I remember that first day when I actually quit. I knew that this was it. The culmination of all of my preparations. The day that I would at last reach for my freedom. There was a bit of excitement flowing within me on that day as well as apprehension. I was very confident in my ability to do this and yet wondered if I indeed had it in me to shake off my addiction and start a new smoke free life. After all, I was losing a friend.
Of course this was the friend that was trying to kill me so I didn’t mind leaving him behind to much. On that first day, I looked to the slopes of Mt. Freedom. The summit looked impossibly far away to me. I could see the tree line end and could make out the snow fields that I would have to cross as I climbed. I knew that this was going to be a journey so I created this visualization for myself and it served me well.
I knew that one day I would reach the summit and wave the banner of freedom so that all who might be following behind me might see it in the hopes that it would propel them onward to the freedom that lies at the end of the journey. I fixed ropes to try to make the climb easier or at least not so unfamiliar to those who followed.
And I began my journey, one foot in front of the other. I found that it was O.K. to look back because I could see how far I’d come but really I knew that my journey lied in the future. I realized that there was a prize in that future. One that was worth every bit of discomfort that I felt now for you see, freedom never comes without a price. Freedom never comes without a bit of effort and freedom is indeed a worthy goal to seek.
And so I trudged on, wondering why the journey had to be so hard. This is of course the time that we come to the realization that we are addicts. Accepting that fact really does make the journey so much easier or at least makes it a little easier to understand.
I remember my creation of the addict within. This came from my thoughts about my divided brain. I realized that there was an internal conflict within me that made no sense and I realized that I was indeed fighting a battle with myself. I realized that the addict within was indeed a part of my brain that didn’t know right from wrong. It was a part of my brain that only understood stimulus such as sight, sound, touch and of course the jolt of nicotine. I realized that I was indeed waging a war with myself and that these two parts of my brain will have to find a kind of peace with each other before I could find my own peace.
And so in a way I befriended the addict within. I kept him close so I knew what he was up to. I studied him so I could more easily fight him and in the end I did find that peace. I did find that freedom. Really, it was there all along. It began the moment I put out that first cigarette. I just couldn’t quite see it yet because my mind was still clouded with the loss of my addiction. My mind was still feeling a hole inside that needed to be filled.
This is why I always looked to the future in the belief that this hole will indeed be filled. The feeling of loss would indeed vanish simply because this was a natural part of losing the addiction. But first I had to see through the sweet lies of the addict within. I had to see the reality instead of the rosy picture that the addict tried to create. I had to realize that cigarettes really don’t taste good even though the addict within would try to tell me different. I had to realize that the enjoyment that came from cigarettes was really a false enjoyment. That in reality it simply consumed a large part of my day without actually giving me any benefit in life.
And eventually I did see through the addiction. Eventually I did see the reality of my world and when that happened I really did feel a kind of peace that I always knew was there. And I did find a new and shiny world out there simply because I realized that when I quit, the world hadn’t changed. No, it was I that had changed. It was I that was seeing a new life ahead of me. It was I that lifted away the shroud that the addiction would place in front of my eyes.
So take heart my friends! No matter what stage you might be in with your quit, remember that the future holds your freedom. Forgive yourself your past and look instead to the future that you are creating right now. Remember that the discomforts you might be feeling now are simply the stepping stones to a bright future ahead.
It really is there! It really does exist! Just keep those feet planted firmly on the journey and never believe even for an instant that you cannot win. Never believe that your past life of smoking was something you miss. For the reality is there for the taking. The reality is something that feels so amazing and that reality is the reality of seeing past an addiction. It’s the reality of seeing life as it really is!! So go for it! Never look back and soon all the discomfort that your feeling right now will be nothing but a memory . . .