I’ve been pinching myself. It’s hard to believe that in 28 days, I will have 365 consecutive days without smoking a cigarette.
Cigarettes had been a part of my life for more than 30 years. I couldn’t imagine not smoking for the rest of my life. I was frightened by stories of people who’d kicked an addiction only to turn back. I was devastated when my favorite actor, who had 24 years of sobriety, died with a needle in his arm. Would I be able to resist temptation? I’ve read posts from long term ex-smokers who took a puff tossing aside years of freedom only to have to start over. Another day one instead of another day won. Is this my fate, my future? Will I succumb to some pitfall? Are my chances better or worse? Should I give in and have the “inevitable” relapse sooner rather than later?
I’ve learned to think about other things and to take one day at a time. I put some of the spiritual and metaphysical lessons I’ve learned to use by focusing on now: The only time I have is this moment. No other moment exist. By remaining focused on the moment there’s no tomorrow or future to fret about.
I thought the closer I got to my first anniversary the easier it would be to maintain my quit but that isn't true. In April, the trigger was pulled. I've had a train of thoughts reminding me a year ago I was smoking. A year ago I started taking an anti-depressant to help with smoking cessation. A year ago I found the Mayo Clinic quit plan. A year ago I joined this community. “A year ago” became the refrain playing in my head. I began to feel the anxiety I felt, a year ago, at the thought of quitting. I even felt the fear I felt, a year ago, when I wondered if I was going to be able to quit smoking for any length or time let alone the rest of my life. My thoughts have been playing games with me: "Soon you won’t be able to say a year ago I was smoking. You’ll have to say over a year ago. The closer you get to that one year anniversary the further you’ll be from the last time you had a cigarette. Are you sure you want to go further?"
Watching my thoughts has been interesting. I don’t have any physical cravings. The challenge to my quit is “in my head” because it's my thoughts that are goading me.
I don't come around every day. It might be days or even weeks between visits. I stay away because too much reading about not smoking and/or smoking poses its own challenge. I don't want to give my addictive mind any reason to try and convince me that in some way it would be “okay” if I gave in to temptation. I stay away for self–preservation. I come back for self-preservation. I come back to connect, to be supported and to offer support. I want to pay it forward.
T-Minus 28 and counting…