Traditional Quitting Methods Got You Down? Support is Here
Some folks smoke in secret. They may “succeed” in life, they may not. They may be brilliant young students, wives, husbands, major film stars, retail sales clerks, clerics. Secret smokers may fool some of their peers, their families.
Others smoke openly, defiantly. Courteous nicotine addicts may take great care to keep their toxic fumes away from babies, bundles of hay, non-smoking friends and neighbors.
Still they smoke. Why? Once hooked, addicts avoid what they fearfully perceive will be – at least initially – intense pain, anxiety, if they were to quit.
Some people seek therapy, groups, medications, religion. They assure their significant others when they relapse, “I did everything I was supposed to do. I followed the procedures. I sought help. I prayed. I took my meds as directed. I was blindsided. I’m simply incapable of stopping – even with support, meds, prayer. I, therefore, give up. Do you have a light?”
Yes. There’s lots of light: even an amoeba will flinch from pain. When a homo sapiens connects pain to his or her own nicotine-laden plight, he or she will immediately seek to escape it, to end it, avoid it. We as individual human organisms, will – like all living organisms on this planet – do whatever we can do with impunity, if something feels good to us individually. Our primitive hind brains want more because this means life for the organism, not death. It ain’t necessarily so.
Exerting one’s willpower in the face of pain isn’t our only choice, when it comes to addiction. Unlike amoebas, we have frontal lobes and we can use them to arrest our addictions to nicotine.
We can make this easier on ourselves (there’s enough pain in life to go around) by taking advantage of the fact that we have frontal lobes as well as hind brains and – via our frontal lobes – we can communicate with our hind brains in “language”, i.e., imaginative feelings that our hind brains can understand.
For instance, we can gradually withdraw from the grip of nicotine as we pen lists of short term and long term painful negatives that nicotine consumption has brought us. We can deliberately think about these painful cigarette-negatives while allowing ourselves to imagine the short- and long-term pain that typically results from these negatives. We can reach out for help while at the same time realizing that no one can crawl inside us to keep us from lighting up.
We can do this because we see that we’ve continued to smoke in order to avoid pain; now we withdraw from nicotine and stay off cigarettes in order to avoid pain. Let’s give ourselves a break. Cancer is not cool, heart attacks can be fatal and difficulty in breathing can be painful.
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