memories for recovery

splat bronze
splat bronze

May 1st, 2003, 6:17 am #1

I say, fill our box with honest memories of what life as a daily nicotine smoker was like, with why we wanted our freedom so badly back on day #1, and with every honest realization (like your "feeding time" realization on the pier) that we can possibly grab hold of during recovery. --John (making a toolbox)

It's amazing how calm and confident I feel about my quit only two weeks and three days into it. I haven't just stopped doing negative, self-destructive behavior; I have opened myself up to a new way of thinking and a much more positive way of life. It's fantastic, and I am truly grateful. I can honestly say that today I have no single reserve of desire for a cigarette left in my body.

On a day like today it's hard to imagine that I would ever need to grab hold of anything to keep from reintroducing nicotine into my system. Still, I'll trust the people who have gone before me, and take the time to protect what has so quickly become so precious to me. It is, after all, my life.

What I remember the most from my smoking days is how crazy I drove myself. Sure, the physical withdrawals when I couldn't smoke sucked. But worse than that were the things that happened in my head before, between, and after cigarettes. I was ashamed of the fact that I had relapsed and I tried to hide it from some of the people in my life. Along with the cigarettes, I think I hid my whole self from them. There were people I just didn't want to face. I didn't want to be completely honest anymore. For the first time in a long time I had a secret. I had guilt, I had shame, and I was starting to isolate myself out of fear.

The mental obsession kicked in as soon as I had the first puff. It was after sex with my girlfriend. Somehow I could rationalize that as okay. I thought, "I should be able to bend the rules every once in a while!". I wasn't thinking beyond the moment. I didn't think of the 364,998 cigarettes that would follow that one.

I spent the whole of the next day waiting for night. All I could think about was when I'd get to have my next puff. I don't remember the specifics, but I know that I went through my night with one goal in mind: sleep with my girlfriend and take another puff. It was how I could justify it. So I manipulated the situation, and I kept hidden my secret burning for more nicotine. I saw what I was doing at the time. It scared and disgusted me. Still, the next time I wanted to smoke, I did. The addiction had me.

The insanity just kept getting worse. I thought about smoking. I thought about quitting. I made plans with certain friends because I could smoke with them (get cigarettes from them), and I was desperate to smoke. I thought of my nights and my days in terms of when and if I could smoke. I began planning my life around it.

I started to feel emotionally out of control. I couldn't seem to connect to my higher power, and I felt awful when I prayed. My anxiety rose, as did feelings of being overwhelmed. I was avoiding certain people in my life out of fear of being judged. I was feeling disconnected from myself, and I was acting like I didn't care. I had started to play somebody else again, and two lives take a lot of energy to juggle. And I'll be honest. I had started to smoke even when I didn't want to.

I wanted desperately to be someone who could get away with only smoking every now and then. Yet, I was proving to myself time and time again that I was a nicotine addict. I didn't want to listen because I didn't want to stop. I was willing to throw away everything that two and a half years nicotine free had brought me. I was willing to return to my full-fledged addiction. I didn't care about life or death. I didn't care about my spiritual connection or my peace of mind. I didn't care about my health. I was willing to block all of it out. I was willing to continue living a lie. I'll do anything…just let me smoke one more cigarette. I was literally willing to sell my soul.

And for what? I didn't love cigarettes; I was addicted to them. When I took a puff and felt the "ahhh…" it was only a release from a tension that I had created with the first puff. It was all a lie. Cigarettes are not my friends. Cigarettes do not make moments of my life more poignant. They do not make me closer to other people - they separate me from them. Cigarettes make me completely insane. They consume me and my life until everything runs into a single obsession. My life becomes much less meaningful because my life becomes about having and rationalizing that next puff. Whatever I have to do to make it okay. Cigarettes destroy my self-esteem. They haunt me with guilt, shame, remorse, self-hate, frustration, and fear. I become manipulative. I become a liar. I become uncomfortable in my own skin. I turn everything in myself and my life over to nicotine.

All of this happened within 2 months of me taking that first puff. It was almost instantaneous.

The day I quit I was terrified. I couldn't fathom getting through the day without smoking. At this point it wasn't because of my physical addiction. It was because nicotine was more powerful than me. I was terrified that in the face of it I would cave. The only way I got through was to ask for help. I felt like I was on the shakiest ground, standing only because I was holding on to a tiny thread. It was truly awful. I spent the day on the verge of tears, desperate and angry at everyone around me - feeling like I was alone and no one could possibly understand. That is where the first puff brought me.

