When I was a young child at around the age of six, I had what many would call a bad year. In fact, nine months of that year was spent in the hospital.for various illnesses that always seemed to end in double pneumonia. I remember living in that hospital quite clearly. As would probably happen with a lot of children, I’d look out the window where the duct work on the roof of the hospital was and they’d always transform into monsters ready to jump through my window at a moments notice.
When I could finally get myself to sleep on those nights, I’d have vivid nightmares. One recurring one where I was always being chased by a tiger and running away but never quite getting far enough. I’d always awaken when he pounced on me, usually screaming for a moment.
My father helped to rid me of the nightmares by convincing me that turning my shoes upside down under the bed would get rid of them, and because I believed him, they did end. I learned a valuable lesson about belief at that young age and when my ordeal finally ended, I felt a renewed love for life. It was an amazing feeling that just seemed to well up inside of me every morning.
And I carried that love for life with me, always cherishing the fact that I was allowed to exist. Ah, the innocence of childhood! Like a lot of us, when I entered the next phase of growth and the innocence is replaced with knowledge, I began to explore things and I wanted to belong which took me down a path of addiction. I think I was twelve when I smoked my first cigarette and you know what?
Over time, that cigarette and all the ones after robbed me of my love of life. That cigarette changed me into a person who lived mainly to smoke. My life revolved around the cigarette and everything else in my world was simply there. My happiness was based on addiction. My routine was based on addiction. My belief system was based on addiction and for some reason I didn’t care. For some reason I let a plant do this to me!
And so I trudged on through life, never giving the idea of quitting a second thought for you see, over time I’d forgotten what the love of life really felt like. I was happy so long as my addiction was satisfied. And I lived this way for a long, long time.
When I first thought about quitting, the idea of regaining my love for life never entered my mind. I just knew that smoking was physically bad for my body and that since I was coughing for a couple of hours every morning that perhaps it was time to look at things a little differently. Perhaps it was time to do the right thing for myself and after a lot of preparation I did put out that last cigarette.
Like everyone, it was really hard! All those endless internal arguments. All those new comparisons in life that must be made. I was a basket case. But a basket case with a purpose!
And so I struggled on, more than once questioning if it was even worth it but somehow my preparation kept me on the path to freedom. The path to glory. The path to a new life that I’d forgotten about. A life that I could only dream of at first.
And you know what? It took some time but that love of life returned to me. That love of life is now a permanent part of me because this time, I never want to lose that feeling again. This time, I know I love life more than addiction. This time, I know what it’s like to be without that love and I never want to go there again!
Keep fighting my friends! Sometimes the rewards are those that you were never even looking for!
The return of a forgotten love of life makes me excited to get up in the morning. It makes me want to see the wonders of the day, rather than wondering how I’ll ever get through that day. This is the face of freedom. I long to see each end every one of you get there!
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!