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Bathing Fixations in Honest Light
Although a subconscious crave episode (triggered by encountering a time, place, event, emotion or activity during which you conditioned your mind to expect the arrival of a new supply of nicotine) will last less than three minutes, conscious thought fixation can last for as long as your ability to remain focused upon the thought.
In this insightful thread Joel invites you to use each each period of conscious fixation as a wonderful opportunity for honest reflection upon the underlying thought. Here are a few other Freedom threads inviting you to explore dependency rationalizations, minimizations or blame transference that if not addressed with honesty can infect a recovering mind.
- Another slant on how to watch people smoke
- Are there "social smokers?"
- Being tempted watching others smoke
- "Boy, do I miss smoking!"
- Can withdrawal be hampered by passive smoking?
- News crisis of the month
- New reactions to anger as an ex-smoker
- Normal depressive reaction - the emotional loss
- Giving too much meaning to a normal dream
- Adding conscious icing to the subconscious crave cake
- Allowing prior quits to control expectations
- Fixating on a cigarette
- It's just a nasty little habit
- Demanding that loved ones quit too
- I am different, I'll never be comfortable
- I am dying!
- "I can't quit!"
- I 've gone long enough, I've earned a puff!
- I have to smoke because of all my stress
- I know I will quit again
- "I made a conscious decision to smoke"
- I smoke because I'm self-destructive
- "I smoke because I like smoking!"
- "I smoke because I like the flavor"
- I tried cold turkey once - why bother again?
- I want one ...
- I want something
- I will quit when ...
- "If cigarettes were so deadly they wouldn't sell them!"
- "It's only cigarette smoking!"
- The joy of smoking
- Nicodemon's lies?
- Just one little puff?
- Just one or two
- "Maybe I am different"
- "Maybe this isn't the best time to quit"
- The monster under the bed
- "My cigarette, my friend"
- My symptoms will never end!
- Tearing down the wall
- I think about wanting to smoke all day long!
- The urge has hit!
- I have a legitimate reason to relapse!
- My mom just died. I have a legitimate reason to smoke!
- Things are just to bad at work!"
- My thoughts are worse than first few days!
- To smoke or not to smoke
- My friends are unsupportive
- "I'm not addicted"
- I've gained 10 pounds and it's just as unhealthy!
- This will never get better!
.........So what about thinking about something else? Well, it's hard to think of something else that can deliver such pleasure as this magic memory. Even if they successfully think of something else and overcome that urge, they walk away from the moment with a sense of longing or sadness with what they have just been deprived of again.
So, what is an ex-smoker to do? Change the tactic. Instead of trying (often unsuccessfully) of something else, acknowledge the desire. Don't tell yourself you don't want one, you do and you know it. But remember there is a catch. To take the one you have to have all the others with it. And with the others, you have to take all the problems that go with "them." The smell, the expense, the embarrassment, social ostracization, the total loss of control, and the health implications. The health effects are the most serious of the implications considering they lead to slowly being crippled then death.
This is what to focus on when the thought of one creeps into consciousness, the package deal of smoking. Think about the hundreds of cigarettes that have to go with that first one weekly. Think about the thousands that go with that first one every year, or the hundreds of thousands that will go with it until it kills you. These are not exaggerated numbers. Do the math yourself; calculate how much you smoked in your lifetime and figure out how many more will be consumed if you didn't quit.........
Think honestly about that best cigarette ever. Can you locate one memory? Do you have one now? If so, my guess is that it is either follows a rather lengthy period of having gone without smoking nicotine or is associated with some underlying wonderful memory that would have still been wonderful as a comfortable ex-smoker.
In all honesty, I can't count the number of times I looked down and the ashtray was full and the pack empty, yet I had no memory of having smoked them. Joel wrote a wonderful piece about actually challenging seminar participants who claimed to love smoking to identify all the "good" or "memorable" cigarettes they'd smoked that day. They'd come up with a few, the first in the morning, the one after lunch and maybe a couple of others. But then Joel would remind them that they had a rather serious math problem on their hands. They'd claimed to be a pack-a-day smoker who loved smoking but if true had kissed their lover at least fifteen additional times every day without any memory of ever having done so.
Here Joel asks us to be honest with ourselves. For years we were forced to provide mental justification as to why we would smoke that next cigarette. As Joel says, it wasn't so much that we liked smoking but that we didn't like what happened when we didn't smoke. The ironic part is that the longer we were forced to go without a nicotine fix the more intense and memorable our eventual nicotine refueling was.
Don't hide from smoking fantasies but instead challenge and bathe each in honest light. Flavor, taste? There are zero taste buds inside human lungs. Relaxation? Nicotine is a central nervous system stimulant that makes the heart pound faster, that elevates blood pressure and perks the senses.
Stress relief? Nicotine is an alkaloid and stress an acid generating event which neutralized our reserves. All smoking nicotine did was relieve its own absence. The flat tire or other underlying stressful event remained untouched. We simply added the onset of early withdrawal to every stress event life threw our way. If it hasn't arrived yet you may be about to earn and realize an amazing sense of calm during crisis.
Challenge any lingering romantic smoking fixations. Sanity, dignity and self respect are important to all humans. We knew that each and every puff was destroying a bit more of our body's ability to receive and transport life giving oxygen. We knew that we were committing slow suicide by our own hand. We had no choice to fabricate sufficient justification for that next fix.
But now is time for honesty. In truth it didn't matter what line we fed our minds. We'd lost all choice on the day nicotine took control. We are true drug addicts whose brains had become permanently wired for nicotine. That next fix was mandatory regardless of the rationalizations we adopted.
Just one tiny rule determining the outcome for all ... no nicotine today! Yes you can, yes you have, yes you are!!
John (Gold x7)