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3 Posts authored by: Chuck_Quit_2-20-2011

Remember that first day that you really entertained the idea of quitting? If you’re like me, the main thing noticed on that day was an intense and in reality, unfocused fear just at the thought of it. A kind of shudder in the deepest parts of our very beings. And from that feeling, we usually hit a wall for a while. I mean to an addict, the idea of giving up the main thing that that our entire life revolves around is perceived as an impossible task, and it takes a bit of time to turn that thought into a reality.

 

The thing is all we had to do was THINK about quitting and  suddenly there it was. The first experience with the internal argument. The moment I thought about quitting, it was like I’d just turned my entire world upside down! I didn’t even notice that argument in the background at first simply because I still smoked. Simply because once again, I hadn’t yet acted on the thought.

 

A few days later, when I’d finally convinced myself that I was going to do this and picked a date and started tracking my cigarettes, the infamous internal argument became more intense. When I decided that I was no longer going to smoke when I drove (one of my biggest triggers), the voice began telling me how hard it would be to concentrate and the voice was correct because rather than thinking about my driving, I was listening to this maddening internal voice telling me that something was wrong. Something was missing.

 

This was the first time I began listening to that voice, and it appeared to actually be a kind of whisper always in the background and at the same time it seemed to be more of an impulse then a thought. I looked deeper and realised that I was the one giving these impulses a voice. That I was deciphering them into the internal argument that we all feel. I think it was how my mind made sense of these impulses. By giving them a voice.

 

Over time, I found that conversing with this voice was a good way to get the impulses or urges to stop, or at least to lesson in intensity. I named these impulses the addict within and when those urges were the strongest and I could focus on what I saw as a screaming toddler throwing a temper tantrum, they seemed to become less intense.

 

And there were times when I used visualization to see my journey as something tangible. Something with a defined beginning and end. As many of you already know, I called that journey Mt. Freedom. Also over the course of my quit, I learned to assess my mood upon waking and if my mood wasn’t the most productive for the coming day, I’d close my eyes again and use visualization to go to a quiet place of my own creation. And this is something I still use to this day to keep my day a positive one.

 

There were so many changes that I had make both internally and externally in order to change my life for the better and you know what? I still use all of these things every day of my life! My preparation was much more than preparing to quit. It was also preparing to live a new life.

 

This is why I’ve always considered those first days. Those learning days; days of wonder. I know if you’re in the middle of a quit, you might not see these first hard days as days of wonder but you will!

 

As the addiction calms within our minds and we begin to see the incredible and positive changes to our world. When we can look back at what we’ve created and achieved without fear of relapse. This is when we can see that our quit was indeed an incredible journey experienced in all levels of our psych. This is when we can see that what we chose to do on that first day would end up creating so much more within us that we get to keep forever!

 

So the next time you feel like this is all a waste of time. The next time that you think that quitting is just to hard. Try to remember that change can be amazing! And yes life can be wonderful! All it takes is a desire to see it, to experience it. To dream it and fight for it!

 

And when it’s all over and you can look back with a confident smile on your face. That’s when you’ll know that those first hard days really were wonderful.

 

Fight on my friends! Fight on! I know it’s worth it and it won’t be long before you know it too . . .

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck

There was once a time when I was beyond being a smoker. When I was beyond ever finding a way out of my addiction. A time when I was totally confident in the lies that I told myself. I was more hooked than any other person in the world was!

 

LOL. I think we all thought that when we first decided it was time to quit. But the bottom line is that so many have found their way through the cloud of addiction to the freedom that lies on the other side. Really, it’s hard to believe that so many of us who quit so long ago could ever have been as addicted as you.

 

But we were. We all believed the lies of addiction, mostly because we wanted to. It was just so much easier than the alternative of quitting, right? I mean, why would we want to take away what has become the most important facet of our lives? Why would we want to feel the tension and confusion that comes with a quit if we don’t have to?

