Outside hidden from view I lit my first cigarette after stealing one from my mum’s packet. I was only 12 years old at the time. At 18 years of age I had a job at a local supermarket and openly smoked around my parents. My father, a reformed smoker was always telling me that my decision to take up smoking was going to be taxing on my health.
There were times where I didn’t feel right smoking but, quickly got rid of those thoughts by telling myself that I will be fine. I carried an attitude against anti-smoking campaigns justifying my habit so that I could carry on smoking without the guilt. Having conflicting thoughts obviously meant that I was in denial.
So I began a series of failed attempts. The longest I’d gone without a smoke was 12 months! That in itself was quite an achievement.
Celebrating a year of not smoking
Ironically, after trying to quit a handful of times, success was celebrated proudly and stupidly by lighting one up. I was hooked with the first drawback.
Lesson Learnt – There’s no such thing as ‘visiting’ an addiction or ‘entertaining’ one! I told myself that this can’t happen again. I felt like such a failure.
The 12 Steps to Freedom
A local church pastor announced that he’ll be running a Christian 12 step type of program for all sorts of addictions. After many failed attempts to quit, I just thought, “Why not? It couldn’t hurt to try.”
So there I was with many people who had various hard core addictions thinking mine wasn’t that bad in comparison. Suddenly the realisation hit, we were all addicted to drugs and I was no different. So I sat back in my chair listening attentively to what the pastor had to say.
One evening, while outside on a break I noticed the pastor was standing beside me as I was lighting one up. Contemplating about quitting this program, I defiantly talked about how enjoyable smoking was. He stood looking at me right in the eyes and told me that I was full of sh*t. Of course I was, otherwise what was I doing there?
Back at home that night I realised that this pastor loved me enough to hit me with truth when I needed it. He saw right through me. If there was one thing that I understood it was tough love which is the kind of love that family interventions come from. While they might seem mean and intrusive they actually work if done right. This particular pastor and his wife had a huge heart for the hurting and the lost.
That night while researching the internet for a quit smoking site, I made a decision that when I found one to allow the information to sink in as truth. Reading the information purposely over and over again to become a recorded message that I wouldn’t forget, I continued with the 12 step program unto completion.
One morning I just didn’t feel the need to have a smoke with my coffee and haven’t smoked since. Yes cold turkey! It’s now been 14 years since I gained freedom from slavery. I know that sounds harsh but lets face it, we are subject to our addictions.
To gain control over your life you simply have to take courage, accept harsh realities, pray and take action. Don’t just sit there, do something!
ReGen’s 12 Step program’s similarity to Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program.
- We admit our powerless over our addictions and that our lives have become unmanageable.
- We believe that God has the power that can restore us to sanity.
- We decide to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God.
- Make a fearless, searching moral inventory of ourselves.
- Repent of our wrong doings and tell another person.
- Ask God to take away our character flaws to strengthen us.
- Humbly ask God to remove our shortcomings.
- Make a list of everyone we’ve hurt and be willing to make amends to them all.
- Attempt to make direct amends with them except if it were to hurt them or anyone else.
- Continue to take personal inventory promptly admitting where we are wrong.
- Pray daily for God’s will for our lives and for the power to carry it out.
- Spread the message and teach others about the Hope & Freedom that God offers through the message of Salvation.
Facing the truth
My personal battle wasn’t about beating a smoking habit. It was learning that by being totally honest with myself I was respecting myself. Love yourself enough to be honest. The truth only liberates us. No matter what’s happened to you in your past. Don’t side with the world. God loves you so much that he thinks that you’re to die for!
Jesus said, “You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.”
Wisdom and truth go hand in hand & lies have no part of it.
It doesn’t matter how many attempts you make at quitting. The main thing is to keep trying till you get there! When is the best time to quit? Mornings are easier to start off on a clean slate.
– Lance Armstrong
If you’re having problems quitting talk to your doctor about it or visit the Australian Government website: www.Quitnow.gov.au or call 137 848
When we give denial power it only serves to keep us bound in a non-rewarding cycle of self abuse.
Image courtesy of: www.rgbstock.com /xymonau