AS A RESULT of my experience with myself, and literally thousands of people I have assisted in smoking cessation, and from my own personal experience as a smoker I knew the drug nicotine availed us to push negative feelings deep down inside of ourselves. I came to realize that we were afraid to explore our real feelings. I am absolutely sure that emotional addiction to tobacco is repeatedly confused with physical addiction. When we stop an addictive habit, whether it is alcohol, drugs, sex, relationships, gambling, or cigarettes ... old emotions, with which we never dealt, tend to arise. I invite you to consider and explore the possibilities in your own life regarding emotional addiction.

During and especially after smoking cessation, some of us use replacement substances and behaviors such as overeating, an abundance of alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, relationships, etc., and/or nicotine to replace the pain, shame, guilt, fear, anger from our past histories. We also may use some, or even all, of the fore-mentioned substances and behaviors to try to replace the love that has not been created or received. One or more of these can provide temporary altering of consciousness.

In childhood, we may have had painful experiences with which we did not have the resources to cope. Instead, we stored the memories deep within the unconscious until a later date when we would become emotionally capable of dealing with them. If we didn't get the love we needed to heal, we felt hurt. At times our parents (or parental figures) supported us through nurturing acts of caring, understanding, compassion, respect, appreciation, asking for forgiveness, being forgiven and encouragement. Some of us had healthier parents than others. If we received positive forms of nurturing when we were hurting the hurt went away and the healing took place at that very moment. If our parents were not nurturing, the hurt was stored in the unconscious to be dealt with later

... much later.

As little children, if we were feeling anything that caused hurt, confusion, doubting ourselves, rejecting ourselves, feeling wounded in any way, and we didn't get the love we needed to heal, we only felt the hurt for a certain period of time and it eventually went away ... or so we thought. We sincerely thought that the hurt was gone ... but it was not gone ... it was stored ... put on hold ... stuffed away inside. As with any wound that is not tended to it festers ... quietly. As we grow older, we naturally start having more memories although we are beautifully protected by our unconscious and the vivid, childhood memories are given back to us slowly as we become more capable to deal with them.

As children, for many of us, it wasn't safe to be ourselves ... to naturally express ourselves, to ask for love or to want things. It wasn't safe to believe in ourselves and to have dreams or goals. We pushed down our hurts, stifled our feelings and suppressed our true nature. We were loved when we acted the way our parents wanted and repressed our real, childlike and pure selves. Then when we became adults and wanted to be okay by just being ourselves ... we didn't know how to be ourselves or how to feel safe. Quite a paradox!

As adults, or as adolescents, when we attempt to get what we want, achieve our goals and dreams, sometimes we are not successful. When this happens, to avoid the emotional discomfort, we are apt to stuff our negative feelings back down inside ourselves through an addictive habit such as smoking tobacco. Smoking becomes a replacement for love and self love.

Smoking served a very positive purpose in the beginning. As we proceed along in life and begin to experience painful situations; when there is not enough love in our lives or we are not giving ourselves enough love we want to find something to push down the pain ... cigarettes function very well in this capacity! In most cases we are not even aware that there is pain. When we stopped smoking before and a few hours or days went by some of our negative feelings from the past came up and (I'll bet you a nickel) most of us lit up again. We found a replacement. We found cigarettes. Instead of feeling our need for love we felt a need to smoke. People who smoke cut themselves off from all of their incredible potential to be emotionally healthy and also numb themselves because they don't want to feel pain, shame, guilt, anger nor fear. The energy associated with these deep emotions has to be diverted in some way. Smoking keeps feelings down and as long as they are stuffed down, we feel good ... we feel even ... we feel nothing. I am certain that is what addiction truly is. Smoking burns up deeply stored negative feelings.

Blaming or dumping painful feelings on our family and friends or returning to smoking, and/or other self-defeating behaviors, are bandaids that may feel "good" at the time, but are definitely self-disrespectful. If we want to heal our childhood hurts, we must learn skills to process our feelings and begin to heal with grace. Confiding in a competent therapist, attending support groups, sharing with a trusted, non-judgmental friend who is willing to listen are avenues to healing.

I am absolutely sure that what we can feel, we can heal. As we heal those old wounds we have the opportunity to be the fantastic, alive, passionate, exciting and loving person we truly want to be. and although we may not realize it at this time, already are. Feeling the pleasures and the pains of our lives instead of forcing them back down again to fester, to create dis-ease and disease, is important to the total healing of the body and life. The way out of hurt and pain is to embrace the pain and to move through it. Then work with the enlightenment gained and share it. Handle fears and upsets instead of throwing them back inside or on to someone else is the golden key to recovery from addition.

In the process of stopping smoking hurt, insecurity, terror and depression about not having nicotine may come into consciousness. If there is awareness of the possibility of these feelings arising one can then observe the feelings and begin to enjoy the success of achieving goals. At every level of success self-confidence is gained. Choosing to understand feelings and soliciting help can absolutely heal them.

Everything, even that which looks like something negative, is an opportunity to emotionally heal. We find less damaging and destructive "addictions" to help us feel good. Perform healthy actions, that get us out of ourselves, that makes us feel good: exercise, playing sports, healthy adventures, assisting others by volunteering at a hospital or homeless shelter, playing with our children or grandchildren, doing things to assist someone other than ourselves, spending time with precious, trusted friends, these suggestions and more are important ways for healing.

When there is knowledge about the mechanisms to deal with feelings we just naturally choose to continue to stay free of nicotine.

Be patient, be brave, as you release this discomfort ... it will pass in time. Remember to use everything for your upliftment, learning, and growth. Everything! No matter how stupid, dumb, or damaging you judge it to be, there is a lesson to be learned. No matter what happens, no matter how unfair or inequitable, there's something you can take from any situation and use for your advancement.

As you are about to proceed with the assistance of the Breathe® smoking cessation program and the counseling that is included, you have the opportunity to become FREE of the oppression of nicotine for good.


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