Are you really helping?

An addict, still deep in his illness, asked a newcomer if he could borrow some money.

The newcomer was understandably hesitant, “if I loan you this cash, I know what will happen- You are an addict. You will take the money and you will buy drugs.”

The addict looked at him with desperation, “I swear on my family…I promise on our friendship…I am not going to buy drugs. I’m starving. I need food. Please. You know I will pay you back. I’m good for it. I promise.”

Feeling the strong bond of fellowship and truly wanting to help a friend, the newcomer dug deep in his pockets and gave the addict the last of his money which he couldn’t really afford to give but gave it anyway.

The addict was very grateful. He thanked the newcomer and went on his way with a newfound exuberance.

Hours later the newcomer happened upon the addict who was obviously high.

“Dude!” The newcomer exclaimed, “You promised me you would get food and I really could have used that money.”

The addict looked up at the newcomer in disbelief.

“Dude,” The addict replied, “I’m an addict, this what I do…”

The question is not IF we give; the question is when and how.



Step 12 – Smoking

Having had a personality change sufficient to bring about recovery from nicotine addiction as a result of a new way of living, I do my best to carry a message of hope and practice spiritual principles in all of my affairs.

My thinking is changing as a direct result of my actions. I will continue to act different in order to get different results in my life.

As of today I have been able to put together 28 days without smoking a cigarette, I smoked for over 20 years. I was so hooked I didn’t think it was possible for a smoker like me to actually put it down for this many consecutive days. It has been challenging but not impossible. I have felt a compulsion to smoke everyday since stopping and each instance I was able to sit through despite my uncomfortabilty.

The frequency and intensity of the cravings have lessened but the subtle urges linger. It would be so easy to cave and give in; but I am beginning to realize that nicotine addiction is simply a lie I have repeated so many times that I have come to believe it controls me more than it actually does.

I have watched others, just like me, stop smoking and turn days into weeks into months into years. I know it is possible to stop and stay stopped. I know I can change and live my life different. My desire is to be an example to others that anything is possible with a program of action and a power greater than myself.

Let me be the best representation of a new design for living and help others.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Day 15