You've been quit for awhile and feeling pretty confident that you're over the hump. You rarely think about smoking, and can easily say no to the idea of lighting up a death stick. That is, until today. Suddenly it seems like a good idea to have 'just one', and you have a knot of fear in your belly because of it. What the heck happened between yesterday and today? How did you lose all that resolve? Where did things go wrong?
The truth is there's probably nothing wrong. Some days are harder than others, or like my father used to say, "Some days you eat the bear; some days the bear eats you." The fact that your feelings or perspective about your quit have shifted doesn't necessarily mean your resolve has, too. Do you quit your job every time you feel like sleeping in, or break up with your partner every time they annoy you? We can't always be confident and strong in our quits; in fact, part of our success is learning to stay the course when our emotional scenery changes. Base your quit on fundamental concepts and principles, and accept that your feelings may change from time to time.
Here are some of the recovery principles I've built my own 21-year quit upon. Not all may resonate with you, so Take What You Need And Leave The Rest (that's the first principle of all):
Quitting Is A Process, Not An Event. You've initiated a process of change, and that's going to be happening for a long time. Roll with it.
Smoking Thoughts Are Not Commands. They're just thoughts, perfectly natural in the minds of those who have smoked for years. If we don't act on them, they'll eventually go away. Remember that it's impossible for you to relapse without your permission -- no power in the universe can force you to choose smoking.
You Are Not Alone. If you're thinking you might trip up, log onto www.quitnet.comand talk to another ex-smoker. Ask them what they do at times like this. Don't underestimate the powerful potential for change inherent in simply discussing your quit with other ex-smokers. It can be fun, too, and lead to rewarding relationships.
You Only Have To Stay Quit For Today. Yesterday is already in your success files, and tomorrow never comes. Today is the only day you'll ever have, and the only day you'll ever have to not smoke in.
You Make Your Own Odds. If your quit is your #1 priority today, if you're willing to do whatever it takes to not smoke today, your odds of success today are 100%. Keep The Quit #1, and you'll keep your quit.
You Don't Have to Quit Perfectly. As long as 51% of your smoke-free mind wants to stay quit, it doesn't matter that 48% of it may not want to -- that 2% difference is all that's needed. Few of us were certain that we wanted to quit at first; the certainty can often come long after our quit-dates, and disappear completely sometimes.
Quitting Smoking Is Only The Beginning. Be ready for recovery on multiple levels. Addictions are physical, mental, emotional and behavioral, and require some treatment in all areas. Ingrained habits and routines, thought patterns and physical responses need time and effort to change (that's where a support network, no matter how large or small, comes into the picture). Sometimes that change will be uncomfortable, but that discomfort will be your proof that you're on the right track.
Don't Listen to the Lie. Beware that little voice telling you that quitting is too hard, or not worth the effort. Believing that voice is how we all got into this pickle in the first place.
You Get Out Of Your Quit What You Put Into It. Every action you take in favor of your quit is 'money in the quit-bank' when you need it. And on days like this, you'll be glad you've been investing in your quit. Tonight, when you lay your smoke-free head on the pillow, you'll be a success -- no matter how you feel about it.
Alan P, CTTS-M