It seems I was in a different calendar space in the space-time continuum of my mind than my digital quit tracker. I considered Saturday Day 1, Sunday Day 2, Monday Day 3, Tuesday Day 4, Today Day 5, yet it's been 4 days since Q-day. Math isn't my strong suit, I'm more of an arts person, but I think this disconnect is because I'm counting waking hours a "day"- sleep is free-of-struggle time, if you can get some and don't have anxious dreams!
So today I'm not putting a number to. Who's counting anyway? If you centre the perspective of your whole day around what you're not doing anymore, that sounds like a potentially quit-sabotaging make-work project. Yet as humans, we like to celebrate milestones and the rituals we create to go with those milestones can have positive spiritual and life-affirming effects. If we didn't associate certain colours, images and rituals with say, Valentine's Day, would it still mean anything? What does it mean as it is? Would it be one of a pantheon of special days on which we either follow the herd, or dread, or as I'm trying to do, make a day of reflection? Today I'm acknowledging the role smoking had as a daily ritual in my life that I've replaced that with positive re-affirming alternatives. For example, instead of how I used to start my morning, I come here and participate in the Daily Pledge. The Daily Pledge is a simple few words, but it anchors me, it sets me for a day in which, come hell or high water, I am not going to take a single drag. NOPE!
Even deeper than the ritualization that smoking used to be in our lives, we need to acknowledge the lack of self-love that drove us to that destructive behaviour. Valentine's Day doesn't need to be just about seeking or giving affirmation to someone else- that's a set-up for a big let-down- we should use it as an opportunity to affirm acceptance and love of ourselves. We don't "deserve" to get sick from smoking. We don't "deserve" to be social outcasts stuck in a rotten rut of punishing self-destruction. We each have irreplaceable value. We each are special, and worthy, and deserving of happiness. Being good to ourselves isn't selfish because if we don't look after ourselves, we won't even be around for our loved ones. I know I've always had low self-esteem, women especially are bombarded by images of impossible ideals of "feminine' and "beauty," that if you don't have that lucky DNA grab bag are impossible to measure up without tons of money and plastic surgery. But men too are under pressure to be "tough guys" through self-destructive behaviour like hard-drinking and smoking and not going for regular medical check-ups that in some quarters is a measure of a macho man, a "man's man." We're bombarded with these marketing images every day. One of the reasons I took up smoking in my 20's was because I thought it would help make me slim and keep me that way, despite overwhelming medical science evidence that that's a myth and smoking is far more harmful to your health than not looking like a stick-thin model in Vogue. It's hard to change years-worth of thinking in a few days, but we must learn to be good to ourselves, to love ourselves and this magical mystery tour called life.
Happy Valentine's Day and Virtual Hugs to all my fellow EX-ers. Love and be good to yourself, today and every day!