Fresh Air: Ah, The Smell of Nicotine
Fewer and fewer people are smoking 🚬 nowadays. We all know how bad it is for us and we’re mostly terrified of cancer. Young kids aren’t smoking cigarettes 🚭, they’re vaping odourless chemicals (which turns out, can kill you instantly ☠️ instead of prolonging your suffering!). Europeans 💶 still smoke everywhere but based on our recent visit, I suspect the health concerns of it are slowly working their way over there as well.
With less people smoking and more knowledge about why we shouldn’t, I can’t help but wonder what compels us to smoke? As an ex-smoker, let’s unpack this!
Get Some Fresh Air ⛅
I used to hate going outside. It’s safe to say I was not an “outdoorsy” person. I didn’t like the way people smelled when they came back in, I wasn’t all too impressed with nature or the sunset, and the grass made me itchy. Actually, everything made me itchy. Pollen, dander, I don’t know; allergic to the “fresh” air.
I lived in the middle of absolutely nowhere. In the summer, we went to the beach on Lake Erie, which was only a few minutes from our house. In the fall, we went pumpkin picking and raked leaf piles. In the winter? Ha! Well, Canadian winter. I mean, we SURVIVED! No, I’m kidding. It wasn’t that bad. We went sledding and drank hot apple cider. And in the spring, we got our gardens ready because it was already mid-May (hahaha, kidding again! Sort of).
Between allergies and social anxiety, I preferred to stay home 🏠.
I started out life as a chatty, friendly child but suffered from increasingly debilitating social anxiety as I got older. I’m sure it started with bullying in kindergarten.
I went to school when I was four. We had no Pre-K back then, and I had a late birthday (November baby, here!). But even at age four and five, the kids knew who was “in” and who was not. There was one girl who picked on me from day one. The bullying from her ended in grade six when we moved to middle school, and I found a “crew.”
Unfortunately, those friends weren’t kind to me either. It’s one of those things where you stay in the pack because at least you have one. It was better to be in the crew than exiled into the playground.
Plus, we now had to ride the bus home with the older kids. One of my “friends” older sister liked to smash her chewed up food into my hair on the bus 💪. She was a peach.
It’s no wonder the social anxiety got worse. I find it distressing to think about when I think about my children having to possibly deal with the same thing or worse, being bullies themselves.
I went to high school and decided I was making a change. No more being a victim. Plus, one of the more popular grade twelve boys asked me to prom, so I had some insta-status upon arrival, even though I didn’t go with him. I was advised not to make his ex-girlfriend angry, who he ended up going with in the end.
I left the fair-weather group of friends (who were now all the “popular” kids) and turned to the “outside kids.” Yep. The smokers 🚬. Gotta love them.
At first, I felt like a fraud there too, but as time went on, I was way more comfortable there than inside the school. For the next twelve years, the majority of the fresh air I went into was purely for smoking.
Smoking relieved my Social Anxiety.
Smoking was great because it put something in my mouth, so I didn’t have to speak, gave me an immediate “in” to a crowd. The smokers were always friendly and less-judgey than the popular kids. We had more in common; think, Indie music and creative types.
I did a poor job of hiding my new lifestyle from my parents, but I tried. I changed high schools in hopes of improving my behaviour because smoking cigarettes soon led its way to smoking pot, but by then, I had already learned an unhealthy coping skill for social anxiety. In fact, everywhere I went, smoking was both my escape and introduction.
College was no different; I moved from smoking to drugs. I hated drinking 🍸 and tried to not drink as much as possible. I didn’t like the feeling of being out of control of my body. Drugs made life easier for me; they calmed my anxious, running thoughts and gave me confidence when I had none.
Think about that if you’re the mother of a child with an addiction. Or maybe not an addiction, but a child who is anxious and needs confidence. For only $7, you can read how I was saved from my wild child lifestyle in my book, “We’re Not Okay.”
I was up and down with my behaviour from middle school on. Sometimes, I was okay following Jesus and other times I was lost and getting into trouble. I account the majority of this to anxiety. When I look back, the times I was the most badly behaved were the times I was most anxious; starting a new school, boyfriend broke up with me, and I couldn’t bear to face him, had to go to a party with the people from the old high school, the list goes on.
I found more peace in smoking than I did in my faith because until I was in my twenties, I didn’t believe God really loved me.
I still get social anxiety, but no longer need unhealthy coping skills. If you can relate to this and you’re like, “PLEASE TELL ME HOW?!” Here’s why!
How to Get Rid of Anxiety (Sans-Cigarettes!) 🚭
1. I am secure in who God says I am- I went through counselling when my husband ran off to New York without me (still hurts though when I think back on it), and one of the things we worked on a lot was understanding how God thinks of me. If you struggle with acceptance, sit with a journal and ask God, “What do you think of me?” Write down what comes to mind. It’s probably going to be lovely things! Don’t be afraid to write them down. If you’d like to work on this inner development more, sign up for my counsellor, Dr. Grant Mullen’s email list and get his videos! You won’t regret it.
2. I like myself, and I am proud of who I am now. I was never happy misbehaving. Sure, I felt more comfortable with the rough crowd but isn’t that the epitome of sin? It’s comfortable. I challenge you to get used to feeling uncomfortable in your faith. Although it’s not our behaviour that will ultimately save us, Christians are called to follow Jesus, and he was the world’s most excellent man, so that’s a tall order! I feel more confident now that my conscience is happy.
