December 10, 2011
Where is your mind taking you? Or rather - where are you allowing your mind to take you? You do have a choice, you know. May not seem like it, but you do. You just need to set up a little tiny warning signal in your brain. Whenever a positive smoking thought comes in, one that encourages you to go get one or bum one, because you need/want it - that’s a warning bell. That’s a signal that you’re on your way to the relapse station. That’s the time when you pull out all the forces to fight.
In my five + year quit period, if I get one of those warning bells I RUN in the opposite direction as fast as I can. I almost never get them at all any more, but I still try to keep an awareness of those signals so I don’t forget them. Because I’ve become aware of all too many 7 year, 20 year...whatever year - quitters that have relapsed and are having another Day One all over again. And I really, REALLY don’t want to experience cravings ever again. It’s so much easier now, thank God, then in the “trying-to, beginning to-quit” stage. I can actually say “I have quit smoking.” And I think I really believe it. Ha!
This blog was spurred on by someone with a 52 day quit who had a rough moment on that day. Who might have lost their quit but reached out to the community. But who also said “after being on here almost everyday for the past few weeks and advising people to reach out for help, when I needed it I failed to follow my own advise.”
Here is someone who has been a fairly constant supporter and yet was about to fail at taking their own advice. I don’t know about you, but that’s easy for me to understand. It’s a snap to give advice but a whole ‘nother thing when it comes to taking it. Especially our own. Why is that? Somebody else can weigh in on that one.
She was talking about the most difficult days being her most recent (after a 52 day quit) and said, “Don't ask me why because I do not know.” But then BAM! “A non stop endless loop of wanting to smoke, talking myself out of smoking and then rinse and repeat. It was relentless and wearing me down emotionally.”
And cravings will do that. “A non stop endless loop of wanting.” Wow. Yeah. Been there, experienced that. And it so hits home with me. Thankfully I’m not there any more. And neither will you be after you’ve achieved some goodly time away from your smoking self. Really. Believe it.
But, back to the topic - are you heading for a relapse? When in that “endless loop of wanting,” you have to, number one, recognize it for what it is: a warning bell. And stop the replay button as soon as you recognize it. Those thoughts are as toxic to you as smoking was. Because they can lead you right back to puffing away shortly after the moment they start their replay. So don’t let them. Change your focus. Immediately!
I cannot stress the importance of setting up warning bells in your head. A “but” is a warning bell. So are “because’s.” Both of them are excuses. Silent or not. “I had a two week quit BUT then....” “I lost my quit BECAUSE...” Any excuse is a warning bell. Any reason to smoke should make you pay attention. All sensors should be up. Let me say that again: Any reason to smoke that you may have, should make you pay attention. That’s a warning bell.
When you have made the agreement to stop smoking (and it IS an agreement with yourself) anything that breaches that agreement is - a relapse. And it’s the thought that breeds the relapse. When you’ve made a 100% commitment to quitting (and that’s what quitting takes, make no mistake), that 1% thought can lead you astray. Unless you have those warning bells set up. So - please - set them up. I don’t want to see you at the Relapse Station. It’s a real seedy place to hang out.
‘Cause your quit matters not only to me, but to everyone on this site. Your success breeds the hope of the quitter with less days than you. And your failure encourages more of the same in the swamp of “can’t do.”