3 years vs. 3 days

3 years vs. 3 days

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

06 Jan 2005, 10:14 #1

So, I celebrated my 3 year milestone at some point around 5 am this morning. For starters, that totally rocks! HooRAY!
So, I start reminiscing a bit about the early days of my quit. I remember members popping in to post their celebration threads. Green, Bronze, Silver, Gold and beyond. It felt downright intimidating. Here was I, with my seemingly tiny little insignificant sum of 3 days, 4 days, 5 days and so on... clinging to my quit like a man clinging to a life line thrown over the side of a ship to a man overboard in a turbulent sea. More comfortable ex-smokers would roll past on their skiff, yachts and cruiseliners, each with the same advice. Keep climbing that rope. Don't let go of it. It'll get easier. We promise.

To me, those people seemed like heroes. From my perspective, they were superhuman, with this gift of comfort I couldn't hardly imagine at that point. I dreamed of being like them some day, but it seemed hard to fathom that this splintery rope would really get me there. It was hard, and I was tired. But, I really wanted to be like those amazing people, and everyone of them told me the same thing… keep climbing, don't let go. Simple. A real slog, but simple.

So, I took their advice, kept climbing and didn't let go. Lo and behold, it was true. It did, in fact, get easier, and easier. There was the odd bit of rope burn, and occasionally a seagull would take aim at my dome with an unwelcome gift (nobody takes a metaphor to the extremes I will), but all-in-all, it got more and more doable, less and less of a chore, and at some point, almost without noticing it, I found myself reclining on the Lido Deck with the others. That was years ago now. I've been kicking back up here for a good long time now, and I can tell you it's very nice.

So, what's my point? My point is to you, the newcomer. Down there on the rope. Yeah, you. You're looking up at me (and the others who have so much time under their belts), and thinking, "man, that guy's almost surreal. Maybe he's got something I don't. How in the world did he get up there? Surely, he didn't take this blasted rope?! He must have some secret that I don't. He's gotta have supernatural powers to have such comfort."

My point to you is this: Every one of us up here got here the same way. We took the rope. We climbed it. We didn't let go. And, just like we were told, it got easier. You will also get here that way.

Three years ago, I was where you are. Everyone here has been there at one time. We understand what you're going through. Nobody here is a superhero. We're just addicts like you who found the rope earlier. And, we can each promise you… the rope is climbable, it does get easier, and there IS a place for you up here.

There's one other way in which we're similar. Neither of us have wings. We let go the rope, or step off the side, we all plummet to the abyss the same way. One puff and it's all history. I learned that on my way up too. People who'd seemed almost unreal they were so comfortable, for no reason that I could understand, suddenly got up from their comfortable seats, walked to the side of the deck, and threw themselves off.

Breaking the metaphor, so that it's perfectly clear, they took a puff and lost their freedom. Some of these were members who had been very active in supporting others, and had experienced months and even years of sustained comfort. One day, for their own reasons, they decided to chance it, and lo and behold their comfort was gone. They returned to their old levels of smoking, often more. I know this is true from email, and from the time when Freedom's policies were different and relapsed members were allowed to rejoin. All it took was one puff, and it was over.

So, while it may be tempting to look at some of the longer term quitters with awe, consider that we are, and always will be subject to the same rules you are. One puff = all puffs. If I were to slip down to the pub right now, walk up to a friend, and take a drag off of his cigarette, I know full well that I would be out on my deck tomorrow night with a pack and an ash tray putting memories of Freedom and this post and everything I've given myself over the past 3 years in a deep hidden locker that my junky side would work overtime to prevent me from opening.

Why is it important to point out that, with respect to nicotine addiction, you and I are the same, just separated by a bit of time? I guess because it's tempting for a new quitter to allow himself or herself to believe that all of these people dispensing education and encouragement here, couldn't possibly understand what they're going through. It may be tempting to listen to your own junky mind telling you, "You're different. These people aren't like you. They don't understand what you're experiencing. You know that you'll never be able to be like them. It's impossible for you."

My long-winded, metaphorically-extreme point is to tell you that that's bunk. While you are different from me in many ways, our addiction to nicotine is the same. You will find comfort (emphasis on WILL) just as I and every other long-term member of Freedom did (by never taking another puff), and you WILL maintain that comfort the same way we all must (by never taking another puff).


ImageBob (3 years free)
Oh, and by the way, my wife hit 1000 days of freedom today! Double celebration!
Last edited by OBob Gold on 31 Jul 2009, 02:14, edited 1 time in total.

Pindan Pearl
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 01:42

06 Jan 2005, 10:33 #2

Wow Bob, congratulations to you on 3 years of freedom! (and your wife on her 1000 days).
this has got to become one of those absolutely classic freedom posts, that memebers will keep bringing to the top in years to come. I loved the metaphor and while reading, I noticed how I was smiling, both at your wonderful way of putting things and at the thought that it is still going to get even better for me and even more comfortable.

Thank you for sticking around after all this time, to share these inspiring words with us, who hold on to the rope Image (or in my case, who have taken the first wabbly steps up on deck)
Last edited by Pindan Pearl on 31 Jul 2009, 02:24, edited 1 time in total.

