I listened to all of them and I was just in awe. The stories they shared touched my heart, left me speechless and I admired so many of them. They stood in front of the microphone and shared their darkest moments with all of us.
I was at an addiction meeting and I felt so out of place. I have been invited to join and to speak and I didn’t feel up to it. What could I possibly say to all of them, who overcame so much. How small is my achievement -if it even is one- compared to theirs?
I had a few notes with me, but didn’t like any of them. They like my blog, got to know me and that’s great, but don’t make me speak here.
They wanted me to talk about my blog and my experience with quitting smoking. Most of them still smoke and I don’t blame them a bit. They fought the demons of alcoholism and drug addiction, giving up smoking is nothing compared to the life changes they had to go through.
They called a break and we ended up standing there in groups, eating donuts, drinking water or coffee.
The question “how did you do it” is one I hear often and it always puzzles me. Right then and there a sober alcoholic asked me the same thing. “How did you do it?”, “What did you take?” and then I knew what I had to say.
The break was over and it was my turn to speak. I am not good at that, I love to talk, but don’t like to give speeches. Maybe I listened to so many bad ones in my lifetime.
I introduced myself as a rebellious ex-smoker, what made them laugh…the ice was broken.
I looked at one guy and asked him “How did you stop drinking? What did you take?”
He looked at me funny. “What do you mean? I didn’t take anything. Had to stop the booze.”
I looked at the next one and asked her the same question “How did you stop drinking? What did you take?
She too looked puzzled “I stopped, went to meetings, didn’t drink.”
I looked at the group and smiled, didn’t need my notes anymore.
You all are hero’s in my eyes. I can not even imagine what you all had to overcome. I can not imagine the demons you had to fight. All of you here quit something, that did not just destroyed your health, but jeopardized your life and the lives of your families as well. You all quit the same way. You just didn’t drink. However, you all asked me how I quit. “What did you use?” is the most common question an ex-smoker has to answer.
Why is that? What makes people think they have to take something? I researched that for a few months. My honest opinion is that we get programmed to think that. We get programmed to believe, that we can’t stop smoking without help of something that delivers nicotine into our system.
We get the information that we shouldn’t just quit. “There has to be something?” Something like an easy fix, an easy way out. We see it on TV, read it in magazines, get advise on blogs.
They teach us to be scared, they teach us to doubt our strengths. “Pop a pill and you won’t have an urge to smoke anymore”…you might commit suicide, but you will be an ex-smoker when you kill yourself due to the side effects of this questionable medication. Yippie!
NRT’s (Nicotine replacement therapy) is big business, around 900 Million Dollars last year..give or take. Smokers spend that much money on “stuff” that makes them think it will make it easier. The patch, the gum, e-cigarettes, gumdrops…anything and everything is on the market, convincing us more and more to try it.
You don’t go around looking for help when you quit drinking, at least not in the form of a smaller bottle with a lesser alcohol amount. You don’t quit drinking step by step. Down from 2 bottles of Whiskey to only one…yipppie!
You quit drinking because you decided to quit. You all decided to make a change. You all made a decision. You came here to these meetings, meet once a week and you all are sober, because you are strong!
If you feel like you “have to quit smoking” or “you need to quit smoking”…don’t bother. It won’t work. Like everything in life, you have to want it and then do it, don’t overthink it.
You quit smoking the same way you quit drinking. You do it, because you want to. It’s a decision, a mindset.
That’s what I learned and that’s my humbled opinion.
We talked for a long time afterwards. We all can be a rock, if we choose to be one!
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Am a Rock.”