This community is open to all who are recovering from nicotine addiction.
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I've not been to the US yet Lori. But I do hope your weather is better than ours, as it rains way too often here. That does really make is appreciate the good days though, and we go all out and celebrate big time for easy and every sunny day and that makes living here worthwhile. That plus the abundance of culture. You been to Europe ever?
What's the north west like? Sounds pretty cool up there to me, and I've certainly heard a lot about some of the big cities around you.
My wife has been solid. But she only ever smoked a small proportion of what I did. She is coping well and doesn't need this forum. It's not her style anyways, as she prefers talking and watching stuff to reading and writing like I do. But you are right, we have helped each other by displaying (often fake) strength when the other person has had a moment of weakness.
I just had a fairly intense craving again, and I tried to take note of the sensation. The urges can take different forms, but the one I had just now is similar to the waves I experienced in the first 10 days: it built to a crescendo fairly quickly and the more attention I gave it, the worse it felt. And if I listened carefully, my heart was racing (with desire? panic? hope? desperation?)... I was also struggling for breath; it was almost as if there wasn't enough oxygen in my surroundings to allow me to take my fill in any satisfactory way, and this could only be rectified by breathing in the sweet smoke of a deliciously burning cigarette.
Definitely psychological, smoke is not sweet.
“You make it good or bad - hard or easy, its all in your mind”
Mmhmm. That about sums it up.
Well, Shak, you know that saying “fake it til you make it”? There is truth to that. Sound like you’ve each found your individual way of coping and still are able to support each other. Have you seen some posts from others on here who live with a smoker? Wow. I don’t envy that at all. My partner smoked as a teen then wisely stopped. He is tremendously supportive and encouraging, as is my daughter. I never smoked in the house or car so those weren’t triggers for me. I did avoid my back deck for the first couple of weeks. Hell would have to freeze over for me to give up my morning coffee, so I just had it in different spot. With the early light now and warmer mornings I have been back on my back deck with coffee with no problem. I did reach into pocket the first 3 days I started going back out there in the morning even though I hadn’t smoked for over a month! Speaking of programmed. I think that is another think for me to dislike about it actually. I definitely feel I’ve regained some independence with quitting and am not as automatic in functions. Nice.
That sounds familiar. You articulate it clearly. It does sound a tad similar to a mild panic attack and that makes sense too. The addict part of the psyche is pretty manipulative, and not always on a completely conscious level of awareness. “What on earth! How am I supposed to do this without a smoke?!”
The first couple of weeks my cravings were so mental. I actually wrote on here wondering if that was normal. Then after a while, I started o get that physical part you described! It took my breath away. It was rather awful. I found if I stilled myself, and slowed my breath and cleared my mind I could almost see this separate part in there that was akin to a spoiled teenager. My wiser self wasn’t caving or listening so that part had a little tantrum. Now I can separate it pretty easily and actually watch it. I know this sounds a bit like a horror movie (some parts of my life are close!) but it is true. We all have a variety of facets to our psyches and I believe it is possible to get to know many of them as individual pieces which allows the core wise self to have recognition and manage them.
You did well! Sounds like you rode the wave and were able to piece it out after.
I also have read on here from many folks about the emotional side of this. Many have spoken about how they have come to realize their smoking masked their emotions for a long time. That makes sense to me too.
Coming to terms with it as an addiction has allowed me to really see the force of it and I am often humbled by that addictive force. Not in the sense of giving in to the craves, but humbled by the sheer force of the addiction itself. Definitely not to be underestimated.
If that happens again, just take a mental step back and watch it play out while doing some deep breathing. It will pass.
Wow Lori, you articulate it so beautifully and comprehensively. I have learnt sooo much and recognise all that you write about your teenage tantrum... I am keen to read the account you wrote before when your cravings actually happened, and learn more, but it's the middle of the night and I woke for a cigarette...no, I mean water... So I will be kind to myself and sleep and find the post(s) you refer to tomorrow
Wow. I just reread this. It’s true...right up till our deaths it’s grip would be tight. I’ll try to find this Dear John letter that’s here somewhere. It’s a tad corny, but when you read it it will hit home.
Ha! That’s funny. My partner ( we’ve been together 12 years but are not married, living together for almost 9) used to tell me that I woke up so early because my body wanted to smoke. I argued with him on that one often. Since I quit, I sleep a couple of hours longer! Have been getting about 7 hours, sometimes a bit more for a couple of months now. He was right! I know it’s true now. I think I knew it then but didn’t want to admit it. Often I would get up after about 5 hours, go out and smoke, then go back to bed. It is so nice sleeping now and I never set an alarm unless it is a work day.
So my shrink who I have been seeing for a long time, and we are actually good friends now, told me not to tug of war with the addict. He said just to wave and say hi and not get into the struggle. He feels that gives the addict strength. I had to think about it but he’s right. Joel Spitzer (another quit smoking guru) had an article once about embracing the craves and not fighting them. He said just welcoming them with acknowledgement and sometimes a bit of soothing, but never fight against it. I call that rolling with it or riding the wave. It’s kind of like body surfing. If you don’t fight the water it’s pretty fun.
Yes, the PNW is beautiful. Very easy to get away from the city and into nature. I am about an hour from the Pacific Ocean, or an hour from Mt Hood, depending whether I go East or West. The climate here is pretty temperate, nothing like the very harsh Winter I grew up with.
The US is a beautiful country for sure; quite big. I’ve driven across several times and am always in awe of the natural beauty and variety of climates. Not to mention variety of cultures!
Our politics are becoming increasingly distressing though and I’m saddened by the increasing division of people that is seemingly encouraged and fed by our current administration.
I think anywhere on the planet has bountiful natural beauty though really.
You asked about my having been to Europe. No, but I am supposed to be on my way home now from a trip to Vienna, Brno, and Prague. COVID19 put a damper on that. Have been to Canada a fair amount, and Southern Mexico to Chiapas and Oaxaca. That is pretty stunning. There are a lot of places I’d like to go for sure. Quitting smoking will help bring that to fruition too.
If you’re still up and can’t sleep check out YouTube for things. That’s a time passer.
You won’t regret quitting in a year, but you’d likely regret going back to smoking. Just let your mind heal. It will be better before you know it. First thing I noticed at about a week was when I take a really deep breath I no longer have that little “catch “ near the end that was a tad painful. It is so good.
I'm working now, so can't reply properly. But thanks again for the gems you impart on every one of your posts (no pressure going forwards). You are so full of knowledge and insight
The thing you say about not wrestling with your addict sounds so true. I will try that and let you know.
Awww, your European trip sounds so good. I hope you get to do that soon, those are lovely places. And your PNW sounds lovely. I would love to see it, but there are so many places to choose from already...
And as for your current administration, I hope to talk politics with you on a political thread one day soon, because I'm massively into that. But yes, populists are everywhere and that is a worrying trend. We are not far behind you guys currently with our own brand of slightly more diluted populism. It's annoying and I can get passionate about these things. Makes you wanna smoke right?