"FILLING THE PAGES" by Eric (repost)
Posted 07 April 2009 - 09:17 PM
Following is a post by Eric (a.k.a. ucanquit) called "FILLING THE PAGES".
FILLING THE PAGES by Eric
A common topic a quitter might talk about since they quit smoking, is the fact that there seems to be void in their life now. Now that they're not smoking it feels as if the days have grown longer and they are unsure of how to fill this time. Sometimes this can actually put stress the new quitter, because this is so unfamiliar to them.
Cigarettes have been so deeply intertwined in their life for so long, that the new quitter is constantly being reminded that they no longer smoke just from everyday activities.
They may ask how do they unwind after work now that they don't smoke? How do they deal with stress, now that they don't smoke? How do they punctuate finishing a task now that they don't smoke?
For the smoker, that cigarette after finishing a task was like putting the period at the end of sentence. Now that they don't smoke, daily tasks can just feel like a long running sentence with no punctuation.
The cigarette was also like the smoker's pause button. If they needed to concentrate on doing something or were under a stressful situation. They would step back, smoke a cigarette and think about how to resolve the problem. Now that they don't smoke, there doesn't seem to be a pause button for the quitter. That magic button that says" Whoa give me a minute" is now gone. Now they are just left with the situation and a very unfamiliar way that they now have to deal with it without the cigarette.
One thing that should be pointed out though, is that we have lived our lives and dealt with stress DESPITE smoking, NOT because of it.
There was a fellow quitter that was talking about this and it was really stressing her out. She was having a hard time dealing with stress and everyday scenarios without smoking. She was getting discouraged about this and felt that her life just felt kind of empty since she quit. She felt that there was now a void in her life.
One thing she said though, that I thought was an interesting way to look at it, was that she said that since she quit smoking, was that she felt she now had to rewrite her life.
When I read this, for some reason it reminded me of someone writing a screenplay about the day in the life of a smoker. This is what it might say.
THE DAY IN THE LIFE OF A SMOKER.
I'm just making this up, but let's just say this is how your typical day when you smoked would look like.
You wake up. Smoke a cigarette. You get ready for work. Smoke a cigarette. You have breakfast. Smoke a cigarette. You get in your car and drive to work. Smoke a cigarette. You get to work. Smoke a cigarette before going inside. You go to coffee break at work. Smoke a cigarette. You go to lunch. Smoke a cigarette. You go to second break. Smoke a cigarette. Maybe something stressful happens at work. Sneak out and smoke a cigarette. After work, as you drive home, you smoke a cigarette. You get home and unwind. Smoke a cigarette. You cook dinner. Smoke a cigarette. After eating dinner. Smoke a cigarette. Have a glass of wine or beer and of course smoke a cigarette. Watch TV. Smoke a cigarette. Get ready for bed. Smoke a cigarette. Before going to bed. Smoke a cigarette.
Let's say that it took 5 pages to write the screenplay "In the daily life of (anonymous)."
Now that you don't smoke, you're not so much rewriting your daily life, but more of editing out a lot of useless dialog in your screenplay that isn't needed to tell the story.
The problem is that now after all that editing, what use to take 5 pages to tell the story, now only takes 3 pages. Now you still have 2 blank pages that you're carrying around with you and you don't know what to do with them. This can cause anxiety. You have been so used to writing your daily life with 5 pages that writing it with only having to use 3 pages feels like there is a void in the story.
Really take a look at the dialog that you edited though and put that down on the 2 remaining pages.
Here's what it would say: Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. Smoke a cigarette. etc, etc.
You can see how useless this dialog is. It doesn't even help tell your story and on it's own it makes no sense. It's just repeated blabber.
You have two choices now. You can either take these pages and just throw them away, because you no longer need them anymore. Or you can take these two remaining pages and add something to your story. Something that maybe you've wanted to add for sometime now, but just have never done it, because this addiction was taking up those two pages. These two pages are no longer being wasted on telling the story of your addiction. They are now yours to tell any story that you wish to tell.
It isn't so much that since you quit smoking, that there is a void in your life. It is more that smoking created that void, because it took away from you. That was YOUR time being wasted, it was NOT being filled. Now that you have freed yourself from cigarettes, don't think of it as leaving a hole in your life. Think of it as giving back the endless possibilities of living life as YOU again.
Also don't think that you need a cigarette to deal with life's stress.
It isn't that you were able to deal with stress better when you smoked. It's just that you've done it for so long that way, that you are having to relearn how to do it without cigarettes. It's new and unfamiliar. Smoking under stress was a combination of relieving withdrawal, but it also gave you a minute or two to reflect on what was causing the initial stress.
If you're under stress and where the times you would smoke a cigarette, what I would do is stop. Step back and give yourself a moment just like you would do when you smoked, but now breathe deeply, calm yourself and focus on what you need to do to alleviate what is causing the stress.
