I get sad whenever I read about someone that relapses after rocking an awesome quit for weeks or months. I quit smoking 290 days ago and I'm extremely confident I'll never smoke again. Things were a little different on day 142 though. That's the day I almost smoked a cigarette.....
I have been romanticizing the cigarette for about a week now. I've been daydreaming about the simple joy of holding a cigarette between my fingers, the wonderful tobacco smell of a freshly opened pack, and the feeling of euphoria when taking that first drag. Mmmm....just thinking about it makes my pulse quicken in glorious anticipation.
W. T. F.
This is day 142! I'm "this close" to 5 months. 6 months (HALF A YEAR!) is within spitting distance. How the hell could I let myself get so damn complacent that I'm having thoughts like this? For the most part, my quit has been on auto-pilot for the last couple of months. I stopped actively "quitting" a long time ago. I didn't feel the need, or desire, to spend hours a day reading/posting about nicotine addiction like I did the first several weeks of my quit.
I've lost my motivation and I'm tired of fighting. THAT right there scares the crap out of me. I do NOT want to be a smoker again. I will NOT be a smoker again. I REFUSE to be a smoker again. It is time to fix this thing and get my head back in this quit.
During the early days of a new quit everything is so exciting. You are doing a Good Thing and it's AWESOME! YOU are AWESOME! Loved ones shower you with praise! Strangers on the internet tell you how wonderful you are! You can suddenly smell and taste All The Things! People at work give you high fives and fist bumps! There are parades in your honor! The mayor gives you the key to the city! TMZ hounds you for an interview! Life is FREAKING AMAZING!!!
And then, a few weeks or months later…..things change. Family and friends begin treating you the way they did before you quit. No more high fives. No more fist bumps. No one asks about your quit anymore. Even the paparazzi stop following you around. This “thing” (your quit) isn't fun anymore. Yeah, it’s gotten a lot easier to not smoke but you still sometimes get cravings from hell and you are SO TIRED of fighting. So tired. You feel lonely. You start to hear whispers in your head. It's a voice you thought you silenced a while ago. “Why don’t you just smoke one? It will taste and feel so good. You know you can quit anytime you want.” (My Inner Junkie has a seductive bedroom voice like Barry White and looks like a more sinister version of Wile E. Coyote. Stop judging me!)
Relapse was a very real option for me on day 142 (I'm on day 290 now). I am VERY thankful that I turned things around before it was too late. Some folks don’t. They smoke a cigarette and then a beautiful quit is lost…up in smoke.
I am only posting this to remind everyone, myself included, that we can never let our guards down. I KNOW why I got close to relapse. The reasons are as plain as day to me now:
1. I stopped educating myself about my addiction.
2. I greatly decreased the time I spent on this site because I didn't think I needed a support group any longer.
3. I let a small seed of negative thought (daydreaming of smoking a cigarette) grow until it became a Really Bad Thing.
4. I fooled myself into thinking I wasn't an addict any more.
What did I do to get my quit back on track?
1. I re-read all the newbie info here and at whyquit.com
2. I read Allen Carr’s book. (I read a little bit each day over the course of a couple of months. It was a good daily dose of inspiration.)
3. I recommitted to spending time on this site reading and helping out where I could.
4. I admitted to myself that I was always going to be an addict. I can NEVER become complacent again.
5. I stopped random smoking thoughts IMMEDIATELY whenever I realized what I was thinking about.
Have you come close to relapsing? What did you do to avoid it?
Have you relapsed after a weeks or months long quit? If so, why did it happen and what are you doing now to make sure it doesn't happen again?