Recovery from Nicotine Addiction: Then vs. Now

Dana earns her yellow belt in karate. Dana

Dana's story is a great example of how old associations to smoke can pop up years after we quit. The thoughts are fleeting, and recognized for what they are, are actually an opportunity to take stock of just how far we've come and how much better life is without the smokescreen of addiction clouding it.

Congratulations on three years of smoke-freedom Dana, and on all of the positive changes you've made in your life since quitting. Thanks for sharing your story.

From Dana:

A funny thing happened this morning...

My broken brain tried to tell me that I was better off, A.K.A. "that life was oh so much easier" back when I was smokin' and drinkin' instead of all this *whines* hard self-improvement WORK!!! I wallowed in that for about 30 seconds. It didn't take long to get honest with myself about how it REALLY was back then. The guilt/shame/remorse/self-pity... that was no way to live. Who am I kidding!? I do not want to go back to that dark self-destructive path I was on.

No, if I'm being honest... THIS is a far better path. I get like that though when I'm doing serious self-work, which I am currently. It's hard, but it is SO worth it! It's important for me to remember, really remember, that while I was smoking (or whatever) I was also wishing that I didn't do that - saying to myself that tomorrow would be different, gonna turn over a new leaf tomorrow...

yes, I lived in tomorrow-land and it never came.

When I look at the road in front of me now and get scared by how long and twisted it is, I have to remind myself to look in the rear view mirror and see just how far I'm come! Enjoy the journey. Easier said than done sometimes, but I keep saying it.

The difference between three years ago and now is...

Three years ago that broken brain (junkie) thinking would have wrecked my day. I would have been spinning on that. Will it ever get better?? When will these cravings go away?? Am I always going to "miss" smoking?

Today I am not spinning. I know the answers to these questions and so much more. IT HAS GOTTEN BETTER, WAY BETTER than I could have ever imagined. The cravings went away! It's been a long time since I "craved" a cigarette - dare I say it's been years?! Wow, back then I never thought I'd be able to say that. And I do NOT miss smoking, not one bit! What I miss is.... an escape, an outlet from life - but life still happens and I've learned new ways to deal with life. It started right here on this forum.

Did I tell you I started karate about three months ago? Now there is a much healthier and much more rewarding way to "escape" life's disappointments for a little while. It's fun trying new things! Because I CAN... and I feel good about it. You can be sure there is no guilt, shame, remorse, or self-pity after I spend an hour at the dojo.

I'm over it - I was literally over those junkie thoughts in about 30 seconds, what would have lasted all day three years ago. And I actually laughed at myself! I laughed out loud on the inside, and let out an audible giggle on the outside. I only bring it up here now because perhaps someone who reads this will feel a sense of HOPE. We hear all the time that "it gets better" - I am living proof of that. Hang in there!

All the best,

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