It's the same when we venture out into the world and walk among the actively addicted as they publicly feed. Yes, after years of bondage ourselves and after developing an in-depth understanding of why we remained captive, it's very normal to notice others as their addiction forces them to elevate their falling blood serum nicotine level so as to avoid the onset of early withdrawal. NOTICING them and THINKING about their endless cycle nicotine/dopamine highs and lows is entirely different from WANTING a nico-fix yourself. It's very normal!
Our former relationship with tobacco was extremely intense and produced millions of tiny independent memories of needing, craving, finding, opening, holding, striking, lighting, sucking, tasting, inhaling, feeling, ahhhhing, exhaling, ashing, butting, dumping, cleaning, brushing, buying, trying, failing, decaying, lying, hiding and crying.
How could we possibly expect ourselves not to NOTICE others still captive to tobacco or THINK about what they're doing as we encounter them throughout our day? We can't and we shouldn't! It's very normal!
It's almost like getting a divorce on grounds of physical abuse and mental cruelty and six months later seeing your ex-spouse in a store and pretending not to notice them. Even thought the marriage was terrible, after years of being together would it be normal to see them yet not THINK about them?
But what if you saw them often? What if you saw your former abusive spouse multiple times each day? Would it soon condition you to be more relaxed around them and accept their presence? If you did stop to THINK about them, every now and then, would it necessarily mean that you WANTED them back?
We have a wonderful thread here at Freedom entitled "Tell a newbie how many seconds a day you still want a cigarette." I'd like to focus your attention on the word WANT in the thread title as we continue to play with the concept of THINKING about smoking versus WANTING to smoke. Triin made a wonderful post this morning, that inspired this post, and this is what she said -
"I have to say that the number of seconds I still want a cigarette in a day is usually zero. It doesn't cross my mind, I don't remember to remember it anymore, if that makes sence. When I think about smoking, it is usually because somebody reminds me of that, for example by smoking. But thinking about smoking does necessarily mean wanting to smoke." Triin
Listen to the WANTING vs. THINKING comments of a few others within the thread:
"I have absolutely no DESIRE to ever take another puff and it's been that way since the beginning of my quit." Linda
"I am quit 3 months (pack a day plus)and some days don't even THINK about smoking." Teeisfree
"I have had THOUGHTS about cigarettes, though not many - when I find myself staring at someone with a cig, or paying more attention to the person on TV smoking rather than the TV show itself, I've been able to tell myself "Look at them, killing themselves." Curly
"I think I still think about it, but I can't say it's the same as WANTING ONE....mostly the smell possibly makes me remember that ahhhhh feeling that I know now I cannot have...but again it's not exactly WANTING ONE...see how difficult it is to separate the two..." Cathym
"I have very few actual thoughts of WANTING a smoke." Amcanuck
There are scores of others who made similar comments. I think the distinction is fairly important for those Newbies still in the serious WANTING phase of their recovery. It's important because you're here with us - some for hours each day - and recognizing the fine distinction between THINKING about your recovery (and the fact that you are not smoking) vs. experiencing an URGE, CRAVE or WANT to put nicotine inside your body, is, in a very real sense, victory in itself!
Even brief periods of wanting new nicotine or a cigarette won't harm us at all. It's only when a quitter acts upon their WANT that they destroy their freedom, healing and glory! Thanks for sharing your wonderful insights Triin!
John : ) (Zep)