It's wonderful that we'd be willing to attempt recovery because some other person wants us to. But navigating battle after battle for someone who isn't in there fighting with us, and who isn't there afterward expressing thanks for our sacrifice, naturally fosters a sense of self-deprivation that can quickly eat away and destroy motivation.
While each is making an attempt, they are doing so for the wrong reasons. "While they may have gotten through the initial withdrawal process, if they don't change their primary motivation for abstaining, they will inevitably relapse," wrote Joel in 1984.
Ending nicotine use for someone else pins our success to him or her. Should they do something wrong or disappoint us we have at our disposal the ultimate revenge, relapse.
"I deprived myself of my cigarettes for you and look how you pay me back! I'll show you, I'll smoke a cigarette!"
As Joel notes from this example, "He will show them nothing. He is the one who will return to smoking and suffer the consequences. He will either smoke until it kills him or have to stop again. Neither alternative will be pleasant."
We can't stop for our doctor, religious leader, parents, spouse, children, grandchildren, best friend, employer, insurance company, support group, pet, some guy who wrote a nicotine cessation book, or for the developing life inside a woman's womb.
While all with whom we share our lives will clearly inherit the fruits of our recovery, it must first and foremost be our gift to us.
While fear of bad or even failing health can be a powerful motivator in causing us to contemplate recovery, the human body is a healing machine. If allowed, it mends and repairs.
What if the primary force driving our recovery is an escalating fear flowing from noticeable dependency related harms? What will happen to those fears if nearly all noticeable harms quickly improve after stopping? What will happen to our determination and resolve?
If an oral nicotine user, imagine a white spot on your gum that quickly disappears. If a smoker, picture dramatic improvement in your sense of smell and a noticeable change in taste. Imagine a chronic cough or wheeze that vanishes in a couple of weeks.
Healing is normally an extremely positive thing. But if recovery is driven almost exclusively by fear of failing health, it can feel like our motivational rug is being pulled out from under us as our primary concerns evaporate before our eyes.
Imagine healing breeding such thoughts as, "I guess smoking hadn't hurt my body as much as I'd thought. I guess it's safe to go back to smoking."
Obviously, we don't correct years of mounting damage to lungs and blood vessels within a few months. Long-term cancer and circulatory disease risks take years to reverse.
But to a mind that commenced recovery primarily due to worries about declining health, disappearance of a chronic cough or a noticeable improvement in breathing may fuel junkie thinking about the impact of smoking upon the body.
The flip side of fear of declining or poor health is hope for improved health. While it may seem like word games, when packing durable and sustaining motives the distinction could prove critical.
Instead of using fear of failing health as a motivator, imagine recasting those fears into a dream of seeing how healthy your body can once again become.
What if instead of each new health improvement realization eating away at our primary motivation, we looked upon it as a reward that left us wanting to celebrate? Imagine the disappearance of each concern stirring our imagination about the limits of possible improvement?
Again, initially, fear can be an extremely positive force. It may have been what motivated you to start reading FFN-TJH. But fear suffers from a lack of sustainability. We can only remain afraid for so long. We can only look at so many photographs of diseased lungs or mouth cancers before growing numb to them.
As to noticeable tobacco related health concerns, why not use their potential for healing and some degree of noticeable improvement as a means of refueling core dreams and desires?
These bodies are built for healing. If given the opportunity, all tissues not yet destroyed will mend and repair. Why not put your body's ability to heal to work for you?
The final motivation we may want to consider shifting and recasting is cost.
The cost of satisfying the brain's demand for nicotine continues to rise as governments increasingly turn to tobacco tax increases as motivation to induce cessation, or so they say.
Fewer smokers mean that the tobacco industry must charge remaining smokers more money in order to satisfy profit-seeking shareholders. Still, if the cost of today's supply of nicotine is our primary recovery motivation, what's the actual price of relapse?
How much does it cost to bum or be offered a cigarette, cigar, pinch, wad or piece? What's the cost of a single pack, tin, pouch or box? A few dollars?
But if we focus upon total savings instead of the cost of our daily or weekly supply, our core motivation is allowed to grow instead of serve as a source of increasing temptation.
I just glanced and according to my computer's desktop recovery calculator, at $3.00 per pack of cigarettes (an addict's paradise, South Carolina continues to have almost the cheapest nicotine in America), during my 13 years of healing I've saved $52,462.01 (U.S.) by skipping 285,749 once mandatory nicotine feedings. But in reality, my savings have been far greater.
When calculating savings don't forget the price of fuel if travel was necessary to re-supply. And what about the value of our time? And don't forget tobacco use related doctor and dentist visits.
When smoking 3 packs a day, I lived with chronic bronchitis and respiratory illness, including being diagnosed with early emphysema. I had pneumonia two years in a row and six root canals in the two years prior to my final attempt.
Amazingly, the madness of paying the tobacco industry to destroy this body ended after arresting my dependency. I can't begin to guess at my medical savings but clearly they've been substantial, including being alive here today to type these words
Dream about the big picture and total savings, not just what you'd spend for tomorrow's or next week's supply.