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Life’s Journeys – A Testimonial for Newbies

by Steve © 2/27/2003

Going through the day-to-day trials and tribulations are what a “life” is, and when you look back this life can be summed up as a series of “trips”. Most everyone has had an absolutely horrible, miserable camping trip. It either rained or was so cold that you didn’t sleep for three days, or you had the flu and sat in the outhouse for the whole trip. Something wonderful like that! At the time it was the worst experience of your life. Boot camp in the military is a similar experience. Eight weeks of breaking you down and building you back up as part of a team. Great Lakes – Waukegan, IL (just north of Chicago) in January and February…. you get the idea.

These experiences become fond memories as time passes. The mind smoothes the rough edges and dims the harsh aspects of the ordeal. What remains is the final result… the triumph that you achieved through strength of mind, bravery, and/or tenacity. You survived the ordeal and it has made you stronger. The key here is that it’s a memory; in the here and now the experience is seemingly overwhelming and a horrible ordeal. And this is what makes this narrative relevant to quitting dip and the nicotine addiction… right now this process sucks!

The first few weeks can be absolute misery and excruciating pain. In my case I had no withdrawal symptoms other than a lack of concentration for about a month (unlike the previous 50 or so quit attempts that lasted less than 2 weeks and encompassed ALL the withdrawal symptoms). My solution? Focus on the positive and get through each minute/hour/day/week, knowing that the next time increment will be better than the last. Also keep in mind that this quitting thing you are doing is a very good thing. In fact this is the greatest gift you can give to yourself, your wife, kids, friends… your life! The scraps of our time that we had for all the other parts of our lives really dim when you truthfully look at how much time was devoted to the addiction. Everything else took a back seat to the nicotine.

As I look back over the past year and near the 1-year quit date (04/27/02) I realize that there are no nostalgic times with dip that I’d rather have back. There’s a sense of loss and regret for the times that I lost with my family that I can never regain; when I opted to dip rather than be with my loved ones. There’s embarrassment for being such a weakling and liar for soooooo long; not having the courage to quit my destructive behavior years ago.

But there is now also pride in having beaten the addiction down. Staying the course that other quitters before me showed was a reality that I could obtain. That is why this website and community is so important. It provides hope when all you can currently see or imagine is continued defeat and slavery. Believe the HOF posts when they say that things get better. They do! Commiserate with your quit group- misery loves company! But know that you know that you can and will beat this thing. Each and every one of us has the ability to triumph over this enemy. The powerlessness you feel just starting out is the lie of the addiction!

That’s why there is so much mental warfare involved in quitting an addiction, because the truth of the matter is it’s actually incredibly simple. Don’t put nicotine into your mouth anymore! Duh! I know the quitting process is truly a long-time battle; otherwise I would have quit twenty years ago.

We quitters are like the dog whimpering because he’s lying on a nail. A friend asks the owner why the dog doesn’t move, and his reply “Because it doesn’t hurt enough yet.”

So ask yourself…does it hurt enough yet? When you’re ready to make that decision that you have had enough of being nicotine’s slave, then you can beat this. And after a time you’ll have those memories of a long-ago experience that truly impacted your entire life, and wasn’t actually that bad! For now continue to be strong, and beat this demon one crave at a time.