I recognize that I've been a bit (OK a lot) morose lately but today I will say not one more word about that!
Today I turn 60 years old. I have lived many wonderful, adventurous, exciting, fulfilling years. I have had the fortune to meet the love of my life and to have 2 extraordinary sons with her. And these last two years have fulfilled my deepest dream - to become a grandfather of 2 absolutely delightful granddaughters.
But my biggest accomplishment - the best decision of my life - was to put an end to addiction in my life! When I knew that I was going to quit smoking I didn't know that. I thought it was the better of 2 very bad decisions - smoke myself into an early grave or suffer deprivation of my one pleasurable vice and suffer the constant stress of wanting one - just one - to help me cope with tough times. Black and white thinking! Or better said black and blacker thinking.
I was so wrong! My Addicted Mind had lied to me for so many years that I no longer even had an inkling of the truth!
By following the simple plan of BecomeanEX I did what we all have to do fundamentally - I did not take one puff ever no matter what! I showed up and read. I educated myself on Nicotine Addiction and Recovery and applied what I learned. I allowed myself to hear Allen Carr's The Easy Way and quitsmokingonline.com. I worked not just my smobriety - I worked my Recovery!
And I allowed myself perhaps for the first time in a very, very long time to become vulnerable. Not much but some. I exposed my true self from around the edges of research and quoted affirmations - from other people's words and generalizations. Dare I let these total strangers get to know me - Thomas - the doubter? What the heck! It's only the internet so why not?
So what does this have to do with Nicotine Addiction? I will only speak for myself here so take what you need and leave the rest. I was an addict who smoked in order to belong while hiding my true self from others. We could share superficialities while we shared our fix. I was wrapped up in nico- lies that hid me not only from others but even from myself. I could hardly tell you who I am. That was Thomas the Addict.
This ability to become my true Self, to accept my true Self, to respect my true Self, to dare to love my true Self was the most precious gift of my Quit Journey - so far. To be humanly imperfect and vulnerable and yet acceptable, at least passable, among my peers.
Nicotine Freedom gave myself back to me. By taking away that smoke cloud and twisted addictive lying and deceit I was faced with the most fundamental truth of all - Invention is the Mother of Necessity! I had to learn to give up my immature lies about myself and face reality in a way I hadn't when I first started smoking. I had to learn to know myself for who I am and to grow into my Self - God's creation - a believer in Salvation. It's almost like a Phoenix rising from the ashes. And I had to learn to take off the many masks I hid behind little by little in this safe Community and not only show strength, knowledge, understanding as well as empathy, caring, and compassion - I had to show my darker side - weakness, doubt, fear, self loathing, vulnerability.
I had to grow into the man that I am today. I am here for you , for me, for all that releases us from the bondage of addiction. I can hold my head high and look people in the eyes with true honesty without judgment. I can celebrate all that has been good and bad in these 60 years. I can celebrate this day, this moment in all it's reality and imperfections. I can celebrate this moment of sharing with you - my friends - in honesty who I really am right now! No more lies, no more hiding, just me with you celebrating 21900 days on this Earth and 2826 days of Freedom to be myself - Free of Nicotine!
There are no words to capture my gratitude to Legacy and the EX Community for their support in my quest for Freedom! You know who you are - from my oldest friends on the first day I blogged to my newest - who provide me with so much to learn from them. There's no better way to learn than from teaching. That's a core value I've had for as long as I've known. And it still holds true!
Thank You for being my Friends!