Don't feel that if you're under stress that you have to attack it head on because cigarettes are no longer there to buffer what it happening. You can very easily do this without smoking. You can step back and give yourself a moment to collect yourself and you can do it without cigarettes. They are a useless middleman and you know that cigarettes don't relieve stress. They only relieve withdrawal. They don't deserve that kind of credit.
You should be proud of yourself, because you have taken your pages back.
The pages are yours now. Fill them any way you choose
- Beacon, SickofCigs9813, Kate18 and 4 others like this
Not One Puff since March 2, 2008
Posted 23 January 2010 - 02:58 PM
These days, although I am happy with my lower nervousness, I am angry at my extra 10kgs that just happened within one week. I am not happy about not fitting my pants anymore. I only have two pairs to wear now. Two pairs of pants in my closet as I don't want to spend money buying more just to have weight disappear on me .... not happy that my oesophegus is coming out my throat and medication doesn't work so I need to go to a hospital and have somehing stuck down my throat ... I haven't written any poetry, haven't had my meditation time, haven't had any desire to practice my new clear voice in song ...
I don't feel optimistic like the author. I will keep my quit, but I am not happy at the side effects. It's a bit boring, too.
I feel that I used to fill the pages more then.
I am happier for not smoking, as it's a big deal. Just a bit deflated I guess.
I mean, I'd like to spend that extra 800 bucks I have down there on the counter, but, it's the same old s***, and I haven't got extra money, you know?
- mayflowerpub likes this
Posted 23 January 2010 - 03:23 PM
Congrats on your 82 days of freedom. Maybe the following article will fit you better. If you think you can or you think you can't, you are right. You CAN for sure.
BELIEVING IN THE CIGARETTE by ERIC (from the NEWBIE PACKAGE on the Main Board)
I used to believe that quitting smoking was the hardest thing that I have ever tried to do. I used to believe that I was a hopeless addict that would die a smoker.
I have tried to quit smoking so many times that I have lost count and every single failed attempt only added validity to what I already knew.... that quitting smoking was impossible.
It wasn't until I learned about nicotine addiction, that I realized something. It wasn't necassarily quitting smoking that was so hard to do. It was quitting believing in cigarettes that was hard to do.
See, I used to believe in the cigarette.
I used to believe that cigarettes kept me calm. The truth though, is that nicotine is a stimulant. Everytime I smoked a cigarette, it raised my hearbeat by about 20 beats more a minute. Smoking constricted my arteries and not only that, but the carbon monoxide from the cigarette was basically poisoning my blood's ability to carry oxygen. Creating an even greater strain on my heart. How could I be calm, when I was putting this kind of strain on my body over 40 times a day, everyday?
I used to believe that cigarettes relieved my stress. Little did I know that smoking created a lot of stress. The whole business of smoking is relieving an anxiety that the previous cigarette created.
After each cigarette that I smoked and the nicotine metabolized. Nicotine being able to fit my adrenaline locks, pumped adrenaline though my bloodstream leaving me with a slight fight or flight feeling. I was left with a heightened anxiety, an antsy feeling that I didn't like. My mind and body were being fooled into thinking that something was wrong, like I was in danger when in reality there was nothing wrong. My subconscious figured something out though. Smoking a cigarette would relieve that anxiety. Not knowing that it was being tricked and also looking out for my best interest. It would say " Smoke a cigarette and you'll feel better." So I would smoke a cigarette, relieve that anxiety and start the whole viscious cycle over again. The only stress I was relieving, was the stress that the previous cigarette created.
Not only that, but whenever I was under stress. It caused a physiological reaction that caused nicotine to get pulled from my bloodstream. So now was I not only under stress, I had a compounded problem of being in drug withdrawal. So I would smoke a cigarette, "feel better" and think "Oh, smoking helped me relieve some of my stress." The reality is though, it did nothing but relieve drug withdrawal. A compounded anxiety, that should have never been there in the first place. Nothing changed after smoking that cigarette. What ever caused my initial stress was still there. The only difference was that I had temporarily pacified the monkey on my back.
I used to believe that smoking made me happy. Sadly, smoking causes a form of depression. Sure, I can say that smoking releases dopamine, BUT that is only part of the story. Being the amazing machine that it is. My brain needed to regulate how much dopamine was being released. It couldn't regulate nicotine as it was a foreign substance(poison). So it had no other choice, but to turn down it's own sensitivity to releasing dopamine. My own natural neurotransmitters were being hijacked, forcing me to rely a lot more on the cigarette just to "feel good" or more accurately, feel nicotine normal. The truth was, I was happy DESPITE SMOKING and not because of it.
I used to believe that smoking was social. This makes me laugh now, because how can smoking be social? Was it social when I had to put my life on hold to put a stop to drug withdrawal? Was it social when I had to wash my hands, because I was embarassed about stinking like a cigarette? The only time that smoking was even remotely social was when I smoked around other smokers and that was because misery loves company.
