My Shawshank Redemption

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Somebody sent me a very long email with lots of questions. “What is your trick”, “how did you do it” and “how does it feel to give up smoking” and more questions like that.

If you have ever watched “The Shawshank Redemption” then you watched Andy Dufresne’s escape from prison. That’s how I felt at the beginning, I felt like Tim Robins in the movie. I found the right moment, took my chance and escaped after so many years in captivity. I was nervous and watched very carefully where I was going. I wasn’t sure about my plan, I wasn’t sure about anything; I just sprinted away from something that was chasing me. I was running away from being imprisoned – I was running into freedom.

Now and then I took a short break and tried to take it all in. I was free and I started to peer around in my new smoke-free environment and studied my surroundings. I felt good, but I knew I wasn’t safe. They were still out there to get me, the slightest mistake and I would be found and would be thrown back in my prison cell. I continued to run; I was running and running and got further away from the place that held me captive and then, after a few weeks, I finally allowed myself to slow down.

I was still careful, but started to trust myself more and more. Nothing was chasing me, nobody was after me anymore. “I made it”. It was very exciting for a couple of weeks, it was deviant! It had been a race and I won and now I finally found the time and enjoyed my new found freedom!

All these metaphors tend to work for me, and I feel like I starved out a one-eyed monster, and stamped my foot right in its eye. I understand that the monster was a part of me—so I’m a little befuddled, a few months into such a life-changing addiction bust, about what this really means, about who I am.

But, metaphor or science it doesn’t mean I don’t feel all sorts of conflict about quitting smoking. The head of a smoker is one filled with conflicts and I must admit, that in the past few weeks and months, after I killed “Smokey” I have felt a dull sense of melancholy. I had thoughts of missing the little devils.  “Did they abandon me”? something inside me wondered.

Really, having such an long relationship with something as stupid as a cigarette is a waste of time—and one of the more joyous realizations in my new non-smoking head is that I get to come up with better things to do than smoke. It’s actually stunning to see how much time I wasted with smoking. I certainly didn’t need a cigarette to think thoughts. In fact, I can think more clearly now -at least I hope so 🙂

The only reason I have made it this far is because I’m sure about my decision. Being a non-smoker is beyond all a question of willpower; it’s just the way it is! It’s a steadiness that I have only felt a few times in my life —a kind of confidence that only comes when it’s arrived.

I am free!

So to answer the question. There is no trick and there is no “how to”. You, the smoker reading this, you hold the key into your own freedom. We all find our own way out, there is no one-fits-all solution. Smoking is just not an option anymore!




10 thoughts on “My Shawshank Redemption

  1. That is my all time favorite movie and you captured the behind the scenes emotions perfectly and the metaphors are strong for your personal story. Major applause for your accomplishment with quitting! If you Read my FAQ page, you will see how cigarettes led me into writing at a young age. I admire you greatly.


    • It’s very sweet of you to stop by. It is one of my alltime favorite movies as well. I can’t tell you how often I watched it :-). Thank you so much for you kind comment and for taking your time to snoop through my blog.


  2. I like all of your metaphors. And you are right about more time. It is almost like a time warp that I was in. And always a special place I had to go to so I could inhale smoke into my lungs. Like those nasty smoking lounges in airports, like a death camp.


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