A twenty year smoker who averaged a pack a day and took eight puffs per cigarette lit 146,000 cigarettes and sucked warm nicotine laden smoke into their lungs 1,168,000 times. Over one million puffs! Where do the memories of those one million puffs go after we quit smoking? Where are they now? How many of those one million puffs made our mind say "aaahhh" as they immediately helped restore our falling blood nicotine level? Where did all of our "aaahhh" memories go when we quit? Were they true? Did new nicotine bring us a sense of replenishment and stimulation thousands and thousands of times? Absolutely!
Although we often hated being smokers and our bondage, there is no denying that each of those 146,000 nicotine fixes helped, to some degree, to bring relief from falling blood nicotine levels that were beginning to deprive us of a level of dopamine to which we'd grown accustomed. Each of them were played a vital role in restoring us to a level of comfort upon which we had each come to depend. We created our own artificial sense of normalcy, our own addiction comfort level that each year required a bit more nicotine to achieve and sustain. Yes, each fix brought the addict in us a true sense of comfort (from the pains of our own addiction) and yes all those memories still remain, but one important thing has changed - our brain no longer has a chemical need for nicotine!
If you go back through old old Freedom threads and read all of the descriptions of relapses that occurred beyond week two, they almost all sound identical. They read like this, "I had a mouth full of smoke, I was dizzy and I coughed but I didn't get the sense of satisfaction that I expected." "It just didn't come!"
Those thousands of enticing memories in the relapsor's mind told them to expect a sense of relief and satisfaction" but their body had adjusted to life without nicotine and the "aaahhh feeling" was not there. Unlike when the memories in their mind were created, there was nothing missing and there was nothing that needed replenishing. So what happens next.
Well, sadly, most relapsors keep believing the once true memories still enshrined in their mind and keep searching inside the pack, or maybe the next pack, until their addiction returns in all its full blown deadly glory (along with the aaahhh feelings) and they can finally look in the mirror and say to themselves, "see, I was right, smoking did bring me a sense of relief!"
Until we fully appreciate that our memories of our "perfect smokes" were created during our endless cycle of our chemical dependency and that we must once again be active addicts in order to experience that same sense of relief, the memories of prior fixes will continue inviting us home! Yes, the memories are true but only for active addicts in need of their next fix!
One of the greatest challenges of psychological recovery can be in understanding who we once were and our true relationship to a true chemical dependency. Those aaahhh memories belong to an endlessly feeding nicotine dependent human who was in need a puff of nicotine. Isn't it time that you allowed yourself to let them go! Isn't it time to see each of them as evidence of your former bondage!