Bob, I got an awesome ahhh feeling just reading this piece!
The mind's blend of fear of the unknown, fear of failure and fear of success can be a major force in keeping us hiding inside our turtle's shell for many many years.
One thing that always strikes me as odd is when a smoker says that they "like" smoking. Our addiction compelled us to invent reasons for not coming out of our shell, a psychological security blanket of sorts. I know mine did. When you quiz them, most admit that they can't quit and that they have almost zero memory or recall of what it was like to live inside their mind before nicotine became their master. To "like" something you must have something else to compare it to. What most are really comparing and really saying is they don't like what happens when they don't smoke - full blown nicotine withdrawal.
I don't recall which member it was, maybe you Bob, but not long ago one of us said, "If you'd told me on the second day of my quit that someday soon I'd begin experiencing entire days, then weeks, and then months where I never once THOUGHT about wanting to smoke nicotine, I would have called you a liar. Wonderful post Bob!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,