The Real Me Vs. The Junky
For my Bronze celebration I would like to tell a lighthearted story of my quitting smoking experience / adventure. I’ll let you figure out the analogies. My quitting experience boils down to an internal fight between the Real Me, desperately trying to surface, and the Junky, A.K.A. - my Subconscious, my Executive Assistant, my Prison Guard. The Junky is that little voice in my head, I’m sure you all know the one, that has always come up with all those creative relapse excuses.
The Real Me has been gone so long that he was small and weak and all but forgotten. The Junky has been in charge of the Nicotine Roller Coaster, which meant he ran everything.
For over 40 years, from the moment I woke up, until the time I went to bed, he would tell me what time was mine and what time was his. He always had most of the time, and the schedule was always changing. There were his normal times - upon waking, after meals, working outside, talking on the phone, driving, taking a walk, and before bed. There were also all the unexpected times when he needed to put all my emotions up in smoke. If I was stressed, I had to stop and smoke. If I got angry, tired, hungry, lonely, happy, or sad, I had to stop and smoke. If I drank alcohol or had something to celebrate, I had to stop and smoke.
The Real Me was pushed so far into the background that I could hardly see the light thru the trees. The Junky kept me right where he wanted me, buried in the jungle with lies and use rationalizations. Withdrawal would be too painful, you couldn’t live a good life without nicotine, nicotine was a big part of who you are, you would lose yourself without nicotine, you would always have urges to smoke, and you would be miserable. Why punish yourself with trying to quit, just leave things as they are. The list of lies and excuses were never ending.
The Real Me still wanted so badly to surface and be free from the deep, dark, jungle. I tried and tried and even enlisted the help of gums, lozenges, patches, inhalers, E-cigs, and dip. I found myself in worse shape then when I started. Not only was I still buried in the jungle, but now the lozenges were growing vines around my legs, and I could barely move.
I finally decided it was time to take a deep breath, plant my feet, put my head down, and fight for my life. The Junky was also fighting for survival. He liked being in charge, and he would use every trick in the book to remain in power.
The Real Me went on-line and found Why Quit.com. I started to read about Bryan, Noni, Kim, Deborah, Brandon, and Sean. The vines started to loosen their grip. I read Nicotine 101 and the vines fell off of my legs. I started reading the One Puff Files, and leaves started to fall from the trees. I read Never Take Another Puff, and Freedom From Nicotine - The Journey Home, and so many leaves were falling that I could start to see the blue sky thru the trees. All of the Junky lies were now being exposed. I joined Freedom From Nicotine and some of the small trees started to die and fall down.
I heard a noise and looked back, I saw John and Joel both carrying chainsaws. They said, let’s start carving a path and get you out of here. They cranked up their chainsaws and started cutting on the two biggest trees standing in front of me. I looked back again and saw Marty, Joanne, O Bob, Joe J. Free, Denny B., Suzie, Kattatonic1, CWZ, Doc24747, Chasnfireflies, and all of the oldbie veterans carrying axes. They said, we’ve already been through this, we know the way out, just follow us. They walked in front of me and started chopping on several different trees, bushes, and shrubs. Then came Tagsgirl, JimH, Juan Carlos, BSKing, Puffanomore, Sarah, Mary, and Lucie. Behind them were Lisa, Jeffreyrw, Greg, Laura, Kelly, Craig, Wendy, Endura, Lara, Bev, Stella, and a whole lot of others (sorry I couldn’t name everyone). They were carrying saws, hatchets, pruning shears, machete’s and even large knives. They said, we all would like to get out of here, and we will be happy to help you too. I started to feel overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude and well being; I did exactly as they all said, and worked with them to get out. I felt better and better as each tree was cut down.
There were a few splinters and thorns along the way, I stumbled and tripped a time or two, and a couple of branches would occasionally spring back at me, but I never lost sight of where I was going. Eventually there was a clear path to Freedom laid out in front of me. We all stopped to admire the view.
I could taste the cool air deep in my lungs. This place even smelled better than the jungle, I could smell everything. There was a rainbow painted across the bluest sky, the sight of the crystal clear lake reflecting the distant mountains was breathtaking. The birds were chirping a happy song as we all marched along. John said that with a little help and some hard work all things are do-able. Joel mentioned to always watch out for stumps in the road, and that we would continue to stay out of the jungle as long as we stuck with our original commitment to never take another puff.
YQB Neal (Looking Better in Bronze!!!) Join me in getting out of the Jungle. There is a spot reserved for you on the path to Freedom. NTAP
I Quit living all the lies on 1/9/11