When I first took up smoking at the age of thirteen, I never thought about addiction, nor about becoming an addict. After all, I was young and invincible. I never noticed as the tentacles of addiction began slithering their way into every aspect of my mind, changing me in ways that I never realized were happening. Over time, I began to consider my addiction as a normal part of my life, forgetting what life was like before I smoked. It was simply a part of a new life that I was creating for myself, and somehow it just felt right.
I fully embraced the sweet lies of addiction as this addiction began to feel more like a friend rather than the enemy that it really was. I always had my cigarette to boost my confidence or help me through those lonely moments in life, never realizing that the reality of it all was based on lies that I had created for myself in order to try to feel good about my addicted life. And I lived like this for forty years, never even trying to see through the shroud of my addiction to see what normal looks like.
As I got older and was pretty happy with my life, I started thinking of the future and how I’d look in that future. My father had died of smoking related cancer and so I could see the ugly side of my future if I continued on my current path of addiction. But for the first time I also allowed myself to see my future without the cigarette in it, and in my mind’s eye everything looked happier, healthier and just plain cleaner.
These mental images of the future created the first cracks in my addiction. For the first time in almost forty years, I was seeing what could be rather than simply accepting my world as it was. And along with these new images came a kind of fear that rocked me to my core, for you see change is never easy. My first thoughts were about how I’d cope with my life without my cigarettes. They were always there to help me to concentrate and to comfort me in my time of need. But for the first time I was seeing through the lies of my addiction and realized that most of these lies were based on my need to justify my smoking.
I saw the cigarette for what it really was. A plant intentionally modified to enslave me. Still, my fear of change was huge and I realized that change is always easier with understanding. So I called the Quitline and set up my patches and more importantly got some links to information about smoking and addiction. One of those links was for this website. As soon as I’d come here I knew I’d found my home. My way to navigate my way to freedom. The place where understanding came from experience.
And so nine years ago yesterday I started on my journey to freedom. Was it hard? Of course it was! Change is never easy, especially when that change is to what had become the very foundation of my world. But with the help of understanding both by understanding addiction and by understanding how I interacted with my addiction, I took the first faltering step. Everything that happened in the beginning I expected because of my preparations. I fought through those first days with relative ease compared to what I expected, but I knew this was a long fight. A long journey on the road to true understanding. To true peace.
After the first few months of accepting my new world, things became easier. I fought with the addict within less and less. My mind was slowly understanding the realities of freedom and eventually I reached a tipping point where freedom became more important to me than the cigarette, and by focusing on that freedom I got to where I am today. Living the future that I’d only been able to dream about on those first days.
Never give up on your dreams, especially when those dreams are ones of a brighter future. Dreams of taking your life back from addiction. Dreams of freedom that in the end are just as wonderful when it becomes reality as it was when we first conceived of them. There’s a new life just waiting for you, just as it was waiting for me. All you have to do is fight for it and before long like me, you’ll be free! There’s just something amazing about the freedom felt after quitting. It really can’t be described. It just has to be felt. I look forward to the day that you too are feeling that freedom!
Never give up on your dreams . . . .
ONWaRD TO FREEDOM!!!