I've been lurking on EX today. I have been feeling SO guilty about my thoughts about smoking that I logged on to do a blog about it, but I was feeling too embarrassed to say how much I have thought about smoking in the last few days. But now I can say I've gotten a ton of help by reading the blogs of the last week or so. So many of us (elders) have dealt with this issue recently, from seriously contemplating buying a carton of cigarettes to continuing craves. It's so true that this community is a treasure. When it comes right down to it we do not deal in platitudes, we deal in love and support. Yes, we have our mantras, and as one elder said recently, we know them because we've said them a million times, and offered them to newbies. It's been pointed out in the blogs in the last week that even the staunchest among us is dealing with more thoughts about smoking than she thought possible after more than a decade of her quit.
We are all going through something we could not have contemplated a mere 3 months ago. It has affected everyone on the planet; there's no "why me?" in this one. I too am lonely, scared, anxious, eating too much and romancing the smoke. But we're all in this together and nowhere is that more evident than here at EX. I came close to giving myself permission to get in my car and go to the store and buy a pack. I knew it was a choice (one of the things that's kept me from doing that during these weeks of isolation is the understanding that you can't keep craves from happening, but everything after that is a choice). But with the human sensory deprivation of this bizarre isolation I've been getting way too into the thought that smoking is okay. I walked my dog past someone who was smoking on their patio, and it smelled good. I wanted to be sitting on my patio smoking.
I've passed the five year mark in my quit that -- like everyone else's -- was hard won. I was known as the happy quitter in my early days on EX. How could I possibly be considering relapsing when I know so much about addiction and the horrific effects of smoking? I've joked about the opportunistic little old lady who lives in my brain, but I'm not laughing now. She has become a formidable foe.
So after reading almost all the blogs for the last week, I've figured a few things out:
1. This is the best group of people I could hope to share my quit with;
2. In addition to love and support, this group has a lot of hard won wisdom;
3. When we committed to quit, we were never guaranteed that past a certain point (a year, five years, ten years) it would always be easy;
4. This is what maintaining our quits means;
5. I think Guilia said it best when she suggested that our craves are so strong now because we subconsciously desire to go back to a "normal" we've known.
I feel better and stronger for having come to EX today. We're so lucky to have us.