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Last night, long after I should have been asleep, I paced a few times in my home, craving sugar. Craving a cigarette, actually, but I told myself a hit of sugar would fix the craving. I have no junk food.  I went to bed. Back up. I changed from my sleeping clothes to my street clothes, grabbed my purse and keys and headed for my car and the convenience store for cigarettes.

 

I'd been watching a Jordan Peterson lecture earlier. He said that life is painful, messy,, and chaotic, and that to avoid as much pain and suffering as possible, one has to have an aim, a worthwhile goal. It is not the attainment of the goal that is important, it is the working toward the goal or aim. Once you get there, you have to set another. 

 

The point he made that stuck with me as I headed out the front door, was that any action that was not on the trajectory toward that worthwhile aim is a wrong action and guaranteed to cause pain.  I'd made myself a schematic with one line pointing toward the aim of a productive life, and another line slanting downward toward disease, misery, and shortened years. Peterson's words and the visual of the schematic overrode the urge to smoke, and I went back inside and went to bed. 

 

Up again 15 minutes later, back in street clothes, going out to buy chocolate cake at the 24 hour grocery.  Peterson's words echoed again, and back to bed. Tried to relax and fall asleep, I flashed on having bought a fudge brownie mix on sale to have on hand in case I was struggling with nicotine cravings. A substitution serotonin-generator for smoking powerful enough to break through cravings. Back out of bed, baked the brownies as I watched more Jordan Peterson, ate a brownie. Now relaxed and craving for both smoking and sugar gone.

 

Awoke at 4:30 am at the insistence of my small dog, Sofia, who urgently wanted to go outside to pee and was hungry.

Took her outside for a moment, gave her a small portion of her daily food, and crawled back to bed.

 

Dreamed that I had been forced to return to work at my previous employer's. It was a high-pressure, low-paid, dirty job, sorting donations in a thrift store. I succumbed to smoking, sneaking outside, afraid they'd smell the smoke and I'd be in trouble. Awoke to the sound of the chimes of my alarm clock, feeling heavy from lack of enough sleep and saddened that I'd lapsed.  The dream was so real, full color, the grass of the courtyard green, and I could feel the cold metal of the glass door frame as I tried to hold it open a crack as I smoked so that I could get back inside.  After waking, it took some seconds to separate the dream from reality and a few minutes to dispel the low feeling that I'd failed again. Cheerier now, and ready for a new day.

 

 

Peterson said in the same lecture,--citing Jung, I believe--that we are less in control of our behavior than we'd like to believe. After the trouble I've experienced staying quit, I feel the impact of his words. I believe it likely that I will lapse again because--in bipolar cycling--my perception of reality changes. Most of the time, I know the value of being quit. During the short but inevitable segment of despair that recurs every six weeks to three months, nihilism takes over and I become hostile to the nonsmoking voice in my head and take revenge by starting in again. I am hoping that I will gain enough wisdom from Peterson's lectures that maybe I can thwart self-destructive behavior and sustain a commitment.  And that vigorous exercise will uplift my mood.

 

Day at a time; craving at a time.

 

 

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Thank you for this post Kate18, it was very helpful. I've had trouble staying quit as well. You should be proud of yourself for working through your cravings last night. Like you and everyone says...one day and even one minute at a time; one craving at a time. 

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I believe it likely that I will lapse again because

 

 

You've already started planning it?  You need to make yourself know that smoking is not an option anymore.  There are all sorts of other choices you can make, but smoking is no longer on the list.  It will get easier but it takes time.

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Kate, when you feel you're going to relapse PLEASE post here so that we can help you past it. It does work, it did for me and countless others. You owe yourself that much...………..

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Kate I love reading about your quit. 

 

I haven't experienced bi-polar personally but someone very close to me has it so I have watched the changes they go through. It's not something you can plan for or avoid so I am sending you strength and good wishes x

 

 

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Kate I too like your posts -- it is showing your journey in an honest way and that will come back to help you -- please keep posting as it will bring you a bit more confidence.  As to the dream, I too had a couple of those and like you I felt guilt upon waking and was so relieved when I realized it was a dream.  Keep strong and keep coming back to find more positive re-enforcement, you can do this, it is in you!!!!

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Cigarettes do nothing for us. They take away our time, our money and our health. 

 

Seriously. They do nothing for you. I could understand if it was like weed and got you buzzed.  Or made you feel superhuman…

But no, they do nothing…

Absolutely nothing.  Go figure.

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