Two Years and counting...
I began my March from Madness on the 14th of March 2009, and have been courting sanity ever since. I love that I am a non-smoker. Now, instead of being a slave twenty times a day, I embrace freedom with every (Deep) breath I take.
How I've Gotten This Far
When I decided to stop smoking two years ago, I simply refused to believe it was going to be hard. I told everyone I was taking this approach and asked people in my circle not to talk doom and gloom to me (I was more diplomatic than that – of course). When warned of the pitfalls and dangers by well meaning advice givers I refused to take it in, feeling that was their state of mind – not mine.
You see, experience has taught me that when I start out thinking about how hard it’s going to be, I set myself up for failure. And, I failed more times than I remember. I smoked a pack a day from age 13 to age 60 – 47 years.
I began quitting in 1981. Each time I failed, I reminded myself of how ‘Hard’ quitting was. I became an expert at failing, and an avid believer that the process was hard. I don’t know about you, but when I go at something under the cloud of how ‘Hard’ it’s going to be, I’m already thinking negatively about my chances of success.
Two years ago I challenged myself to do something different – to not buy the Hype, but to re-label every experience that came my way. I told myself that quitting was just a process. It was going to be easy, that it was going to be an adventure; that I could make a game out of every new twist and turn along the way. And I did.
When urges came, I accepted them, examined them, sat with them. Not once did an urge actually cause me any real pain or even discomfort. I looked the nico-demon in the face and dared him to bring it. As with all bullies, he actually had nothing to bring.
Thanks to this attitude, I am two years smoke free today - twice as long as my longest previous quit. And, for the last five months I have faced the greatest challenge a newbie non-smoker can face: I’m living with a Smoker! But I’m not buying the hype. The smoker has nothing to do with my quit. I’m still looking Nico – Demon in the face and saying “Bring it!” I’m not afraid, you can’t hurt me.
This is what has been keeping my quit safe, fresh and new. I wish the same for all of you out there taking this road. Know this: It’s not HARD unless you say it is. God bless you all, stay the course and.. I dare you to have fun with it.
- Own Your Quit – decide how you are going to view and handle your quit, and be determined that nothing or no one can alter your course.
- Love Your Quit – find ways to keep your quit exciting and fresh to you. Romance it with everything in your being. Have fun with it.
- Stand up to the bully (Nicodemon) – don’t be afraid of urges (and other Nico-Demon tactics). If you accept and experience them, you’ll find that they go away in seconds with no actual trauma or harm to you.
Terry Martin, Smoking Cessation Guide, says:Congratulations awonspirit, and thanks for sharing your powerful perspectives on how to make a success of smoking cessation.
Nicotine addiction throws a cloak of helplessness over most of us when we think about quitting tobacco. Years of smoking teach us many false "truths" that we accept without question -- things like needing our cigarettes to be happy, to manage anger, to entertain us when we're bored, to soothe us when we're sad. We think we'll be miserable and life will be empty if we quit smoking, and it keeps us from trying.
Your positive shift of attitude about the recovery process short-circuited the negative programming and brought you not only success with quitting, but lasting freedom from nicotine addiction.
Continue to nurture your quit with a little gratitude daily and never look back. The future is bright!