3. Jesus is my friend. That makes me sound like a loser, I know, but I don’t feel like I have to have friends. Sure, it would be nice sometimes to have someone to go get a pedicure with or a coffee but overall, I’m relatively independent. Part of that is my personality and we know life is better with other people, of course, but I have a friend, His name is Jesus. He thinks I am awesome! It would be nice to have family friends who have kids the same age who we can do life with (see below!), but addiction did play a part in that. I believe most writers are used to some kind of isolation, we’re always in our heads anyway. If you don’t have a friend or a husband or you’re missing a relationship in your life- let Jesus be the gap.
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“You big, fat, liar!!! I know you did it!!” “I didn’t do anything! Stop blaming me. You’re so crazy.” “Crazy?! I’m crazy?! Yeah and I wonder why I’m so crazy! Cause I have a perfect, sober husband who comes home on time and volunteers at church and helps me put the kids to bed and lets me hang out with my girlfriends... oh wait... nope! I don’t have any friends anymore because of YOU!” “How is that my fault?” “Because no one wants to be friends with the person with a crazy life. What are we going to do, couples barbecues?! Nope!!!” “I like barbecues.” “Oh yeah, until you start drinking. Life of the party, look who is here- my stupid husband! I can’t even talk to you!” “I guess we should get a divorce then.” “Oh sure, after all I did, now you want a divorce?! You disgust me!” “Fine, do it, then. I already saw a lawyer.” 🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯🤯 Maybe not these exact words, but have you had this fight? I’m going to bet YES. Notice that it’s ended up WAY far away from where it began? Arguments get out of hand so quickly. Not everyone agrees, but I think it’s best to get to the heart of those old wounds to stop them from coming back up time and time again. Recovering from past wounds will help our emotions not to be manipulated and increase our self-awareness when faced with difficult conversations. The point of this is just to say- um, been there! We understand. And we should talk about what happened! So let us know below- what kind of old hurt are you hanging onto and what’s one way you can let it go, without receiving the kind of apology you really wanted? #recoverymonth #recovery #recover #recovering #recoveryrocks . . . . . . . .#lovetrumpsaddiction #greyministries #recovery #recoverymonth2019 #recoverymonth #nationalrecoverymonth #recoverywin #recoveryrocks #recoveryispossible #recoveryfamily #familyrecovery #addictionrecovery #addiction #wifeofanaddict #wivesofaddicts #wifeofanalcoholic #wifeoftheparty #christianwife #christians #christianblog #familygoals #familyfirst #itgetsbetter #inspirational #dailyhope #bestill #samhsa #teenchallenge
4. I made the decision to stop. You know, sometimes, we need to commit to doing the hard thing. Yeah, it’s hard, it’s not impossible. We’re way stronger than we give ourselves credit for. Smoking is crazy addictive. In fact, it’s one of the most addictive substances out there. How many people do you know who have stopped drinking or doing drugs but yet they can’t stop smoking? Don’t give me that nonsense about the brain- make the choice and do the hard thing. Whatever your lousy behaviour of choice, would you do it in front of your mother? Would you want your kids to do it? Would you do it in front of Jesus? Would you do it if you knew that the second you did, you would die? Start treating your wrong behaviour as something that you need to change like your life depends on it. You may not be successful right off the bat, but it’s a great start. If smoking is your hangup, there are plenty of resources and aids to quit. I think the best one is this—> drink a TON of water, and stop buying cigarettes.
5. I denounced the spirit of fear in my life. Fear was always after me. Sometimes when we’re afraid, it can look like anger, sadness, or even social anxiety. I got into a nasty habit of catastrophizing things before they happened. “What if we go to the Macy’s parade and there is a terrorist attack, and the crowd is too big to walk through, and I lose the kids because the people are pushing and one of them dies?!” <— real fear I had. Not irrational, because you know, Isis was everywhere then, but still! I let fear stop me from living. I haven’t been to the Macy’s Parade yet. Maybe this is the year!
Nothing will be a cure-all. In fact, there are no promises you will ever be all the way better or live pain-free, mental illness-free, disaster-free, grief-free or anything else that plagues us.
“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. You will have suffering in this world. Be courageous! I have conquered the world.”
We can only do our best to make positive, healthy changes and continue to work hard on self-development. For everything else, we have the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, comfort us, and calm our anxieties.
“Therefore, I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.”
-2 Timothy 1:6-7
I cannot physically lay my hands on you to rekindle the gift of God, but I can say a prayer for you and assure you He really does love you ❤️!
I pray whoever reads this seeks you with their whole heart is blessed by this message. I pray they are comforted by your Holy Spirit, and they feel your presence. I command any spirit of fear and all their underlings to leave them now in the name of The Father, The Son Jesus, and The Holy Spirit as is our right as we are covered by the blood of Jesus and death will pass over us. Let them have new life breathed into their weary bones as you whisper who they are to them. Let them feel your warm embrace as you love on them and free them from bondage to sin. Thank you, Lord, for this gift of life.
In the holy name of Jesus, I pray,