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2005-03-31 18:06:54 (UTC)

For A Friend Who Slipped

From SmokeFreeLife on 3/24/2005 4:15:15 PM

Forgive Yourself for SmokingBy Fred H. KelleyWeb:"

We cling to our bad feelings and beat ourselves with the
past when what we should do is let go of it, like Peter
did. Once your let go of guilt, then you go out and change
the world."-- James CarrollCarroll is referring to Peter, a
disciple of Jesus who, when faced with questions about his
relationship to Jesus, three times denied any connection.
Later, Peter went on to help spread Christianity throughout
the world.While this article isn't about religion, the
example of Peter's great guilt over his denials of Christ,
and his overcoming of his shame and guilt, exemplify the
importance of self-forgiveness.Forgiving yourself leads to
great things!Whether you've smoked for a year or a
lifetime, you probably have experienced guilt or shame
about smoking. Many smokers feel shame over their own
failure to control themselves. Others feel guilt over the
perceived "sin" of smoking. Still others hide their smoking
from society's persecution of "obnoxious, weak,
unconcerned, polluting, smelly" smokers, due to feeling
ashamed.Guilt and shame paralyze and polarize. The sad
thing about guilt and shame is that it is often the result
of incorrect perceptions of a situation. Have you ever
wronged another person, then felt guilty for it? Did you
avoid that person for a long time? When you finally got
back together with that person you may have found that they
had forgiven you long ago, and they wished that you were in
their life again. How much time did you waste feeling
guilty?Many smokers, in an effort to make themselves feel
better, tell themselves "I've smoked this long. It's too
late now for me to quit. I might as well keep on smoking."
They may think they are forgiving themselves, but the
reality is they are only making excuses. There's a big
difference between making excuses and truly forgiving. An
excuse denies the reality of a problem. Forgiveness
acknowledges a problem, yet moves beyond the problem.To
forgive your own smoking, you must admit to yourself that
you have a problem that began in the past. Acknowledge the
past, but also acknowledge that the past is over and can
never be changed. What's done is done, now you must move
on. Forgive yourself for starting to smoke. Did you smoke
to be disobedient to your parents or other authority
figure? Acknowledge that this happened and that it may have
been wrong, but what's done is done. Are you ashamed that
you have become dependent on a drug? There are many reasons
why this has happened, many of which you were probably
unaware of at the time. Forgive yourself for falling into
the trap. Millions of people are right there with you. You
are not alone, so don't beat yourself up for it.The goal of
forgiveness is renewal. On the other side of guilt is a new
freedom. By freeing yourself from feeling inadequate over
old shortcomings, you empower yourself to achieve great
results. When you are no longer trapped in self-doubt and
self-pity you can overcome any obstacle. You can look at
smoking objectively and turn away from it at last. Change
what you can change; don't worry about the rest.If you ask
yourself who's to blame for your smoking habit, you could
probably come up with three or four answers: yourself, the
tobacco companies, your parents, your friends. Whoever or
whatever the cause for your habit, forgive. It really
doesn't matter anymore. What you want to concern yourself
with now is moving past smoking. You'll never do that until
you let go of the guilt and shame and blame, and simply let
go of all of it. What matters is that you quit.It's odd how
the things we desire the least can control us the most.
Instead of focusing on the negative past, draw your
attention to your positive future. Forgive your past and
get excited about today, because today you can do something
amazing!~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~The Serenity Prayer for
SmokersGod, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot
change, courage to change the things I can,and wisdom to
know the difference. God, grant me serenity to accept the
things I cannot change...As smokers trying to stop smoking,
we cannot change the craving for cigarettes, but even if we
can't change the craving, we can accept it. The truth is
that until we can accept our craving for cigarettes, we
will not stop smoking. Lighting another cigarette is what
we do if we decide we cannot accept the craving!It's that
simple: If you want a cigarette and you will not accept the
craving, then you will surely light a cigarette. Or maybe
you will have "one puff" to get you through, but even one
