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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?
You’re likely through your work day already. I’m about an hour into mine. I work 12 hour shifts that generally turn into about 13.
So far things are waking slowly here. Funny as I went out to my back deck with my coffee this am and had a 20-30 second tsunami crave. It passed quickly. After, I was able to sit in the crisp, fresh morning air and listen to the birds waking. It was really nice. There was a Woodpecker somewhere close drumming a beat and I kept wondering if he was foraging for a morsel or communicating with a further off mate.
Looks like a beautiful day coming about here. It is supposed to be up to 84 degrees tomorrow and I’m happy I’ll be off.
Hope you got through the day unscathed by the “monster”. Folks call it the Nicodemon. I tend to view it as something that is incorporated within my mind and not something external. Makes it a tad easier when I realize I’m struggling with myself. Myself I can handle...it is the external forces that are out of our control.
The picture above is a magnet on my fridge that I’ve had a long time. I think I might post it in with the daily NOPE pledge as well.
I didn’t take the daily NOPE on here my first few weeks as it seemed at the time it required a “being certain of myself” commitment that I wasn’t quite ready for. Then I started with a “won’t smoke today” pledge, which has now morphed into going along with the “ever”.
I don’t want to be a smoker again. I also don’t want to become one of the self righteous Ex-smokers we are all familiar with. I hope to retain empathy of what being an addict to nicotine involves and what it takes to overcome it. That’s how we can support others best.
Your empathy seeps through everything you write Lori. Your soul reeks of it, so I feel you have nothing to fear in terms of losing it. I imagine this rings true for you on the wider spectrum of life also, and not just in your empathy for us nicotine addicts.
And I would happily read anything you have ever written. That description of your morning was sunny, warm and beautiful. I'd have loved to have been there, away from the stress I sometimes have in juggling home working with trying to help my wife out with some very childish behaviors and needs in my lovely children...so have you ever written a book or anything like that?
Anyways, I got through my working day without many cravings. They mostly do leave me alone now. I often bring them onto myself in fact, by pointing out silly things like how there is no queue at the tobacco counter when I am out shopping. That sows the seed. It is the epicentre of the earthquake, whose tsunami works its way slowly towards my house, slower than how I travel there in fact, only for the cravings to engulf me hours later and almost completely overwhelm me again, and make me wonder where on earth all of that pain started and why it worked its way to the surface again, just when I thought I was clear.
I do need to go find this NOPE pledge you mention. I think I've been a bit spoilt as so many lovely people have visited here and offered me their support. But I need to venture out more.
And I like this picture you posted. Reminds me, I used to want to light up anytime I saw a picture of anyone smoking. Or on tv. I think I'm over that now?
Lori - I am not following the meaning of this pic .. An attractive person smoking ... Makes smoking look attractive.
... Makes one actually want to smoke, not quit.
What am I missing here?