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Jan 04, 2018 (10:29 AM) Reply | Quote 

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Joined: Jan 04, 2018
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Well search no longer because I was you 10 years ago :)
Like you, I quit in my early 30s and had smoked over a pack a day for 15 years.  Like you, I used cigarettes to hide my emotions all the time- for everything.  When I was stressed, when I was sad, hell even when I was happy.  Cigarettes were my bestest buddy in the whole world. There's a good chance that if cigarettes were healthy, I'd be smoking them today. 
I do wish there was a set of steps I could tell you to take when dealing with emotions- or that it is easy to deal with but that would be a lie.  We run to substances like cigarettes precisely because emotions are indeed difficult to deal with.  That's what you need to recognize first and foremost.  You are not alone in that at all.  
In my own personal history, emotions were very frowned upon.  Me and my siblings were never allowed to have emotions.  Meanwhile, our mother- who had borderline personality disorder- was very much "allowed" to have emotions.  She would have fits and swings all over the place, all the while coming down hard on any of us if we had issues of our own.  In short, we had to parent our parent like so many kids these days lol.  For my part I grew up feeling that having emotions weren't just uncomfortable, they were nearly fatal.  For me, it meant risking abandonment and getting thrown out of the house.  This was particularily true for anger. 
Consequently, there was a part of me that had a very difficult time relating to people.  My boundaries were all screwed up- and I had no idea people could "talk about things".  To me, it was either you shut up and be good, or you're dead. No negotiations, no reasoning, all or nothing.  And in the end, that's just wrong.  Somewhere you know it's wrong but you don't know what to do about it.  Something is missing and your search and search for something to fill it and if you're young and stupid like I was you stumble upon something like cigarettes and BAM.
 Cigarettes became my unholy ally in my struggle to relate to and deal with the world.  People were complicated, unpredictable and downright scary but cigarettes you could rely on every time.  This is just my story.  Everyone has their own with plenty of different "reasons" they smoked- but I'd wager emotions are a very fundamental issue for everyone, whether they had a perfect childhood or not.
Maybe I'm projecting my own POV on you but I almost sense you're asking for permission to feel things that aren't very pleasant.  If so, please know that you don't need anyone's permission.  Maybe that is a scary thing to you?  It was for me...I've come a long way but I still struggle with those things.  For example, how does a person feel something unpleasant and then not injure others?  That is the type of thing I had to learn all myself because I never had anyone to teach it to me.  Cigarettes always helped mask those things.  Once that was taken away, it was time to experience things a lot stronger.
I'm terribly sorry about your mom.  That has to be devastating.  2 years after I quit, I lost TWO guys in my life who were serogate fathers to me.  I mean, apart from my actual dad, these dudes (along with their entire family) were just like dads to me.  In the course of one year, they died of the same cancer, nearly on the same day (the second one dying 51 weeks after the first...uncanny).  As devastating as that was, I do not recall even thinking of having a cigarette when that happened.  By that time, I was too free.
I'm not sure how long it's been since your last cigarette but for me it was about one whole year before I didn't want another one.  Your millage may very on fact you sound far more excited and positive than I did when I quit...holy moly I wanted to throttle every other person by the neck for quite a while :)
And my point is not to discourage you by saying it will take a may not!  My point is simply that this journey will be challenging but dude it's so worth it.  As cliche as it is: if I can do it, anyone can.
 Just know that feeling overwhelmed from time to time is part of the process.
I hope this helps.  Be real good to yourself and don't be a "hero".  When possible, avoid traffic, avoid triggers, avoid lots of things if you can.  Meanwhile have some delicious food that you can taste and afford to buy.  Get some of that exercise you can now get.  In time, these things will seem less like "to do lists" or "coping actions" and just LIFE, and a GOOD life at that!
Be well buddy I hope this helps.