Freedom and the education I've gotten here, have brought me where I am today. I have my life back. I have myself, and I really am free. I am free to love myself and to feel good about who I am. I am free to be in my own skin, all the time. I am free to be with whomever I please, whenever I please. I am free to be alone. I am free to develop my spiritual connection. I am free to think about other people. I am free to have hobbies and a multitude of interests. I am free to love and be loved. I am free to feel all my feelings as they arise. I am free to know my life honestly, and to live it honestly. I am free to face anyone with dignity. I am free to breathe easy. I am free to excercise. I am free to smell. I am free to wake up without coughing. I am free to see myself in the mirror and smile. I am free to share experience, strength and hope with other nicotine addicts - both those who have quit, and those who are trying to quit. I am free to never take another puff.

With love and gratitude.

If you want, please use this thread to create your own memory tool - something you can use should the urge ever find you again.
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walker(double green)
walker(double green)

May 1st, 2003, 6:28 am #2

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GeorgieGirl GOLD
GeorgieGirl GOLD

May 1st, 2003, 7:13 am #3

Dear Splat ... thank you for reminding me of these things that I so need to NOT forget. The reality of it is so frightening, the following three paragraphs I can relate to so much ... I shudder when I read them:
I started to feel emotionally out of control. I couldn't seem to connect to my higher power, and I felt awful when I prayed. My anxiety rose, as did feelings of being overwhelmed. I was avoiding certain people in my life out of fear of being judged. I was feeling disconnected from myself, and I was acting like I didn't care. I had started to play somebody else again, and two lives take a lot of energy to juggle. And I'll be honest. I had started to smoke even when I didn't want to.

I wanted desperately to be someone who could get away with only smoking every now and then. Yet, I was proving to myself time and time again that I was a nicotine addict. I didn't want to listen because I didn't want to stop. I was willing to throw away everything that two and a half years nicotine free had brought me. I was willing to return to my full-fledged addiction. I didn't care about life or death. I didn't care about my spiritual connection or my peace of mind. I didn't care about my health. I was willing to block all of it out. I was willing to continue living a lie. I'll do anything…just let me smoke one more cigarette. I was literally willing to sell my soul.

And for what? I didn't love cigarettes; I was addicted to them. When I took a puff and felt the "ahhh…" it was only a release from a tension that I had created with the first puff. It was all a lie. Cigarettes are not my friends. Cigarettes do not make moments of my life more poignant. They do not make me closer to other people - they separate me from them. Cigarettes make me completely insane. They consume me and my life until everything runs into a single obsession. My life becomes much less meaningful because my life becomes about having and rationalizing that next puff. Whatever I have to do to make it okay. Cigarettes destroy my self-esteem. They haunt me with guilt, shame, remorse, self-hate, frustration, and fear. I become manipulative. I become a liar. I become uncomfortable in my own skin. I turn everything in myself and my life over to nicotine.

Georgia
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Golddabler1
Golddabler1

May 1st, 2003, 7:37 am #4

Hey splat
I had reached the stage that i was a professional quitter,but unfortunately after a day without i would give in and then i reached a mentality that i would starve myself of nicotine to increase that ah feeling,i would go without and then relieve the withdrawal and the ah feeling was only in the first few puffs and then it was maintenance level from there,so finally here i am thankfully off that merry go round.
Rickdabler 1 month 3 weeks 21hrs 40mins happily nicotine free.
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splat bronze
splat bronze

August 21st, 2003, 4:07 am #5

I needed to be reminded of this today. My life is better today then it has ever been. The reading feels like a life time ago, instead of just four months. It's nice to remind myself of where I'll be if I ever take another puff. I thought I'd pull it up in case anyone else needed reminding too.

For a life full of beauty and everyday miracles.
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Golddabler1
Golddabler1

August 21st, 2003, 6:02 pm #6

Hi splat
You have brought up your old post and the words ring true today as they did back then as truth will always stand the test of time,thanks for reminding me of what being an addict is like and also reinforcing the joy i feel as my addiction lies in a corner beaten to a pulp but not forgotten.
Rickdabler 5 months 1 week 5 days 7hrs happily nicotine free.
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