This is re-post, originally in Relapse Traps. Thought it might be time to pull it out of mothballs.
I was responding to another person when I learned something about this quitting process. Yes, even after 3 years. So I pass it on. Some of this is directly quoted from what I said to her.
It was hard for every single one of us long-term quitters too to quit. I went through months wondering when the easy part came? I mean, there WAS supposed to be an easy part, right? And then I learned, gradually, that it doesn't all of a sudden become easy. You don't awaken one morning and discover the hard part's over SLAP BANG THANK YOU MA'AM! No. (Somehow, in my naivete', I thought that would be the case.) But you may have an easy couple of hours. And then a few days later, an easy couple more. And then you'll start to have whole days that are easy. Maybe only a couple in the first month, then a couple more and a couple more....
The point is, which I suddenly realized after over three years being quit is: it doesn't SUDDENLY become easy. This may be obvious to most, but it wasn't to me. There isn't a magic gate you pass through to the "easy side." You can't say to someone that after the first three days it becomes easy, nor after "hell week," nor after the first month celebration. For that's not the truth of this process. Easier, emphasis on the er, yes. But not momentously easy.
Oh, yes, for some it may be. For some, they put the cigarettes down and that's it. They never never look back. And God bless' 'em. If you're one of those, then you obviously don't need to be reading a thing in Relapse Traps. I wish I were one. But I'm not. And I can only relate my own experience here. So don't take it for the gospel truth, 'cause there is no such thing when it comes to the individual quitting process. There IS no gospel truth. Well, except the gospel truth of never putting another cigarette in your mouth again. That IS a gospel truth if you want to be free forever.
But I digress.
So, my point here is that there IS no magic moment when it all turns suddenly EASY. It's like losing a loved one. You go along and the first weeks, months are horrible. You constantly think about them and you grieve. And you wonder if the ache, the sorrow, will EVER go away. And then day by day the ache aches a little less. And you're surprised when you've gone through a whole day without thinking about them. And so guiltily relieved that you haven't. And then the next day you hit a moment in the day when you feel like that first hour after they died. And it's hits you full force again.
The quitting process is the same. There is no door where there's a CRAVINGS STOP HERE sign on one side. So don't be lured into thinking that. Always keep your guard up. And stay outta the traps.