 

But then comes that day when we look on the other side of the coin. The day that we understand that the thing we love most is killing us. For me, the fear that I felt the moment I thought I might actually quit was incredibly strong. I was shaking and had sweats just from thinking that I might actually quit.

 

But once I got over that, I decided that if I was going to do this, I was going to spend every waking moment preparing to succeed. But what to do? How to start? I really was confused and the addict within had no intention of making this easy.

 

But over time, I found ways to ignore the fear so that I could learn about what I decided was my number one enemy in this fight. My number one enemy was myself and my own addicted thoughts. I had to get past all of the years of lying to myself. I had to get past the fact that my addiction had woven itself into the very fabric of my being. I had to get past the fear of change and I had to find a way to convince myself that I wanted freedom more than I wanted a slow, agonizing death.

 

It takes time to get the mind where it needs to be. It takes time to learn all about how we interact with the addiction. But it’s time well spent.

 

All I can say is that the happiest day of my life was the day I put out the last cigarette well over six years ago. The day that I peered through the cloud of addiction and saw the world the way it really was for the first time in a long time. And I never looked back!

 

My point is that though the fight may seem hard, it’s still a fight that’s doable. The hard part is that it takes time. And it takes commitment. And it takes a love for life and freedom! Always look ahead to the freedom that awaits you!

 

Learn all you can about yourself and seek the advice of others because one thing’s certain. It’s a fight that’s better fought with others, even if those others are on line, for when it comes to the heart there really is no distance. That’s one of the things that makes EX so wonderful. We can come here with our fears and share them to perhaps make them a little easier. We can learn all that others had to learn on their own journeys. We can feel like the world is collapsing around us because we feel so strange when we start the quit. But that’s OK. We’ve all been there and understand.

 

So never think you have to be alone. Never believe for even a moment that you cannot take your life back. It’s within you, just like it was within all of us. It starts out as a single thought and with a little nurturing becomes a full fledged quit.

 

Go for it!! There’s so much waiting for you, if you can just take that first step. The freedom awaits you and it’s worth every bit of discomfort that it takes to get there. Stay true to yourself and before long you’ll be smiling a smile like you've never smiled before, for you will be smiling a smile that can only come from freedom!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!

 

Chuck 

 

Today marks six years since I put out my last cigarette! My, how time flies and sometimes in an incredibly wonderful way. I still remember the moment I put out that last cigarette and there’s a reason for this. You see, remembering that moment in a positive way just helps to keep the resolve for year after year after year.

 

It’s not so much the moment that’s important but how I got there. The fighting with myself and the endless doubt that addiction can create within a person. The longing to be free while fearing the very freedom that I longed for. The days of wondering if I really had it in me to beat a monster that in itself lived within me.

 

In the end I realized that the monster within me was of my own creation. That the beast was given strength by the very mind that wanted to be ridded of it. So to find my own strength to beat myself, I had to find my heart. I had to find my love for life and for all that might be in the future of that life if I could just get past my own stupid mind.

 

I looked inward and felt fear. I looked at what would be my changing in my life and found fear. I looked to my current life of smoking and somehow found peace. It was crazy! How could I be my own worst enemy? And how could I beat something that lived totally within myself. Something that without realizing it, I had spent so many sad years creating? My God! How could I beat myself?

 

I was angry with the things I’d already done. I couldn’t believe that so long ago I’d started building what would surely be a future of misery, where my health would steadily fade as I continued to believe in my own invincibility. When I convinced myself that bad things only happened to others and that somehow I was immune from the risks of the life I had enslaved myself with.

 

Soon I actually lost my resolve. Soon I surrendered to a life of a misery of my own creation and I ignored the realities of what I was doing, somehow finding sanctuary in what would surely be the death of me. I was totally convinced of a lie that could not be!

 

So long as I didn’t think about quitting, I was calm. So long as I never thought about my future, and lit another cigarette, I was calm.

 

But then one day, a crack appeared within the almost impenetrable wall that I had created for myself. I have to admit, it was a very small crack at first but for the first time, I embraced it. For the first time, I took a moment to see how things could be different. For the first time I allowed myself to see things as they could be, rather than how they are.

