How To Deal With Addictions

Question

I am addicted to nicotine. Though I know it's not good for my health. I can have a cigarette and this burning sensation can happen in and around the chest.

I got it checked out and the doctor of course advised me to quit smoking, but all the chest x-rays, blood results, and other relevant tests show there is nothing there to worry about!!! But the doctor has put the fear into me about smoking and because of the causes, he offered me NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) but the side effects were horrible. So I stopped the NRT.

Now I am back on the cigarettes and now I just feel so much fear and so much guilt. I try to let myself 'off the hook' and go easy on myself that this is an addiction. But I am struggling to stop and now I am really worried that I am never going to be able to stop and I am going to bring on the worst possible smoking related illness on myself because of this addiction. I feel like I am being forced into quitting because of fear.

It's a catch 22 way of thinking as I know smoking is bad for me, but I can't quit because of the addiction. The more I try to quit, the more pressure I put on myself. The more I worry about my addiction leads me to another cigarette because of the stress I put on myself. I even notice that the mind throws up images on WHY I should smoke, and the cravings are so intense and strong it's so difficult not to give in, but, I always do! The cycle continues. I don't know how to find some inner peace with it. I wondered if you have any advice on how to deal with or cope with addictions?

John.


Response:

I’ll say some different things. Some may resonate, some may not.

Addictions, first of all, are nothing to be condemned. The moment you condemn it, call it bad or turn it into an enemy, or even something to overcome, then you just give it more strength and reality. There is obviously value in noticing that a behaviour has become addictive or compulsive, but after that, to continue labelling it as an addiction can do more harm than good.

Obviously, as you imply, there is no use having a cigarette whilst feeling bad or guilty, since the guilt does not help you to stop. You can notice this - that the guilt and fear does not make you stop, it just makes you feel guilty and afraid in the moment.

Don’t treat an addiction as if it is yours. It is more like a dissatisfied, hungry kind of energy that seeks relief from itself. A discomfort or agitation arises inside, and the cigarette is proposed as the symbol to end this discomfort, and temporarily, it does. Notice the cyclical nature of it, the constant yearning, satisfaction, yearning, satisfaction. If you notice the futility of it, without even calling it futile, then its intimacy with your sense of self may start to dissolve.

I can not speak from direct experience, I have never been addicted to smoking. Some may say that the only way to do it is all at once, just quit. I’m not sure. If you find yourself smoking, be with it fully. Consciously smoke. From the moment your hand grabs the box, takes one out, puts it in your mouth and lights it, let everything be. If there is enjoyment, let it be, if there is guilt, let it be. If there is hurriedness or a kind of hunger for it, let this be as well. Rather than trying to stop the behaviour, watch it act itself out. Habits feel more severe when they are unconscious, just a blur in an attempt to relieve the craving inside. Let it be very conscious, without judgement. You need not identify with the behaviour, calling it “me” or “mine”.

Through doing it very consciously, you may notice that rather than it being “you”, it is an energy that moves by itself. If your sense of self is involved with it, then this feeds it with power. If you notice it as an impersonal energy movement, the quality of it will change. You need not expect it to disappear, or reach some goal of only smoking so many in a day, but you may notice the energy itself shifting.

Feel the pull of it, the sensation of it all, without trying to fix it in any way. Just be with it. Then if it acts itself out, that’s fine, or you may feel the attraction to smoking not carry its usual force.

In terms of the fear aspect of it, fear tends to keep you stuck in that place, vibrationally speaking. There are no facts. Some smokers can be relatively healthy, some non-smokers can be experiencing illness. When you make decisions based on fear, you are still energetically in a disease or “dis-ease” state. Let all actions be a natural by product of health awareness, rather than fear of disease. If there is no health awareness, then that is fine, but you don’t need the fear. Obviously it has not taken the desire for smoking away.

I would say do give in to addiction. Yes, do. But I don’t mean instantly go to satisfy it. Going to smoke is in a way a form of resistance to the desire to smoke, since there is also a feeling that you wish to be rid and free from this inner urge, and smoking gets rid of it for a while. Do not resist any urge. If you resist it, it persists and uses resistance as fuel. Don’t have any intentions of getting rid of the feeling, either through smoking or otherwise, and just let it move and flare. It may well feel uncomfortable, but surrender to it.

The biggest conflict is that a certain sensation arises, and then an energy inside called “me” says, “No, it should not be like this, I want it gone.” Give up this conflict, stop fighting, see what happens.

Hope that helps in some way,

Adam

Comments for How To Deal With Addictions

(from previous website)

Apr 05, 2015
'Fear' 
by: John

It's the feeling of fear that makes me worry more and when I am stressed I reach for the cigarettes. Actually, since the doctor has put the fear into me I have actually been smoking more. 

This fear I am now feeling, do I watch this too, if and when I smoke a cigarette? It's crazy how much the fear recently has started to affect my life. Every cough and pressure in my chest, along with this burning sensation, part of me is thinking that I have these symptoms because I am really stressed out about what the doctor has advised. I feel I am trapped in fear. Do you have any suggestions on how to cope with fear? Is it just allowing the feelings and not buying into the fearful thinking? 

Sorry about all the questions. Even though the doctor has checked me over and said everything is okay. I am still feeling these burning sensations (only when I try to stop or worrying about stopping) never when I smoke. I know it was the doctor's words. I know I have this belief that 'he knows best' kind of thing. But then, surely none of us can control our fate/death? Surely it will come to us all at any time? Part of me never worried before. I didn't mind smoking a few socially. I would go as far as saying I enjoyed having a cigarette with other smokers. I genuinely thought going to the doctor's with this burning sensation in my chest was maybe a viral or a minor chest infection. I wasn't worried. But then the doctor jumped on the 'smoking' band wagon and I can't stop worrying and fearing the absolute worst. 
The fear really has a good grip of me. Any ideas? 

Thank you for your reply. You made a lot of sense concerning the way I look at addictions as 'bad' and how that just gives it more energy. I am very grateful for your suggestions and advice. 

Thanks, 
John 


Apr 14, 2015
Fear 
by: Adam - InnerPeaceNow.com

Fear often acts as if it will keep us safe, as if it is protective, but it usually just keeps you focused on the negative even more, in your case, leading you to smoke more. 

Just call fear's bluff. If you no longer close down against it or fight it or give it automatic belief, then what happens? What can the fear do? So yes allow it, do not instantly believe the thoughts that appear. They are just thoughts. 

See what happens if you no longer desire the fear to be gone. 

Adam


Jun 14, 2015
Smoking 
by: M

I was a smoker many years ago and I tried lots of ways to give it up. Hypnotherapy, acupuncture, will power,nicotine chewing gum, rationing etc. I would become tense and short tempered and my family would tell me to have a cigarette for heaven's sake. 

Finally, I decided that I was going to stop even if the tension drove me mad. I was not going to be controlled by cigarettes. I bought in a few rations to help, herbal cigarettes, boiled sweets and liquorice root to chew on. For a few days when the withdrawal symptoms were strong I used them plus I drank fluids and took deep breaths. There was also a book that I found helpful called 'How to Stop Smoking and Stay Stopped for Good. '

I think that the tension is there because the urge to have a cigarette is being resisted. I let myself feel it but didn't go on to have the cigarette. I didn't fight the urge to smoke, I accepted it. I believe that smoking is felt to be necessary because the withdrawal symptoms that come when the nicotine fix has left the body are only removed by having another cigarette. And so it goes on. Once you have gone through the withdrawal and not had a cigarette to remove it, the urge to smoke is very much weakened and you know that if you were to smoke it would start the compulsion up again.