#youcanstoptoo 2

#youcanstoptoo

Part 2

I have tried quiting cigarettes countless times and always picked up again. I was quick with the justifications- afterall I wasn’t drinking alcohol or doing illegal drugs, shouldn’t I be allowed the comfort of a cigarette?

The most time I have ever had, before this run, was 60 days last year and that was with the help of ecigarettes. Tapering nicotine levels and vaping worked great until a lithium ion battery exploded in my pocket and left me with 3rd degree burns and a disfiguring scar on my leg. I haven’t vaped since and bought a pack of cigarettes the day it happened. Since then it was a pack a day (although I was actually smoking a pack and a half, I just didn’t cop to it).

I have made it through what I have been told was the toughest part of stopping, only to find a trivial excuse to light up again and again. Physically there may be a toughest time, but mentally the obsession can sneak up quick, strong and without warning. The vicious cycle was always the same- once I started, I couldn’t stop and I craved cigarettes even when I wasn’t smoking them. Eventually, could no longer tell any of my friends, family or fellow smokers of my plans to quit out of embarrassment of my continued failures. I felt self conscious and weak. I stopped fighting and just accepted that I would die a smoker. I wore the badge with false pride and spoke of cigarettes as symbol of independence, individuality and freedom. I buried my desire to quit and professed a lie I knew wasn’t true. The truth was I was beaten by nicotine and smoking was my crutch, my dirty little secret, my release, and my last guilty pleasure. I was terrified to stop. The fear of quitting kept me from even trying.

I began to think- how does one get to a place where they “hit bottom” with cigarettes? Nothing short of lung cancer seems sufficient to really get a smoker’s attention; and for many smokers even cancer is not a viable deterrent. Plus, once one has lung cancer its already too late. I remember, more than once, my father forgetting to turn off his oxygen machine and lighting his face on fire while he smoked through the last days of emphysema. He taught me that us smokers often smoke until the bitter end.

It stood to reason the answer for stopping might lay in raising one’s “smoking bottom,” if hitting bottom is what it takes to stop. I started to look at what was acceptable and unacceptable behavior for me. I asked myself if could I live up to those ideals while smoking. Could I be the human I wanted to be and smoke?

I didn’t need to make a pros and cons list to know that smoking was rapidly losing its appeal. It had become a chore. It was mindless and routine. It put me places where I didn’t want to be. It separated me from my family and others. It was expensive. It was dirty. It was harder and harder to breathe. My teeth and gums were suffering. I could honestly come up with at least a hundred valid reasons why I had to stop. The pros side of the list was short and when I honestly dissected the excuses to smoke, they were just lies I had repeated so many times I took them for granted to be true. I believed smoking was giving me something I didn’t have; and that smoking made, whatever it is I lack, less significant and glaring.

Honesty and continued attempts at quitting would become the basis for my desire to finally stop. Realistically, this desire has taken years to grow to a point where I was willing to actually do something about my nicotine dependence and addiction. Desire begat willingness that give rise to action.

What has worked for me, so far, has been a hodgepodge of 12 step recovery tools, rational self-help resources, books, videos, podcasts, new age practices, folk medicine, meditation, spirituality, self awareness, affirmations, dietary changes, nicotine replacement and support from my friends (even ones who currently smoke). One approach was never sufficient dor me to stop so I have been using practically anything that anyone suggests within reason. The shift has left me willing to use whatever tools I have at my disposal to overcome nicotine addiction.

I truly believe I have smoked my last cigarette. Help me stay on this new path. 123 days and counting.

~S.D.

#youcanstoptoo

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#youcanstoptoo 1

#youcanstoptoo

I am by no means an expert on stopping anything. Truth be told, I am an expert in floundering, faltering and failing. I am an expert on being addicted.

Yet, I was told, the only people who are successful in stopping addictive behaviors, are people who try…well that’s me! I am good at trying…I’m stubborn and persistent.

I am an addict. I will use pretty much anything to avoid dealing with life on life’s terms. I have abused whatever I could get my hands on. I currently have 9 years of sobriety and clean time. Most recently my 20 year affair with cigarettes has left me feeling like a hypocrite justifying a seemingly less destructive addiction to nicotine.

I have been a loyal and faithful servant of smoking, putting the pack before all I love and care about. I have tried to leave countless times, but I am always sucked back into, what I know to be, the most insidious and subtly destructive dysfunctional relationship I have ever participated in.

I have described smoking as a love/hate relationship; but despite the many times I have professed my love for smoking, I really believe that this “love” was just a lie. I chose to believe that I loved cigarettes as a justification for a disgusting habit that I am ashamed of. If I “loved” smoking, then perhaps I could diminish my shame enough to choke down just one more cigarette. I chose to believe a lie so I could live with my actions.

I am sure this will come off preachy to most, especially active smokers, but please know I don’t judge you. I judge myself and I am my own worst critic. I am not fighting smokers. I am not trying to reform anyone. I don’t want to change what anyone else does. I do not care if you smoke or not. If smoking works for you then there’s no problem to fix. If you want to stop and can’t, then I am confident there is a way.

