You're in your first month. Every waking moment is spent telling yourself to keep yourself busy, you can do this, NOPE, NOPE, NOPE. Man, oh, man, is this ever going to end? You make a list of things to do. Things you've let slide because you were so busy smoking most of your waking hours. You're busy, busy, busy. A few months go past. Whew, glad that's over with. You make it a year and you're elated. Then we have another life cycle to go through and more smoking thoughts are popping up. What is going on?
Take a few minutes and remind yourself how many years and years of memories you had created associated with smoking. Simple things like when seasons change, holidays roll around, the smell of grass being cut, the snow falling. Everyday things are sparking those thoughts again. Let's take it even further and think of smells and sounds that you pin to a relative, significant other, animal that has left or passed. Little things like the smell of apple pie, turkey roasting, certain specialties that were baked. Our lives are driven by our senses. I still have certain songs that remind me of people. Our brains are incredible things. Some memories are stored, while others are forgotten.
The smell of cigarette smoke always reminded me of my father. He was a very heavy smoker. In my first year or even before that when I had my puttering start/stop with quitting, I'd relish those smells. Convince myself that I could never live without it. I would literally panic at the thought of quitting. My goodness, I've done it now for 43 years, most of my adult life. I always had the saying of they'll have to rip these cigarettes out of my hands. We all have to have some vice. I've given up all my others. Come on, now.
I'm under the theory that quitting is two-pronged. It's the physical dependence on the nicotine and then there's the habit, the routines we've created surrounding smoking. The associations we made with either an emotion or with a task. We've finished a hard job, reward; smoke a cigarette. We're feeling angry, frustrated, I need time to think this through, time-out; smoke a cigarette. We all didn't start smoking for one basic reason. We all started smoking for a personal reason. We gave ourselves the permission to smoke. We knew it was bad for us. We knew it had health complications associated with it, but yet we gave ourselves the okay to go full steam ahead.
The other flip of the coin is we can give ourselves the permission to start back again as well. I've often thought to myself why in the world after years of not smoking do we go back again. I've seen comments of a breakup of a marriage, death, loss of a job, went out with friends, drank, smoked and never quit again. Is it the little voice in the back of our heads that tell us that we can control this? I've got this. I'll only smoke one or two a day. Is the bargaining kicking in again, just like we did when we first quit, saying, well, if I keep it to one or two a week, it won't be harmful. I can do that. I could very simply walk outside right now and light up if I wanted to. I live with a smoker now. I could take one, but I CHOOSE not to. I don't want to smell cigarette smoke on me and my family would be greatly disappointed as would I.
When those thoughts are swirling in your mind, think to yourself how it was when you first quit. Think to yourself when you first started smoking and it grew to a pack or more a day. Didn't you just start off with one or two a day? Isn't that where you came from to start with? Look at the things going on around you. What is sparking those thoughts, that bargaining? Why are you giving yourself that latitude? I ask these things because I have to. I have to do this in my own life at times.
I want to write to you all to tell you to always be vigilant and recognize those thoughts. Do a personal inventory of your reasons why, why you are thinking it's okay to just allow yourself this one time. What could that cigarette possibly do for you that you can't do for yourself? Tell yourself, it's just something that I used to do. See it for what it is and what you think it stands for, what you think it's doing for you. Don't let your inner resolve fade and fall back into your old ways. Always move forward. Never allow yourself to take those few steps back. You can do this !!!!!!!