Romancing the Drug, Recognizing the Junkie

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

March 11th, 2004, 5:40 am #11

Hi Erika,

You should be a professional writer!! What a neat way you have of putting things. I thouroughly enjoyed your post and I especially loved the way that you broke down the weeks and months. It is helpful to be able to read about the progression of events. Even if it is your progression it does show that it gets better and better.
Keep up the awesome work,

Kathleen - Free and Healing for Seven Days, 17 Hours and 12 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 9 Hours, by avoiding the use of 116 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $50.95.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:59 pm

March 11th, 2004, 7:24 am #12

Hi erika
I read every word of your post and it is a great description of your journey,there is a thread on the index of highlight posts called something like the fantasy cigarette,it deals with the fact that there might have been one that we enjoyed but in reality there were thousands that we consumed in a trance without noticing and many we would have consumed whilst loathing what we were doing,you are doing great and you already know that the reality is what keeps our quit intact and that romancing is indeed junkies way of glamourising and distorting the truth.
Rickdabler 1 year 1 day 19hrs happily nicotine free.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

March 11th, 2004, 9:20 pm #13

Good morning all,


I love you guys. I wrote this post hoping two things: i) that it would draw some advice from some more experienced people about how to combat my romanticizing and ii)that it would provide maybe a bit of comfort to people in the initial throes. It seems to have done just that (Hank, Jray, Kathleen--I'm glad. ) Although as John points out you should look to the goldies for the real story on how good it gets; I'm still a babe-in-arms. But Ted--don't think you're going to have a bout of suffering at Green just because I did. I know you know that though: every quit is different....

Yet as John points out in a lot of ways we all walk the same path here. That's why this place is invaluable. We all benefit from sharing our common story of addiction recovery.
BillW-thanks for the articles. I always enjoy your posts. (I almost one-upped your Calculus parade with a differential geometry parade but I decided that was too much. )


Alyson--thanks for the Matrix. I am always looking for new and fresh thoughts about the fantasy vs. the reality of smoking.


John--You are wonderful. Thanks for all your guidance. I am such an unbelievable junkie that there was a voice in my head whose first response to your post was "Not true!! Cigarettes made the good times good and the bad times better!" I was going to put a little blushy emoticon but I'll forgo it: I think that our own addict thinking is something we should all get to know really well and not be ashamed of. There is nothing shameful about being a recovering addict and standing up and owning it and admitting it, exactly BECAUSE we are all recovering and not using. (For those who haven't seen this before: I'm an ADDICT! HooRAY!)



Cigarettes do NOT make the good times good and they do NOT make the bad times better. It's tough to get one's mind around sometimes; I just keep reminding myself that thoughts like those are conditioned by years of addiction, and years of unbridled addict thinking.



And of course we all have memories of being somewhere, having a great time, surrounded by love and laughter...and having to step outside to smoke. Repeatedly. While everything inside continued without us. I would have to do it a LOT since being exhilarated sucked nicotine out of my system just like being stressed did. Didn't that make you feel sad? It always cast a dark shadow on my pleasure. And even more than that: I knew in my heart that if it came down to a choice I would choose the cigarettes over the love and laughter etc. This is valuable for me to admit. It unveils that for all those years I was not a creature that loved itself or was glad to be alive. I am, now.



Parker and IrishLotus bring up good points that are sort of two sides of the same coin...Lotus, I am so glad to hear you say that. I guess we all miss the good ones, huh? It feels good to know I'm not the only one who feels that way. Maybe my favorite aspect of the philosophy here is that they don't advocate trying to convince yourself that you don't want something that you really do. Of COURSE we miss the good ones! It's so much cleaner, more efficient, and more effective, to look that desire right in the eye and then be honest about a couple other things too. These are the things Parker mentions: the stink, the horrible disease, the imposition on loved ones, on and on and on. As long as we keep a clear view, it's more or less clear sailing.



Rick: that elusive fantasy cigarette is just the one I'm talking about. It's a crafty beast because it doesn't want you to know that it travels in packs. I'm onto it though. Thanks for your help over these past two months.



You are all wonderful. I thank you for taking the time to guide me and help me. We have such a stronghold of wisdom and compassion built here.



YQS--

Erica
76 days!!!!
Last edited by GreenSolveg on July 4th, 2009, 11:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

April 3rd, 2005, 6:31 am #14

Hey Sal, I'm with you. This string provides a great learning vehicle. My turn to take it out for a cruise down Main Street. Lots of horsepower in the subject post, the whole thing gets supercharged and turbocharged as the replies kick in.



