I was in a college town favorite, eating summer food with friends, when I began to notice how I was sitting comfortably, chatting and eating, not thinking I needed to be anywhere else. But two of my companions had to go outside to smoke. They had no choice in the matter. I felt pity for them, and turned to my other companion and said, "I'm so glad I don't do that anymore."
I am glad. Until they got up and went outside, I didn't think about nicotine at all. I didn't think about when I'd smoke. I wasn't anxious about finishing my food. I wasn't distracted in the conversation. I wasn't worried about smelling bad or discarding a butt or bothering pedestrians passing by.
I try to notice those times of real freedom that are becoming more and more just regular life for me. They get added to the pile of positives that keep me smober.