Quitting or Recovering?
Synonyms for the word "quit" clearly apply to the dependency recovery journey upon which you've embarked. They include the words abandon, break off, check out, chunk, conclude, desert, desist, discontinue, drop, exit, forsake, give up, go, halt, leave, push out, push off, relinquish, renounce, resign, retire, secede, suspend, surrender, terminate and vacate.
What I hope you'll grow to appreciate is that quitting's true application should be to the day that nicotine took control of our mind, not the day we decided to take control back.
One of the most frightening aspects of chemical addiction is how quickly dependency onset causes the new slave to totally forget just how wonderful it was being free. An endless cycle of mandatory dopamine/adrenaline highs and lows rapidly suppress, overwrite and/or erase almost all memory of the calm, quiet and responsive mind we once called home.
Is it "us" to spend the balance of life reaching for a central nervous system stimulant when the moment calls for relaxation, or to use nicotine to steal an unearned dopamine "aaahhh" reward sensation when loss or tragedy call for sadness and sorrow? We expect that stressful situations will cause the pH of our body's fluids to turn acidic. But is it our destiny that those acidic juices will forever neutralize an addict's reserves of the alkaloid nicotine, causing every stressful situation to be far more intense than need be? Was it us to interrupt many of the most wonderful times in our lives so that we could hunt for a suitable place and steal the time needed to service a mandatory chemical need?
Nicotine's two-hour chemical half-life and ability to imitate acetylcholine combined to exert command and control over more than 200 of our body's neuro-chemicals. It quickly robbed each of us of the ability to feel, experience and reflect accurate and honest emotions.
Although tobacco industry nicotine delivery engineering has clearly enhanced modern nicotine's grip upon the mind, it did not invent it. Still, the tobacco industry knows how quickly dependency robs new addicts of their emotional self-identity, and their advertising plays upon it.
"Marlboro, come to where the flavor is!" Flavor? Deep down we hopefully still recall just how utterly horrible those first cigarettes tasted. The more than 500 gases and 3,500 chemical particles in each puff did not taste good but there just had to be an explanation as to why we didn't stop. The tobacco industry was more than happy to hammer home every reason except the truth - our brain's defenses quickly altered functional acetylcholine receptor counts and we now needed to continue using nicotine to avoid experiencing the sense of loss felt while waiting for the brain to restore natural neuronal sensitivities.
Taste? How many tastebuds are inside your lungs? Like, love? As Joel says, it isn't that we liked smoking but that we didn't like what happened when we didn't smoke. Also to like something, doesn't there have to be an honest basis for comparison? If smokers retained honest memories of what it was like to be totally free they certainly wouldn't call recovery quitting.
But last year in the U.S. tobacco companies spent $14 billion dollars trying to keep them convinced as to why they smoked. Think about the image, status and message conveyed to both youth never-smokers and hard core smokers by cigarette brand names: Alpine, Austin, Belair, Basic, Best Value, Bronson, Bucks, Cambridge, Camel, Champion, Class A, Eagle, Eclipse, Gold Coast, Grand Prix, Jade, Kool, Knights, Lark, Liberty, Lucky Strike, Main Street, Marlboro, Maverick, Merit, Misty, Monarch, Mustang, Natural American Spirit, Newport, Now, Palace, Parliament, Passion, Passport, Players, Pride, Prince, Pure Natural, Pyramid, Quality, Rave, Riviera, Roger, Rosebud, Satin, Savannah, Signature, Sonic, Southern Harvest, Sport, Springwater, Sundance, Tempo, Tourney, Triumph, True, USA Gold, Vantage, Viceroy, Virginia Slims, Wave, Wild Geese, Wildfire, Wildhorse, Windsail, and Yours.
Lost in the world of "nicotine normal," we were each provided a new identity, one that might help us explain why we allowed each and every puff to destroy more air sacs, pump more fats into our arteries and keep us content little slaves.
All the neuro-chemicals that nicotine commanded already belonged to us. We lost none. We've left zeroe behind. Recovery is simply investing the time needed to readjust to again becoming comfortable as us.
Although the word "quitting" is part of the fabric of smoking cessation, if we allow it, it will always carry an image of leaving something behind. When you think of this word I hope you'll ponder when the real quitting took place. We're coming home to the truth about where we've been. Baby steps, patience, and honesty. You'll soon be comfortable engaging all aspects of life without nicotine. You've left absolutely nothing of value behind!
Still just one guiding principle, a principle that will always remain our common bond ... no nicotine just one day at a time, Never Take Another Puff, Dip or Chew!
John (Gold x6)