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When I don't want to post an SOS -- I don't want drama -- but I'm at risk for smoking, near to going out the door.

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Watching Marie Kondo - Tidying Up & Craving

Craving a smoke badly. Not Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Thought about posting an SOS, but I asked myself, "Am I really that close to flipping mindsets and going out to buy cigarettes?" Nah. It's too cold outside. It's dark. I've eaten a light, healthy dinner. I walked about a mile today with my dog, so I feel pleasantly invigorated. Don't want to pollute my lungs or hand over any savings to tobacco magnates.  I was watching a series on Netflix about people tidying up their homes with Marie Kondo. As the families in each episode go through their "stuff" and decide what to keep or part with, I began remembering my former home and how much I have lost. The sadness made me teary for a few moments, but then I sat up straight and shook it off. I returned to present-oriented and forward-thinking. Shifting my focus triggered a powerful craving. This is the point where I would have celebrated the transition from gloom to acceptance by going outside to have a smoke.  And now I'm remembering my own post today about a bright line. Gloom is on the other side of the bright line. I am on this side, the right side. The bright line is inviolable.  Deep breaths. Craving is weakening. Another episode of exerting willpower, and now I can relax again. Not taking a chance of recurring cravings today, though. It's only 6:00-ish (pm), but I will go to bed early. I dreamed once, recently, that I was arguing about smoking with someone. I didn't want to, but he was strong and demanding. Other than that, no dreams about smoking or craving in my sleep.  One's willpower ebbs as the day progresses and by evening temptations can feel impossible to resist. A few dark chocolate chips for a dopamine hit. A mango. Then brush teeth and to sleep.




Counting backward

New delaying tactic... counting backward from 50, each number on inhalation or exhalation. Soon the tension will get too strong and an alarm in my head will sound. It'll be time to go to sleep, because if I stay up, I'm afraid I'll impulsively grab my purse and head to the gas station for cigarettes. I'd think that was impossible at this point, more than two weeks smoke-free,  but if there's anything uncounted relapses have taught me, it's that I should never underestimate my tendency to overestimate my self control.




Delaying, Hovering over a Relapse

When I was in the Forum this am, read Chrysalis's entry on relapse. Today was my first shopping day since I quit on 12/12/18 Traveled 20 miles south and I paid for my dog's boarding at the kennel, got gas for the car, and went grocery shopping. Normally, when I got gas (Costco), I'd get a hot dog and soda and smoke a cigarette. When I'd finish grocery shopping, I'd smoke a cigarette. Then when I got home, I'd take the dog out for a quick walk and then have a cigarette. Then I'd put away the groceries and have a cigarette. Grocery day was often cooking day (for lunches during the week, at work), so I'd start soup cooking and have a cigarette. Today there were no cigarettes, but there were many thoughts of cigarettes. I missed smoking, oh how I miss smoking.  I am romancing the cigarette. I SEE that it is a romance between some sociopathic tobacco ceo and me, and as long as I turned over my money to him/them, I'd get more drug and feel comforted. But romance is about FEELing, not seeing. Today I was feeling that quiet seduction. A sweet romance would involve loving letters penned on lovely paper and signed with passion. The closest thing to a letter is the empty cigarette packet on which is printed, I've seen some of the documentaries about the industry, from how tobacco is grown to how people are seduced into trying a cigarette, then kept addicted. (Swinging back now, no longer hovering over relapse.) Do I owe something to smokers who are still trapped? Do I have a responsibility to them to stay quit? Is it possible that one of the young people (all smokers) I used to work with, we'll chance-meet, and maybe s/he'll offer me a cigarette. I'll say, "no thanks, I finally quit." Who knows, maybe it will help that person quit. Or there could be some other event, and because I no longer smoke, it could affect the outcome in a better way than if I were still a smoker? A lot of ifs. The "IF" I don't want tonight is "If only I hadn't relapsed."  Deep breath, inhale, exhale. I don't know about responsibility to unknown other people, but I do have a responsibility to my children and theirs.  For the rest of today, I will not romance the cigarette. When an emotion arises, I'll switch to a visual mode and see the reality of the cigarette industry. Whew. Long craving has fizzled. I'm tired out.   




Quiet corner for a private SOS

It's after 8 pm. I can see myself in my mind's eye, grabbing my purse and heading out the door to the gas station to get cigarettes. A sigh of relief when I get back, sit on the patio, and light one up. On the other hand.... I'm no longer insensitive to the actual taste of a cigarette. It would be unpleasant. I'm no longer accustomed to having nicotine in my brain, so I'd be dizzy, and I don't like that feeling. I'd have wasted $9.00. In future dollar terms, that's near $90. And that's the cost of living (more, actually) for a day in the future. I'd have added to the harm already done to my teeth and gums, and the veins in my legs. I'd return to the gray face and premature wrinkles. I'd have lost the 12 day stretch I achieved. I'd have lost the fragile sense of being able to trust myself again. Sigh. It's not worth it. Skip the smoke. Drink a glass of water, walk the dog, and go to sleep.



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