Spring is right around the corner, even though it may not seem like it to some as winter holds it’s icy grip over us for just a little longer. It’s mostly a joyous time as we look forward to the warmth of the summer months.
And with that warmth comes memories of years past, of family gatherings and camping and just plain fun in the sun. It’s truly a time to enjoy but as addicts we must take precautions all of the time as we lose our addictions and spring memories are no exception to this.
I know that my first summer after my quit date came fairly soon since I quit in February and I noticed a few things in my journal about that period. My memories were still smoking memories. Not so much in the form of urges and craves but more like every time I thought back at first, there always seemed to be a cigarette in my hand.
The reality is that in my past and when I was doing these summer activities, I really did have a cigarette in my hand and at the time it puzzled my enough that I actually made a note about it in my journal to not let these memories become craves or urges. It was a small note to myself at the bottom of one of the pages, but it’s a caution that I think is worth mentioning to all of you.
In the beginnings of my quit, I learned to separate the smoking from my memories. I remember one of those memories was when I’d climbed a fourteener and sat on the top, smoking. This in turn would bring to mind my walk back down the mountain, cigarette in hand. My drive home, smoking. Every activity that I did seemed to involve smoking. And at first I knew I needed to be wary of that.
My fear was that my past memories would become urges rather then simply memories, making my quit seem twice as hard for kind of an odd reason. That reason being that I was jealous of myself and the past life of smoking that I no longer had. I was aware that I’d felt some jealousy toward others who could smoke at first but I’d never yet faced the concept of being jealous of my own past, and the fact that I used to allow myself to smoke. What a shocker that was!
For me, this was a defining point in my quit. I’d now discovered a deeper aspect to my quit and once I knew of it I was not only able to be wary of it but also I was able to tell myself every time one of these memories became an urge that I was simply being jealous of my past. Somehow, my mind found this to be funny, and the humor I felt completely crushed the urge. As JonesCarpeDiem has said more than once, laughter is the key to ending an urge. If you can laugh at your own addiction, then that addiction loses its power.
For me that translated into laughing at my own silly jealousy of my past. I mean, it made no sense to lament the past while fighting to create a new and better future. And I’ll tell you, one by one those old memories changed. One by one, they lost their power over my addiction simply because I now understood what they were. I knew the very root of the problem and that gave me the power to overcome that problem.
Quitting smoking is a process, and we each have to find those things that can take away the power our addiction has over us. And the power to overcome our addictions lives in the same place our addiction lives. Within the mind. If we never seek answers, then how can we find them?
All I can say is that now that I’ve taken away the jealousy I had for my own past, I no longer worry about remembering those good times. No, instead I embrace them and all that lives within them. The pride that came with my achievements and you know what? I don’t even see the cigarettes in those memories anymore unless I actually put them there.
There’s a beauty that comes with spring. A feeling of harmony and of new life. An understanding that if we make the right choices, we too can become that mighty tree that was once nothing but a single seed inside of a pine cone. We too can once again feel the harmony that was always there because you see, our past really doesn’t have to dictate our futures.
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!