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Mind Games   Quit Support

Started Sep-19 by Loreficent; 1952 views.
Loreficent

From: Loreficent

Sep-19

Hi All,

Just to get the important piece out up front, I have not smoked. It’s over two years for me. 
However, for the last week-ish, my mind has been playing this game with itself. It is maddening! A little discouraging, though that part I can take in stride and know that ultimately the important thing is I haven’t smoked regardless of what my mind is doing. So I wanted to reach out and put this out there for a couple of reasons. One, I’m hoping a little wisdom from an old timer or two will help me put this to rest. Two, sometimes if I write something out and put it out there, it helps me get a more realistic perspective and things don’t escalate as much in my mind. So…..here goes…

Some of you know that I am making a very big move soon and moving overseas. I am beyond excited about it! It is a huge transition and total change of lifestyle for me. I retired from my job, a few years earlier than I originally thought I would, and have sold my house here in PDX. My partner of the last 14 and a half years and I have parted ways in the partnership sense, though he and I remain quite close and hopefully always will. We had lived together since September 2011, so when we moved from the house in June to separate places that was a huge transition in itself. But, he is a dyed-in-the-wool Portland boy and has never had any desire to travel much less leave here, and all of his family ties are here. For me, this is the longest I’ve been in one place since I moved out of my parents home when I was 20. My feet itch terribly and my wings are cramped severely at this point and it is past time for me to fly! I love the Pacific NW, but 18 years in one place is waaaay too long for me. 
With all of that, I have been telling myself that I should buy a pack of smokes to take with me when I move. Ugh!!! Ugh ugh ugh! Why?!?! As we all know, a smoker can rationalize better than anyone.  What this feels like are those old mind games from the first 6 months or so where we tell ourselves all these reasons why we should “have just one”. The reasons in my mind go something like this: 
“You can’t get your brand over there so you should take just one pack with you”. 


“You can have just one once you’re settled to celebrate “ (this thought in particular really pisses me off! rage)

“It will be good just to have the kind you like just in case” (In case of what???) Triple ugh. disappointed

So, those are the main thoughts that have circulated in and out. Like I said, it’s maddening. I am really hoping that some of you that are ahead of me in your quits can give me a little reassurance that this is normal. Whatever that means, lol. I know normal is a big grey spectrum. And my wiser rational mind does know that likely some of it is coming from the huge transitions in my life. Some of it is maybe just there because I will always be an addict…? Maybe most of it doesn’t really matter WHY  the thoughts are there and I just need to acknowledge and dismiss them…? 
I think one of my concerns is that you don’t see too many folks on here that have 2 and a half years under their belts playing these kinds of mind games with themselves and I absolutely do not want to become a smoker again!!! 
 

Anne you put some links to the CBQ lady, Nasia, and I have been watching some of her videos and they are excellent! Thank you. I do think I need to focus on redirecting my thoughts, or maybe changing the wording in my thoughts. I am wide open to thoughts from anyone here on why this might be happening, what to do with it, etc. 

It is quite humbling to come here at this point and write all of that. Honestly? It really sucks. But also honestly? I’m so incredibly happy to still be a part of this community where I do have a place to come and seek support, validation, guidance….maybe some laughs…. I really want to be in a place a few months from now where I am looking back and laughing at myself with this!!

Thank you all so much, and another great big thanks to Denim and now Cindi too for keeping this place going for all of us. 

  • Edited September 19, 2022 12:17 pm  by  Loreficent
AnnieXS

From: AnnieXS

Sep-19

Hi Lor:

I'm at work so I'll need to be brief. Every single thing you know and are comfortable with is changing. It is not surprising that those thoughts are creeping in because as awful as it is, we spent many years feeling like our smokes were our best friend. It's the one thing left that you are familiar with. 

I think with all these changes it is a normal. You are thinking about it but not acting on it.

Annies

Quit May 8, 2015 

AnnieXS

From: AnnieXS

Sep-19

Okay, back again.  :)

Two years in I was still triggered in high-stress situations and I still felt that lonely void at times.  As exciting as all of this is for you, there is a major stress component attached to all of these changes and the unknown.  This habit is something many of us carried with us for decades, what could be more familiar?  I feel very strongly that all of this drastic change is making you look for something you know quite well.  It was our blankie for a long time.

I don't think it sucks that you described your feelings at this particular point in time.  I know we cheer people along but this is the reality when you quit.  I think it is important for everyone to understand that even after years, you still have these moments that test you.  I'm over 7 years and once in a blue moon I will suddenly picture myself floating in the pool with a beer and a cigarette.  It just happens.  I do believe we are just like recovering alcoholics.  That said, you know you are just "thinking" about it right now so try not to be so hard on yourself.  Remember when we were going through the DT's?  Big difference.  I know these thoughts seem super scary because we know we don't ever want to go through that process again, but I believe if you allow yourself to understand it is really prompted by so much change, you can allow yourself to take a breath.  I would be thinking about them every second if I changed so many things in my life at once.  I'm an anxious girl.  I dream of doing such a thing so I really respect and envy you for making it happen!

