Pretend you are surrounded by a thousand hungry tigers. What would you do?*
Think about it, what can you do? You can’t outrun one tiger, not to mention a thousand. The thought is scary and the answer is quiet obvious. “I would give up…there is nothing I can do”.
We are surprised by the question and we don’t really have an answer. Most likely we say “I don’t know what you would do?”
“I would stop pretending”
Regardless if we are addicted to alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, food or other nonsense, we are all good at pretending.
In my case the addiction is Nicotine, although there was a time when food had too much power over me, especially sweets. I don’t exactly know when and why, but my self-awareness must have been flushed down the drain a very long time ago.
I allowed cigarettes to dictate my life. Of course I didn’t use the word “dictate” then, how could I, I didn’t want to face the truth. That’s something you do when you start to fight an addiction.
Cigarettes were my “magic wand” my way out of almost everything. I could cope with anything and everything much better when I had a cigarette in my hand, that’s what I really believed and now it makes me feel like a fool.
- I felt happy…no question asked – that called for celebration, I had to smoke a cigarette.
- I felt sad…no question asked, a cigarette would cheer me up.
- I felt scared…no question asked, I wouldn’t be so scared anymore after I smoked a cigarette.
- I felt anxious…no question asked, a cigarette would calm me down.
- I needed a break…no question asked, only a cigarette would give me that break.
- I felt satisfied…no question asked, the feeling was even better with a smoke.
I could come up with 994 other examples. I my case “the thousand hungry tigers” were the cigarettes in my life; it might be a drink, a pill or food in yours.
Every addict pretends and we are good at it, we should get awards!
We all have different stories and different problems in our lives. We paint pictures in our minds and the most of the pictures are scary and frighten us. We base our feelings on images in our minds and let them take over.
When we give up an addictive substance, that’s when we take over control -we stop pretending. We realize that the stories we told ourselves were mostly that – stories – and nothing else.
I am more aware of myself now, more aware of my surroundings and my real needs. I put out the cigarettes and took back control.
I like it!
* (This question was asked in the “Passionate Presence” by Catharine Ingram)