written near the end of my second month of freedom from smoking and originally posted on january 15, 2002; this tale talks about my rant from the previous day, and how we teach best what we most need to learn.

rant disclaimer

2009 January 28

there's an old saying that applies to my post "on relapsing": "if you really want to learn something, teach it to somebody else".

my rant - as with many of my, shall we say, "less gentle" posts - was aimed at me as much as at anybody else.

last week i was going through a pretty rough time, which peaked at the end of the week; the current week is traditionally one of the most stressful of the year in my job (ironically, we refer to this week as "hell week" where i work), and i knew (from doing my homework in this program) that stress was a huge trigger for me.

early last week, i had my first dream with a burning cigarette in it (i wasn't smoking it). after thinking it over for several days and talking about it with a friend, i "decoded" it as a message from my late father that i could not succeed in this quit.

digging a little deeper, i realized that i was listening to an old record from my mid-teens, when i was a rebel without a cause, and dad was no doubt extremely frustrated with the myriad ways in which i was abusing myself and wasting my gifts. but that's a really long story.

even after realizing that the message was not an accurate reflection of how dad would probably feel if he were still alive, the experience turned up the intensity of my nervousness coming into this week to an insane level. by the end of last week, i had totally convinced myself that if i was ever going to lose my quit, this week would be the most likely place for it to happen.

at the same time, everywhere i looked, i saw posts about other people losing their quits; people i had thought were very solid. people i thought had "made it". and the demon started to whisper to me, "you know how you get when you're under stress", "hey, nobody will blame you for smoking a little at a time like this", "look at all these other people that are losing their quits; there's no shame in admitting that your addiction is just too strong..."

worse, i started listening; his lies were starting to make sense to me. "yeah", i thought, "where's the harm? i could just smoke a few when i really needed them; who's to say i couldn't? then i'd just stop once "hell week" is over, get right back on the wagon..." - i think we all know the voice of rationalization...

thus, my rant. as with many of my, shall we say, "less gentle" posts, it was aimed at me as much as (if not more than) at anybody else. (which may help explain why i couldn't quite decide on a point of view to write it from...)

it never ceases to amaze me, though, when something like this hits so close to home for so many others. it's like we're siamese twins or something; i kick myself in the ass, and you feel it.

strange sensation, isn't it?

kevin - day 58

3 responses leave one →
  1. 2003 April 13
    your sister Jean permalink

    It's two o'clock on Saturday night (well, actually, it's Sunday morning). Dean's snoring upstairs and the children are deep in their dreams. I couldn't sleep. I'm thinking about regrets, and how I have several, and how hard it is for me to believe I can redeem the time I know I've wasted, or the unkind words I've said, or the missed opportunities for connection with those I love. So, I got out of bed and sat down at the computer and pulled up your site on my "favorites." I clicked over here to read your insights on choosing life. You write just as you speak when you're sitting down with your younger sister and telling her you understand, and that she needs to stop believing that Murphy's Law applies to her and that she's a bad person, she's going to fail, and nobdy likes her!! Whew! I'm sure you can remember engaging in these topics of conversation with me over the years. It IS a choice not to smoke, and it's also a choice not to look back and wallow in the failures we've all experienced in life. It's a choice to know intimately HOW those failures came to be, and how to avoid them in the future. But being depressed and feeling that we can't break free because we've failed before is such a dark road to travel. It's on that road we'll find it easier to believe the voice which says, "You can't." I read what you said about announcing to the nicotine demon, "I'm not feeding you! I choose life!" And I know, as I have always known, that your words also apply to me, a person not addicted to nicotine, but a person up at two in the morning, unable to sleep because she's looking back at some failures, instead of seeing the accomplishments, the kindnesses, the connections she's made with those she loves. I forget these things too often, probably like a lot of people who forget these things. Anyway, I enjoyed reading a few more articles written by the woofmang, I feel better now, and I think I'll go up to bed. I love you.

  2. 2004 June 8
    Margaret permalink


    Yes, it is a strange sensation to feel that kick and I just did (wow). And thank you! But I really want to write to your sister here. I hope you don't mind.

    Dear Jean,

    Thank you so much for sharing parts of your life and thoughts. I can only speak for myself, but you made me feel so much better about myself. Besides having once smoked (but not for the last 57 days), I have experienced those feeling that you describe and forgotten in the same way those good connections and all the things I did accomplish. I just loved your letter, Jean, and I wanted to tell you. And now, since it's afternoon (sort of), I think I'll go take a nap.

    P.S. I have a brother, too, but he is younger than me. I love him, too.

  3. 2009 January 28

    note: the comments above were left on the original tale at the date and time indicated.

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