Step 11 – Smoking

I use prayer and meditation to improve my conscious contact with a Power Greater than myself asking only for knowledge of that Power’s will for me and the strength to carry it out.

I am learning that when I live right and act different I don’t have to smoke.

A nightly review allows me to better understand how I am living day by day.
1. Was I resentful?
2. Was I selfish?
3. Was I dishonest?
4. Was I afraid?
5. Do I owe an apology?
6. Have a kept something to myself that should be discussed with another person at once?
7. Was I kind to all?
8. Was I loving to all?
9. What could I have done better?
10. Was I thinking of myself most of the time?
11. Was I thinking of what I could do for others?
12. Was I thinking of what I could pack into the stream of life?

When I pray I ask a Power Greater than myself for help managing the things I cannot control. I greet the day, setting my intention with prayer. I ask for direction and not to be clouded by self-pity and unhealthy motives. I rely on inspiration and intuition to guide me. I need help and I am not afraid to ask the Universe for clarity and strength to find acceptance of what is.

When I meditate I listen for a Power Greater than myself to provide the serenity I need to deal with what is. Meditation jas become a tool that helps me sit through the uncomfortable and find peace to be present in the moment, regardless of situation or circumstance. I am open, mindful and receptive. Meditation has given me the power to pause- the ability to digest and respond to life rather that reacting to it.

This new way of life has little to do with not smoking and more to do with developing a new discipline that I was unable to manifest in my life on my own. When I make these practices routine, I find that my addiction falls from me. What once seemed impossible suddenly no longer is an issue.

When I stay connected I have a sustainable solution for my nicotine addiction and I am finally free.

~S.D.

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Step 10 – Smoking

I am continuing to take personal inventory and when I am wrong I promptly admit it.

I do my best to be vigilant in real time throughout each day. I continue to watch for dishonesty, selfishness, resentment and fear. When these feeling rise up, I pray to have those feelings removed in the moment. I discuss them with another immediately. If I have done harm, I do my best to quickly right the wrong. Then I take my focus off self and turn my thoughts to someone I can be of service to. This formula has proven to be an effective means of avoiding self pity and becoming too self absorbed.

Self awareness can be painful; but the more objective I am, the greater benefit I receive from paying attention to my base instincts and knee jerk reactions to external stimuli.

Withdrawal from nicotine after working a program of recovery and being sober for several years has allowed me a unique perspective. Being an addict and putting nicotine in my system has left me feeling like a hypocrite. The powerlessness of my nicotine addiction is readily apparent, but the unmanageability is elusive. My obsession with cigarettes leads me to attempt to validate smoking and provide myself excuses to practice an action that I know is unacceptable to the life I want to have for myself.

12 step recovery has given me a healthy awareness of self and an honest assessment of my reality. I am able to differentiate the true from the false with regards to my thoughts and feelings about smoking. My slow detox from nicotine has allowed me to see myself from the outside. The feeling fluctuates between an intense jolt similar to burst of cold water on a sensitive tooth to a nagging uncomfortabilty like a grain of sand resting between the eyelid and the eyeball. No matter the intensity the feeling always passes, but in that moment I feel overwhelmed with the urge to “fix” that feeling with just one more cigarette. When I look objectively I can see there is nothing to fix.

This is how I am supposed to feel. This is the reality of the predicament I have placed myself in. This is exactly what detoxification feels like. It’s isn’t fun. It isn’t pretty. It my body trying to purge an addictive poison from my body. My brain reacts to this physical manifestation by trying to find the quickest path to relief.

I am prone to believe a lie just to satiate the uncomfortabilty. I become selfish and tell myself that smoking only affects me. I manufacture resentment and direct my anger at all who cross my path. The dishonesty, the selfishness and the resentment are all manifestations of my fear.

Deep down inside, I am just afraid. I am scared I won’t be able to stop. I am fearful that I am somehow missing out on something by not smoking. I am terrified that I will fail. I don’t want to be seen as weak. I don’t want to relinquish my personal freedoms. I don’t want to be judged. Deep down inside, I am just afraid.

Today, I face my fear, my resentment, my selfishness and my dishonesty.
Today, I ask for these feelings to be removed as I sit through the uncomfortable.
Today, I ask for help and share how I am feeling.
Today, I right my wrongs as best I can.
Today, I turn my attention to those I could help.
Today, I have a solution.

I am honest, selfless, grateful and unafraid.

~S.D.

Step 9 – Smoking

I am making a direct amends to those I have harmed with my smoking.

My direct amends is an ongoing or “living” amends as I practice new behavior and do my best not to create more damage or do more harm as I walk through each day.

