Stories & experiences

LindsayK
1
Story
21/12/2017
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Beating the half way demon

Posted in Staying quit 21 Dec 2017
2 Comments

I have quit smoking from 30 plus cigarettes a day for 40 years..and am now at the 10 month mark of my journey. I am one of those people who was able to quit so long as I knew I could smoke if I needed to...so I kept tobacco handy wherever I was..in my home..in my car etc..but I havent touched it since my quit date..matter of fact I think its still in the little hiding spots I put it in (had to hide it from my wife who also quit with me...but if she knew I had tobacco she wouldnt have been able to cope until it was gone)..My quit journey is a long story and has many ups and downs...trials and tribulations...but I have managed to stick to my resolve and am still in awe of this achievement....just did not believe I would have the strength to carry it through, after having several attempts over the 40 previous years. The one thing I would really like to share is a thing I had not heard of before...and it caught me unaware..took some time to work out..and work through..so I thought I would share it incase any of you experience something the same or similar on your own journey. I now call it the half way demon. About 5 or 6 months into my journey...not had even one puff of a cigarette, overcome all old habits, feeling great about myself..One day I noticed I was feeling extremely sad...morbid even..on the verge of crying...but I didnt have a reason to feel this way...very confusing...took a few deep breaths and distracted my own thoughts..shook it off and later wondered what it was all about but dismissed it as wierd..but passing...maybe I was a bit run down? over the course of the next few weeks it happened again..then I noticed it was happening more often...so I went to see a doctor. Sure enough the immediate reaction was depression..post traumatic stress...tablets..and pyschiatry...wow! where did all this come from?? In the following weeks I had some bad experiences with the tablets, mood swings, sleeping, anxiety and alcohol....I decided to try a different approach so I explained to the doctor that I wanted off the tablets please..and I stopped them in the appropriate way. I did a lot of thinking...was the depression connected with me not smoking? I was beginning to see patterns in my habits that I created since I had quit...I increased alcohol intake.for starters...then I had tried to stop drinking too...then I became paranoid about weight gain so I was dieting, it all started to make sense..I have tried to make too many changes at once..underlying all of this is that I am an anxious kind of person and had not realised that the smokes had been keeping me mildly sedated for 40 years!...My brain had been ignoring the fact that I wasn't smoking and one day it woke up and said "ok..your serious?...you have quit?" and it went into a meltdown, panic mode...and tried very hard to drag me back to my 40 year old dummy....that is what I call the halfway demon...I had a huge battle with my own brain, one half kicking and screaming to go back to the cigarettes, or at least find a suitable replacement addiction...the other half refusing to budge on principle...I have come this far...and reasoning..I am better off for my health, my self esteem, my pocket etc etc I will never return! So, it was this festering of the halfway demon that had brought about my feelings of sadness etc through my increased anxiety. But...it was my coming to an awareness of this fact that enabled me to take control of the anxiety..thus taking control of the demon...I am now back on track..in control...off medication..and most of all still smoke free! Initially I believed that if I could go smoke free for a week I would be in business...I had no idea that even after 6 months smoke free I could have to struggle as hard or even harder than at the beginning...my advice for anyone feeling the same tendancy would be to just focus on the one thing at a time...get used to living without smokes by creating new habits that are non addictive but pleasurable...do things you like doing...and remind yourself that you are doing them because you dont smoke...make small things like regaining taste become rewarding by re discovering a love for food and creating healthy enjoyable meals...or when you smell another smokers breath or clothes or second hand smoke...be aware of how offensive and putrid it is and be embarresed that you once offended people in the same way...and proud that you no longer do....I hope I dodnt scare anyone...I would really just like to warn you that your addiction may be stronger than you think..it may have several attempts at weakening your resolve...I guess it reall is about will power...stay strong...stay committed...when you have beaten all the odds...sit back and enjoy the realisation that you can conquer smokes...you can conquer anything...it is this empowerment that is the most rewarding...now....off to tackle that weight...should be a walk in the park compared to cigarettes...

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2 Comments

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  • AnnetteLouise December 22, 2017 | 23:53
    So good how you have worked all that out. All the best.
  • NotThisTime December 24, 2017 | 13:42
    What you have described makes perfect sense to me LindsayK. It was genius of you to examine your habits since quitting and concluding it was the nico demon trying to trick you at the 6 to 8 marker. I had similar trying times at the 6 to 8 month period. As you suggested, I kept telling myself to just get through "today". For myself, I have noticed that it has become much easier since hitting a year (I officially hit a year last week). I believe this shows that it is a state of mind and way of thinking after the nicotine is gone. I now know that I have gone through every Season, and day of the year and was able to do it without smoking. Therefor I should be able to do it for another year ? ! I agree with your statement that you can conquer anything if you can conquer cigarettes. All the best for the remainder of 2017 and of course 2018 and beyond!

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