When we quit it seems like we find ourselves on an emotional roller coaster. We love the fact that we’re quitting and yet our minds are screaming at us! We find it to be so annoying that we often times think of giving in to our addiction. We begin to weigh the possibilities. We begin to think about smoking and at the same time we become angry with ourselves for those very thoughts.
This creates an inner turmoil that can at times become way to unpleasant. To me, this is where the dangerous thoughts come from. This is how our addictions begin their attack on the rational side of our brains. This is what causes us so much internal pain. And from the internal fight that we must face as we lose our addictions, we begin to believe the sweet lies of our addictions. We begin to wonder why we ever thought we could do this monumental task in the first place. We begin to lose our resolve.
Really, the best thing that one can do when we reach this point is to come here and ask for help. There are so many that are going through the same things and when we type out our blogs, even though we are writing about smoking, it occupies the mind enough to get through a particularly strong urge. This worked for me but then, I like to write!
And still there’s those days that we can’t be close to a computer. There’s those days where it seems like everyone around us is smoking. There are days when it feels like the whole world is ganging up against us and trying to make us smoke!
There are a few things to remember on days like this. The first is that the world hasn’t changed at all. The reality is that WE have changed and when this happens our perception of the world around us just looks different. It’s our own commitment that keeps us safe in this new world that we are learning.
Another thing to remember is that even though we feel this seemingly endless internal conflict within ourselves, what it shows is progress. As I’ve mentioned before there seem to be two sides of the brain at work when we quit. There’s the side that knows right from wrong. The side that made the decision to quit because it’s the right thing to do. Because this side of the brain can listen to the knowledge that we read and learn.
And then there’s the other side of the brain. This part of our minds doesn’t know right from wrong and does not react to input such as reading or learning. This part of the brain only understands the input from our senses. It reacts to the stimulus of nicotine and as such, it only understands that it needs this stimulus in order to feel normal. This is the part of the brain that seems to endlessly tell us to smoke.
For me, simply understanding these things helped me a lot. I called the divided brain the addict within. I assigned a name to this internal conflict that I felt in order to understand it. So that I could almost create a conversation with my addiction. This worked for me because I began to see the humor in my situation. I began to realize that my commitment to quit was stronger then what the "addict within" tried to tell me. This actually began to calm my mind.
But the main thing to remember on those hard days and nights is that what you are doing is indeed the right thing. Cigarettes really don’t taste all that good as your internal addict would try to tell you. You really didn’t enjoy the stimulus of nicotine all that much and you really didn’t lose a friend when you quit. What you lost was a wolf in sheep’s clothing so to speak. A friend would never try to kill you and a friend would never enslave you. Nor would a friend try to deceive you as the addict within tries to do.
So really, when it seems so ridiculously hard to keep that commitment, do as I’ve always said and look to the future. This is where your peace lies. This is where the reward is. All we have to do is not look for instant gratification and we will find peace. All we have to know is that we can live a few hard months in order to live the life of freedom that waits for us on the other side. If we stay focused on the present then we will feel the pain of our addictions but if we can instead keep our eyes on the prize then we will find a kind of peace that can only come from within. And this peace is way stronger then the addict within.
So all I can say is keep you chin up. Keep your eyes on the goal of freedom that lies ahead and never believe for even an instant that you can’t do this thing. Never believe that your fight is anything but the fight for your freedom and never, ever give the addict within the ability to change your thinking. After all, the addiction is only reacting to a physical stimulus that you no longer indulge in.
So go out there in that big bright world with your head held high for today you can say that "I don’t smoke! I am proving to myself with every moment that I keep my commitment that I care just a bit more about my life, health and freedom to worry about this silly side of my brain. The side that tries to torment me. The side that would see me in an early grave. Today I take my life back from myself and no one or no thing will ever take that away from me!"
Onward to freedom!!!