When grief becomes shame

Blog Post created by redluvr on Nov 13, 2019

I am 18d 20h 27m into my quit at the time of this writing. 


This being my first quit attempt, I didn't begin knowing what to expect or how I might do. I'd done some digging and wasn't exactly thrilled with what the Internet had to say about the likelihood of a first quit attempt being successful.  I was expecting it to be a challenge, but it's affected me in a few ways I didn't anticipate. As I previously wrote about, I was surprised to be feeling grief. But now that I've moved a bit closer to the acceptance phase in that cycle, I'm feeling another negative emotion: shame. 


How could I have been so stupid for so many years‽ I'm now ax ex-smoker at the age of 41, but being a 1+ pack-per-day smoker for more than 20 years has almost certainly done irreparable harm. My body can theoretically continue to repair itself until the day I die, but I can never get back the two decades I spent harming myself. I met with my quit coach yesterday and tried to explain the same thing I'm attempting here right now. She told me that I had to find a way to forgive myself and move forward.


I know she's right, but it feels like I'm not ready yet. If I consider a hypothetical scenario wherein someone else was slowly killing me for more than half of my life (but suddenly stops) do they deserve my immediate forgiveness? Am I supposed to give this person a hug and be happy that they're no longer killing me, or is it more realistic that I should want to punch them in the face and feel completely justified for the anger I have?


I've been told I should reward myself with something else since I no longer have the expense of cigarettes and that I should feel proud that I've quit. Part of me understands the logic behind that line of thinking, but the truth is... I'm not so proud, and definitely don't think I deserve any kind of reward. I did a very bad thing to myself for a very long time. I can imagine being able to forgive myself, eventually. I just think it's going to take a lot longer than 18 days.