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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)