Well, things don’t always go as planned

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


The project we were about to start got held up another day by inspections.


I remember in the old days, this would anger me enough to go have a cigarette and calm down. What a joke that was! Why I carried that smoking baggage with me my whole life, I’ll probably never know. I mean over time that baggage gets kind of heavy as we become more enslaved.


In fact, I think I spent way more time thinking about smoking than I did living. All that mental energy wasted on maintaining an addiction. And all that wasted money as well. I remember when I thought I’d quit the moment they went over two dollars a pack. Well, by the time that happened that thought was just a dream. I was so addicted by that point that money didn’t really matter. Big tobacco owned me and for the longest time, I didn’t mind being owned.


Like most smokers, I’d turn off the TV or change the channel when those anti smoking ads started appearing. I mean, I didn’t want to watch some crazy person telling me that I didn’t want to smoke and then trying to scare me into quitting.


No way! I was on top of my game and that game was addiction! I never really saw a need to quit before my final quit attempt. Every now and then I’d just quit for a day or two and then go back to smoking, as if I wanted to verify to myself what quitting would do to my world, but I only got serious three times, the last one being the final time, I think.


And when I analyzed those first two quits, the first thing that always jumped out at me was that I didn’t really want to quit those first two times. And so I knew that I had to find a way to change my thinking. I had to find a way to change my very perception of what I perceived as reality.


I did this through learning and preparation. This is why I took my prep so seriously. Because before when I’d tried to quit and failed, I still loved smoking. I started my learning with the pack tracker and this helped me to identify my triggers. Then I started using separation exercises where I didn’t smoke for several hours a day. I was actually able to learn from this because I treated it more like an experiment where I knew I could still smoke at the end of it.


Also, for each trigger I discovered with the pack tracker, I used separation for that as well by not allowing myself a cigarette for a given amount of time after the normal trigger events. But still, even after all of this, I hadn’t changed my thinking about smoking. I still basically liked to smoke even though I knew it was killing me!


I began to realize that it was more of a need than a like and it was during my preparations that I first came up with my concept of the addict within. The embodiment of my addiction. The thing that I could converse with as it tried to keep me from seeing the realities of freedom. For me, this became a turning point. A time when I could realistically compare my addiction to a life without it.


You see, I’d forgotten what life without addiction was like and as such, I had to imagine that world so that I could compare it to the world that the addict within wanted me to live. This made all of the difference for me because with this new concept, I could finally compare my worlds. And I could ask myself why certain things are certain ways. Sure. All I was really doing was talking to myself but by making my addiction something separate, I could begin to change my perception of it.


I realized that in a way, I was trying to talk my addiction out of wanting to be addicted. And over time, it worked! Soon my entire being was behind the concept of freedom and I didn’t just want to think of freedom. No, I wanted to live it! Soon that became my all consuming thought and by the time I quit, I was excited! I wanted that freedom more than anything I’d ever wanted!


Perhaps for some, the key to a successful quit is simply seeing that addiction for what it really is. The hard part is figuring out how to do that without a clear point of reference. For me it was as simple as seeing my addiction as something that could be reasoned with.


This is why I was able to achieve that one thing that jonescarp told me was the key to success. The laughter! Because of the work I did before hand, I was able to laugh at the urges, making them easier to brush off. And when that wasn’t quite enough, I’d ask the addict within what was wrong and you know what? Every time I asked myself that, the answer was always the same. It wasn’t actually that something was wrong. It was simply that I had changed and it just took my addiction a little longer to accept that . . .