Is Part of Addiction Mind over Matter?

Hello again, Deborah here.

Most of us know that addiction to nicotine can be a mental habit, as much as it is physical.

During the trials of quitting (approximately 5-6 attempts over several years) I have learned many things about the way my mind works around emotions and thought processes in general, particularly around my addiction to this controlling drug.

On my way through a seemingly unrelated journey – my battle with an emotional disorder called Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – I took a clinical program called Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT). Some of the skills taught in DBT are so helpful that people outside the DBT programs seem to be learning about, accessing and now applying them to their daily life via self-help outlets.

One of the parts of this program that has been very helpful for me to work towards quitting smoking is:  Mindfulness – Being in the moment. Trying and let go of the past and trying to stop worrying about the future. I can’t go back in time and change my decision to start smoking so I can’t beat myself up about it. I can’t time travel to the future or predict it. BUT what I do have control of is today is this moment. My long-term goals are less overwhelming and scary if I make and focus on the small goals. Smaller goals are easier to over-come and conquer. I try to take things one minute, one hour and one day at a time. Being in the moment helps me to do that. Realistically, we can never spend 100% of our time in the moment, but with practice and perseverance I can bring myself back into the present at any time. If you’ve quit smoking in the past, even for a day or a week, remember that and know you can do it again. Then bring yourself back to the present with that pleasant reminder.

I really recommend this particular skill. I also saw during my recent appointment with my smoking cessation counsellor a pamphlet on their wall for a Mindfulness self-help resource so the resource does seem to be offered outside of DBT. I really feel that this tactic can be applied to almost any one of our life struggles and on a daily basis.

If there are counsellors for smoking cessation that recognize and help with the mental battle of addiction, “mind over matter” is possible, with a little work and time. It’s a process.

If you’re interested in some more information, I found these sites to be really helpful:

  1. http://www.mentalhealthhelpline.ca/Directory/Program/5322
  2. http://mindfulnesshamilton.ca/

Just an update from my previous post: I am now 37 weeks pregnant, back on the patch and I am officially a non-smoker (or ex-smoker)!

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