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Jul 01, 2017 (04:02 PM) Reply | Quote 

Posts: 142
Joined: May 09, 2008
Last Visit: Jan 02, 2018

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Age: 49
Gender: Male
Country: New Zealand
Hobbies: Whatever tickles my fancy. Currently, Mrs Kiwi & my Toys

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Days: 818 Hours: 17
Minutes: 23 Seconds: 42

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Your post is very clear to me, especially the coma part. fwiw, GO with the emotions... seek counselling & medication (if you must)
From personal experience... Smoking masks everything ESPECIALLY emotions & how we deal with them. Needless to say...
You will pull through & become a better & stronger person for it ! 

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Ashley Health Educator
Apr 26, 2017 (04:17 PM) Reply | Quote 

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Joined: Jan 21, 2009
Last Visit: Apr 06, 2016

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Hi  JD,

First of all congrats on deciding to quit and congrats on all the positive benefits you have noticed. Awesome work! I am not sure I completely understand; but, it sounds like smoking was masking a lot of thoughts and emotions. Now that you have quit they are popping up and making life confusing as you have not had to deal with them until now. Would you say that is accurate?

If it is, it sounds like you may need to explore this uncertainty more and explore your emotions and thoughts more. It is normal for people to try to avoid difficult emotions and thoughts but this often prevents healthy ways of coping from developing. You mentioned thoughts of your mother came up. As a smoker did you allow yourself to grieve or were the thoughts and emotions suppressed by smoking? If they were suppressed it makes sense that they would pop up to remind you now that you have quit smoking and lost your go-to coping skill.
Allowing yourself to really FEEL and immerse yourself in those thoughts may help you cope with them and also understand them. It doesn't sound like smoking to avoid this will solve the problem. So to me the only way out is through. Journaling, counseling, talking to loved ones, meditation, mindfulness, etc. are just a few examples of how you can face these thoughts and feelings. What do you think? What do you think you would like to try?


Ashley, Health Educator

The SSC Support Team

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Apr 20, 2017 (03:11 PM) Reply | Quote 

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Joined: Apr 20, 2017
Last Visit: Apr 20, 2017

I'm a 31 year old male who desperately wants to quit smoking, but the "transformation" that I will talk about next, is hindering my will to do so.  I've decided to join you all and share my experience as I am really at my wits end.  I FEEL I can't quit, yet my body is begging for me to stop.  
Let me explain...
I started smoking almost 15 years ago.  My habit quickly became a pack a day.  It wasn't until I tried quitting almost ten years later that I realized my "true self" came out whenever I did quit.  This "true self" came with TREMENDOUS benefits, ranging from more physical energy, to simply being a better person, with much more compassion and understanding for others.  My anxiety melts away, my senses came back to life.  
All great right?
I thought so until my Mother unexpectedly passed a year ago and I tried to quit and realized that this "higher awareness" guy that comes out when I quit, started getting extremely emotional as memories rushed back.  Sure, higher levels of oxygen etc help you feel better once you quit, but I'm talking about feeling like I have to RELEARN how to live! I'm SCARED, yet oddly excited to live this "new and improved" life, but honestly sometimes feel handicapped, both physically and emotionally.  
When I light up, it takes to a realm of "known" - a crappy feeling at best, but at least I KNOW what it feels like and know how I will feel.  When I quit, I feel EVERYTHING has a new (positive) meaning, almost as if someone changed the soundtrack to my life (if that makes sense).  
 I have INCREDIBLE (healthy) confidence, food tastes better, I feel like I can get more things done, my brain actually works better and is at it's "peak power", I eat better, I exercise, I  don't stink of smoke, I save a ton of money, I'm more responsible, I require less sleep ............. I mean that's only a FEW of the benefits I personally find whenever I quit.  BUT! The "higher awareness" brings with it a lot of fear of the unknown, fear that I have to learn how to live and function in society again.  
I've searched the ends of the net to find other people who are going through something similar .... I don't want to feel this alone on this journey.  I'm looking for help and for someone to explain what actually could be happening.  I thank you all in advance for sticking out reading this post and sorry for how disorganized it is, I really just plopped my thoughts as they came to mind.  
Have a blessed day!

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