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"Quitting smoking is a learning experience. Every time you overcome an urge you will have overcome another obstacle that threatened your status as an ex-smoker. As time goes by, you will run out of obstacles and you can comfortably go through life a happier and healthier person. All you need to remember and practice to stay an ex-smoker is - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF."
I can allow the conscious "thought" of a nice juicy steak to linger in my mind for as long as I want. Early in my recovery I could do the same with the thought of smoking nicotine if that's what I chose to do. Subconscious triggers are different. A trigger may cause thoughts of smoking to be generated but the triggered crave episode itself will not last longer than three minutes. Be sure and look at a clock as time distortion during recovery is very real and your days can feel 20% longer than normal.
So how do you help move those pesky thoughts along? Well, there are a couple of ways. Reflecting upon the "thought" in an open and honest manner could cause you to abandon it as unworthy of your mind's time.
Thought: Gee, I'd sure like just one cigarette
Truth: A drug addict can't have just one, so I need to picture the thousands and thousands of others that come along with it.
Another means of helping move a pesky thought along might be to relax, take a few slow deep breaths and try clearing your mind by concentrating and focusing on something new - a shape, your favorite color, an object, a place or, yes, even a your favorite food.
Another means may be to acknowledge the thought but to put it into proper perspective.
Calm all needless fears. Don't be afraid of the unknown up ahead as what's waiting is the real "you!" Although it may feel like it during recovery, you're leaving no part of you behind.
The mind's dependency recovery weather can change very rapidly and delay, distraction, relaxation, deep breaths, cool water, and truth are some of your best tools while you get the hang of things. The bottom line always remains the same. Thoughts and craves can't hurt, burn us, cut us, make us bleed, or destroy our glory. The path to comfort and lasting freedom is the same for all of us - no nicotine just one day at a time, Never Take Another Puff!