The Loneliness of Addiction

Blog Post created by chuck-2-20-2011 on Dec 1, 2018


When we first decide to quit smoking. And I don’t mean “thinking” about quitting but that time when we realize that we really intend to quit, it usually comes from inside. The sad truth is that no one can really tell another to quit and expect a positive result. Addicts just don’t react well to being told to quit their addiction.


I remember my smoking days and the way my mind just sort of shut down when my mother would tell my to quit. In fact, I didn’t even listen to the surgeon who had just removed a large part of my dads jaw and placed a trach into his throat so he could breathe due to smoking. I remember him looking at me and seeing the pack of cigarettes that was always in my shirt pocket in those days and screaming, “Are you insane? You do realize that it’s those cigarettes that did this to your father, don’t you?”


I remember staring at him, dumbfounded and by the time I could find my voice he was gone. So what did I do? Went outside to smoke a cigarette thinking that I couldn’t believe he could be so mean to me during this horrible time in my life. But I never even entertained the idea of quitting. The thought seemed so alien to me, even as it’s thrust into the face.


My point being that when I did finally decide to quit, it came from within. In fact, our quits are largely played out inside of ourselves. That’s why no one can tell us not to be scared of quitting. It’s also why we decide to learn, because since the idea of quitting came from inside a lot of the original thinking was already done.


As we prep, again it’s kind of a lonely proposition because even though we still smoke some, everything we’re concentrating on are things that are going to take place inside the mind. We’re learning how to help our minds cope with what we believe will happen.


Sure, we get a lot of outside input and help with the knowledge side of quitting an addiction, but in the end no amount of knowledge can tell us exactly how we’re going to feel when we begin the journey. No one can see the torment that goes on inside at first unless we lash out to another who wouldn’t really understand what we’re angry about anyway.


Every new situation has to be overcome differently and again we can give suggestions or tell another what worked for us but in the end we still have to experience it for ourselves, and at times that can feel rather lonely. We look around at others in the world and wonder why things suddenly look completely different, never quite realizing at first that it wasn’t the world that changed. It was us.


And then of course is the first hard days of a quit, where our mind seems to be going into overdrive sorting out what the heck we just did to ourselves, creating a kind of confusion that we just can’t seem to be able to understand.


Those on the outside tell us that it gets better and the reality is that sometimes that bit of support can be the thing that we can grab ahold of until our mind calms and we can once again start to navigate through this strange new world that we chose to plunge ourselves into.


The thing is, no matter how much we study, we still have to experience it inside. That’s where the fight is. We can make things so much easier for ourselves when we can converse with others who have “been there” and rather than trying to describe their understanding of what your going through, they can converse with you on a much deeper level because just like you, they experienced the same things.


There are certain things that are pretty much the same for all of us such as the intensity of hell week and the slightly less painful time of heck week and of course, the dreaded no man’s land.


So I guess my point is that there is much greater success when we’re around people who have been through similar if not the same experiences as ourselves. We can find others who might be feeling the same inside even at the same moment. We can discover from others that those horrible things we sometimes feel inside aren’t really as horrible as we might think and also gain comfort in the understanding that to another who’s “been there” this is all normal.


Never believe you have to fight alone. Never believe that no one cares because here at EX, everyone cares. Why? Because we know how lonely the battle might be. We also know how wonderful it feels to really be free and the peace that automatically flows from that freedom.


People have told me that they don’t see how online support could possibly work, but the bottom line is when we quit smoking, the single most important thing that can help us is to communicate with others who understand because what we’re communicating can’t actually be seen anyway.


So next time you’re feeling like your confidence might be slipping or you’re just ready to throw in the towel, come by here first and let us try to help you understand what’s going on inside. We all had to do this and we know how wonderful it feels inside when we truly become free. All we want is for you to feel it too . . .