Abstinence project continued

Day 3– still morning. Today I feel less confused, but it is early yet. I was doing well yesterday until midday, then the physical and psychological cravings began. It was a struggle to not light up.

It was a bit ironic today that the newspaper featured an article about the country becoming smoke free by 2050.

I also found it interesting that there was an opinion piece about Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s recent death, and the author indicated that Hoffman was selfish and that his many years of sobriety should have been enough to keep him from relapsing. It appears to be true that he had not used in many years, but all those years don’t erase the memory that the substances made us feel better, even if only temporarily and at great expense.  We LIKE our substances. Some of us that use mood altering substances do so because we ENJOY it. It makes us FEEL good. Yes it is too bad that what makes us feel good is also detrimental to our health. I wish I was able to smoke occasionally, but occasionally quickly becomes habitually. If only I enjoyed running, tennis, or eating as much as I enjoy smoking, but I don’t. Even these seemingly positive coping mechanisms can be abused when individuals  have addictive personalities. I know that long after my immediate desire for a cigarette has passed, I will still remember that it made me feel good and I liked it, but I have chosen not to do it. Those that use substances are often looked at as selfish, flawed, weak, and other negative adjectives, but many of us are doing the best that we can and need support, more so than name calling. It is likely that we don’t need others beating us up, as many of us are very adept at beating ourselves up when we continue using despite the negative consequences.

I have considered buying an e cigarette, but I really feel like that is cheating. Many substance users are not able to use even a recreational amount of their preferred substance, so in order to truly understand where they are coming from, I feel like I should do my best to refrain from nicotine all together, if possible.

Writing about it makes me really want to smoke.

Day 5- Still not smoking. I can’t say that I have had physical cravings, which really surprises me. When I quit smoking the other time, I recall having these  frequently. I often smelled smoke and tasted the menthol. I am still having to remind myself that I do not smoke, and have reached for my cigarettes when I would normally be smoking. It was such a routine in my life. For me, so far, that is the most difficult part; changing my routine. I am a very routine oriented person, so this aspect is challenging for me. My days feel different and wrong due to this change.

Yesterday I noticed it was much easier to not dwell on smoking while I was at work and busy. Some people at my work smoke, so when they returned to the building after a break I noticed that I did not like the smell, and was glad that I will not smell like this again. This fact is one of the only things that is keeping me smoke free; I may not be physically craving cigarettes, but I certainly am psychologically.

The psychological cravings are intense, powerful, and cause me to use a lot of positive self-talk to keep from lighting up. I have done this before, I can do it again, but do I want to? That part I am not positive about yet. It takes time to go from I need to do this, to I want to do this, to I will do this. I am in the need to, kind of want to, and have to for the sake of the assignment stage of the game. Many days I feel like I am just watching the clock, waiting for another smoke free day to end. There’s not much joy in wishing the hours away. I can see why idle time becomes a problem for individuals with addictions.

Normally, after finishing a post, I would treat myself to a smoke. I still haven’t found an effective replacement.

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