I used to believe that cigarettes were the perfect companion to alcohol. Besides stress, this one was a doozy for me. Oh how I used to think, " If I only smoked when I drank. I would be a happy smoker." Even though this illusion was much craftier than a lot of the other ones. It was still an illusion.
The truth is that much like stress, alcohol created a physiological reaction that pulled nicotine out of my bloodstream at an accelerated rate. Unlike like stress though, whatever anxiety I was feeling from drug withdrawal was being masked by the intoxication from the alcohol. So even though I was relieving an accelerated drug withdrawal, I wasn't aware of it, because I wasn't feeling the anxiety that stress causes. I still love my beer and it sure tastes a lot better now that I don't have to chase it with a cigarette.
Whenever I quit smoking and saw people smoking. I used to believe that they got to smoke and I didn't. The truth is, Smokers HAVE to smoke to "feel normal". They HAVE to smoke to keep the anxieties of not smoking at bay. They HAVE to smoke keep the compounded problem of drug withdrawal from happening 20, 30,40 time plus a day. They do not GET to smoke. Thankfully I no longer HAVE to do that.
I no longer believe in the cigarettte. I used to. I used to belive that cigarettes did something for me. I know better now. They only DO TO ME.
Probably a quitter's biggest obstacle is fear and a lot of times that fear has a double edge sword. The fear of failure and the fear of success. We don't want to fail, because we want to finally rid ourselves of this addiction, BUT at the same time, if we succeed, that means that we will never "get" to smoke again.
Don't be afraid to quit smoking. Don't fear relapse. You can never relapse if you don't smoke and smoking again is aways YOUR choice, not some "Nicodemon's".
Don't be afraid to succeed either. Being successful doesn't mean that you'll never GET to smoke anymore. It means that you'll never HAVE to smoke again.
I read a quote in a book a while back that really stuck with me.
It said " Fear is only misguided faith."
Quit putting faith in cigarettes and you might be surprised how much easier quitting smoking can be.
Quitting smoking is a temporary adjustment, but it just that....TEMPORARY. FREEDOM IS FOREVER!!!
Be patient with yourself. This really is the greatest gift that you are giving yourself. Sometimes it just takes a little time to unwrap it.
I Freed myself 7/7/04
- SickofCigs9813 and Maureen like this
Not One Puff since March 2, 2008
Posted 23 January 2010 - 09:57 PM
Posted 24 January 2010 - 07:45 AM
But then I think clearly about it. I go to someplace I can't smoke, and I don't spend the entire time waiting until I can leave so I can smoke. I sit around and hours go by and I don't even think of smoking. Instead of wondering how I could have run through a whole carton - 200 freaking cigarettes - so quickly.
Quitting smoking has sucked for me. It's getting better too slowly for my impatient self. But I know I am winning, and I know I can go go hours without wanting a cig. And I love that freedom so much.
Embrace the freedom. It's so real.
Posted 24 January 2010 - 03:21 PM
And for the record no HAS to Get Freee. It is anyone's choice to either smoke or not smoke. But if they do make the decision to not smoke. It is not a gray area. It is back and white no smoking. My posts aren't about people having to do anything. But if the person made the choice to quit smoking, it is far more easier to swim with where the current goes than to try to swim against it, which will cause suffering.
The worst thing that a person could do is quit smoking and then sit there and wait for something to happen, because nothing will. Except the mind will start to wander and create all kinds of uncomfortable, depriving, emotional thoughts that can make quitting terrible. I know this from my own experience as this is how all my past quits were...miserable.
If we're pissed off about quitting, then that's what we'll experience, conflict, but if we accept it wit the good and the bad it makes quitting much easier.
- Beacon likes this
Posted 24 January 2010 - 04:02 PM
All happens with a reason and i must learn to accept it and walk through it.
Pardon my English, it is not my mother tongue.
- lizasaidwot likes this
I am a puff away from a pack a day!!
Posted 24 January 2010 - 05:11 PM
Good point. I never thought of it this way. Tomorrow is the big day for me and due to slight weight gain in the past, it's a worry of mine. I keep trying to remind myself that my body has to adjust and it is only temporary. Your thought gives me more ammunition. Thanks.
Posted 24 January 2010 - 05:52 PM
Whatever weight gain i have experienced during my quit, i can chose to take it off by creating opportunities to do so or i can just keep on feeding a different demon.................
What is important for me to know is that i have the power to change. I have the power to be helped and to help others.
I am a puff away from a pack a day!!
Posted 26 January 2010 - 10:44 PM
I think I am being a knob Eric. Sorry, Bro. You are a big help to many people here who are trying hard to remove their addiction. Thanks for that.
LOL well sorry about my writing. It's a take it or leave it type thing. I think that there was another person on the board who was a teacher that corrected my sentence structure and reposted it somewhere. Well anyways, sometime during school I have to take English, so maybe that will help.
Posted 27 January 2010 - 02:31 PM
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