I shouldn’t have ignored the warning sign. But I did. I didn’t know better.
I’m addicted to tobacco – cigarette smoking specifically. My plan is to never smoke another fag again in my life. But just like alcoholics stay alcoholics for the rest of their lives – despite never touching an alcoholic drink again, someone like me will be a smoker for the rest of my life, ….I just won’t, never want to smoke again.
Started at age 14, because I wanted to be cool. Stopped briefly each time I was pregnant and breastfeeding – But I knew each time, when I stopped breastfeeding I’d restart the habit. A Long Time Ago I realized how bad smoking is for me. Because of that, I distinctly recall three occasions when I quit briefly. After each of those occasions, something very significant and traumatic happened in my life (e.g. getting divorced) and I relapsed. For some addicts, ‘that thing’ that you’re addicted to, whether it be smoking, drugs, alcohol or even sex/pornography represents a comfort mechanism. After the initial trigger that started the habit, your brain begins to associate your habit with ‘reward…. relaxation…. and ultimately comfort’ and then you’re addicted.
The fourth and longest time that I quit smoking for was from 2014 till 2017. I firmly believed that it was for good that time, plus I had the best reason and motivation ever to quit cold turkey – a cancer scare!
So when I experienced an insatiable craving that physically debilitated me in late December 2016 and early January last year, that should have been a big red glaring blaring blinking sign for me! A malfunction was in the process of happening…
Tonight on someone else’s blog I read the most eloquent explanation for this. John Cheese (I kid you not….. that’s truly the guy’s name! tough break uh) is a recovering addict too and explains how his body felt like it was screaming in pain. Your body tells you that you need this now. Your body convinces you, but it’s actually not your body – it’s your brain. John clarifies “it’s the broken cog in the brain — the mechanism that makes an addict“. There’s a pretty awesome TED talk I found that put ‘addiction‘ into perspective for me : https://www.ted.com/talks/johann_hari_everything_you_think_you_know_about_addiction_is_wrong/discussion?language=en
Post 2017’s introspection and self discovery, knowing myself the way I do now, if it happened now, I would have recognized that sign (the insane craving) signified that I was in very serious trouble with some aspect/s in my life. And I was…. before the trouble even properly surfaced in my life, I started feeling its presence. It was something I wasn’t equipped to deal with.
Because I didn’t consider myself an addict at the time, I did not recognize what actually was truly the most beautiful warning sign. I humbly and sincerely am in awe of how amazing our human intuition is, if only we would listen to it. So I relapsed again.
Anyway, I battled during last year – smoking on and off, feeling guilty, quitting, then feeling sad/lonely/scared and restarting when things felt overwhelming again. Like a yo-yo on steroids. Until I decided to just flipping quit quitting darn it! I’ll spare details and get to the bottom line. For the first time ever in my life I currently feel absolutely no pressure from anywhere and anyone (including myself) to quit smoking.
Thus I’ve decided it’s time to quit. Cold turkey again. Not for money, and not because I have pre-cancer again, not for my family or for other health reasons, and certainly not for any person either. I was completely off-guard today when the thought entered my brain. In-between the thought of “what’s for dinner” and “when must my car must go in for a service?”, I had the most random thought…. “the time is right to quit smoking“.
So I am Bronwyn and I am addicted to smoking. I am an addict. I’ll never escape the consequences of my addiction if I don’t admit that.
So Yes I am, but I’m a nonconformist too so I will just not smoke. And after my withdrawal symptom period is over, if I feel that craving again as strong as it was at the beginning of last year, then I’ll see it for exactly what it actually is next time. This time I’ll face the whatever fear or issue that ‘craving’ is drawing my attention to. And I’ll deal with the real problem next time.