Last night I got back from a weekend that I thought would be one long trigger that would induce major nicotine craves for 2 ½ days. It didn't quite happen that way.
I went to a summer camp in the Hocking Hills of Ohio from 3rd grade to 12th grade as a camper, was a counselor for the next 5 years, and have gone on retreats and rented cabins with family and friends there every year since. I started smoking there when I was quite young. Two of my failed quits, failed while I was there. When I’m there, I can’t indulge my workaholicism, so I have way more time to smoke, and I usually do. I have strong memories of smoking while watching sunrises and sunsets over the lake, sneaking behind the dining hall to smoke after meals, etc. If ever there was a place I associated with smoking, this was it. I was very nervous last week the closer it got time to leave for this weekend. Since I knew that access to my EX lifeline would be limited (cell/internet reception is terrible there), I stocked up on gum and candies that I haven’t needed to use in weeks, and I copied several motivational sayings on my iPhone Notes. And then…. I didn’t need any of that. Went thru the entire weekend without an urge. I even saw a couple of old smoking friends who were still smoking, and nothing. The weekend was so much fun, and was capped off by my being ecstatic when I went to bed Sunday realizing I was crave free!
And then… I woke up this morning in a deep depression, and have had pretty bad cravings since. Kind of ironic. I had assumed the weekend would be really hard, followed by a Monday morning that was back to my new (almost) normal crave free day. I thought being at camp would make me want to smoke, when now, it is being away from camp that has me depressed and wanting a cigarette.
Back in 2011, some old camp counselor friends and I decided to bring back an old tradition that had died off at camp back in the late 1980’s. We would always end the summer camp in August with a music festival on a hillside with music performed by the current and recent camp staff. When we brought it back 6 years ago, we invited old staff from every decade since the 1960’s. It has become the highlight of my year since then. It is the number one thing I look forward to from September to August each year. Unfortunately, attendance has dropped every year to the point where we decided to skip next year for sure, and maybe the year after. We heard a lot of comments about how hard it is to attend every year for people. So while I agree with the decision, it makes me very sad. Normally, I would be waking up this morning with great anticipation of next year’s event. Now I feel like I have nothing to look forward to