New Perspectives at 6 months

New Perspectives at 6 months

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

05 Jul 2002, 04:43 #1

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)
Last edited by OBob Gold on 03 Aug 2011, 21:27, edited 1 time in total.
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Alyson GOLD.ffn
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

05 Jul 2002, 04:59 #2

Bless you.

Alyson
9Days20Hours
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Roger (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

05 Jul 2002, 06:20 #3

Good post Image Bob,

Dealing with them has proven to be a matter of attitude.

The above statement caught my eye a couple times in your post. Truer words were never spoken. Attitude plays such an important role in our budding quits. It governs more than we think or are willing to accept. You handled dealing with your friend and all the challenges very well. The Freedom Education coupled with your own Possitive Attitude made the difference.

Soon it is time for a celebration.....You are looking quite silver.

Roger

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marty (gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

05 Jul 2002, 06:22 #4

Hello Bob

That's what we have come to expect from your posts --- honesty, clarity, insight --- and this one has them all in equal measure. I admire the way you draw a lesson for yourself from each moment of your quit, then take the trouble to use it to help others.

Sleep well tonight, Bob, because tomorrow is gonna be party time Image

Marty
NOT A PUFF for one year, seven months, four days : 10462 cigarettes not smoked saving £2,249.18 : 5 weeks, 1 day added to my life
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murphying (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

05 Jul 2002, 06:24 #5

Wonderful post Bob - when you were describing your friend....well, that was me as a smoker exactly! It's good that you're seeing it for just what it is and, at the end of the day, that really makes it no 'trigger' at all.

I'm very lucky in that almost none of my friends now smoke and of all my family only one sister still smokes and that's a trigger I dealt with long ago. I say 'almost none' because I do have the friend who has emphysema who still smokes heavily and, believe me, watching her choking on every puff is no trigger at all!

Looking forward to your silver celebration tomorrow Image.

Ingrid (enjoying the comfort Image)
Image
Last edited by murphying (Gold) on 03 Aug 2011, 21:23, edited 1 time in total.
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CaseyB (Silver )
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

05 Jul 2002, 06:59 #6

Wow... really great post. Thanks Bob!

Casey
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Sophy(Silver)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:25

05 Jul 2002, 07:06 #7

Bob - This post made me burst into tears. Your portrait of watching a dear friend and his son live as addicts from your perspective as a recoverying addict is just so poignant and so wrenching. Another young life in thrall to this terrible addiction. Image So tragic, and at the same time, makes me value and treasure my freedom all the more. Image

Thanks for sharing about the perspective and dealing with the triggers. It's easy for me to get in the hiding out from triggers mode, instead of the wise thing that you did, which is face them head on, embrace them, live through them, get past them, and be even stronger for the experience. Attitude. Image

Sophy, Day 55 smokefree & nicotine free
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janetd (GOLD)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

05 Jul 2002, 07:23 #8

Hey, Bob! We might still have triggers but we're going to defeat them every time. They really do sneak up on you. I had one today. I'm driving along and Jimmy Hendrix singing Wild Thing comes on the radio. Bam! Trigger.
I don't think there is a trigger big enough to get me anymore!
That's our Freedom.
yqs, Janet Image
See ya tomorrow!
Woohoo!
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knowbutts (Gold)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:25

05 Jul 2002, 08:12 #9

OBob,

Bless your ability to express yourself.
Sounds like you had a wicked final exam for silver.
I think it's the knowledge we found here that makes observing nicotine addiction so heart rending. I know I've never observed smokers so closely before.
It's like seeing my old self in a mirror. Brrr!

knowbutts
7 mos 24 days
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kito40 Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

05 Jul 2002, 08:37 #10

Great post Bob,

I find myself watching people smoke, something I never did before I quit.

I was sitting in my Mom's van one day while she went into the bank. This guy parks right beside me and he is smoking. I watch every facial expression he makes as he takes every drag. I watched him flick the ashes out the window. I watch him take another drag, he hangs his hand down out the window. It looks like the butt is burning his fingers, he takes another drag. Finally he flicks it away. This was an older guy, its the young ones that really bother me.

I'm not wanting to smoke, I'm wanting to tell people what happened to me. I just feel like shaking sense into them. Why are you paying big $$ to slowly kill yourself? No one will listen to me unless they are ready anyways.............even my husband won't.

 Image
Last edited by kito40 Gold on 03 Aug 2011, 21:20, edited 1 time in total.
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