Romancing the Drug, Recognizing the Junkie

GreenSolveg
GreenSolveg

9:28 PM - Mar 10, 2004 #1

Top of the morning to all the newbies, goldies, and everybody in between. As usual I'm thrilled to be sharing another nicotine-free day with all of you.


I'd like to write in this morning as a way of pausing on the trail and looking forward and back and thinking a little bit about what's behind and what's ahead. I think it's good and helpful to compare notes on this weird, wonderful journey....



At two months plus a week I feel radically different than I did at two weeks, or at two days:



At two days of quit I was completely overwhelmed with emotion and wonder at the strange amazing thing I was doing. I saw,
touched, tasted everything as for the first time. But under that bright sheen of wonder and fear and amazement was a thick and continuous river of desire for a cigarette. It was there every waking moment, and waking moments were many as I was only sleeping a few hours a night.

At two weeks I was over the physical withdrawal, but the wonder and fear--and the desire--were still coming strong and fast. There was a big difference though: instead of a never ceasing river of desire for nicotine there were starting to be holes. Big islands of time when I wouldn't want to smoke at all. Mind you, I was still thinking about smoking a great deal. But living life without punctuation every event, emotion, and lull with a cigarette was starting to seem natural and normal.

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. Take this to heart please. You can do whatever you want, but take this to heart.

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.

I am not out of the woods yet. I have a big problem with romanticizing the drug. Now as John says this is different than triggers, which you generally go through once and then you are reconditioned and it's one less hurdle, forever. 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.

What can I say about this (besides recognizing it as bald unadulterated junkie thinking, and understanding that the good times would have been just as good without the cigarettes?)? I mean, it's tough. When I enter such a spell I read for hours in the library, and I may still feel just as intensely nostalgic after an hour of reading as I did to start out with. Such a thoughts sinks its claws into you and stays for a spell. What can I say about it? Only this: that it ain't nothing compared with what I was going through two months ago, or even a month ago.

My addict brain wants me to believe that these romantic yearnings are just as bad as the day I stopped smoking. It wants to blow these episodes out of proportion.

Well, I'm not having any of it: my life as an ex-smoker is getting easier every day, and, most importantly, everything I have endured since I quit is 4987345934875 times better than what life would be like if I were smokin' still. Make that an even 4987345934900.

Well. If you are still reading this then my kudos to you as a master of patience. I'm so happy to be doing this. I am growing so much and learning so much. For the first time in my adult life I am embracing both real responsibility and real wildly rampant childish lust for existence. I wanted to stand on my tip-toes and try, in my sincere and clumsy way, to let people know who are not so far along on this road as I am, that it's just getting better and better. Take heart!!!

Start each day by deciding that just for today you won't take a cigarette!!! End each day by warmly congratulating yourself on a job well done.

My best wishes to all,

Erica

75 days, 1500 or so cigarettes not smoked. Wow.
Last edited by GreenSolveg on 12:42 PM - Jul 03, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

10:03 PM - Mar 10, 2004 #2

Erica, although every recovery experience is uniquely different the basic path is the same for all. In my mind you're right where most of us were. Although you've provided an excellent summary of where you've been, what's just up ahead is most amazing - a waking daily expectation of going your entire day without once wanting for nicotine.

A quick question to ponder, Erica, regarding a point you raise that seems to be fairly common about this time. Is it fair to say that smoking nicotine was not only associated with the good and special moments in life but also with the most horrible moments we've ever experienced? If so, do we blame and fault nicotine for making life's worst moments the horror they were? Then why credit nicotine for making life's best moments good? Isn't it just possible that hundreds and hundreds of life's special moments may have been even more special if we hadn't had to interrupt and excuse our self from them so that we could go find an appropriate place to feed a mandatory chemical need? Food for thought!

You're doing fantastic, Erica. There's still only one rule - no nicotine today!

John








Links to "romancing the drug" articles:

"Boy, do I miss smoking!"

"Maybe I can become a social smoker"

"I have to smoke because of all my stress"

"I got through a month without smoking!
Boy, I deserve a cigarette for that!"


"But smoking was the only vice I had left..."

"I'm mad that I can't smoke anymore!"

"I'm dying for a cigarette!"

"I want one..."

"Maybe I'm different"

"Maybe I can't quit"

I smoked because I was self-destructive

"I smoked because I liked smoking!"

"I smoked because I loved smoking!"

"I smoked because I liked the flavor"

If cigarettes were as deadly as you say they are...

"I was never much of a smoker anyway"

"And I probably wasn't even addicted"

"If they ever cure lung cancer, I'd go back to smoking."

"
Maybe this isn't the best time to quit?

"My cigarette were my friend"

"Things just don't seem to be improving!
I think about them all the time!"