My goal is to not smoke today and let those who want to stop, know that it is possible and it can be done. It has been my experience that there is NOTHING that will make me not want a cigarette. But fortunately there are things that will take the edge off. The reality is there is a certain amount of uncomfortabilty associated with stopping anything, particularly nicotine. If you missed January 1st and a new year’s resolution, it doesn’t matter. The reality is you can stop right now.

I have been smoke-free since September 1st, 2017 and nicotine-free since October 1st, the same year, join me on this healing journey.

~S.D.

Fresh Start

It started with the loss of my integrity, not living up to who I wanted to be. This was not how I wanted to be seen.
I watched, feeling like a spectator, as the obvious material things began to disappear- the house, the appartment, the car, and countless jobs. Then the relationships vanished- friends, the woman, my family and my children. With it all, I blinked and I found my freedom lost.
Broken and mangled, I surrendered, accepting what I had become. I knee that I didn’t have the resources to fix the problem I had created. I was done, but I was unable to stop.
I gave what was left of me to the Universe to care for, and began an unfamiliar path, on a journey with no known destination. I just trusted that maybe life could be different.
Day by day, things changed. Ever so slowly, the material things began to return, closely followed by the relationships I thought too damaged to be restored.The only difference this time was that all of it would never be mine again.
Nothing in this world belongs to me anymore. The car I drive, the home I live in, even the children I helped usher into this world- all of it is a part of something greater than me.
I am only allowed to enjoy these benefits of my existence, as long as I choose to grow towards a Power Greater than me.
I know that in the flash of an instant it can all be lost again, unless I stay close to the Source of it all.

Thank You for one more year…one more day…one more moment.

In Your service,

~S.D.

Seize This Day

Seize this day

Can we accept what life has offered us?
Can we trust that everything we cannot control is exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment?
Can we be a healing force instead of a destructive one?

Let us take this time to count our blessings and look for miracles in all that we see
What we bring to this life defines us
Situations and circumstance bombard our exterior
These are merely detours from our real purpose
We manifest our own reality
Do not be distracted from this fact

Seize this day

~S.D.

100 Days

100 days smoke free!!!

Some Rules of Smoking Cessation:

1. A single cigarette starts the cycle, don’t take one drag.
2. Cigarette smoking is drug addiction, don’t rationalize it.
3. There will be an urge to smoke no matter what method is used to stop smoking.
4. Each day without a cigarette is a victory, celebrate it as such.
5. The only people who stop are those who try.
6. There are no benefits from smoking, only negatives.
7. Don’t hang out with smokers while they are smoking.
8. Tell others when planning to stop, real friends will support one another.
9. It took this long to get hooked, it may take time to stop.
10. Relax and breathe, you can stop too…

~S.D.

Deep Within

The Creator of all things great and small, watched with skepticism as humans ran amok with no sense of purpose or direction. The Grand Creator had a plan, but the people were not ready for it.

The Mighty Maker assembled a counsel of the wisest of creatures to assist in keeping the great plan from the humans until they were ready to understand it.
“As you know, the secret to being is to be connected, to heal, to grow and to help one another on the journey, but sadly man and woman are not evolved enough to practice this simple life. I have convened this counsel with the hopes that you, the most wise of all my creations, help me in finding a hiding place for this Great Fact so that we may protect it until the humans are ready to accept it.”
The dolphin, the most intelligent creature in the sea offered first, “I know what to do. I shall take this Great Fact with me and bury it deep, deep beneath the ocean to keep it safe.”
The Creator said, “You know humans, they are a tenacious lot. They will explore deep into our majestic seas and they will find it.”
The Raven, observant of all, forever watching from the sky, had an idea, “I will take the Great Fact with me. I will fly to the tallest mountain, find the tallest tree and there I will place our secret.”
“No, no,” the Creator replied, “Humans are ambitious and persistent. They will climb the mountains, cut the trees and they will find the Great Fact before they are ready.”
The blind mole was very clever- seeing without sight and extremely adept at hiding things where they wouldn’t be discovered. Mole, who was usually content to just listen spoke next, “I know where neither man or woman will ever think to look. I purpose we take the Great Fact of human existence and we put it deep down inside everyone of them.”
Satisfied the Creator made it so. Since then, the secret of human existence has laid deep inside every single one of us waiting to be discovered. To find the Great Reality, we must look within.

~S.D.

Who Am I?

I wasted gifts and talents.
I traded dreams, plans and potential for what I thought I wanted.
I lived a lie where I was unable to differentiate the true from the false.
I gave up the right to a life dictated by what I want.

I forgot who I was for a second.

Thank You for helping me to remember happiness looks like something different for people like me.
Thank You for helping me to remember the future does not belong to me.
Thank You for helping me to remember that this moment is my happily ever after.
But most of all,
Thank You for helping to forget these things… even if just for a few brief moments.

I remember now.

Grateful for another chance at life,
On Your terms,
In Your time,
According to Your plan.

~S.D.