Stan's Ramblings

I Didn't Listen

Written by Stan McCann 10/31/98; 1 week

He came and whispered in my ear "Just one won't hurt."
I didn't listen.
He came and whispered in my ear "It'll taste soooo good."
I didn't listen.
He came and whispered in my ear "It'll make you feel sooo good."
I didn't listen.
He came and whispered in my ear "You're fooling yourself, you can't really do this.
I didn't listen.
He came and whispered in my ear "You really want one."
I didn't listen.
He came and shouted in my ear "SMOKE JUST ONE."
I didn't listen.
He came and shouted in my ear "YOU CAN'T MAKE IT."
Oh, it's getting so hard not to listen but I still didn't listen.
He came and shouted in my ear "JUST ONE! IT'LL TASTE GREAT."
Oh, when oh when will the demon give up!  I'm still not listening.
I REFUSE TO HEAR YOU!
The fight continues . . .

Analysis of "The Ride"

Written by Stan McCann 11/14/98, three weeks

While in the process of recovering from my addiction to nicotine, I must deal with several factors all at the same time.  Some combinations of these factors can leave me more vulnerable to relapse than other combinations.  Cravings for cigarettes may be triggered by any single factor or any combination of factors.

The factors:

  1. Physical.  My body is recovering from years of abuse.
  2. Mental.  My mind must be deprogrammed, then reprogrammed.
  3. Habit.  My reflexes must be deprogrammed, then reprogrammed.

Each of the factors may have a range of effects:

  1. The physical factor can leave me physically weakened at times while giving me a great amount of energy at other times.
  2. The mental factor can leave me depressed at times and euphoric at other times.
  3. The habit factor ignores both the physical and mental effects so can catch me unaware.  In some ways, this is the most insideous of the factors as I can do things without conscious thought.

I am at my most vulnerable during the extremes of these physical and mental effects.  When my body is run down from fighting the after affects of the nicotine and my mental state is depressed; this is one of the most dangerous times.  It is very easy to slip into the "I don't care anymore, I just want this feeling to stop" thought pattern.  At this point, if I allow myself to believe that a smoke will make the feeling stop, I am done for.

The other extreme can be just as dangerous.  When I feel great; I am just bubbling with energy, and my mental state is euphoric, it can be all too easy for the habit factor to get past my guard.  When I feel too good, I can think I have it beat and let my guard down.  If I have cigarettes around or are with smokers, I could light one without even thinking about it.

The middle of the road times; depressed but feeling physically fit, or physically down and tired but confident and happy; these are the easiest times.  I keep my guard up during these times because it is easy to see the fight continuing.

The Wellbutrin helps keep me in the middle of the road.  That is why it is so valuable and why I would not be able to quit without this aide.  The drug lessens the mental extremes allowing me to concentrate on fighting the physical extremes.

Quitting cigarettes has been likened to "losing your best friend", but it is worse than that.  It is more like losing a part of myself.  I watched Paul go through depression and euphoria after having his leg amputated.  He was depressed at times because of losing the limb but also euphoric over the end of the suffering that he had gone through for 5 years before it was amputated.  He had to deprogram himself and reprogram himself also.  He told me about waking in the middle of the night having to go to the bathroom, jumping out of bed, and falling flat on his face because he didn't remember that his leg was gone.  As a recovering addict, I am doing much the same thing.  I find myself time and again, getting off work, heading out the door, and reaching into my pocket for a cigarette.  If, at one of these non-thinking points, there would happen to be a cigarette and lighter there; I, too, would fall flat on my face.  Not because I want a cigarette, but simply because for that moment, I forgot I don't smoke.

The cravings and thoughts of smoking come from all of the factors and it helps to externalize these cravings and thoughts.  It is much more difficult to fight against myself than against someone(thing) else.  The voice of the nicodemon is a great way to externalize so that I can fight the 'demon' or 'voice' rather than myself.

The fight is on and will continue indefinitely.  The "ride" consists of ups and downs with all of the factors, and the fight goes on.  I arm myself by externalizing the voice, getting support from any and all people available, and not hiding the quit.  I leave myself no room for failure, I tell the entire world I have quit!  I Don't try, I DO!  I can do this and I will do this.  I am done with the cigarettes and will never smoke one again.  As someone in as3 put it, especially not one!

I wrote this for myself as a means of collecting my thoughts this morning, then decided to share with the group since that is where most of the insight came from.  I hope that it will help someone else collect their thoughts as well and strengthen their determination.  Thanks to as3, support from co-workers and friends, and my unwillingness to admit failure, I will complete my 3rd smokefree week tonight.

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