"The urge is here again"

"I sure miss the joys of smoking"

"I'll just sneak one litte puff, I've earned it"

"I think I have decided to go back to smoking"

"I know I can quit again"

"I will quit when ..."

I've tried everything to quit and nothing works

I liked my other support group more

Just think about something else?

Fixating on a cigarette

Tearing down the wall

Last edited by John (Gold) on 11:14 AM - Jul 04, 2009, edited 5 times in total.
Quote
Share

BillW Gold.ffn
BillW Gold.ffn

11:08 PM - Mar 10, 2004 #3

Hi Erica!

Thats a great summary! And you are now at 4987345934900 ....

.... which means you're probably only a few days from a nice, round 5000000000000! Congratulations!

YQB and fellow math junkie BillW .... now passing about 10^20....
Quote
Share

Hankeroo
Hankeroo

11:58 PM - Mar 10, 2004 #4

Wow, Erica...that was awesome. I read every word and believe this will become a classic. "Romancing the Drug"...I'm already doing it.

Hank
9 days
Quote
Share

IrishLotus GOLD
IrishLotus GOLD

12:14 AM - Mar 11, 2004 #5

Hey there Erika...I have a thought that helped me in the early stages of my quit to overcome my romance with nicotine. It is this simple:

I needed to accept that there WERE "good" cigarettes. I couldn't deny it. In fact, I could probably name several instances when a cigarette was indeed the perfect punctuation for the event. Sittin around the campfire with my friends and family on a warm, starry night, sippin on an ice cold brew and takin long slow drags off my Marlboro Light. Drivin down the highway through the vast Texas countryside with the windows down on a beautiful summer's day... I remember, I truly enjoyed that ahhhhh feeling...

The thing is Erika, those were two instances out of the approximately 60,000 that I've smoked in my lifetime. The rest were mandatory drug feedings occurring about every 20-30 minutes during every waking hour of my life. You know the ones...chain smoking while staring mindlessly at the tv, or taking a long drive. Standing in the freezing cold, pouring rain, missing life to get your fix. Thousands smoked one after the other while out drinking with friends or mourning the death of loved ones...and on and on and on.

There's a saying around here:
"I'd rather be an ex-smoker who occasionally thinks about a cigarette, than a smoker who constantly thinks about quitting."
That saying got me through the nostalgia, Erika. You see, I know in my heart that I truly do miss the "good" cigarettes. However, I also know that I can't have those without the 60,000 that go with them. I am a nicotine addict and there is no such thing as "just one".


=
Keep up the good work quit sis....you're right, it only gets better!

Lotus~ Free and gratefully healing for 1 Year, 5 Months, 2 Weeks, 21 hours, 13 minutes and 56 seconds (532 days). I have saved $3,996.62 by not smoking 15,986 cigarettes. I have saved 1 Month, 3 Weeks, 4 Days, 12 hours and 10 minutes of my life.
Last edited by IrishLotus GOLD on 1:16 PM - Jun 22, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

BillW Gold.ffn
BillW Gold.ffn

12:19 AM - Mar 11, 2004 #6

Hi Erica:
At a little more serious level than my last post, see
Is Relapse a Natural Part of the Addiction Process?
Have you noticed some of these "lost" long-term quits?
and another post of Joel's that I'm looking for... Can't seem to find it now, because I remember it as the "Barbara Streisand The Way We Were" post:
Memories, may be beautiful, and yet...
What's too painful to remember....
We simply choose to forget!
YEP, thats the danger! We forget the bad about smoking, and remember the "Good"
Would you like to do it all again???
Could We??
Should We???
One puff... and we do it all again!
YQB BillW Two years, one month, two days. 22832 cigarettes not smoked, saving $4,566.58. Life saved: 11 weeks, 2 days, 6 hours, 40 minutes.
Last edited by BillW Gold.ffn on 1:33 PM - Nov 10, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

Parker GOLD
Parker GOLD

12:28 AM - Mar 11, 2004 #7

Erica, what a good description of your journey. I don't think it is possible to overemphasize that with time this gets easier. The hard parts lessen in intensity and frequency as time passes.

For me, any romancing of the drug was counteracted by vivid memories of how desperately I longed to be free from active addiction after decades of smoking. I deliberately called up the daily anxieties about mouth cancer, lung cancer, heart attacks, strokes. I made myself remember the sound of my wheezing and how my car, clothes, hair, house and poor defenseless cats and dog stank. I reflected on how many hours of my life I had spent making sure I had enough cigarettes, finding matches, and emptying ashtrays. I counted up the multitude of broken promises about quitting tomorrow, next week, by my next birthday, etc.

