Today, November 29 2016, marks six years since I quit smoking. I can’t tell you how happy I am that I made that decision; nor can I find the words to express how proud I am of myself for sticking to that decision. It is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. Someone asked me the other day, “Was it hard to quit?” To which I responded, “The first 50 times I tried to quit were hard, but it was easier once I finally came to terms with it and set my mind to it.” When I say it was “easier” I don’t mean it was easy. I mean, because I was ready, I was able to stick with it. Giving up any addiction if you’re not ready is a bit like fighting a losing battle. Overcoming addiction is something the addicted person NEEDS to be ready and willing to do.
I was with my ex for 10 years, which coincidentally ended about 6 1/2 years ago. In our time together she often urged me to quit smoking, in fact, we would have fights about it. She was one of the lucky ones who could smoke for days, weeks at a time and then not smoke again for a couple months, so she didn’t understand the difficulty in “just quitting”. We broke up in May 2010 and I quit smoking November of that same year. Ironically she became addicted to smoking that same year. After she was addicted she said to me, “I get it now. I understand how hard it is to quit smoking.” Do you know how many arguments could’ve been avoided if she could’ve understood years before that? I haven’t spoke to her in a while now, I’m not sure if she kicked the habit or not. I hope she was able to.
Admittedly I will say that roughly 5 times over the last 6 years I did have a drag here and there when I was drinking. But that was few and far between and I don’t really drink anymore so it’s no longer an issue.
It’s so surreal to look back over the last 6 years at how many things in my life have changed. The ups and downs. The love and heartbreak. Self-discovery (that’s ongoing). The self-awareness that I’ve gained over that time is astounding, and I gain more self-awareness everyday. I love that I now allow myself to have self-awareness, sometimes it’s not so pretty, but it all helps me to grow as a person and it strengthens my compassion, empathy, and understanding for others. I began to learn who I am, rather than being who I thought I was supposed to be. I’ve found a strength in me that I didn’t realize I had. I no longer play the role of “your opinion and feelings don’t matter”. I’ve come to realize that they do, in fact, matter. I matter (that’s been a tough one to overcome). I’ve worked with a therapist over the last two years who has helped me to discover much of what I’ve talked about.
There was one person who started all of this 6 years ago though. This person believed in me. Encouraged my self-growth. Tore down the walls I had built over the years to protect myself from getting hurt. This person made me feel lovable and deserving of love. This person made me want to be a better person. This person opened my heart and my eyes to myself and others. This person saved my life and enlightened me in ways they may never know. I don’t see or talk to this person anymore, but I will forever be grateful for the gifts this person has given me.
One healthy decision completely changed my path. I’ve made several unhealthy decisions since, but between the aforementioned person and my therapist they have both given me the ability to see, to have an awareness of my unhealthy decisions and behaviors. Sometimes it takes me a minute to become aware of it, but eventually it hits me like a ton of bricks, and then I do my best to correct it.
So, here’s to my healthy decision to quit smoking 6 years ago. And here’s to all of the life changes, growth, ups and downs, and lessons learned in the last 6 years. Sometimes life throws us difficult situations and experiences, and for some of us it feels like life does it far more often than just sometimes. But if you look inside yourself, truly look, you will discover a strength, a courage that lives within you. It’s always been there, you just need to believe in it and in yourself; then you will see the possibility to overcome whatever life throws at you.
We are all perfectly imperfect, and that is a beautiful thing. We just need to try to do the next right thing for ourselves and others. I’ve said “you can’t go wrong with kindness”, that isn’t meant to say just be kind to others. We need to show kindness to ourselves equally as much as we show kindness to others.
Now, let’s all go start making healthy decisions for ourselves and being aware of when we are making not so healthy choices so that we can begin to fix them. I’m not saying this is gonna be easy because I’m here to tell ya, it ain’t. I’ve been working pretty hard at it for a while now and I still struggle with it. But it’s worth it, you’re worth it.
With Loving-kindness ♥