The real "you" never, ever needed nicotine. You were fine on your own. The real "you" didn't need the sense of wanting satisfaction that arrived with each new supply, or the anxieties associated with needing more.
The real us typically functioned more towards the center, without nicotine's feeding cycle mood swings.
So what if you never, ever needed to inhale or juice nicotine again? What if your mind was once again allowed to be itself, filled with a rich sense of calm while stimulating its dopamine pathways the natural way, via great flavors, big hugs, cool water, a sense of accomplishment, friendship, nurturing, love and intimacy?
What if days, weeks or even months passed comfortably, without once thinking about wanting to use nicotine? Would that be a good thing or bad?
Quitting is a word that tugs at emotion. By definition it associates itself with departing, leaving, forsaking and abandonment.
But the real abandonment took place on the day nicotine dependent pathways suppressed all remaining memory of the beauty of life without nicotine, when no longer able to recall how fantastic we functioned without it.
FFN-TJH isn't about quitting. It's about recovering a person long ago forgotten, the real and wonderful "you!"
The word "quitting" tends to paint nicotine cessation in gray and black, in the doom and gloom of bad and horrible. It breeds anticipatory fears, inner demons, needless anxieties, external enemies and visions of suffering. It fosters a natural sense of self-deprivation, of leaving something valuable behind.
Now, contrast quitting with recovery. Recovery doesn't run or hide from our addiction. Instead, it boldly embraces who we became, and every aspect of this temporary journey of re-adjustment.
When knowledge based, we're looking for recovery symptoms, emotions, conditioning and junkie thinking, and view each encounter as an opportunity to reclaim another piece of a nicotine-free life.
Nicotine dependency recovery presents an opportunity to experience what may be our richest period of repair and self-discovery ever. Tissues are allowed to heal. Senses awaken and brain's neuro-chemicals again flow in response to life not nicotine.
It's a period where each challenge overcome awards us another piece of our puzzle, a puzzle that once complete reflects a life reclaimed.
It is not necessary that we delete the word "quit" from our thinking, vocabulary or this book (at least not entirely). But it might be helpful to reflect upon when the real "quitting" took place, when freedom ended and that next fix became life's primary objective.
Although probably impossible to believe right now, you won't be leaving anything of value behind. Nothing! Everything done while under nicotine's influence can be done as well as or better as "us."
Again, try to remember. What was it like being you? What was it like to function every morning without nicotine, to finish a meal, travel, talk on the phone, have a disagreement, start a project or take a break without putting nicotine into your body?
What was it like before nicotine took control? What was it like residing inside a mind that did not want for nicotine?
Possibly the most fascinating aspect of drug addiction is just how quickly all remaining memory of life without the drug gets buried by high-definition wanting-relief memories.
Why be afraid of returning to a calm and quiet place where you no longer crave a chemical that today, every day, you cannot seem to get off your mind, a chemical that is a mandatory part of each day's plan?
Why fear arriving here on Easy Street with nearly a billion comfortably recovered nicotine addicts? Is freedom of thought and action a good thing or bad? If good, why fear it?
How wonderful would it be to again reside inside a quiet mind where our addiction's chatter gradually becomes infrequent and then rare?
Slave to our world of nicotine-normal, we were each provided a new identity. Captive brain dopamine pathways did their designed job and did it well. They left us convinced that our next nicotine fix was central to survival, as important as water or food.
I recently read disturbing comments posted by more than one hundred long-term nicotine gum addicts. One, a 36 year-old woman, wrote, "I have to say, I traded one problem for another. I chew 4 mg 24/7 and can go through 170 pieces in less than 6 days. I have been chewing Nicorette now for 12 years. If I run out for a short time my mood becomes irrational. It is costing me more money than I have. I have chosen Nicorette over food many times."
We can only hope that such honesty leads her to ask and answer the bigger question, "why?" Hopefully someday soon she'll feel what it's like to comfortably engage her entire day without once wanting for nicotine.
Contrary to the false survival training lesson constantly being pounded into her brain by her hijacked priorities teacher, she'd be leaving nothing of value behind. Even the love in her heart, she'd get to bring it with her.