Pryde65 GOLD
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

06 Jan 2005, 10:56 #3

Hello there Bob! Congratulations to you on 3 glorious years of freedom, and to your wife for 1000 days! How awesome is that.

I had written a positively perfect post, filled with great metaphors and I hit send and it went....where? Ahh well, I will recap briefly to say that I, like Pindan Pearl here, smiled through your post and enjoyed your metaphors very much. My own rope burns are healing nicely, and on occasion, the wind kicks up, and I find myself swaying, but my upward climb is steady and still strong. I have even ventured onto the lido deck and enjoyed some spirits and warm sunlight. The rope is still there when the winds are high, and I still cling to it occasionally, but I love the deck more...

Thank you for being here and helping to keep our focus on the positive. You do rock, Bob!

Sue - Bronze

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:25

06 Jan 2005, 10:59 #4

Congratulations from a guy who is still on the rope. A guy who looks up to those who have come before me like a country boy in New York City looking up at the skyscrapers. You and John and Parker and Linda and many others here are like tall buildings to me. I walk around straining my neck as I look up to you all for the wisdom you share. I enjoy a good story and boy can you guys spin one.

I have this memory of my father when I was just a little boy. He was a carpenter and I must have been just a tot at the time. He would come home from work and I would run to him and sit on his work boot and he would walk around the kitchen while I laughed with glee. I get the same feeling when reading posts from you and the others. It is like going for a ride on my fathers boot. You and the others make the ride not just tolerable, you make it enjoyable. For that, I am grateful.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. It is a priveledge to read your posts.

84 days walking in the big city or on the rope - Which ever metaphor you choose.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:01

06 Jan 2005, 11:11 #5

Great post Bob. Congrats to you and Mrs OBob. Lots of good points raised.
"occasionally a seagull would take aim at my dome with an unwelcome gift"
Ha! This was my favorite image. Even though we all have tough days and times (seagulls pooping on our heads) if we just hang on long enough, we'll get to that place where we want to be. Be patient, be tough, NTAP. It will happen.
Steve 7 months, 23 days.
Last edited by ZZRSteve GOLD on 31 Jul 2009, 02:15, edited 1 time in total.

agnesjtom 1
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

06 Jan 2005, 11:18 #6

Image ImageImage
Wow - what a wonderful accomplishment - 3 whole years of not smoking! Your post is really inspiring to me and it gives me strength to hold on to that rope and keep climbing without letting go even once... As you said...we must never take even one puff... thank you for inspiring me and for all your support through all the tough times... Thank you for being there for all of us - in good and in bad... We will forever be greatful...Now it's your turn - so relax and enjoy the warm wishes...Don't forget to celebrate and spoil yourself (and your wife of course)... Congratulations to your wife on 1000 days!
ImageAgnes - BRONZE, Free and Healing for Four Months, Twenty Seven Days, 22 Hours and 58 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 9 Days and 8 Hours, by avoiding the use of 2699 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $1,113.53.
Last edited by agnesjtom 1 on 31 Jul 2009, 02:27, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Jan 2005, 13:32 #7





9 months 23 days free

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:56

06 Jan 2005, 13:50 #8

C O N G R A T U L A T I O N S !
This means worlds to me since I am a newbie. Thanks for sharing.
I have been quit for 3 Weeks, 14 hours, 3 minutes and 55 seconds (21 days). I have saved $70.15 by not smoking 280 cigarettes. I have saved 23 hours and 20 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 12/15/2004
Last edited by r0s1e2 on 31 Jul 2009, 02:29, edited 1 time in total.

GeorgieGirl GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

06 Jan 2005, 13:56 #9

Ahhhh - 3 years of increasing comfort .... CONGRATULATIONS Bob!!!! I love this post, definitely another "must read". 1000 days for your wife too! Double the wisdom, what a magnificant pair you make :o) OBob - you will always be a superhero to me no matter what you say :o)))
Last edited by GeorgieGirl GOLD on 31 Jul 2009, 02:29, edited 1 time in total.

Starshinegrl Gold
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

06 Jan 2005, 19:28 #10

Congratulations, Bob!!Image
Imageand to your wife, too!!
"Three years ago, I was where you are. Everyone here has been there at one time. We understand what you're going through. Nobody here is a superhero. We're just addicts like you who found the rope earlier. And, we can each promise you… the rope is climbable, it does get easier, and there IS a place for you up here."
What an inspirational post ... I have read so many messages you posted since I found Freedom ... and always find something in them that touches me, help me (not got very far on the rope yet) or encourage me ... and I know I am not alone.
You and all the (once, double, treble ...) Golden Boys and Girls ARE superheroes to me. You show me that there will be a point where I will reach complete FREEDOM, will be completely comfortable ... all I have to do is take all the info on board, follow your advice and your footsteps or the marks you left in the rope.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts with us. I am so happy to celebrate this milestone with you and your wife ... and thought I'd send you a wee bit of music to listen to while having all these nice cups of coffee (or tea?)!

41 days and a bit
Last edited by Starshinegrl Gold on 31 Jul 2009, 02:31, edited 1 time in total.