Erica, I know you're still here and helpin on a regular basis. I'd welcome your reflections now that you are indeed proof that the journey is doable & a GOLDEN oldbie!


I am, like you were when you wrote this, almost bronze in my quit progress. I fortunately do not share your taste for 'fantasy' cigs. My need now is figuring out what to do with all this comfortable free time I reclaim each day. Some is spent here sharpening the saw, some is spent on new pastimes (obvious word origin there no doubt) and some will soon be spent chasing a small white sphere while walking free in the fresh smoke free air for the first time. So for today, I guess it's finish the '04 taxes and hold the hope that we at least break the record for snowfall here in the Lake Erie & Cleveland snowbelt so this can be the last day trapped by the nasty wintry spring weather. (Yeah, I'm lookin out the window like the kids at the start of my favorite childhood book!)


My name is JoeJFree always a nicotine addict and gratefully now an X-smoker for 2 months, 23 days, 7 hours and 12 minutes (82 days)

I've now reclaimed 11 Days and 10 Hours to live life as I choose! NTAP!
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on November 3rd, 2011, 4:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

April 3rd, 2005, 10:16 pm #15

Hi Sal! Hi Joe!


It was funny to log in and see this old post up. Reading it brings back a lot of memories that I wouldn't call good or bad, but intense, because my early quit was so intense. Most of what I can say about that I said in the original post there. What a rocky time! All these days of cravings followed by days of tranquil bliss followed by searing self-doubt...in a weird way I almost feel nostalgic about it. The managers are right to suggest that it's not necessary to regard those first months of healing as a horrible but necessary time, but rather, as a special time. A time when your real self is emerging. Sure, that's hard. So are a lot of very satisfying things.



Obviously things have changed a lot since then: for one thing that intensity is gone, but the goodness remains. That is: the world and I are no longer "new together", however, I am just as happy that I quit--and in some small part, just as amazed--as the day that I did. What a wonderful gift to myself. It does not have to become something that you just "get used to". This makes me think of a post:

I feel 100% better since I quit!


I was learning how to live life like a free person instead of as a junkie.
Now I am totally used to being able to deal with conflict without rushing off to chain-smoke, spending long hours with my parents, etc. etc. etc. as you know the list goes on and on. But being used to it doesn't mean I take it for granted.


Something else has changed too, something I never could have predicted...when I first quit I had a strong tendency to look back on my "former self" with great distaste. I looked back over my life, took stock of it, and decided that though I hadn't realized it, I was a big, honking, junkie, and in a scarily real way that's ALL I was. I remember starting a thread called "Life vs. Smoking" in which I flatly stated that "I didn't really have feelings, or yearnings, or desires, or sensations back then. I had dulled, flattened, homogenized imitations of them. Everything was completely shrouded and obfuscated by a thick blanket of nicotine and smoke." I think that this is a normal way to feel about your past when you are first recovering from an addiction. BUT. After about--oh, let's say, 9 or 10 months--I started seeing my past in a new light. I no longer saw a hideous junkie to whom getting nicotine was always priority one irregardless of the situation; instead, I saw a nice young woman, with thoughts, hopes, dreams and desires, who was caught up in a very serious, very nasty addiction. My life was real back then, as real as it is now! The blanketing fog of nicotine was there, all right, and it was shrouding everything, all right, but beneath that foggy blanket was a vivid young person struggling to get out. I wrote poems. I did math. I dated guys. I felt things. Is this making any sense? The emphasis has shifted, in retrospect, from the addict to the person trapped inside the addict. This is not to say that my resolve has weakened; rather, I think my picture of things now is a lot closer to the truth. But it was important to go through that first stage. When I was smoking I had to suppress and awful lot of thoughts: whenever someone I knew quit, whenever I saw an anti-smoking billboard or commercial, whenever my lungs got that miserable, itchy feeling late at night...I had to turn my brain off. When you first quit all those suppressed thoughts come flooding out. With time, the flood dies down. It's a process.


I am so glad to be here today, and to say that I have been nicotine free for over 15 months. They ain't kidding, though, when they say that 90% of the way is in the first month or two. I am proud of you, Joej, for doing this. Keep us posted about your quit, hold onto your dreams, and remember what you told me in the "what can you do now that you couldn't do" thread last week: you can do everything you could do as a smoker, only now you can do it a whole lot better.



Cheers!



