A Recovery Blog

This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Quit Date

This is a watercolor I painted of a B&W photograph of my brother's first cat, Squeaky. He was supposed to be my cat (I named him I'm afraid), but I abused the privilege by dressing him up in doll clothes one day when he was a kitten. Hey, I was a kid... Thanks J.P. for sending me three photos of your cat Rosie. I might try painting one of them to send to you.

Well, I've been smoking. Twice this week and I see all the warning signs. If I don't take steps to stop it now, I'll be back to a pack a day in no time, so I joined The American Lung Association--Freedom From Smoking program today. The sad fact is that most people need to make several attempts to quit before they can quit for good. Last September when I quit was my first attempt in about nine years and I stayed free of it for over ten months. I'm proud of doing that, but now I slid into making excuses. I think one of the mistakes I made was in not keeping up with the online support. I found a really good site called Woofmang.com and I think I will go back there too. I'm impressed with the people who've quit who stay in touch with the boards and offer support long after they've quit. I hope I'll turn into one of those people.

Right now I'm not physically addicted to the nicotene, but I'm right on the edge of it. I hated being tied to a cigarette day in and day out. It was like being a prisoner to it. It took me a long time to get sick and tired of it. The first year I became psychotic, the voices attacked me for smoking and forced me to try and quit, but I couldn't and I don't recommend trying to quit when you are very stressed out. It's best to wait till you're more stable. You have to be ready to quit. I'm getting ready by writing about it now. The Freedom From Smoking program suggests you set a quit date three weeks from starting the program. Three weeks from today I'm going to try to quit for good again--November 3rd, 2008.

I started smoking when I was twelve, but not a lot. A boy I liked smoked and I thought he looked "cool", so I decided to try it with another friend. I was too young at the time to realize that I was toying with something that would eventually hook me. My first boyfriend didn't smoke (his mother did and he hated it) and so I didn't smoke during the five years we were together. After we broke up, I gradually returned to it. I smoked maybe half a pack, but not every day. It was soon after I moved away from the city and got involved with an abusive alcoholic that I jumped up to a pack a day. Then I smoked because I was stressed out in the relationship, but afterwards I continued to smoke a pack a day. That's when I tried to quit.

That lasted five months and then I went right back to smoking a pack a day again. Then I became psychotic and tried to quit in the midst of the worst of it. That was pretty traumatic and kept me smoking till last year.

The thing is I know what I should do, but a lot of times I don't do it. I sabotage my well-being by making unhealthy choices. All I can do, all anyone can do, is get back on the wagon and keep trying. So that's what I intend to do.
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