I apologize for my past actions. It was never my intention to harm you. I thought I was just affecting myself. I realize now that not only is that a lie but self harm is unacceptable. I was a very sick person. I was angry, selfish, dishonest and afraid. I am living my life different and operating under a new set of principles.

No longer will I exhale poison in your face. No longer will I contribute to the environmental degradation caused by smoking. I refuse to support the tobacco industry, their oppression of workers and the subtle enslavement of the addict with poison. I will be present and available in your presence instead of ignoring you while thinking about the next smoke. I will commit to loving myself and will treat my body with respect and care. I will do all I can to live as long as possible in gratitude for this wonderful life I have been given. I will not judge others who choose to smoke and I will be understanding and compassionate for those who struggle with stopping. I will give others the opportunity to be of service, remember to ask for help and receive it. I will be a testament to hope and solution by carrying this message to others who suffer just like me. I will be an example and inspiration for anyone who feels like I have felt.

I live in this moment, one day at a time and ask for your forgiveness and patience with my short comings.

Have I left anything out?
Is there anything else I can do to make this right?

Thank you.

~S.D.

Step 8 – Smoking

I have made a list of all persons I have harmed and I am willing to make amends to them all.

My smoking harms myself and others. I hurt the ones I love and those love me by endangering my health. My second hand smoke hurts those who are around me. Fumes from my smoking are noxious and annoying. My cigarette butts pose a threat to the environment even when disposed of properly. The money I spend on smoking can be used to benefit myself and others. When I continue to smoke, I dishonor my father who died from respiratory failure due to smoking and alcoholism. I hurt my mother who taught me better and wants to see me well. When I smoke I rob my children of the precious time I have left on this earth. Smoking is a reminder that I am a slave to addiction and negates the message of hope I have been chosen to carry. I lie, cheat and hide my smoking which hurts my integrity. This is not who I am or how anyone intended me to be.

Have I missed anyone or anything that I have harmed?
Have I left any harms out?

I am ready to make an amends for how I have lived. I want to balance the scales which I have thrown off as best I can. I seek to set right my wrongs as I go from here.

Let me be the best example of God’s power and victory over addiction that I can be.
Help me heal, grow and change.
I am living testimony to a new way of life.
Thank You.

~S.D.

Step 7 – Smoking

My Creator,
I’m now willing that You should have all of me, the good and the bad.
I pray now that You remove from me the craving and obsession to smoke.
This addiction stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows.
Grant me a strength through this day to do Your bidding.
Amen.

~S.D.

Day 15

Step 6 – Smoking

I am entirely ready to have God remove all my cravings and obsessions associated with my smoking.

Reviewing the first five proposals:
1. Am I powerless over cigarettes and am I unable to manage them?
Yes
2. Have I come to believe that a Power greater than myself can restore me to sane thinking with regards to smoking?
Yes
3. Have I truly made a decision to let God manage my thinking and my actions when it comes to smoking?
Yes
4. Have I made a fearless and searching moral inventory of my self with regards to smoking?
Yes
5. Have I admitted to God, myself and another human being the exact nature of my wrongs?
Yes

“Is my work solid so far? Are the stones properly in place? Have I skimped on the cement put into the foundation? Have I tried to make mortar without sand?”

Willing is indispensable.
I am willing to let God remove from me all the things that I have admitted are objectionable, including smoking. Take them all- every one. I cling to nothing.
I am willing to give up my selfishness, my resentments, my dishonesty and my fear so that I may be all that You would have me be.

I am a man who is not a slave to a substance.
I am man who can overcome my addictions with help.
I am a man who can learn new ways and reprogram my old behaviors.
I am a man who can differentiate the true from the false.

I am ready and willing.

~S.D.

Step 5 – Smoking

I am admitting to myself, God and you, the exact nature of my wrongs. I have completed a searching and fearless inventory of my resentments, my fears, my relationships, my harms and my ideals with regards to smoking.

I have found that:
I am selfish.
I am resentful.
I am dishonest.
I am in fear.

In my heart, I know that:
I want to be different.
I want to change.
I seek to be of maximum service to God and my fellows and smoking gets in the way of that.
I want to love myself and practice healthy living.
I want to stop smoking and stay stopped.

I am on a life or death errand.
I need your help to re-make myself.
I ask for you to reflect on my character, analyze my inventory and tell me how I have fallen short.
This is you chance to share your thoughts.
What are my barriers to a smoke free life?
What are the patterns that lead me back to smoking?
How did you quit?
How did you stay stopped?

Let me know how I can best practice a smoke free existence.

I don’t plan to comment, argue or have any witty replies. I am here to listen and digest. Love me more than you love my feelings…I can take it.

~S.D.