Embracing Crave Episodes
The good news is that most cue triggers appear to be reconditioned and discarded (extinguished) by our subconscious mind with just a single encounter. The good news is that the triggered crave anxiety episode will normally peak within a couple of minutes (but keep a clock handy as cessation time distortion is real and can make the minutes feel like hours). The good news is that there is a reward awaiting you at the end of each crave episode, the return of another aspect of life. The good news is that the anxiety power of our crave generator fizzles a bit with each passing day, and with each encountered crave there is one less triggering cue to extinguish. The good news is that entire days where you never once encounter an unextinguished cue are fast approaching. The bad news is that if you're a newbie then there is probably another crave episode just around the corner. But is it bad?
So what approach do you use? Do you duck or run when you sense one coming or do you turn and fight? Is your game plan working to your satisfaction? Our objective here is simple - NO NICOTINE TODAY - but our natural instincts on how best to achieve our objective may not be the easiest path to travel. Can we hide from our craves or will they find us anyway? Can we run away from them or will they catch us? It's the same with going toe to toe in battle, isn't it? Can we beat-up our craves and make them surrender or cry "uncle"? Can we scare them away? I think not. Encountering and extinguishing all of our mind's subconscious crave triggers is a very necessary part of recovery. Encountering and extinguishing each is good not bad. We are rewarded with a prize at the end, the return of another aspect of life. It's true healing in every sense!
Tobacco's deadly cargo is clearly a killer but what about craves? Can a crave that lasts a couple of minutes kill you? Will it cut you, make you bleed or send you to the emergency room? Can it physically harm you? If not, then why fear it? How much of the anxiety associated with your recovery will be self induced? Why agonize over the anticipated arrival of your next crave? When it finally arrives, will your mind immediately begin breeding additional anxieties, anxieties that fuel an already raging fire?
The anxiety associated with a craving for nicotine is very real. But how much of that anxiety is self induced? Why not find out? Be brave during the next episode. Instead of feeling a tremendously inflated experience driven by fear, fueled by anticipation, and tense due to a history of prior relapse, just once, stop running, drop your guard, take slow deep deliberate breaths and then reach out inside your mind and "TOUCH" your crave. It won't injure you!
It's ok to be afraid but try to be brave just this once. In your mind, wrap your arms around the crave's anxiety energy . Clear your mind of all chatter for just one moment so that you can feel the true anxiety of your healing. Make sure that you feel your tummy rising as you take slow deep deliberate breaths into the bottom of both lungs. Clear your mind of all chatter, worries, fears and thoughts so that you can sense and appreciate exactly what this crave is like.
Touch it, hug it, feel it, sense it! You won't make the anxiety one bit more intense than it otherwise would have been. You're witnessing part of the most beautiful healing that your body and life may ever experience. Yes, there is anxiety there but for the very first time it's not being fed and fueled by you. Feel it's intensity peak and then slowing begin to decline. Take pride in your healing. It can't hurt you. Only you can do that.
Enjoy your recovery don't fear it. Embrace and welcome each and every crave episode, as the arrival of each signals another time, place, location, event or emotion that you are about to reclaim. Enjoy coming home. There is a calm, quiet and free mind at the end, one that will go days, weeks and then months without wanting for nicotine. But don't take my word for it. Read the accounts of those you came before you! Yes you can!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,