What did we love about smoking?
Think hard. What is it that we loved about smoking? What was so wonderful that we were willing to damage or even destroy our lungs and gradually clog the arteries in our body? What was it about smoking nicotine that we liked so much that at the time we were willing to stay with it, flip a coin, and accept a 50/50 chance of departing earth 5,000 days early? Let's use this thread to share all the things that we truly thout we loved about smoking nicotine laden cigarettes?
According to Philip Michels, Ph.D., a USC School of Medicine professor who is also a cessation facilitator, it's normal for us to look to our own behavior in order to obtain clues about our attitudes and beliefs. We tend to draw conclusions about what we must like by watching what we do. Dr. Michels puts such reasoning this way:
Be honest with yourself, is there something you felt that you truly loved about smoking? If so please share it with the group. Or, is it more likely that the vast majority of our cigarettes were smoked while on auto pilot as our subconscious worked filing ashtray after ashtray in order to keep a constantly falling blood serum nicotine level (which was reduced by about half every two hours) sufficiently elevated so that our conscious mind did not have to sense the onset of the signs and symptoms of early chemical withdrawal?
As Dr. Michels points out, after watching ourselves do something harmful to our bodies all those years it would be normal to "reason that if its bad for me and I still do it then I must really enjoy it." But in light of what we've learned about nicotine being a true chemical dependency that's frighteningly akin to all other drugs of addiction, including heroin and meth, is such thinking truthful?
Look at your list of reasons for quitting. Is love of the long, lost "you" on the list? An honest assessment of where we've been can result in far fewer romantic fixations about missing the 4,000+ chemicals, including 43 carcinogens, that arrived inside each destructive puff of smoke.
Even if it were true that the aaah feeling that we sensed within 8 to 10 seconds of that first puff -- as our nicotine tank was once again replenished - was something worthy of being called love, what comparisons did our mind make in order to label it love? Do you have any current memory of what it was like inside your mind before nicotine put you on an endless roller-coaster ride of nicotine/dopamine highs and lows ("where are my cigarettes, I need a smoke now!!!!!!!!!!")? How does the real you compare? Did we smoke for the aaah feeling or did we smoke so that we didn't have to sense what happened when we went to long without an aaah feeling?
Isn't it time to view any remaining smoking thoughts that continue to visit your mind in truthful light? Do they reflect love or are they the product of obedience to a true chemical addiction?
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long, John
Sincere thanks to Philip Michels, Ph.D., Department of Family and Preventative Medicine, USC School of Medicine, whose "Quit While You're Ahead" cessation program materials were the primary source for this post.