How to Stay Nicotine Free in the Face of Pain

Jim Christopher Health Guide
  • Lots going wrong for me lately: I was stood up by a person I deeply admire; patches of eczema are returning in this warm weather, despite dermatological treatment; glaucoma is a nuisance; arthritis is annoying and – worst of all – I fear Miles, my beloved pooch companion of over a decade – a cancer survivor – is dying.  Such is life.  The need for a cigarette or alcohol is non-existent.  Why?  Like countless others in recovery, I’ve got a powerful arrest of these respective chemical addictions, so much so that my reaction to negatives – both trivial and severe negatives – has for many years been redirected from a knee-jerk need for a cigarette and/or a drink to other reactions, feelings and behaviors.  The “I don’t drink or use no matter what” centerpiece of my recovery has been incorporated into and absorbed by my psyche.  As the ancient saying goes, the aforementioned “proof is in the pudding.”

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    Does that mean I’m cured, my addiction is extinguished, and I’ll light up and hoist a cold one?  So far I’ve not succumbed to such unmitigated stupidity.  My feeling self and rational self have been re-educated, restructured so long as I realize that – although I’m very comfortable in these shoes – so to speak – I’d be life-and-death wise to keep wearing them.


    One’s life continues – including pain, loss, joy, gains – until it’s run its course.  I’m often comforted by deliberately focusing on what I have going for me, while still acknowledging and respecting my current reality.  Sometimes – even with the best intentions – the choices I make don’t pan out.  This has nothing to do with nicotine or alcohol – or hasn’t for many years.


    Do you feel you’ve experienced a resilient arrest of your addiction to nicotine?  Take a look at your life now free from cigarettes.  Has your achievement been properly and continuously acknowledged by you?  Do you have a sense of personal pride about your important ongoing life-affirming accomplishment?  Do you allow yourself to see just how very important your having stopped smoking is?


    You’ve got your real life back, warts and all.  It’s more of an adventure without mandatory cigarette breaks, don’t you think?  When you’re seemingly bombarded by life’s challenges and you’re feeling low, think of this: “At least I’m free from cigarette slavery. That’s something I can value, feel good about.”  And, when you continue to reflect, you’ll generally find other stuff about your life to treasure.


    In my case, little Miles has given me so much: well over a decade of unconditional love.  My eczema will settle down again soon.  Arthritis pain subsides, helped by moderate exercise and balanced treatment.  I’ve already experienced many years of freedom from alcohol and cigarettes, I’ve got a home, friends and fulfilling life activities.  Good health.


    I’m confident you’ve got positive stuff going for you, too.  Think about these things.  And I will too.


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    Visit me at  I look forward to being with you again next week.


    Read more from Jim:

    Freedom from Nicotine: Life on the Other Side of the Fence

    Smoking Addiction: Break Away from Your Emotional Crutch

    Stop Smoking: Self Empowerment and Old Fashioned Elbow Grease

Published On: July 16, 2008