Having some longer hours at work these days so this is not as thoughtfully written as I'd like it to be.

I hope this helps.

AnnieXS

Quit May 8, 2015

Loreficent

From: Loreficent

Sep-20

Oh Annie, yes! It helps a ton! Thank you so much.

This what you wrote right here: 
“I don't think it sucks that you described your feelings at this particular point in time.  I know we cheer people along but this is the reality when you quit.  I think it is important for everyone to understand that even after years, you still have these moments that test you.” 

I often get a bit apprehensive speaking about those moments, mainly because I don’t want to discourage folks that are just starting out. Thinking about it more now, on this side of over two years, knowing that these thoughts (particularly at times of adjustment) are normal is a huge relief and support. Actually it is encouraging to know you occasionally had these thoughts at this stage too.

Yes…cigarettes were my blankie for a long time. Yes, this is all incredibly exciting for me, and I can’t really think of one negative thing about it, but, yes….a huge amount of change. Oh my gosh. In this moment, I am able to laugh at myself a bit really, and am asking myself why wouldn’t I be having some of these thoughts? Such a relief. Everything you wrote has helped a ton. I’m so glad to have this in a bit of perspective! I know my addict pretty well, and that feeling of and awareness of the rationalization creeping in was all too familiar. A bit distant compared to how it was two years ago for sure, but, definitely familiar. I also know the best thing for me to do was to write it out and ask for support. As I wrote it I felt bad; kind of humiliated by myself and a bit mad at myself. Thinking how I should be far beyond any of those conniving type of thoughts.
 Now, mmmmmm. Yes. A big deep breath. Moving forward with yet another day under my belt as a non smoker. A new bit of enlightenment and acceptance within of myself. And one day closer to going! 
I’ve been in a small apartment with my 19 year old daughter and her girlfriend all summer. Though it’s been mostly fun having some time with her before I go, it has had its challenges too. We are all ready to have our own space.

What you wrote was exactly what I needed and incredibly thoughtful! Thank you so so much Annie. I hope the longer hours at work are an OK thing, at least for a little bit. I also hope you are taking care of yourself! 
Thank you!

hibiscussunflowerblush

Loreficent

From: Loreficent

Sep-20

Something else I just thought of….I had this hernia repair surgery on September 1st, and have not been able to go through my normal workout routine. I’m walking, but that is actually still kind of limited because I’m not totally upright, hahaha. As far as the weight work, well that’s out the window until I leave for overseas as I was instructed I cannot lift anything heavier than 8 pounds for six weeks! 
Working out and running had become my replacement for smoking. The further I get out from my quit, the more I have been doing both. Well, I haven’t worked at my job since the end of March so I was really able to get into the gym almost daily and up my workout game a lot. 
I have been watching some of those videos from Nasia with the CBQ method and one of the steps she recommends for folks quitting is basically to find a replacement that is positive. I realize my positive replacement that had mostly become my blankie is not possible right now, thus leaving even more room for that seductive little addict voice. 
So…now I can take even more deep breaths and be kind and more patient with myself, yay!

Here is my two cents worth of advice to any new person that happens to read this: 

Take to heart what Annie wrote and understand the reality of the situation that we created for ourselves when we became addicts. Don’t let this discourage you, rather take the challenge to turn it into something positive! You get to be in control again! Sure those thoughts are gonna crop up from time to time, and maybe even for a long time. They really are just thoughts.  Do not give the addict voice the wiggle room to be entertained by them. Just understand it is part of this process, acknowledge them with a little nod, and carry on. Ok, that was one cent. Here is the second cent thought…No matter what, commit to coming here first and writing something. Anything. Natter on! Lord knows I do, haha. They haven’t kicked me off yet. Seriously…this Forum will be your lifeline if you allow it to be. 
 

Also…it does help to write things out and sometimes we realize we actually have good advice even for ourselves joyjoy

  • Edited September 20, 2022 1:08 pm  by  Loreficent
Anne2020

From: Anne2020

Sep-20

Not to make light of your post but,  this made me laugh all day - its so true

“You can have just one once you’re settled to celebrate “ (this thought in particular really pisses me off! rage)

“It will be good just to have the kind you like just in case” (In case of what???) Triple ugh. disappointed

Take heart knowing we are all doing the exact same things.