After reflecting on all of that the thought of that one puff didn't seem very desirable anymore. That was one of my tricks for dealing with junkie thoughts.

That's a beautiful quit you are growing for yourself, Erica!

Parker - free & healing for 21 months
Quote
Share

tedhend
tedhend

12:46 AM - Mar 11, 2004 #8

Thanks Erica. Once again another interesting post. And I was (AM) so happy at this start of my 4th week. It is a nice summary ... although I don't look forward to strong craves next week (I know, I know were all different in out quit). So far, thanks to posts like this one, I haven't been caught off guard and I have been able to make it through all craves and look back and say: "see, it wasn't that bad, we can do this"- the we being myself and the rest of the Freedomites. It is so worth it and I appreciate how you make it sound so worth it.

Ted - 21 Days, 315 cigarettes not consumed, almost 50 bucks saved.
Quote
Share

Canadiangirlcyndi
Canadiangirlcyndi

12:53 AM - Mar 11, 2004 #9

Great post, Erica!
It sure sums up the beginning stages of our quits. I think it's helpful for newbies to read this, since it proves what everyone keeps saying..."It gets easier and easier as you go."
Thanks for sharing with us.
,
Cyndi
Four months, two days, 9 hours, 53 minutes and 28 seconds. 863 cigarettes not smoked, saving $368.01. Life saved: 2 days, 23 hours, 55 minutes.
Last edited by Canadiangirlcyndi on 12:58 PM - Jul 03, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

Alyson GOLD.ffn
Alyson GOLD.ffn

5:17 AM - Mar 11, 2004 #10

Hi Erica,
Thanks for the thoughtful post!

While I don't post often anymore, I try to drop by Freedom as much as I can to reinforce my own quit of course but mainly to witness recovery. I continue to find the journey out of nicotine enslavement, my own and that of others, absolutely fascinating and inspiring.

I want to reply to you here because in addressing the romance of smoking you're hitting on one of the keys of my own recovery, BREAKING the GLAMOUR. A glamour is a magic spell put on someone or something to conceal the true nature in a more attractive form. Once I was beyond actively craving the drug, I forced myself to look at the delivery method more objectively. And it was like something out of the Matrix. The glamour broke and I woke up to the truth of my slavery!

The fact of smoking is pure science fiction! People smoking are simply humans feeding on a drug. What is there to covet? Are you nostalgic to ignite a tube of chemical-soaked weeds wrapped in chemical-soaked paper and **** in the toxic fumes? That's all that smoking is. Drug feeding.

Ask any child or never-smoker what they think of smoking. The next time you're around a smoker, try to observe through their pre-addiction innocence for a moment and really see what's going on.

It's been a pleasure watching you reclaim your life, Erica. Enjoy the comfort - it'll just get better and better!
Celebrating freedom,
I am
YQS,
Alyson
20+ months
Quote
Share

Angelicrosegonegreen1
Angelicrosegonegreen1

5:40 AM - Mar 11, 2004 #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.
Quote
Share

Golddabler1
Golddabler1

7:24 AM - Mar 11, 2004 #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.
Quote
Share

GreenSolveg
GreenSolveg

9:20 PM - Mar 11, 2004 #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 11:18 AM - Jul 04, 2009, edited 2 times in total.
Quote
Share

JoeJFree Gold
JoeJFree Gold

6:31 AM - Apr 03, 2005 #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 4:21 PM - Nov 03, 2011, edited 3 times in total.
Quote
Share

GreenSolveg
GreenSolveg

10:16 PM - Apr 03, 2005 #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 1:06 PM - Jul 03, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

LisaT774
LisaT774

1:55 AM - Apr 23, 2005 #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 11:05 AM - Jul 04, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

CindyL 106
CindyL 106

11:26 AM - Feb 18, 2006 #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.
Quote
Share

Marcy21306
Marcy21306

10:14 PM - Mar 10, 2006 #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.
Quote
Share

Flo Babe
Flo Babe

7:43 AM - Jul 07, 2006 #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.
Quote
Share

Rickrob53 Gold
Rickrob53 Gold

3:09 AM - Aug 05, 2006 #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."

Quote
Share

RobinS614
RobinS614

2:15 PM - Aug 06, 2006 #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
Quote
Share

kattatonic1 gold4
kattatonic1 gold4

3:30 AM - Jan 08, 2007 #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)
Quote
Share

kattatonic1 gold4
kattatonic1 gold4

3:42 AM - Jan 08, 2007 #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)
Quote
Share

JoeJFree Gold
JoeJFree Gold

7:57 PM - Jan 25, 2007 #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
Quote
Share

idrvthe5
idrvthe5

12:37 AM - Jan 29, 2007 #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.
Quote
Share