Day 55 :-)

Blog Post created by Lasttimeagain on Nov 9, 2018

I'm just about 8 weeks now and this week had been a breeze. I have been finding myself thinking much less about smoking and my quit and I don't think I had a single crave at all for one this week. Even those moments where I think,  oh this is where I would normally smoke, have been few. I attended an 8 hour training session a couple days ago and it was so wonderful to be so present the whole time without getting nicotine cravings. I really have felt the benefits of being more present each day recently. To me that is the most precious part of my quit. I have also been much more focused on my work, going several hours without needing a break and then not feeling like 'what's my reward ' after finishing some work. The reward IS finishing the work. I have also been making an effort to start talking to people at work whom I normally didn't speak with much during short breaks from work. This has been fun. I've also been taking walks at work with my old smoking buddy. We used to go out several times a day together to have a smoking break and now we go for walks together. I tell him to go ahead first and smoke and then I meet him five minutes later and we take our walk along the river. We still do the same old work gossip and so on, but now without the smoke, for me at least. A few times he had a smoke in front of me after having lunch together, but I had absolutely no desire to smoke. This would be VERY different if we were to go out drinking together. Hence, I avoid drinking with smokers and have mostly cut out drinking except for social situations where I wouldn't normally have smoked anyway like family picnics and that sort of thing. But the 'hanging with the guys drinking night' kind of thing... I just know that I'd smoke. I remember one time I had quit for several months and then having way too many beers and wanting a smoke so bad. I bought a pack and had one and it was awesome! I then proceeded to smoke the whole pack over a few more hours of drinking with the boys like old times. The next morning  of course, i awoke feeling both ashamed and also a bit relieved that I could just get in with smoking again. It's easy cus at that time I feel pretty great still from not having smoked for months. However, after a few weeks back on, all the reasons I quit return ... Getting sick easily, difficulty breathing, not exercising anymore and the shame of skulking around hiding smoking from wife and kids...always the worst part. So with this quit I am taking advantage of the awareness gained from past quits. Part of this is growing up too. At 44,nights out with the boys is a thing of the past and using smoking as a coping mechanism for not dealing with emotions properly has to be extinguished. Smoking is not just a is a way of being and to quit means more than just discarding a worn out suit. It means reinventing many parts of your identity. I have experimented with that many times over many quits and I have always liked who I am when I'm a nonsmoker more. When I'm a nonsmoker, I am aligned with my values and who I want to be at a moral and even spiritual level. When I'm smoking I'm giving in to a darker hedonistic side of my personality. This time, I want to learn to live my best self and make it a permanent change. I want to learn to enjoy new types of pleasure that are more mature, refined, and sophisticated. And I want to face myself more deeply and learn to connect better with others. The class I mentioned earlier was called emotional intelligence. The main take away was that I need to learn to identify when I'm bring taken over by my emotions and learn to manage them, particularly negative emotions. I need to develop strategies for going from identifying when those emotions are welling up to redirecting them to positive outlets. The key is to also recognize what stories I am telling myself in those situations. Those stories are tied to the emotions in feeling which are tied to triggers. It's a trigger, response conditioning which has stories in between. When I smoke when I'm stressed , it's part of the story I tell myself... I need to rewrite all the stories I've crafted over a lifetime to not include smoking as part of the narrative. So, my advise to anyone else is to evaluate your stories that you're telling yourself and consider how smoking is part of those stories. Then, become your own novelist and rewrite those stories. We are, after all, the authors of our own minds.