Eight years ago today I made a decision that has seemingly changed my life forever! Eight years ago today I put out my last cigarette and after that day, I never looked back. My journey began with a small whisper in the back of my mind. A nagging feeling that something was wrong. As an addict, I couldn’t quite fathom what it was. I’d sit there in my little bathroom in the mornings smoking and coughing endlessly and still, I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was wrong.
Usually the problems that we face are quite clear but under the shroud of my addiction I just couldn’t see what wasn’t quite right in my world, or rather in hindsight I realize that I didn’t WANT to see what was wrong because the problem was with the very foundation of my life. The problem that was so hard for me to see was my smoking addiction!
I realized that I’d never seen this addiction as a problem before, even as the reality of what each of those cigarettes were doing to me was manifesting itself in real physical ways that I could no longer ignore. Deep in the core of my being, my self preservation reflex at long last became stronger than my addiction and for a moment I could see the reality of what I was doing to myself. For a moment the cloud of addiction lifted and I saw the reality of addiction. A reality that I had created over countless years and to be honest, it scared the heck out of me.
But you know what? That fear was nothing compared to the fear I felt when I first thought of doing something about it. That thought created a fear within me that rocked me to the very core of my foundation, and so for a while, I dismissed it, though the reality was now always there in the back of my mind, nagging me. Whispering to me that there was something I needed to do. Something very important for my future. Something that I shouldn’t put off.
I think this was a period where my mind had to learn to accept that which was so unacceptable to think about. And eventually, there came a day where I was able to not only think the thought of change, but I was able to grab hold of it. This was the first time I knew I was going to attempt to change the foundation of my life forever. And the fear I felt on that day was incredible!
I knew I’d need help if I was to be successful. My fear of change was enough to convince me of that and so I called a quit line and from there found this incredible place, filled with the wisdom of people in every stage of quitting. You see, we can learn from those who have just started the journey as well as from those who have found the answers to their own addictions and are willing to share those answers, or rather internal discoveries.
Using the knowledge of others and also doing a lot of soul searching, I began building my quit plan. I learned about triggers and urges and how they affected me, or rather how I personally interacted with my addiction. The more I learned my enemy, the more my fear of change dissipated and as I began to understand what I was fearing, I was able to react to that fear in a more meaningful way. I was able to begin the process of building my new foundation and at the same time, I was able to peer into the world of freedom and over time, I wanted that freedom more than I wanted the future that I had created within me for so long. You know, that place where we choose to harm ourselves, never really knowing why. That place where we simply react rather than feel because of the depth of the addiction. That place filled with the lies we must tell ourselves in order to keep smoking.
I had no fear of quitting by the time I put out that last cigarette so long ago and you know what? Those first hard days seemed way easier than I’d expected. I think part of the reason for this was that I’d already experienced everything that happened to me at first through my practice quits. Sure it was tough. Change always is but if we’ve accepted that change as a positive one, it makes us so much stronger.
I struggled through those first days, understanding that the first days are the days where we learn how to live a new life, free of the baggage of the past. I’ve never regretted my decision to fight for change. I’ve also forgiven my past so that I can focus on the future. After all, when we choose to quit, we’ve made a choice to create a better tomorrow for both ourselves and those that we love.
And now I’m living that tomorrow, and you know what? It looks a lot like I always imagined it to be. So peaceful. So much calmer. So much freedom!!
I’m proud of my freedom and you should be too! All I can say is that if you haven’t put out that last cigarette yet but are thinking about it, try to look at this as a chance at a new life. If you’ve just put out that cigarette and are wondering if you’ll ever find peace, know that you will. And if you’re one who has found the true freedom that lives at the end of every quit, I’m proud of you, just as I’m proud of myself for choosing life over a slow agonizing death. For finding the truth just as I did and allowing that truth to grow into an incredible future!
Every element needed to quit lives within all of us. We just have to look inside and find those tools that we need because they’re there waiting to be discovered. All it takes is a desire to try and a belief that given the right circumstances, even if we have to create those circumstances in order to succeed, then we will win!
Keep fighting and one day you’ll realize that you’re free. It’s kind of funny but I can’t even remember when I became free. It just happened and now I’m living my dream of eight years ago and never intend to look back!
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!