Friends I’ve not been totally honest with you. Sure, I’ve been open about my alcoholism and all of the crap I share on here but I didn’t tell you that I was a heavy smoker for over 27 years. I do nothing in half-measures….I was a chimney and working for myself meant that I could grab a quick puff whenever I wanted without boundaries. If someone told me I’d stop smoking when I did…I wouldn’t have believed them.
In my heart of course I knew this was “bad” for my health and knew one day I had to stop smoking but I really, REALLY enjoyed smoking. For me it was less about the nicotine and more about the process and the distraction it gave me. I began smoking at 18 years old after a terrible, heart wrenching break-up with my first love. I found out he had cheated….and that he had smoked the whole time. To hell with him…I could smoke too! Well I sure showed him didn’t I??
As the years went on, many of my friends managed to stop smoking but I did not. This actually went along the same pattern that they stopped binge drinking but I kept on going.
It was as if my friends naturally evolved into the adult years when one balances what feels good with what benefits or hurts our health. One begins to make clear decisions on what is acceptable and for many years drinking a ton of alcohol and smoking my face off were acceptable to me because I enjoyed them. I needed them.
Cigarettes and booze were my friends, they calmed me…until they didn’t.
I’ve written about my recovery from alcohol so most of you are aware of that journey but why did it take me 8 years of sobriety to stop smoking? Because I wasn’t ready until I was.
I didn’t believe I could handle life without cigarettes…ok I knew I would get there but I didn’t think I could handle the process of quitting.
What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are. ~ Tony Robbins
Much like the shaky kid who has just learned to ride a bike, I was frightened to turn my head to see a new way of life. Just like when I was thinking of stopping booze, I couldn’t imagine my life without smokes. I was scared to hope.
Then enough was enough….I bought the book Stop Smoking Now by Allan Carr and began reading. This is not a sponsored post…this is just my own opinion of the book that I purchased. I have had this book recommended to me many times by friends who really did quit smoking by just reading a book!
The timing was perfect, I was to fly to Utah for a doTERRA conference with Brad on the Tuesday so I began reading the book on Thursday evening. As I was reading it, I was aware of what it was doing. It was shifting my perspective just as my 12 step program did with alcohol. I was beginning to see that I had labelled myself as a “smoker” and closed my mind to the fact that I was born a non-smoker and by shedding that label I could do this! By Sunday I had smoked my last cigarette.
If you’re someone considering quitting – buy the book….have an open mind and it can work! Don’t take what I wrote there as if it’s the answer….get the freaking book and read it.
So….how was it to stop smoking? ANNOYING!!
The first few days were wrought with my inner thoughts telling me I need a cigarette NOW. EVERY.SECOND!! Super freaking annoying. I know that I could have spent more time in meditation or using the CD that came with the book but instead I kept telling Brad I’m going outside to “not smoke” instead of to “have a smoke”. I’d go out to my patio and just sit a few moments in my favourite chair and inhale the clean air while paying attention to that. Meditating of sorts….being grateful. I also had an inner mantra of “I’m so grateful I am a non-smoker”.
The days passed and we took our 4 hour flight to Utah and for the first time flying as an adult I wasn’t pre-occupied with thoughts of my next smoke. FREEDOM!! Believe me when I tell you that I focused on this victory all day long. I don’t just mean on the victory of the flight but the victory of not being a SLAVE to smoking.
Smokers know they smell. They know they annoy non-smokers. They are aware they are judged.
They are addicts.
I am an addict in recovery.
If you are a non-smoker and you want someone to quit….it can happen but you harping on them or “educating” them isn’t going to make them quit. In fact as the head-strong smoker I was…that made me smoke more. Raise my anxiety and I smoked more. Addiction is an awful cycle.
So here I am 2 months later and 15 pounds heavier as a non-smoker. I’m working on not eating a million sunflower seeds and getting rid of the need to constantly be doing something. I’m becoming a bit more comfy in the quiet moments and slowly I am getting back to sleeping normally. My little stop smoking app tells me my lungs are pinking up nicely and this is worth it…..
I don’t miss smoking but I do need to get to know how to do life without a cig to distract me. This is like early sobriety…I’m a toddler learning to stand on my own.