 

I thought about the future of the ones I loved and the way my life of addiction was going, that future didn’t look good. Then I took a moment and saw that same future in a new light. One where I’d beaten myself. One where I could look back at the decisions I’d made and be content that though I’d lived in fear of freedom for so long, that if I could win the war within my own mind that the future would be smiles instead of sadness. That I still had a chance to enjoy those that I loved and not bring them misery.

 

The crack began opening, very slowly at first until one day I believed that I could beat the enemy within. The addict within that I had created. Still, there was so much fear. But I took a step to make myself accountable to myself. A step where I could almost believe that yes, I could win this!

 

I picked up the phone and called the Colorado Quitline. I remember a voice that sounded like it was smiling on the other end and guess what? I hung up! I was shaking and sweating. My mind was reeling! How could I even have entertained the idea that I wanted freedom more than I wanted the peace that my addiction fed me with each new cigarette.

 

I lit a cigarette and walked into the other room, convinced that I’d thrown this insane thought away. I mean after all, smoking was a part of me. But then the light came through the crack in my wall again, and for some reason, this time I grabbed hold of that light. It suddenly seemed like the light of a lighthouse stabbing through on a dark and foggy night, showing me that if I could just reach that shore, then I would see the greater light.

 

I lit a cigarette and it slid through my sweaty fingers, falling to the floor. I looked at it for a moment and realized that this was where that cigarette belonged. Far, far away from me. I picked up the phone again and called that quitline. Again, a friendly voice answered and asked if they could help me. This time I said “yes!”

 

We talked for awhile, my voice trembling and when I was done with that phone call, I had ordered nicotine patches and agreed to do something to actually start the quit. I wouldn’t smoke a cigarette for the first half hour after I woke up. The thought terrified me, but that next morning, I did it!

 

And then with a renewed confidence, I waited an hour the next day and the next. I was feeding the crack in the wall of my addiction. I was feeding the light of my future. And you know what? I was starting to feel really good about it!

 

I found becomeanex.org on the quitline website and went there, introducing myself and getting set up. Turns out, that was one of the best moves I’d ever made. To find others just as scared as I was and yet still doing it. Still choosing every day to continue the fight! There was understanding for all the thoughts that I thought were so alien to me. There were others that felt just like me but more importantly, there were others who were grabbing that light of the future! A place where people really understood what I was going through.

 

I came here daily, preparing myself for the final day of freedom. I did a lot of prep work, until one day I believed in myself and my heart enough that I knew I could do it. That I could bring myself from the darkness and into the light of the day that suddenly seemed so attainable.

 

And six years ago today, I put out that last cigarette. I found the light that was calling to me for so long. I dreamed of climbing a mountain that I named Mt. Freedom. In my mind I carried what I called the addict within up that mountain with me, understanding that if I could keep my enemy close, then not only could I fight it but in the end, I could understand it. That I could see it for what it really was. The old ball and chain.

 

It’s always good to remember where it all started, I think. Always good to remember the battles that were fought so long ago. To see that we really can take our futures into our own hands. And now, six years later, to feel the fruits of labor that started so long ago.

 

There is peace in that future my friends. There’s so much peace and you know what? That peace comes from the light of freedom. That peace comes from knowing that though once enslaved, I know longer am.

 

There’s so much waiting for all of you no matter what stage of your quit you’re in. There’s a future that is as bright as you can imagine it now.

 

I hope that all of you keep climbing the slopes of Mt. Freedom as I did and so many others have as well. It’s a beautiful summit filled with peace and there’s a banner up there waiting for you. The banner of freedom! I hope to see all of you up there, waving that banner high over your head as I did, confident in the fact that now the future’s looking brighter.

That the peace and freedom really is there. We all deserve it. All we have to do is take that first step, just as I did seemingly so long ago. Your future awaits you!! Go for it!!!

 

ONWARD TO FREEDOM!!!!!

 

Chuck

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