Later this week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in America. Since a high percentage of our members are off for less than a year, there may be many established traditions which are likely to be smoking triggers. Actually they may not wait till Thursday to start either. Some may find triggers in the preparation for the events, the cooking, cleaning, traveling, and planning.
It is one of the busiest travel times of the year and this year in lieu of recent events any traveling may also be causing a little more anxiety than previous years having nothing to do with smoking. But again, even under normal traveling conditions, the first year doing it smoke free can often result in many thoughts about smoking.
Driving to a specific place and following a route you have not driven since you quit smoking, and then getting together with family or friends who only gather on such occasion, or maybe it was eating with only a few people and maybe even being alone and feeling bad because so many others had big plans. Whatever the situation, the thoughts of smoking are likely to resurface from such time periods.
Not all days lend themselves to such predictability, but when they do occur it is best to be ready for them. By their expected nature they afford us the opportunity to take a little extra precaution. If you initially made a list of why you wanted to quit, the day of such events is a good time to pull it out and reread it. If you made posts the first few days here at Freedom, it would be a good time to review your early thoughts and the responses too. You will quickly see how strong of a grip cigarettes had, the importance you put on getting off of cigarettes, and realize that even though the day had its bad moments, in all likelihood it was easier than it was at the beginning and you never want to go through that state again.
I hope you all have a good day one way or another. But even if it is not a great get together, it will still be the first such occasion that you prove to yourself that you can survive it without a cigarette. That will make it a banner day. As awkward as it may or may not be, it will help prepare you for future such occasions. As with any other day, if you wake up the next morning still smoke free, the preceding day was a great day, at least in not smoking terms.
Since not smoking is a gift you give to yourself to help sustain your health and improve your life, whether it was hard or not now is not important. What is important is that it was possible to survive as an ex-smoker and have now proved to yourself that your life has gone on. This is the mark of a great day.
Also be aware that the day after a holiday can be awkward. Sometimes when contemplating an event is going to be rough you bring up a high level of resolve and focus to survive the situation. Once it passes then, you may go to bed relieved that it is finally over, confident that now it will be a breeze. As soon as you feel this sense of relief, you are a prime candidate for the following though process. "Boy, I am glad that is over. That was really tough, but I made it and now on the other side where it will now be easy. I did a great job. Boy do I deserve a cigarette for that!"
It really can happen this way. As soon as you feel it should be easy you can drop your guard. Do appreciate the fact that you did get through a time period, but always understand that moments can still occur and be prepared for them. And no matter what you do, you never deserve a cigarette for anything. A cigarette is not reward but rather a punishment of suicidal proportions.
When Christmas comes, prepare yourself again. Come and read all the same posts, I will have them up again. As long as your guard is up AND your resolve is reinforced you will survive the first time triggers, but you really do need both safe guards in force. Some times are not as easy to predict, when triggers will occur, but others are somewhat foreseeable. At least take extra precautions for those times. For the unexpected triggers, just keep saying to yourself on a daily basis that you will not smoke today, spend a little time reminding yourself why you quit and why you don't want to go back, and always keep in practice to Never Take Another Puff!