Erica(Gold+Bronze)
Last edited by GreenSolveg on July 3rd, 2009, 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

April 23rd, 2005, 1:55 am #16

What a gift of wisdom, insight and motivation. Thank you, Erica for this post. I can't read the replies right now, but I'll be back. This has given me something to think about today.

Lisa - Free and Healing for Twenty Five Days, 12 Hours and 47 Minutes
Last edited by LisaT774 on July 4th, 2009, 11:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:04 am

February 18th, 2006, 11:26 am #17

Wow! That's all I can say about this amazing post. Thanks to Rick for popping this up....it is exactly what I needed tonight.

Cindy

I have been quit for 1 Month, 2 Weeks, 2 Days. I have saved $177.87 by not smoking 1,185 cigarettes. I have saved 4 Days, 2 hours and 45 minutes of my life.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:04 am

March 10th, 2006, 10:14 pm #18

Thanks for bringing this up today. It is nice to know that things are going to get progressively better. Nice to know that I should not get frustrated because today seems harder than the previous few days were. I think the junkie tendency, the junky mind latches right onto a day that is tough. It says hey - "why are you having such a hard time today - things were supposed to get better - now you are going backwards". But posts like these let everyone know that even if today is difficult and full of craves and romanticizing thoughts - even is today seems more difficult than last week seemed - there is peace waiting for us - the goal is always the same - to not smoke today and to continue this journey of freedom.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

July 7th, 2006, 7:43 am #19

Oh Erica, what a pleasure it is reading your post. You have a great deal of talent in the writing department. And what is a good writer? Someone who can take our emotions and put them in writing for us. To wit:

"But under that bright sheen of wonder and fear and amazement was a thick and continuous river of desire for a cigarette."

Wow. That's good. "a thick and continuous river of desire for a cigarette."

"And afterwards, the most amazing thing: a sense of deep, fathomless tranquillity overtook me."

Wow. "a sense of deep fathomless tanquillity..." More beautiful imagery.

"I can feel the junkie thoughts ascending from the brutal, visceral reptile-brain level, through the emotional level, up to the detached intellectual level. And so long as I don't take a cigarette they will stay there forever: in the land of abstraction and passing thoughts. "

Gosh. I am not worthy.

"This is a deep and nasty trick that your conscious mind gets up to, that I still struggle with a fair amount. That is: there will be these sudden vortices of thought and emotion, where I just WANT IT SO MUCH. To take a cigarette seems the sweetest, most wonderful, most poignant and deep pleasure that could ever be. I think back to all the good times that cigarettes and I have had together and I feel nostalgic, and covetous. And sad."

And in the end, you've hit the nail right on the head. That "ahhh" cigarette. I had just one of those moments this afternoon. Thank you for joining us Erica. Well done. Hang in there.

Two months today after 42 years.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:03 am

August 5th, 2006, 3:09 am #20


" At one month I hit a batch of serious craves. I was low, I was slow, I was miserable, and I was feeling like taking a cigarette would make it go away. Take heed now anyone reading this but especially people who are maybe at such a point right now: I wish, so much, that I could convey to you what happened when I toughed out that batch of cravings. It seemed insurmountable, but with the help of the Board, the Library, and most importantly the one day at a time philosophy (PRICELESS WISDOM) I endured it. And afterwards, the most amazing thing: a sense of deep, fathomless tranquillity overtook me. It lasted, literally, for days. Having beaten the tough triggers I experienced what I think now must have been my first taste of true comfort. I wish you could see this through my eyes. I would cheerfully have endured cravings 20 times as intense, if I had known what calm was waiting on the other side."

Reply
Like
Share

Joined: June 17th, 2006, 7:00 am

August 6th, 2006, 2:15 pm #21

Wow, what an incredibly powerful read. Blew me away. And thanks for bring this up.

As someone coming up to the 2 month mark, I was making a mental note as I read Erica's post to compare her experiences to mine and I ticked off most of the comparisons and I can therefore truly appreciate the power and reality of every word Erica has penned down.

It's 1 thing to feel something. But to able to accurately describe those feelings in writing as Erica so spectacularly does is truly a gift that very few possess.

If Erica still visits these Boards, I think everyone would be thrilled to hear your version of life at double gold plus silver plus a bit

Robin - 6 days from double green
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

January 8th, 2007, 3:30 am #22

I took a vacation in Arizon when I turned Gold. I had to transfer flights in Las Vegas. At the Las Vegas airport there was a crying woman. We spoke. She was awaiting a long delayed connecting flight to San Francisco, on her way to her sister's funeral. Her sister was 23 and died suddenly in an accident. During the hour we sat together she repeated and repeated that a cigarette would make her feel "better". She had flown from Florida and was many hours without a smoke. She was in withdrawal.

