As I approach my two year anniversary of being smoke-free, I’ve re-read some of my blogs to see if my thoughts/feelings about the process have changed. They haven’t, but I will say that with time comes clarity.
For any of you that might remember my quit, I analyzed everything in the beginning. Everything.
I had so many questions and I wanted answers to them all; I stayed in my head through my early quit and I wanted to know why I was able to navigate successfully through the crappy moods, the weight gain and more than a few tears.
Despite it all, there was never any going back for me, and I did not understand how I could do it when others that I cared for so deeply on this site failed.
With clarity came my answers.
ACCEPTANCE. I know there are others here that talk about acceptance, and they do so for good reason. In order to truly, successfully break the chains of nicotine, you must accept that you no longer smoke. Some of us accept this immediately, others of us take much longer. Once you stop lying to yourself and accept that you’ve truly quit, the rest is just navigating your new normal.
That, my friends, is the holy grail of breaking free from addiction.
I feel like I’m quoting some of the most treasured elders on this site, but this is such a critical point: we fail because we do not truly accept that we have quit smoking. When you accept that you’ve quit, failing is not an option. That was the difference – there is my answer: I accepted my quit at about 8:40 pm on December 4th, 2016.
You cannot go through the motions of quitting – you cannot use a patch, take a pill, submit to hypnosis or go cold turkey and successfully quit until you accept that you no longer smoke.
Along with my acceptance, a funny thing happened to me this past year.
FREEDOM. Now I’m moving from Dale and Julia with “acceptance” to dear Ellen with “permission”. I truly gained my freedom when I realized that if I wanted to smoke I could just go buy a pack and do it. I released the tight grip that I held on myself and gave myself permission to smoke if I truly could not stand it any longer. I knew that the earth would not open up and swallow me, people were not going to disown me, I was not going to grow a second head – and that if I really wanted to smoke, I could.
Permission is a powerful thing.
I did not smoke. And that’s when I gained my freedom, and it happened because I’d already accepted that I quit smoking.
Words. That’s a lot of words that likely sound like gibberish to any of you who are trying to quit, contemplating a quit or are working on another attempt to quit. They are not words, they are the truth – read them, re-read them, accept your quit. Cry, scream, kick something – celebrate. Do whatever feels right, but ACCEPT that you no longer smoke. Then navigate through the changes of going from a smoking to a non-smoking life. DO IT - the rewards are endless.
Finally, I wanted to reprint some of my one year blog, because it perfectly sums up how I feel about BecomeanEx:
Pati made me laugh at myself and reminded me to stop being so uptight. Nancy, Ellen and Marilyn were like constant hugs, and I felt their love every day. Terrie was so consistently present, and Mike greeted me every morning with the cheerfulness of the morning sun. Seriously, you need sunglasses to read his posts... and how cool is that? Giulia was my cut to the chase get-real reality check, and Dale made me think, really think about the quitting process. Nancy reminded me every Friday to be careful around alcohol, and yet I still wanted to sit down with Crazy Mama Lori and have a beer. Thomas regularly provided data to reinforce my decision to quit, and Larry made me want to ride a camel.
Oddly, I loved quitting because of them. These were my people; this was my tribe.
I was allowed to openly share what I was thinking, feeling and experiencing, thereby providing me with the creative outlet that I didn't know I'd need. In turn, you read my blogs, had conversations with me, offered advice when I needed it and a shoulder when I needed that.
You gave me the precious gift of your time. You shared your own personal stories (Ellen and Daniella, just to name a few of you) that kept my perspective in check. I was often humbled and frequently moved by sheer kindness and selflessness exhibited here.
There are many reasons to quit, many ways to quit, and many resources to tap into to support your quit. Many people attribute their quit success to books they've read, NRT aids, hypnosis, etc. Not me. I used you. You were my therapy.
I thank God for each and every one of you on this site. While the quit was mine, the journey was bearable and inexplicably enjoyable thanks to you.
You may not remember the lives you've touched, but I promise that those lives will always remember you.
1 Year and 364 Days Strong