By: Faith Pearce

(3 min read)

I have had many battles with myself and gone round and round in circles. I have held on to so much shame and beat myself up. But I’m learning that the only way to move forward is to stop hiding and be open and transparent. 

I may go around in circles, but that’s how I process. I am so angry with myself. Embarrassed, annoyed, and frustrated. I keep asking myself, “Why am I here again”? Then I’ve not made any changes because I thought ok, I needed to understand “WHY” I have sat with this for months. What motivates my actions? What am I talking about? And I will get to the point, but being open about this feels very uncomfortable because I feel like I’ve taken a step backward. Second, I feel disappointed in myself and feel others would be. Third, I have gone through this process before and know how hard it was to change it and how much I hate it. Why am I doing something I hate? 

This was my starting point, the “Why?” In my previous blogs, I have talked about the big changes in my life recently with my daughter leaving for university, which really hit me hard. Not only did it feel like a death, but this change also increased anxiety and disrupted sleep. I couldn’t connect with my feelings as it was so raw and painful like stabbed in the heart. I felt lost and alone. So I fell back to old coping mechanisms that were familiar and comforting. I started smoking again. After a whole year of not smoking and being nicotine free, I started again. Even writing this now is hard. And I feel sadness and tears overwhelming me. But I know I need to let them flow. Because the only way to change is to do things differently. To stop masking and avoiding the difficult feelings is to just let them be. Discomfort isn’t bad. It is growth. 

I am not perfect. I am only human. I have beat myself up long enough with, “Why are you so fucking stupid to do this? Now you will have to go through the nicotine withdrawal all over again,” which was absolutely awful. Feeling like your skin itches and your brain constantly screams for the dopamine hit it is used to having, the body’s blood sugars go crazy, and moods fluctuate rapidly. 

For me, the emotional ups and downs are where I have learned my biggest lesson. 

I know any addiction cannot just be stopped. Physically we need dopamine. It helps the nerves send messages to the cells; without it, we could not function. Low levels are linked to restless leg syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, and depression. 

So when I shut down following my daughter leaving, I stopped doing any activity. I didn’t write, draw, paint, dance, or sing. I stopped listening to music or creating nice foods in the kitchen just for me. 

All these activities increase dopamine, and I stopped everything. It makes sense to me that my brain was screaming for something. 

Where does that leave me now? Well, firstly, I am listening to music daily and being more present in nature. I am also cooking nice food again. 

Most importantly, I am allowing myself to process my feelings without judgment. If I feel sad and cry, it is ok. I am not going to hold onto the negative feelings anymore because all they serve is to keep me in the same place. I am only human, and I recognize why I did what I did, but there is a better way. I am creating positive activities that make me feel good and give me the dopamine hit

Oh yes, and of course, I am giving up smoking…again.

Wish me luck.

Faith Pearce 
                                                                     All Things Wellness, LLC

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