I am still using the site. I have been reading stuff everyday. I haven't posted because I have been smoking.
This is where I'm at today. I accept the mistake I made by returning to smoking. I am confident that I can stop smoking again. I realize that, in the past, I have struggled with the idea that my nicotine addiction is always going to be with me. I focus on quitting, then ignore my addiction after the initial cravings go away. I hope the cravings will never return. I struggle with going back to putting effort into my quit after I have been smoke-free for a while and have stopped having cravings. I still struggle with the idea that I have to keep taking action to maintain my quit. However, I am taking daily action now. I have set a quit date of Monday 7/30. I would like to quit today, but I've fail miserably with the strategy of panicked effort to stop smoking because I relapsed and am afraid something bad will happen. Panic and shame don't work. I need time to prepare mentally. It's not an emergency. It is something I need to do though. If I don't, I won't be happy. I have no legitimate reason to keep nicotine in my life--only excuses and lack of willingness.
Something that trips me up is feelings I have about my ex-girlfriend. It has been a few weeks since we last talked on a personal level. She is my co-worker and I have to keep interacting with her at work. I am stressed out on the way to work everyday, worrying about seeing her. I'm angry or sad or guilty when I see her. It is taking up a lot of mental space. I don't crave cigarettes very much when I'm not at work. These feelings are getting better, much less intense. I am starting to be much more comfortable at work. Stress from work is another big trigger. I get overwhelmed, feeling like I'm behind, have to do a million things at once. I get very, very stressed out when I write for some reason. This is probably the biggest trigger I have. Every word has to fit perfectly and reflect the idea to the reader. I don't know why I put so much effort into being perfect when I'm writing. I'm a perfectionist at everything. This puts a lot of pressure on me, but writing is the worst. My job is writing half the time. I have noticed that I am not as triggered when it comes to taking breaks. I have found other things to do. I am going to find other distractions this weekend, before I quit, because I anticipate that moment in my workday when I am needing a break and the first thing that pops in my mind is to smoke a cigarette. I am taking it easy. I am practicing stress-reduction techniques everyday at work. I force myself to take my scheduled breaks. I don't procrastinate on doing my job. I try to make every moment count. I enjoy the free time I gain and the lack of worry that comes from getting my assignments done on time.
I know I am not 100% prepared. That is going to be my focus this weekend. I need a plan of action for Monday and Tuesday because I will be off both days. I have support and will tell them my quit date.
I'm scared I will fail. It bothers me. As I write this sentence, I realize it's my choice. Any time a craving hits, it's my choice in the moment to practice the tools of recovery or relapse.
I'm scared I will succeed. I've noticed my life getting a lot better without smoking. I'm used to stress, anxiety, and self-condemnation. I think I'm addicted to it. Familiar pain feels better to me than unfamiliar success.
Something else just occurred to me, related to my pattern of not doing the maintain. I have to learn how to stay smoke-free in every new situation I am faced with. I relapse every time there is a big change in my life. I relapse because I have stopped seeking the support I need to make it through these changes. I can eliminate this problem by consistently participating on this site.
Sorry for the long post. I haven't posted in a few days so the thoughts are piling up. I think that's it.