puff is "not accepting" the things that you cannot
change.Accepting the craving does not mean we want the
craving or like it. Accepting it means, first, recognizing
the craving for what it is: a strong desire, physical or
psychological, not a need, for a cigarette. That's all. We
do not fight this craving; rather we look at it, letting it
be, not getting panic stricken or feeling sorry for
ourselves, but saying, "Yes, I really am craving a
cigarette right now."We do not practice self-deception and
try to trick ourselves into thinking we don't want to
smoke. This is an honest program. Nor do we try to hate the
habit (or ourselves) so much that we quit. No, we cannot
make ourselves stop smoking, but we can live with the
craving, and so we pray for...courage to change the things
I can...The thing that we can change is our unwillingness
to live, even for a short time, with the craving for the
next cigarette. We can, with God's help and the support of
the group, change our old way of dealing with craving, and
we deal with it in a new way: We become willing to live
with the craving; we no longer light a cigarette to get rid
of the pain of craving. Our lighting up shows that we have
not accepted what we cannot change and have not acted with
the courage to change the things we can. Of course, living
with a craving is hard, sometimes very hard, but you are
not alone-with God's help you can do it. That is what this
Serenity Prayer is all about.So we ask God to help us
accept the craving, and then we ask God to give us the
courage not to take care of this craving--as we have always
done--by smoking one more cigarette. Thus, we need the
strength to accept the craving, and the courage not to
light up... and wisdom to know the difference.The wisdom we
ask for here is to become aware of the difference between
our old way of handling the discomfort of craving in the
past (by compulsively lighting up) and the new way of
dealing with cravings: accepting the craving until it
passes, uncomfortable though we may be for a few
moments.The strength and courage to live as ex-smokers with
this discomfort does come if we ask for it, even though it
may take time. What we receive is not raw will power, but
Power that comes from God, from the group, and from our
inner-most self The power that we want is actually love! It
is only with this kind of power that we can become ex-
smokers and receive a new life free from nicotine
addiction.The reason we did not become ex-smokers years ago
is that we chose not to live with the craving. Every time
we craved a cigarette, we gave in and smoked it. And kept
on hoping that in some magic way a day would arrive when
the craving would disappear or we would find an absolutely
painless way to stop smoking. That day never came. Each of
us kept using our favorite rationalizations or excuses for
lighting up, our own justification for not living with the
craving. And we kept on craving and smoking, craving and
smoking, year after year. But now we can change all that:
The moment we can accept what is -- "I want to smoke" --
and face it with the courage God gives us, we can say, "I
choose not to handle this craving by smoking a cigarette"
then we become ex-smokers!If you continue to smoke even
though you say this prayer, then say it again, and again,
and keep on saying it while you reflect what it means to
you, a smoker. Eventually it will work. It will not work if
you are not sincere, but if all you can do at first is to
say the prayer without believing it, then at least do that!
Some time may be needed for you to receive the power to
live with the discomfort that comes from craving without
lighting up, but eventually it will come. In time, the
craving will diminish greatly, and someday, we trust. it
will disappear altogether. If you have a slip, however, and
you light one up, accept yourself reverently and say the
prayer again the next time!Remember, it really is not the
stress, frustration or even the craving that causes us to
have another cigarette, but rather our lack of strength to
deal with the craving. That strength comes from God, from
the group, and from your own healthy inner self! May God be
with you now!Nicotine Anonymous World
Serviceshttp://nicotine-anonymous.orgGood ~ Afternoon from
CanadaI would like to invite you to visit/join my club here
at the Q:"SmokeFreeLife" { Friends helping friends }
club_id=2306Very Best RegardsRobertI have also published 10
new support articles on my website:Useful Resources to Quit
Smoking Medicare will immediately start covering the cost
of counseling for certain beneficiaries who want to quit
tobacco. Articles on green tea: Tobacco-Related Diseases
Alcohol Withdrawal Cirrhosis Alcoholism Binge Drinking
Alcohol Dependence (Alcoholism) Secondhand Smoke Happy
Easter Everyone!PeaceRob