New Perspectives at 6 months

El Bob Gold
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:14

20 Oct 2002, 21:33 #21

Bob,

I'm not going to go on too much here (otherwise I'll end up sounding like I'm indulging in some kind of hero worship Image), but your post was magnificent! A **** fine read.

Not only were your scenes so evocative that they were worthy of a Raymond Chandler novel, but I could relate to them so well. There's a very large part of me who has appreciated the 'dive' aspect of life; those dark, smoke-filled bars with live music playing in the background, and I'm just beginning to learn that I can still appreciate all aspects of life without smoking. Your words, presented as the are by someone who has achieved Silver, are inspirational in two ways; they show that, primarily, life as an ex-smoker is an easy breeze, and they also show that, when the struggles do reappear, we can win those particular fights.

I was at a concert last night by a wonderful new(ish) band called Death In Vegas (not sure if they are known in the U.S. of A yet, but Mr Iggy Pop sang vocals on one of their singles). It was in a club called The Ocean in Hackney, North London. The atmosphere was perfect. I had a little bit of drink inside me, my best girl by my side, the band were in full swing and the music was soaring to the very top of the venue. The lights were moody and all, in all, I was in one of those states where the music just lifts you up and floats you away. Then, in front of me, two dancing girls both lit up, the ends of their cigarettes glowing redly in the gloom. For one momentary moment I had a small feeling of loss, as I would smoke so much during gigs, and then the smoke hit me full in the face. It was vile and, if anything, intruded on my perfect moment. I found myself trying to blow it back at them without their observance. And what I did observe was how they sucked that smoke in. It was with real furvour, their cheeks being sucked inward with the effort. That was pretty affecting, because my education made me think of the damage such eagerness must do. All in all, though, I was so glad when they finally finished their puffing and let me get on with enjoying the gig.

Still, it's always going to be there, around me when I am out and having fun, and I, like you, aim to make sure it remains something I observe but, hopefully, something I never participate in.

Cheers,

El Bob
1 Month 1 Week 3 Days 18 Hours 54 Minutes. 815 small wads of tobacco, bought, rolled within a rizla paper, placed up to the lips and smoked by someone else!
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Roma Bronze
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

20 Oct 2002, 22:11 #22

Where was this one hiding...I haven't seen it before...Great post! Thanks Bob.Image


~Roma healing for 3months
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OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

10 Jan 2003, 09:02 #23

Seems we've had a lot of folks going silver lately. Just remembered this one from my own 6 month mark... reproduced in a more readable font below...

Image



Meanwhile, on the left coast, OBob got his first real triggers in a while. They arrived in the form of my good friend who's visiting from Ireland. 2 years ago, he was quit, and I was smoking. Last year, he had relapsed (after like 4 months), and we were both smoking. We smoked all day and all night. Smoked inside and outside. Smoked when I collected him at the airport. Smoked when I dropped him off at the airport. Smoked all over the state of California, and briefly in Nevada.

I hadn't really thought much about it before he arrived this year. I suppose I should have expected it, but it had been so long since I had any substantial trigger. Straight away, at the airport, there was an offer of one. Sadly, the offer came from his 15 year old son (the last of his
children to capitulate to the addiction that's already gripped his mother, father, two 19 year old sisters (twins), and 20 year old brother.... fortunately, the 20 year old brother's been quit for over a year). First time in a long time I actually had a crave. Passed it off, made them smoke before getting in the car.

First few nights of the visit, few beers, the odd whiskey, and sitting across the table from my pal while he chain smokes in a seedy bar. More triggers. More victories. For a week now, relapse has been within arm's reach 24 hours a day for the first time since I quit. Each time the triggers hit, I roundly defeated them.

I've discovered a few things...

Triggers
6 months without nicotine doesn't make you immune to triggers. They're out there lurking. Dealing with them has proven to be a matter of attitude. I'm an ex-smoker. I know the price of relapse. I know the **** that lurks just beyond the first puff. I also know that I LOVE the freedom I've gained by quitting. I refuse to let a few moments of discomfort cost me my
freedom. It's too important. It's not that every trigger's been easy. There was a pretty good one one night. We're at the seedy bar, I'm sipping a beer, and my friend heads to the john. His lit cigarette is streaming smoke across the table. I'm alone with it. It was enticing in an evil sort
of a way. And, it was still enticing a few minutes later. Me, alone, a sturdy buzz, a beer, a lit cigarette, the atmosphere's right, band's playin' loud, dimly lit dive of a place, I've been here before, heck, the whole pack's lyin' on the table in front of me.


Sure, for several minutes, it was enticing. But, here's the difference between now and earlier in my quit. Attitude. Deep down, I knew I wouldn't capitulate. I knew that, while this was momentarily unpleasant, it was nothing in comparison to a) the horror of relapse, and b) the joy of freedom. I acknowledged that it was enticing. I acknowledged that there were "good" cigarettes in my past, and that some of them were in situations like this. Then, I reminded myself that I'd be sitting in front of my computer, burning my fingertips the next day, and the day after, and that I HATED those cigarettes. That I would be doing that for a long long time
into the future if I relapsed. It's the standard ONE = ALL postulate, one that's always true, and always very motivating. As I say, I knew deep down that there was no way on God's green Earth I was going to succumb, but reminding myself was an exercise I've trained myself to do anyway -- why take risks.

All in all, I reckon maybe 10 minutes of my night out was affected by the triggers. Out of about 3 hours. They didn't make me miserable, because I didn't make more of them than they were. The cigarette looked enticing, I wasn't going to smoke it for some very solid reasons, I rode it out, period. That's what I'm talking about with attitude here. I already know the outcome of any trigger situation, because I've realized that I control my hands and lips. As an addict, I've forgotten that in the past, but as a RECOVERED addict, I never allow myself to forget.... My body, my choice. It may look enticing, but it's poison. Ain't gonna inhale it. Oh, and after a week, the supply of triggers associated with my friend has pretty much run dry.

