Does it Ever End?
That‘s one of the number one questions I’ve seen asked on this site. The short answer is yes, it does. But you know me, I don’t always just give the short answer.
The number one thing that seems hardest for us to grasp when we start this journey is that it takes time. To me, this represents a normal human response. When things are uncomfortable, we want to move on from that discomfort or find a way to stop it.
When our addicted mind begins comparing pros and cons to quitting, we begin to see how hard it’s going to be but we never really know how long we’ll be uncomfortable because every person reacts differently to losing the stimulus of nicotine. I considered myself to be one that had a fairly easy time of it and I think that was because I was ready. I understood well what was going to happen to me and what to do about it when it did. My perception was one of gain and not loss from the first moment that I put out that last cigarette.
Don’t get me wrong, I still had to fight for my freedom just like we all must fight for it. It’s just that I went through the worst of the soul searching that we all must do before I quit and I’d already convinced myself that I wanted to quit. That I wanted freedom more than slavery and that the only way to get there is to get started!
And yes. Like everyone I was curious about how long I was going to feel this discomfort, but I knew I’d done everything in my power to understand it and so when the internal argument began, I’d already had most of those arguments in my head before I quit. And yet they still appeared and yes, at times they annoyed me. So one thing is certain. There’s no way to simply prep your way out of addiction without actually going through the process.
And so, like everyone I at times wondered when it would all end. When I’d feel normal again. When I could rejoin life completely without fear of relapse. And like most, it took some time. I think I had things pretty well in hand in around a month. The discomfort was there but it was so far in the background that it was easily ignored and because of this site I knew that I could embrace that calming of the mind so long as I stayed vigilant and didn’t let the addiction sneak up on me and catch me at a weak moment.
So for me, I’d have to say the answer is that I felt; how should I put it? Back in control of things in a month. Sure, there was more fighting to do but the hardest of it was over in around thirty days. And looking back, I now realize that I was actually feeling gradually better throughout that month. It was just hard to see it while I was living it.
The results of our efforts happen gradually. I don’t remember waking up one day and the discomfort was simply gone. Rather, it was more like an awakening. One day there was just this realization that I was free of my addiction and that there was a day when my addiction felt more like a memory of the past than a real thing that once lived inside of me.
And slowly, I found that I could look back and that was when I realized that I’d really been free for quite some time. My mind just hadn’t accepted it yet. That’s why we call the first week hell week and the second week heck week.
In hell week we must fight the loss of nicotine, or reduction of nicotine if we use NRT’s and deal with the mental aspect of what we’re doing at the same time. Generally in heck week, we’ve managed to fight off the worst of it and as such we actually have time to think about what we’re doing, but the fight is still a difficult one.
We start to question if what we’re doing is really the right thing to be doing, even as we know it is. (The seemingly endless internal argument) Again, this is because our natural human nature wants us to rid ourselves of discomfort even though by the second week, it has lessened in intensity.
For me, there were a lot of discoveries in the third week. My mind had calmed enough to do a little soul searching and I realized that this quit was in my grasp. I began to believe I really was going to make it to that wonderful freedom that I was now dreaming of constantly for you see, that little bit of fear that was still within me was now gone! My future was set and I intended to see it through.
In other words, I’d reached the point of acceptance to my quit. I’d reached that place where I was no longer questioning what I wanted to do. Now, I was getting excited to realize the future that I could see more clearly now. I had at last reached that tipping point where freedom was more important to me than the discomfort and to me, when we reach this point is when the discomfort ends.
So I Guess the answer for me was the day I accepted that I no longer smoked was when it ended and you know what? Thinking back, even that started in the second week! The balls in your court. All you have to do is reach your tipping point, and you will so long as you keep fighting my friends! I look forward to that day when you’re telling me your story of acceptance.
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!