Editor's Note: This article was originally written by patient expert Jim Christopher.
Years ago I was disinclined to deal with difficulty directly. I'm also not the world's best at standing up for myself; streaks of anxiety shoot through my very human frame on occasion.
I experience fears of various potency: a momentary reactive fear, an instantaneous adrenaline-in-the-throat feeling when another driver swerves in front of me on a busy Los Angeles freeway.
I admittedly feel anxious about a number of things from time to time. For many years, I reached for alcohol or cigarettes; not so since 1978 re: alcohol and 1993 re: nicotine.
Fear and anxiety do not - even momentarily - bring on a feeling/thought to drink or smoke. I think it is fair to say that fear - or any other thought or feeling for that matter - has not led me to desire a drink or a smoke.
I stay fit and healthy. Not perfectly, but I'm willingly in the zone of mental, emotional, and physical fitness on a pretty consistent basis.
Affirmations play a part; I repeat self empowerment affirmations daily prior to each of 2 sets of moderate strength training exercises: 130 push-ups and 100 pull-ups (on a towel-draped interior). I walk and climb stairs as a matter of course daily.
This, coupled with healthy eating (including healthy snacks), is a winning formula for yours truly.
I'm what one would generally refer to as "high-strung," or over-reactive; colorful expletives are not foreign to me.
Flashback: Years ago I attempted suicide gulping over 200 over-the-counter sleeping pills, slept frequently in my own vomit (from drinking/throw-up bouts), smoked three or more packs of cigarettes a day and generally evaded life as we know it.
I was never a violent person, more of a "doormat drunk": you could walk on me or over me but please be gentle.
Now, things are better minus booze and nicotine. Brighter. Bubblier without the bubbly, clearer without sucking toxins via a nicotine delivery system: the cigarette.
I am, as I've shared in previous posts, a participant in life. That's revolutionary for me. It's up to me to engage. To cross my comfort zone and to take calculated risks. When projects end, as I had anticipated or otherwise, I choose to choose other projects.
If I don't seek out potential projects, who'll step in and do it for me? As I continue to age, I continue to deliberately do stuff that - for the most part - will affirm and extend my life.
Smoking doesn't fit in.
I want to maintain a powerful arrest of my nicotine and booze addictions. As an addiction recovery coach - so to speak - I've had the frequent exhilarating pleasure of being of service on this planet.
I'm fortunate to be alive, to have a life and a relatively productive life. You can change your fortunes by making a decision to stop smoking and, as a result, experience life in a less oppressive way. If you are free from active cigarette addiction burdens become less oppressive and a brighter life awaits you.