Not smoking - a one hundred days, and counting, check-in

Here is a quick and brief check-in to mark 100 days, a common reporting date.

On my personal photography blog I wrote a little something, slightly more ranty and sweary than here, a consequence of how I am really feeling about the process right now. 

Early on I had a kind of euphoria, almost a mania possibly. I knew right from the start, I simply knew, that I wasn't going to fail, that kind of utter faith that I would be ok gave me a very positive upbeat energy, a bit self-fulfilling, possibly not really connected to reality, and of course as my faith in myself was proved right that energy grew or was refreshed, where it fell away I would soon remember I was no longer smoking, and could take that as an excuse for joy, a little pocketful of energy and pick me up.

One hundred days in that early euphoria has worn off, which is ok, some days now I don't really think of smoking or not smoking at all, it's like the 'this is a big thing' of it has passed.  What hasn't passed and returns in waves is a physical sensation in the back of my throat which is coming from the process of my lungs and throat healing, without the regular waves of hot acrid smoke I am getting used to what the back of a now healthy throat feels like, and when I do get a little cough or a cold now I really notice it.   Before stopping my throat and lungs were in a perpetual battle with the smoke which was so usual it went unnoticed, this new norm feels odd at times.  The absence of the constant euphoria that was there for a while is something I am really noticing at times now, its not something driving me back to smoking. I've always found this time of year hard as we look into winter, the 'feeling great at not smoking' energy that I did have for a while would be welcomed! 

As I mentioned above, I'm hardly thinking about smoking at all, so little that I couldn't count it, once or twice or day maybe, some days none at all - I guess it could be more often but if it is that has become unconscious or my learned response is kicking very effectively.  The mindfulness I need to bring now is around my eating - I have become more of a snacker, only marginally, but this has coincided with Jack going to school, which is a five minute walk there and back, rather than virtually one hour round trip of walking to nursery which I was getting until September.

In really basic steps then, here is what I did, and still have to do, in order to stay off cigarettes...

  • Be honest - have a recognition and acceptance of being an addict, knowing that will never change.
  • Be prepared to get through the difficult bit at the very start - I had my last cigarette in the morning on a day I knew I could afford to lose entirely, I observed the sensations going on in my body and experienced them fully throughout the most intense period of nicotine withdrawal - experiencing and bearing witness to every physical and mental feeling - 'the pain'
  • Thereafter reminding myself, when experiencing, 'the pain', that it is the sensation of becoming healthy and getting better - a cigarette will not provide that release to health and life.

This is a process of mindfulness and reframing, coming to a new relationship with the sensations both mental and physical of withdrawal such that I recognise having a cigarette is not a sustainable solution when, on occasion, my brain tells me that I wish to have one.

Always happy to chat...

Much love