As I come to the playground today, I have hit 60 days of a smoke free and nicotine free life. It feels so unbelievably wonderful. I am yelling my success at the top of my lungs, and I know my happiness is shared by everyone else on the playground, elders and rookies alike.
Well, maybe not everyone.
I looked over by the slide, at the bottom of the ladder, and I saw him. That bully nicotine. Every other day, I would have headed the other way. Not today! I was strong today. I have 60 days under my belt and I decided to walk over to the slide.
“Hello Greg,” the nicotine Bully says, “You haven’t listened to me in a long time.”
“You’re right,” I reply, “But this won’t be like the old days. My talking to you will not end with me smoking, or even wishing I had cigarettes. No, those days are past.”
“Maybe they are”, He said, “Maybe they aren’t”.
“The only reason I am talking to you is to ask you to leave my friends here on the playground alone. We do not need you here and you are not wanted!”
“Wow, two stinking months without Nicotine and you think you got this all solved huh?”
“Well, maybe not ALL solved.” I meant to sound stronger than I did.
“Well, maybe not at all. Maybe you’re just a babe who has no idea about me, or about how powerful I truly am!”
I looked hard at the nicotine bully, and raised my voice. “Just leave us alone!”
The bully smiled. He then responded, very quietly, so I had to strain to hear. “Where do you think I am?”
“You are right here on the playground. You are standing right in front of me.” I was breathing hard.
“No, I am not.”
The Nicotine stared at me. I was breathing hard. I felt no urge to smoke, but I was upset. I am male, so I don’t like being told I am wrong. Next thing you know he will tell me I am lost.
But he didn’t.
“No Greg, I am not here on the playground. I am not outside in that group of smokers at work. You will not find me at the gas station where you use to buy cigarettes. And no, I am not even in the cigarette ads.
“I am inside you Greg. I feel every breath you take. I am in your brain. I am in your heart. I am in your soul. Your desire to smoke never came from the outside. That would be too easy to ignore. I am inside you, and everyone else on the playground, too. They need to face me every day. So do you. You will carry me with you wherever you go for the rest of your life. As long as you do not smoke, I will get weaker, but I will never leave. And yes, at any time, maybe a year from now, maybe five, you will feel me again, and I will fight for control again. And because I am inside, no one can decide for you. You will decide whether to ignore me, or let me control your life once again.”
The bully wandered out of sight. I am not sure where he went. I was too deep in thought. He was correct, of course. I will carry the nicotine bully in me, and every day I have to decide if he will control me that day, and the rest of my life. I can seek help from others, and being with others who are also past smokers really does help, but in the end, it is my decision alone.
I feel wonderful. I am in control. Being in control is the best feeling in the world! Today I will not smoke. Today I am going to the swings and see how high I can swing. Today I am going to swing so high my toes are going to touch the clouds!
And I will make the same decision tomorrow!