When I was a smoker I smoked for every reason under the sun! I was sad, angry, frustrated, anxiety-ridden, agitated, embarrassed, guilty, or ashamed. I was happy. delighted, surprised, joyful, peaceful, calm, cheerful, elated, gratified, playful. Or I was bored, numb, dull, tired, disinterested, disconnected, All feelings were a reason to light up!
That shot of dopamine gave me a high that I learned to interpret as relief. Well, it was relief - until I put the Sickerette out! What I relieved was the low of dopamine deprivation - caused by Nicotine! That's all! But that seemed at the time like it was enough!
So I was angry, for example, but I was also withdrawing from Nicotine (the comedown/crash for me seemed to begin even before I put out the Sickerette.) That next Sickerette relieved withdrawal so quickly and so overwhelmingly that it allowed me to push the anger down further - not where it could dissipate but where it could fester! But what I felt was Relief! Nothing else seemed to matter. Rationality left the room - No critical thinking: relief from what? Relief for what? For how long? Was anything really solved? - I had none of these questions or answers. I just wallowed in my relief while simultaneously initiating even then the next withdrawal! At times I was already planning when I would allow myself the next relief, i.e. dose of Nicotine!
So I felt the anger but I didn't express it - I pushed it down which in my Addictive Thinking could fool me into believing that I wasn't angry because I didn't lash out!
Recovery means re-claiming my feelings and that is a big ticket item! If I'm not going to use the Nicotine dodge then how am I supposed to deal with my "unwanted" feelings? I heard about Anger Management but I wasn't angry, was I? Or was I? Unexpressed emotions are even more powerful than expressed emotions. They don't cease to be just because we don't allow them to see the light of day!
I have since learned to be brutally honest about my feelings, to acknowledge that all feelings have a purpose, to explore that purpose, to express them in appropriate ways, to decide if I want to keep them or not, to give them permission to dissipate and bottom line, to work in the exact way that they were meant to work all along!
Smoking hijacks our thoughts but also our natural feelings. Healing brings them back to us and allows them to leave in the special way instilled in us from birth! One step at a time and all because I refuse to smoke NO MATTER WHAT!