Reflections at One Year Smoke-Free

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Simon

Simon's one year smoke-free milestone account is especially poignant because it touches on the often hidden reasons why we engage in the self-destructive behavior that smoking is. It's common to think that our years of smoking is only about physical addiction to nicotine, but it almost always goes deeper than that. 

Thanks for sharing from your heart Simon, and congratulations on all of the healing that has taken place for you this past year.

Note:  The Feb-U-Warriors Simons refers to is the group he quit with at the About.com Smoking Cessation Support Forum.

From Simon:

As I write this, I am a few hours away from completing one year of being a non-smoker. I am standing on the porch of the clubhouse. My fellow Feb-U-Warriors who have made it thus far are already inside as I am, by date, the last in our group to complete. Didz, Jay, Eileen, Frances, Lola and Dave are waiting on the other side of the clubhouse door. I can feel them there and I can feel myself about to join them. Now, in this quiet moment before crossing the threshold into celebration, I can pause, reflect on my journey, and share some of it with you.

It has been really, really difficult at times for me to stay quit. But then, hey, we all know it’s difficult, don’t we? I’m not telling you anything you don’t know, but maybe I am reaffirming to myself the simple-on-the-outside-but-complicated-on-the-inside truth about my relationship with nicotine.

  

The paradox with smoking, as I see it, is that generally we all know it’s bad for us but, more often than not, we choose to continue to do it, and find it very difficult to quit and stay quit even in the face of terrible physical side-effects. It seems so irrational and I think that’s what puzzles and perplexes most non-smokers.

They tend to see the “physicality” of the addiction.

Non-smokers will think “Just give up, it’s bad for you”. Smokers will know this rationally but will irrationally continue.  Why that is intrigues me. Why did I choose to smoke for 35 years when for most of that time I knew on some level that it was damaging me?

I made a pledge to myself at the start of my journey a year ago. My pledge was to explore. This promise came from a single line in one of the introductory articles that I read on this wonderful site which said, “Explore your relationship with smoking”. This resonated with me strongly, and I felt that if I were to succeed in this quit then I needed to explore as many aspects of my relationship with smoking as I possibly could.

I knew on a physical level a hundred reasons why I ought to quit but I realised I needed to go to another level, which in fact has turned out to be other levels! I instinctively knew that the root causes of my 35-year addiction lay in me, in my emotional and psychological make-up.

The more I have explored and uncovered about myself, the more I have been able to understand my emotional and psychological attachments to smoking. This has led to increased awareness, which in turn has made the process of quitting ultimately easier albeit at times seemingly more difficult.

When I say awareness, I am talking about painful but necessary awareness of my denial, my fear, my shame, my complicity and my emotional attachment to disappointment, rejection and loneliness. I am also talking about the liberating awareness of direction, connection, love and purpose. These are some of the aspects I have uncovered in myself over the past year as I saw through the smokescreen which smoking had provided for me and which had obscured the mirror showing me who I really am.

The smoking me was not prepared to look at myself and my habit allowed me to be blind to self-awareness. Smoking kept me hidden from myself, but with the smokescreen gone, I have been able to look honestly and openly into the mirror and reflect. I have not only seen pain but also hope. It has been a liberating experience and one that has given me positive personal change.

Joining the Forum Family was one of the best things I could have done to prepare me for the road ahead. To my brave band of fellow Feb-U-Warriors and everybody from different groups as well as Forum Angels in the guise of moderators, I acknowledge all you have done in getting me to where I am today. Your support, advice, camaraderie and understanding create a structure in which I feel safe and this has been a powerful force in my quit. Thank you to everybody. You are amazing and I am proud of you as well as you helping me to feel proud about myself.

I will close now. I will enjoy my moment and I will celebrate my achievement. We can ALL do this. We ALL have it in us to succeed, and to those of you who are reading this I congratulate your achievements however many days, weeks, months or years they may be measured in. Long may our success continue.

Sending light and love to your day,

Simon

More from Simon:  Confident and Determined to Succeed - Simon's Six Month Milestone

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