Alright. Had my last cigarette last night.
My plan is as follows: I will stay busy- first and foremost, cleaning out my car and the porch table, where I’ve been sitting to smoke.
Every time I see an ashtray, I get that little ‘I want to smoke’ nudge.
So I will get rid of all of that stuff.
The busier I keep myself, the less time I have to sit and realize how long it’s been since I smoked.
I need to keep it out of my mind as much as possible for the first couple of days – Or use it as fuel
So I have a workout playlist on, and every time I think about smoking- I imagine having to post on Facebook that I failed.
And that feeling gives me the motivation to find the next thing that I can do, to keep my brain off of smoking, for a little while longer.
I have a new idea. I am going to try going to sit outside when I get a strong urge to smoke, see if that helps trick my brain. Maybe I can get some of the associated relief value that comes from the ritual of the porch sit- without the cigarette itself.
This one craving
Our brains, they are powerful
They can do many things, even while our conscious minds are focusing on unrelated things
While we watch TV, or surf the internet
Parts of our brains are constantly assessing our physical well-being, our mental state
Under the surface
And it isn’t enough to just push pain (physical or mental)- out of our minds
Push these kinds of addictions, out of our minds
They will simply become more reinforced, as they continue to be processed in the back of our minds
We have to look them in the face
We have to turn those feelings
Into something else
Today is requiring an extreme amount of focus from me
Moment to moment
Because if I stop paying attention
I won’t be able to catch that first whisper of the beginning of each craving
Catch it, when it is still manageable
And still something I have the power to overcome
If I don’t pay attention
Those cravings, they build, in the background
Until, suddenly- I notice them
And by then, it is much more difficult to think my way out of them.
Each craving- I meet, head on.
I acknowledge, I feel
And then I turn my brain in particular directions- start thinking about how amazing it will feel, when I succeed.
Start thinking about how empowering that will feel.
And, after a while- I am feeling those things, when I think about Not Smoking, instead of the cravings.
It only lasts a little while, of course- but these cravings will not last forever.
I just need to keep this going for long enough that my brain gets changed, just a little bit. Just enough for me to not experience these sorts of cravings as heavily.
It would appear that I cannot even distract myself with writing about other topics.
I just tried continuing that piece on the mechanisms of attention (hah!) – and even letting go of the focus on the Not Smoking Project for a minute or two, put my success in jeopardy.
When I pulled my attention away from what I was writing, and back to the present- my smoking urge had gotten pretty strong in the background!
So it would appear that this project does, indeed, need to be the primary focus of my brain, of my attention- for as long as it takes to ‘finish’
I have not left the house!
I was struggling with an urge to smoke earlier (meaning it was coming to mind more frequently than usual), so I took a bath and that helped alleviate the headache I had, which reduced the cravings that were coming on as a pain response.
Now, however- it’s time for bed, and I always have a cigarette before sleeping.
Tonight, however, I am sitting at my porch table with a glass of milk, instead.
Baby steps. If I’m having trouble letting go of all of the ritualistic facets of smoking at once, then I’ll drop the cigarette, while keeping the porch sit part-
Until I’m ready to let go of that, as well.
One by one
removing the leashes from my mind,
from my very soul.