When I was 25 I had acupuncture to quit smoking. After the treatment, they taped a tiny mustard seed to my ear and told me to press on it if I had a craving. They also gave me a little bottle of peppermint oil to sniff if I felt foggy-brained. The peppermint oil was amazing really. It cleared my head and calmed me down at the same time. But a few days later I grew tired of the edgy with the crawling out of my skin feeling that I got when I didn’t smoke, and not understanding that it would pass, I had a smoke….. just one I told myself….but then an hour later another and …another …. I finally quit smoking once and for all last year at the age of 52.
After many failed attempts, over many years of knowing I wanted to, needed to, had to quit smoking… I finally held on and didn’t break down and have that just one smoke. It’s been 18 months now and I’ve learned that if I have just one, I’ll be a smoker again, and I don’t want to be a smoker again, so I’ll hold on and enjoy my freedom.
Over all of the many, many months that I knew I had to, needed to, wanted to get my drinking under control I didn’t understand that the reason I cracked at day 3 or day 5 or definitely always by day 6 was the same reason I’d pick up a smoke a few days after paying a small fortune to be hypnotized or have needles stuck in me to quit smoking.
The addict brain is powerful, creative, cunning and determined. If you are addicted to an addictive substance your addict brain will lie, cheat, and steal to get more.
Your addict brain will lie to YOU…
and steal from YOU…
Most of the people I’ve gotten to know over the past three and a bit years of fighting my addictions are very smart, creative people who have survived some nasty stuff. Smart, creative, survivors. Sadly it seems that every bit of their smart, creative, survival skills can be used against them BY THEM in their first few weeks sober. The stronger you are it seems, the harder you have to fight. You have to give it your all. You have to give it your all because you will be going against what you instinctively KNOW. You instinctively KNOW that you NEED a drink because your strong, creative brain has been re-wired by habitual drinking to know that. Give it your all and you can break out of the wash, rinse, repeat cycle of binge drinking and shame.
I don’t think it’s about willpower I think it’s about knowledge.
Learn how your brain works and you are better equipped to fight back and win your freedom from the drink that’s dragging you down, and eating your self-esteem, and sapping your energy.
Remember that you need to re-train your brain…. you can!
These articles are a great place to start.
And this Ted Talk may help inspire as well
Most of us have no question that we are fighting addiction when we quit smoking. When we try to cut back on our drinking or stop drinking altogether, we’re fighting the same addict brain.
Knowledge is Power!
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