Quitting and Succeeding

Sometimes I think things are just not worth the effort or just not in the cards for me. But other times I think about the fact that I have quit smoking and just what that means.

I used to think that quitting smoking was impossible for me, and it really made me feel like shit. It made me feel like a weakling and a loser. I suspected that I could, at some point and in some way, manage to do it, but I was more convinced that the addiction had grown stronger than me, and at this point I could not do it.

But I could. And I did.

I did it in a very strange way. I did it by trying and failing several times. I did it by biding my time, by smoking while I wanted to smoke, getting all that smoking in while I still wanted to do it. I did it by being lazy. I did it by striking while the iron was hot. And I did it by kinda lying to myself… but in a way that was still kinda true.

Quitting smoking is not something you automatically get right the first time. It isn’t simply a matter of willpower. It is something you have to figure out how to do, because cigarettes are tricky. The addiction makes your mind and heart do all kinds of fucking things to keep you smoking cigarettes.

Besides the health benefits, the big thing that quitting smoking has done for me is this: I know now that losing at something and feeling like a total loser is not the same as being a total loser. Just because you think you don’t have it in you doesn’t mean that you don’t have it in you.

This may be obvious, intellectually, that, of course, we think shit about ourselves that isn’t true. Learned helplessness is not valid, of course. It’s a learned perception that is almost categorically false. And it is easy to think these thoughts. It is quite another, however, to believe that in your gut. Quitting smoking has helped me get that a little bit into my gut.

I can now look at things and go, hey, you know, maybe I think that this or that isn’t in the cards for me, that I don’t have what it takes… but you know what? I also believed that about quitting smoking. And I fucking quit smoking. So guess what? Maybe I just need to keep failing and taking time off and failing and taking time off until during one of those periods in which I take time off I actually learn something and start making successes instead of failing.

Some people take to things like fish take to water. Others have a great deal of trouble with getting things off the ground. In some areas, I am definitely one of the latter. But that is ok. Just because you fail and fail and fail does not mean you aren’t cut out for something. It just means that there is something important for you to learn.

In terms of smoking it was this:

Smoking is not a freedom. Freedom is doing what I want and not doing what I don’t want. If I don’t want to smoke, I should be able to not smoke as long as I don’t want to smoke.

Smoking is a lie. The good things that smoking supposedly did for me was bullshit. I was getting little to nothing out of smoking, and the pleasure of smoking was mainly due to the fact that I was relieving sensations which were discomforts and senses of need created *by* smoking.

Smoking makes you sick. Straight up. Not just with cancer or emphysema or some other disease years down the line, but now. It affects your health in a negative way pretty much fucking immediately. It fucks with your immune system and fucks with your brain and overall health.

I cannot smoke in moderation. I cannot control the habit. I must destroy the habit and simply never smoke.

I thought this last thing was impossible. NEVER smoke? Yes. Never smoke. NEVER. Just don’t fucking do it. So long as you don’t smoke, it isn’t a problem. And what are you losing when you don’t smoke? Not much. You’re basically losing a toxic lie.

These are the basic things I learned that helped me quit. I also got sick (a cold basically) and wouldn’t heal if I smoked. Every time I smoked a cigarette, the congestion would get worse and remain that way for a while. One cigarette could influence how I felt for 6 or more hours. So, I had immediate feedback here to help me think about smoking.

So, I am thinking, hmmm, what other areas in my life did I feel this way about? What else am I still doing or not doing because I feel there is no other choice for me? Could I be wrong about this stuff too? Is there stuff to learn in these areas as well?

Yes. I think so.

It is sad, but sometimes you’ve got to beat your head against a wall until you learn something. But you’ve got to do it mindfully, not mindlessly. You’ve got to be looking for answers, seeking and thinking, and you’ve got to give yourself a chance. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Vote for yourself. Be your own #1 fan and believer. It’s easier said than done, but it can be done. And even a little bit helps.