(Filling in for rollercoaster831 today. And what a splendid job she's been doing with this every week. A true labor of love. Thank you so much for your dedication to the cause you soon-to-be-Elder!)
What To Expect In The First Four Months
This discussion is posted every Monday to offer encouragement and camaraderie to those in No Man's Land - that murky period of time when the excitement of your quit has become a drudgery, when friends and family have ceased their enthusiasm and support and when you're beginning to wonder why you even bothered to embark upon this journey. The ever present question "when will the unpleasant part be over" continues to raise it's ugly head.
This period of time is part of that rite of passage to Freedom. It's the maintenance stage and it's almost as tough as the first week simply because you're tired from fighting by this point. So, how do you get through it? You continue your education. You hunker down and work even harder. And you treat yourself to the monthly milestones. Treats are especially important during this stage. And you mightily deserve them!
No Man's Land is the final frontier in a way. Once you get through this phase of the process, and make no mistake, quitting IS a process, you'll discover a happier land. You'll find more and more that you've gone through a day or two without thinking about a cigarette. You'll begin to have more and more "aha" moments. One of mine was when I could pass by a smoker, or see a pack of cigarette in a store and not want one. That was huge psychological transition for me. Didn't mean I wouldn't have moments when I wanted to smoke again. But those moments became less and less frequent after each "aha" occurrence. It's exciting when you realize you can look at cigarettes or someone smoking and not be triggered. It's thrilling, actually.
One of the places you might spend some time reading during NML is in Relapse Prevention NML can be a dangerous, shaky time and the more reinforcement you give yourself, the better. You might also go back to (or start) making a daily pledge Take the Daily Pledge . There are tools here to help you through this period. Use them. Stay engaged. Offer support to others. If you don't feel excited about your own quit at this point, get excited about someone else's. And find time to play. Playing and laughter are balms and help nourish. That's why we sometimes put up silly things here, things to help distract and make each other laugh. Our spirits can get rather morose at times on this journey and we need to remember levity. Our life is improving! Even if it may not feel like it! lol
Hold this thought close during this period: "To thine own self be true." You've come so far since that first day. It may not feel like it, but you have. Think about it. Examine the differences between the now and that day before your Day One when you were so terrified. You're not scared any more, are you? That's a huge transition right there that we don't even acknowledge. Trust the process. Trust that time will ultimately be your friend. And whatever you do - stay the course. You've worked too hard not to.
Here's a question for you: What's your concept of Freedom from smoking, Freedom from this addiction? How will you know when you've achieved it?