I am quickly learning how psychological nicotine addiction is. That is not at all to say that cravings to smoke aren't physical - they most certainly are, but they really seem to be based on an associative cognizance
. Everyone has as different quit processes as they do noses, and though there are similarities, some coast through much more quickly and easily while some, like myself, claw, chew, struggle and scratch their way through. No matter, as long as the result is the same!
In a recent exchange with a lovely forum
member, we were 'discussing' craves. Her business had just started to pick up, and though she felt that it was a rewarding venture on many levels, the insecurity of a non-regular paycheck was causing her much anxiety, which in turn, created cravings she wondered if she would still be having in an otherwise more tethered position.
This post struck me, as I had been experiencing exactly the same feelings, yet in reverse! Having accepted not only a rather corporate position in my field, but also a teaching position one evening a week, I was drenched in 'security' and wondering if it was for me! Which of course brought on some anxieties and a question of whether or not this was the right path for me. Which caused a bit of a craving.
When I relayed this information to her in a cyber-laugh, we both realized cravings to smoke will happen whether you own your own business or not. Whether your married or not, healthy or not, happy or not. Life (and the other four letter word people often can relate to) does indeed happen. And here's something else to ponder...perhaps it's not really cravings?
Perhaps it's just the simple fears, doubts, anxieties and worries we all have. The very same emotions that we had gotten so used to quelling with that deep toxic inhalation. I've long since realized that the so-called 'relief' we felt on that puff after abstaining an hour or so was more to do with feeding the addiction than actually psychologically calming us down.
I often feel like I am re-learning how to deal with my emotions all over again. Since I was 15 years old, any trauma, loss, joy and stress precipitated a grasp at the ever-present packet of choke sticks to literally squelch the intensity of any feelings deeper than a giggle.
Lately I've taken to crying. Not the projectile tears of yore that salted my days the first two months of my quit, but a true release of emotion. I have also noticed that my laughter is louder, my joy is deeper and my compassion, more heartfelt. To be honest however, so is my anger more intense and my pain, that much deeper (yay). The most amazing thing of all though, is of the two emotions that have changed so drastically it astounds me.
The first is the presence of gratitude
. I am astonishedly grateful to have even gotten this far on a quest I never thought I would take with any sincerity. The second is the absence of guilt. There is a remorse for not having quit sooner, but the guilt of systematically choking myself day by day, of wondering if my neices and nephew would be visiting me in some hospital bed one day, if I would fall asleep with a burning cigarette to be found a lump of ash in the corner...and many more horrors (believe me, I'm an imaginative freak that way) is gone.
I am doing the best I can, through the anxieties, the fears (okay, the abject terror at times), the joys and the challenges and the insecurities of life without being a slave to the weed.
That's a good first step.More from Leslie:One Full WeekThe SeductionReplacement TherapyNot One Puff Ever (N.O.P.E.) - Part OneNot One Puff Ever (N.O.P.E.) - Part Two