She kept saying a cigarette would make her feel "better". She was in withdrawal.

She kept saying a cigarette would make her feel "better". She was in withdrawal.

She kept saying a cigarette would make her feel "better". She was in withdrawal.

All I could think was,

What could possibly make you feel worse on the day your sister died?

Being an active addict -- that's what.

Kay (Gold x 3)
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

January 8th, 2007, 3:42 am #23

I should elaborate for those reading these concepts for the first few times.

She would not have physically felt that bad if she were not an active addict. Non-smokers do not go into withdrawal. Ex-smokers have gone through withdrawal and will never have to go through it again if they never take another puff.

The "better" she would feel would only bring her nicotine serum level up to a comfortable level for maybe 20 minutes. Cigarettes do not bring your dead relatives back to life. Cigarettes do not mend broken hearts, not even temporarily.

Sorry if this example reads in any way disrespectful of grief. I thanked the universe for such a powerful reminder on my way to Gold.

Kay (Gold x 3)
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

January 25th, 2007, 7:57 pm #24

Take the time to read ALL the replies in this string. Read what some of the senior members of this forum said about 'Romancing the Drug & Recognizing the Junkie'.

I recognize the 'Junkie' as me. We are inseperable. I learned here that we leave nothing of value behind when we make the decision to go forward with our recovery and reclaim our lives as they are intended to be, nicotine clean and free.

JoeJ Free a couple years
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

January 29th, 2007, 12:37 am #25

Even in the short amount of time that I've been free from nicotrine (3 weeks) in comparison to all of the long term quits posting here, I've seen so much of the aforementioned junkie behaviour.
The most powerful weapon I have against nicotine is my ability to think. I see and hear people rationalize their addictions each and every day. I cannot believe I participated in the constant glorification of an inanimate object for so many years.
I try to avoid berating smokers with the evangelical zeal of the convert, yet they seem so stupid. Not stupid for becoming addicted, or being addicted- that's easy, anyone can do that, but the mentality amazes me. I see and hear this behaviour and I think "Mike, old boy, that was you about 3 weeks ago- looks dumb from here doesn't it?".
I hear the same weak and overstated props for addictions from people every day.
"I just like to smoke." "I have too much stress to quit right now." "Smoking makes me feel better."
After just 3 short weeks of nicotine free living, these phrases all seem so shallow, and empty. Dusty, shadowy defenses of a completely irrational thought process. Yet 3 weeks ago, I used them frequently. I- me, the guy who prides himself on his common sense, and judgement! My uncle said something to me once, one of the most important things ever said to me by a non-smoker in reference to smoking. He said: "You're an intelligent guy, I'm sure you'll quit." That phrase tweaked something in my heart years ago when he said it. The phrase itself wasn't that powerful, more so was his delivery. He, as a non-smoker, couldn't believe that any rational, intelligent person would willingly participate in behaviour guaranteed to bring about their certain demise!
As smokers, we constantly produced these props, and defenses, both to ourselves and others, to hide the fact that we are out of control addicts. We were ashamed of our habits, knew we were addicted, and unable to do anything to stop our self destructive behaviour. So we rationalized the **** out of our nicotine addiction.
Where I stood three weeks ago, I couldn't see this.
From here, I can't believe I ever missed it!

To those who stayed with me through my ramble, thank you- mike l.

Michael S Leech - Free and Healing for Seventeen Days, 15 Hours and 44 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 2 Days and 10 Hours, by avoiding the use of 706 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $143.12.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: April 15th, 2009, 6:36 pm

May 14th, 2009, 12:23 am #26

I feel privileged to have read this Erica ,thank you for sharing... Just what I needed for today! : )

Chris, 42 days into this amazing journey of freedom!
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: October 18th, 2009, 8:31 am

December 5th, 2009, 9:51 pm #27

GreenSolveg wrote:
At two months things are looking seriously different. The novelty has worn off, but every day is as precious as those strange initial days when I and the world were new together. When my mind forgets that I just bring it back to the thought, gently, like a wayward animal. My days now are characterized by vast stretches of time when I don't even think of a cigarette. I have gone from craving continuously to craving frequently to a situation where I don't crave at all for days, then hit a small batch of obstacles, then don't crave again for days. When I hit one of these rough patches the feeling is different: it's more cerebral. I can feel the junkie thoughts ascending from the brutal, visceral reptile-brain level, through the emotional level, up to the detached intellectual level. And so long as I don't take a cigarette they will stay there forever: in the land of abstraction and passing thoughts. Something there one moment and gone the next. But the vividness remains.
Exactly my experience now at two months : novelty over, days with peace, and then some with craves.
Today was a wobble - so doing some anti-junkie work.
Found this pic in my readings today which helps put the junkie its is place.