Cheers

Loreficent

From: Loreficent

Sep-21

OMG Anne!!! 
Im glad it made you chuckle! It seriously was making me rageragerage. Who the heck invited that voice?! I was filled with dismay to be hearing those thoughts in my head. 
Celebrate??? With a smoke? Yuck! That’s kind of like going to one’s own slow execution. And then the other thought…”just in case”. I think I actually said out loud “In case of what?” That’s the point I realized I was spinning a web and needed to be very careful not to get myself caught up in it. 
Thank god you all are here. It helped so much to just get that out. And then after I wrote it I came across something you and Eve were saying that made me feel so much better just knowing I wasn’t alone with all of it! That was huge, as is what you wrote here to take heart as others are going through it too. 

I realize that for to come here and write something like that out is the best thing to do even if it is hard to admit. My mind will turn it all kind of ways and I just did not want to let those thoughts percolate any further. I’m feeling better now for sure, a little more able to trust myself again. Still…I won’t be letting my guard down any time soon. 
 

Thank you Anne!hibiscusblushmuscle

  • Edited September 21, 2022 2:25 am  by  Loreficent

Wow Lore, you really have some incredible changes coming up.  That is awesome.  And yes, I believe all of your thoughts are completely normal.  Last week I was on an ATV trip in NY with a bunch of friends (ALL smokers...including my husband).  The thought actually crossed my mind when we were sitting out on the cabin porch to just have one...you know, to hang out with my friends all drinking and smoking.  Just one.....

In the morning (all hungover of course) everyone was out on the deck again drinking coffee and smoking away.  Even being outside with them, I thought I was going to puke.  I went back inside the cabin and it was just too hot, so I went back outside with the smokers...UGH....I couldn't get away from it.  I ended up just going for a walk to get away from the nastiness.  But then again, that night sitting around having drinks, the thought came back again to just have one.

Thank God (or some higher power) that I was able to push these thoughts away.  I would have been so upset with myself if I got home and was smoking 2 packs a day again.  I don't think these junky thoughts will ever totally leave us...it's just easier now to push them away and know that we are NON-SMOKERS now.  I didn't even think about the fact that every single person going on this trip smoked.  Oh well, it's over now.  You got this my friend.... I'm also so excited for you on your upcoming future.  Sounds AMAZING!!!!

AnnieXS

From: AnnieXS

Sep-21

Hi Lor:

Okay, that is a big one... not being able to work out.  That sheds an entirely new light on things.  I have had some issues in the last month which have prevented me from working out and it negatively impacts me on multiple levels.  I lack energy and feel like my body is deteriorating before my eyes at this point in my life.  I don't do this for vanity anymore.  I do this because I like to be able to move and can feel my bones losing calcium by the day.  Most of all, I'm anxious, cranky, and easily stressed.  Doing my yoga and light weight training takes the edge off that I need in order to give the appearance of an emotionally balanced person. ;)  That is definitely the biggest issue which is making you think about smoking.  I'm not discounting everything else going on in your life but that one is at the top of the list.  You are meticulous in your writing and highly intelligent.  You just needed a sounding board.

I always recommend meditation but feel like a complete hypocrite because I haven't been able to master it when not in a group setting.

When do you get to start exercising again?  Where will you be living?  I can live vicariously through you. :)

I think it's good for newbies to see that this is the reality.  I've gotten past the just one thoughts because I made that mistake too many times to count, but as Anne can attest, we all have thoughts about smoking from time to time.  Some people are done for good and don't have them but others do.  I'm one who still does.  It certainly no longer runs my life and is infrequent but none the less, pops up at unforeseen moments here and there.  It's a journey.  It taught me patience which I never had.  It infuriated me, but I eventually succumbed and knew  had to let it run its course for however long that was going to take.  It was not a quick ride to the club house but for me, that was part of the beauty of this process after I was actually able to access it as a rational person. :)  You work REALLY hard for it so you know, even when those moments arise, that you never want to be back where you started.   

AnnieXS

Quit May 8, 2015  

Loreficent

From: Loreficent

Sep-22

Hi Cindi,

Thank you for all of this. Wowza! That is quite a situation you were in with that trip! I haven’t been around smokers much at all. I’m not sure I could have spent several days like that and come through unscathed. And heat on top of it? Oh my. 
Yes, everything you said about how you would feel resonates with me. I absolutely do not want to throw this time away and start all over. I’m like Douglas. If I make that choice to have one, I know I am making the decision to have thousands. No thank you. 
It is a huge help to know others have these thoughts. Once I feel “normal”, then I have the fuel I need to deal with that addict voice much better. 
Boy…those rationalizations. They came out of nowhere and just nagged and nagged. They dissipated a good deal just by writing that all out, and then a good deal more reading what Eve and Anne said in another thread. Annie’s support was amazing, as was that from Douglas, Anne, and you.
This Forum is really something. I am eternally grateful for all of you and this space to be with others that have made and are still making this journey. 

Thank you Cindi!

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