re craving and getting irritable. Sound about right? And that’s not even the evening rituals and in my case even the middle of the night ones. (I was that addicted.)
In fact, one of the first thoughts I’d have before waking was, “Where are my cigarettes?” and the last thought in the evening was “Where are my cigarettes?”
Add that to the fact that even our financial budget included cigarettes, and no wonder the thought of quitting strikes fear in the heart. I mean, what else Is there to think of since the reality is that even when we were thinking of something else, the cigarette was always in the back of the mind.
And so in order to quit successfully, we have to almost remove the entire foundation of our lives and replace it with something new. This would of course create confusion!
When we quit, we have to replace not only the first thought of the day but the last one as well. Somehow it seems like driving is so much harder without that cigarette and breaks at work are suddenly meaningless. We’re just not used to this new idle time that our minds suddenly have and so many of us use that time to think of what we’d normally be doing SMOKING! And then the world seems like one endless crave.
If we don’t prepare for all of this then it can seem impossible just to function on those first days. But it’s still doable. The key for me was to always look inward. To create a face for my addiction. There are so many names for our internal struggles with ourselves. I called it the addict within and for some reason, it helped me to understand what I was feeling because what I felt was like there were two minds inside of me, constantly fighting each other, and never seeming to come to an impasse.
Once I named my addiction and started treating it like the enemy that it was, it brought a little more clarity to my days. If I was feeling like I was living a continuous urge, I’d look inside myself at the old addict within and tell it to shut up! I started treating it like a screaming toddler because it simply wouldn’t listen to reason. Eventually, as time passed, I began treating the old addict within like it was a comedian, cracking jokes. I began to laugh at my addiction, and that was the day when I knew that JonesCarpeDiem was right! That was the day I knew I’d won!
The day you can look at your addiction and laugh in its face every time it tries to get you is the day that you have won the most important battle there is because face it. Addiction really makes no sense to begin with.
All I can say is that if you can get through those confusing parts that hit us at first, then there’s a good chance that you’ll succeed. Never be afraid to ask questions or vent in this place when you begin to feel that confusion. We’ll do our best to help you to understand where it’s coming from and how so many of us beat those first hard days, and that crazy confusion.
The main thing to always remember is that every bit of confusion that we feel. Every bit of unfocused anger that is experienced. Every bit of fear is completely normal and just part of the journey. Remove the mystery from addiction and addiction really has nothing left to fight us with.
Stay focused on the future because that’s what we’re fighting for the moment we decide to quit, and stay focused on how wonderful freedom is and before long, you’ll be with us helping the next ones who have found the strength to take that first step. The rewards are out there and quite real. It just takes a little time to get there . . .
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!