The Smell
Despite the fact that things have looked enticing on occasion, my former affection for the smell of cigarettes has pretty much vanished. I'm finding myself going out of my way to avoid it. I've been around it a lot lately, and it's disgusting. And, the breath that goes with the cigarettes, it's
been knocking me over. I used to smell like that!

The 15 year old
He's promised himself he'll quit when he goes back to Ireland. I've printed out the library. It was a HUGE disappointment when he got off the plane, and offered me a cigarette. I had always thought he wouldn't follow the rest of his family down that path. He's smoking a pack a day at the moment. I'm hoping we'll at least have a 15 year-old lurker in the next few weeks... maybe even a member. Most importantly, I'm hoping we'll have a 15 year-old ex-smoker. Fingers crossed.

The addiction
My friend is a soccer (football) fanatic. He could tell you every member of the 1962 Scunthorpe side, and he's not even a Scunthorpe supporter (okay, maybe I'm exaggerating a little, but he COULD tell you the Reading side of '62). World Cup finals were on last week. Every goal is a BIG deal in soccer. And, yet, even on the really important matches, he missed several goals because he was outside smoking. Smoking rules his every hour. Yesterday, when I took them to San Jose, (a 45 minute drive), there was the "let's have a quick smoke first" to avoid prolonged withdrawal in the car. This morning, the issue of who showered first was determined by who was in the most pressing withdrawal.... "you go first, I'm gonna have a smoke." I watch the two of them, and realize... that was me 6 months ago.


Every 20 to 30 minutes. Up and out to another nicotine feeding. Standing outside, ostracized from the living room, sucking and blowing poisonous smoke from their mouths. It just blows me away to observe, as an ex-smoker, how much smoking DOMINATES a person's daily activities. The next feeding is always only a few minutes away. When you eat, when you bathe, when you watch TV, drive, go to a movie, stand in a queue, sleep.... all of it is ruled by the periodicity of nicotine withdrawal.

It's been a reinforcement of what I already know from my own experience. Rather than simply being a new set of unexpected triggers to challenge my quit, it's been real-life experience to edify my quit.

Watching, from a new perspective, how completely subservient my good friend and his son are to this addiction... it's given me new appreciation for the costs of smoking. I mean, my friend is one of the most independent people I've ever met. Beats to his own drum. Makes his own decisions, regardless of what people think. Answers to nobody..... which is what makes his servitude to his one master -- his addiction -- stand out so much. Nic says jump, he says how high. Nic tells him to poison himself, he says "how often." More frightening.... that was ME. I was that slave. No more. I'm free.


Celebrating my independence on this beautiful 4th of July. Gonna watch the fireworks tonight from my deck. A few hours after they're finished, I'll hit the hay, and wake up tomorrow to another day of freedom... and silver.

ImageBob (5 months, 4 weeks, 1 day, 8 hours, 41 minutes, 28 seconds)
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Lilycatt
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

11 Jan 2003, 00:16 #24

Thanks Bob, I really enjoyed reading this post. It's sad to look at people letting nicotine run their lives when we know that we were once just like them. It makes me want to grab them and say "You can quit... let me tell you about Freedom."
Lilycat
5M 1W 2D
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OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

12 Mar 2003, 04:22 #25

For the new silver quitters among us...
...Image
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IrishLotus GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

11 Apr 2003, 01:45 #26

I'll take this as a late silver anniversary present from OBobImage...never saw this one before. Another OBob classic. Thanks!
YQS-
ImageLotus
Nearly 6000 cigarettes not smoked in my more than six months of FREEDOM...what do ya know about that!
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OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

03 Jul 2003, 17:43 #27

Just in from the exact same club....nearly 1 year to the day....


..... Not even an issue tonight.... in fact, tonight I was discussing with one of the smokers, how I managed to quit. He seemed legitimately interested. In fact, he was asking me about this thing he'd heard of called "triggers". I, of course, explained everything I knew about "triggers". Time will tell.....
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ladygrace
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:05

04 Jul 2003, 00:41 #28

It has been awhile since I've been around. Hit the 6 mo mark w/o much fanfare. Then I read this. OBob, this has helped me more than you'll ever know. Isn't it funny how those triggers seem to appear out of nowhere? They're not unmanageable but there they are just the same. I must confess that my gin and tonic is a bit different without a smoke but is much tastier! Two of the other smokers in the family (a son and daughter) have seen the light and moved on. I'm still working on the 18 yr old. What a wonderful example I set for them, huh? Well, they see what it takes to quit. And truly, if I can do it, anyone can do it.

I count my blessings everyday that "glory week" is long past. I may have added a bit to my girth--but to breathe deeply everyday and not reek of tobacco smoke. Now that is truly a gift.

Didn't mean to get wordy. I've missed everyone--this post just proves how important it is to stay in touch and nurture our successes. Thanks, OBob.
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Grace
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:17

04 Jul 2003, 03:52 #29

What an incredible post! Thank you so much for sharing, this and all of your wonderful posts. Grace
Free for 7 Weeks 2 Days 4 Hours and 17 Minutes I have chosen to be nicone free 1023 times (my goodness that is a lot of cigarettes, yuk) and I have saved 217.39 which I am going to enjoy spending when my son and I go to the beach this summer!
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Lydia Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

25 Sep 2003, 21:31 #30

This bump is for Marge, who is silver but feeling blue.
I can SO relate to this post. One of the things that I am most grateful for this year is that I have sent my nicotine secretary to the unemployment line for good. Every event of my day is no longer being scheduled by nicotine.

Lydia Image
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