(The update is at the end of the thread for those who’d like to read it)
Just wanted to drop by and leave a message for all of you dedicated people. It’s always a good feeling to write to all of you because even though so many are in the hardest fight of their lives, there’s still a sense of belief in a brighter future if we can just beat our addiction. And as so many have learned through experience, we really can! All we need is that amazing determination that comes from deep inside of us and of course understanding.
When I chose to quit, I studied all I could because there’s a kind of power that comes from knowing our enemies when we must fight them. And yes, I saw my addiction as an enemy that lived inside of me. One that over the years had become quite good at manipulating me and to be honest, I was terrified of fighting this monster that I’d allowed to grow within me for all of those years.
As I learned, I realized that my internal monster wasn’t anywhere near as scary as I thought. It was really a set of impulses sent from the brain that I allowed myself to react on for so long that I quit thinking about it. I realized that the addiction to nicotine was merely the catalyst of my addiction. The rest was all created my own mind. I realized that much of the fear I felt was simply two things. A reaction to my brain impulses that I’d learned to attach to my life as well as the thoughts that went with it. I realized that I’d have to learn how to control those thoughts as I fought my addiction.
I used a lot of tools to help me to do this, including what I called practice quits where I’d quit smoking for several hours and I’d observe how my addiction was creating these thoughts within me. The only difference to an actual quit was that at the end of that time, I knew I’d be able to smoke again. This helped to take much of the mystery out of my addiction and the more I learned, the more confident I became to the point that I began looking forward to my quit.
This understanding made it easier for me because it took away the fear of those first hard days and also helped me to understand that in reality, after the first days I’d simply be fighting my own thoughts without the baggage of the addiction to torture me. I chose to use the patches because I wanted to allow my mind some time to get out of the way of my own freedom. Even then, I continued to study my addiction. Each time I stepped down, I made a mental note of what it felt like with the understanding that when I take off the last patch, I’d be ready to continue without one.
All I can say is that my success came from understanding my addiction and my freedom came from a burning desire to see it. If you’ve already started your quit, keep learning! It’s never too late to understand what’s happening to you and if you haven’t quit yet then take a little time to understand your addiction and how it interacts with you because once you really understand it, you’ll no longer fear it and once the fear dissipates it leaves our mind room to form a cohesive plan. No matter what method you use, the most important thing is that you actually quit. There’s an incredible world out there. I look forward to the day that you not only see it, but feel it.
ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!
I’ve begun working this new job and so far, though it’s hard to get going again, it’s been quite good for me. My mind has been too busy to create those scenarios that I always create because of my brains desire to protect itself from trauma. Also I don’t have much time afterward because I need to sleep sometime, leaving me just the right amount of time to see my wife and our dog.
I did just work a total of 36 hours with only four hours of sleep as I get used to working nights but like anything, the mind will eventually work things out if we give it a little time. Switching to a vampire's schedule can be difficult, but I have experience with that from my past job of running inventories. Some that started at midnight.
I’m waiting for a couple of weeks before I restart therapy for PTSD as I need to get my mind and body acclimated to this new kind of living, but I haven’t given up on doing the therapy starting in a couple of weeks. All in all, doing well and looking forward to the future again instead of just automatically fearing it. I hope all is well for all of you!