Free & Healing
Rosy
Stopped Smoking for One Month, Twenty Seven Days, 5 Hours and 23 Minutes, by avoiding the use of 1888 nicotine delivery devices. Quit Day : 09/10/2009.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: December 2nd, 2009, 1:52 am

February 4th, 2010, 2:59 am #28

Thanks Freedom, for popping this up. I've not read this one before but it is right on the mark for me, at 89 days free. I hope a lot of newbies (newer than me, LOL) soak this one up!
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: January 26th, 2010, 4:28 pm

February 5th, 2010, 6:10 pm #29

Thanks Sarah for sharing this link. I'm at the 2 way mark and it's almost the same - I think A LOT about smoking. It's not the cravings of day 3 - 5, it's just these vicious thoughts. I don't get the "good time cigarettes" or the "good cigarettes" thoughts - for me it's just a cigarette!

I'm so NOT looking forward to the possible 1 month agony but as they say no pain no gain!
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: January 18th, 2009, 6:57 am

February 5th, 2010, 8:40 pm #30

Try replacing the word "cigarette" with "nicotine
The 'joy' of smoking
Junkie Thinking 
Junkie's junk?  

Take the time to read ALL the replies in this string. Read what some of the senior members of this forum said about 'Romancing the Drug & Recognizing the Junkie'.

I recognize the 'Junkie' as me. We are inseperable. I learned here that we leave nothing of value behind when we make the decision to go forward with our recovery and reclaim our lives as they are intended to be, nicotine clean and free.

Joe J free
Last edited by Joe J free on February 5th, 2010, 8:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: August 17th, 2010, 4:35 pm

November 4th, 2010, 11:43 am #31

An exceptionally powerful opening post and subsequent thread. I hope hope GreenSolveg is still going strong with her quit.
Gratefully Gold

I escaped from the prison of smoking on August 14, 2010.  
[font]The best revenge is quitting well![/font] 
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: November 14th, 2010, 3:34 pm

December 11th, 2010, 1:17 pm #32

Hi Erica
I'm at the one month mark and also like you I have had some quite intense cravings - but johns response about why we credit the good times with nicotene when we don't blame smoking on the worst, has helped me see it once
again for what it is.

I still often dream of smoking and am always so relieved when I wake and it's not true. That also helps reinforce my quit.

Most of all I know the calm is on it's way and one smoke would put me back to where I started. Like you say even with these odd intense craves I still feel so much better than I did.

Great post.

Lisa
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: June 7th, 2011, 2:32 am

August 11th, 2011, 12:02 am #33

Good day all, this was such a perfect post to read today. Erica, at day 75, wrote out exactly what I'm going through now (day 69 for me today). It's not craves, triggers, etc. It's the junky, the reptile brain, trying to get me to take a cigarette. It's every perfect wonderful memory of smoking pushed to the forefront, while the horror of it -- truly hideous enough to make me quit -- sleeps in the background like an exhausted puppy. It's my job, as owner and commander in chief of my rational mind, to take control of it, stop romanticizing the nightmare I've escaped from, and move forward.
It was super important to me to read that post today; I had a rough, tough go with it this morning, and I felt just angry that it's happening at this stage. I needed Erica's wisdom. Thanks Erica, quit now for years and years. You probably won't see this, but know that your post from 7 years ago helped a newbie today.
-Sylvia
Reply
Like
Share

Joined: May 15th, 2012, 4:01 pm

June 13th, 2012, 1:42 am #34

"Thanks Erica, quit now for years and years. You probably won't see this, but know that your post from 7 years ago helped a newbie today." - Sylvia
Thanks Erica, make that 8 years ago now and thank you Sylvia and every other Quiter that helped keep this post alive.
I would never have been able to find peace absent my smoking addiction if I didn't first believe it was possible.
Thank you all for helping me believe.
Tom - 36 days and counting
Reply
Like
Share