It is wise to Journal your pleasure and destruction every day. Pick an addiction other than smoking and every day you go back to it, rate your pleasure from 1-10 with 10 being the highest score. The next day go back and add column two which is your destruction rating. Rate destruction from 1-10 with 10 being the most destruction. Now add column 3 which is your net pleasure gain or loss.
We all know our addiction is destroying us, but we exaggerate the pleasure and under-emphasize the destruction all the time. This daily writing forces us to be honest with our pleasure increase. Being honest helps us quit for good. Learn from your other habit how you don’t emphasize smoking’s destruction often enough.
WWJD – What would Jesus do if he were magically changed to being addicted to smoking? Forced into having the same habits and mindsets that you or I may have.
The first thing He might do is to go after change with more passion than anyone in sight. Sometimes the most enthusiastic person at support groups is a bit annoying. But then we start to figure out that that is the type of person who changes more than any other type. For Christians Jesus said that the lukewarm will be spit out of his mouth (Revelations 3:16). He insists that Christians be fully dedicated to following Him.
Next he might attack the lust cycle that was placed on Him and replace it with a love cycle. Americans are the richest and most successful country in the world. But we rank about 30th in the world for happiness. Why? Because we focus on lust which kills joy instead of love which grows joy. Lust for sex, smoking, booze, money – the list is endless. This fatal quest is empty, meaningless and it kills our joy. One advantage Jesus might have over some of us in changing would be that he knows it kills our joy. Many of us are just starting to suspect it. Or may even be fighting that fact. Trying to prove it wrong.
Next He would pray about His condition. Not an endless prayer asking Almighty God to help Him. Just a simple time of spending time with the Father. Getting direction, getting marching orders for what to do next. Getting strength from the love which flows from the Father into anyone who repents and spends time with Him. Giving the Father time to sort out the confusion addiction brings. Giving the Father time to fill the mind with new thoughts and habits.
Next He would spent time in the Bible. Listening to chapter after chapter of the New Testament. Letting the Word wash Him clean of the bondage which was cast upon Him. Allowing the Scripture to inspire Him, teach Him, fill Him and change Him. (Obviously this is a parable because Jesus is the Word and sin could never continue to have power over Him).
I could go on with more Biblically based idea’s but lastly – He would focus on spreading love to every person He came into contact with. He would rebuke the lifestyle of lust and embrace the lifestyle of love with a passion never seen before on planet earth.
You might say – buddy you don’t understand. He would feel rotten and if he thought about smoking as much as I do it would be tough. True, but unlike us He would never again look to the left or to the right. He would follow God’s plan with a 100% focus which would not allow Him time to mess up.
Why is that – it is because He would never be confused or distracted in His recovery. He would “know” how great life is when lived correctly. He would “know” how destructive it is to look back at satans traps. He just would fight until He was free again.
The more often we treat quitting the way Jesus would – the quicker we will be totally free again.
What do you do that leads to smoking? Do you hang with the wrong friends? Do you fantasize about that feeling? Do other activities lead you to start again.
Most people start their habit because their activity of choice brings them pleasure. Once this habit is a long term problem we start to become aware of the consequences our addiction brings with it and we then realize we don’t want to do a certain activity anymore. The problem is that although we now realize the pain our addiction is causing us we still remember and like the pleasure that often goes along with it. So the question is, can we increase our pleasure in life by overindulging in an addiction? The answer is almost always no.
When we overindulge to increase pleasure what we are always doing is what I call “selling our pleasure back words”. An extreme example of selling pleasure back words is the heroin addict. A heroin addict will tell you in the early stages of addiction how great this drug makes them feel. They get high and have pleasure for 4 or 8 or 16 hours per day. But when we fast forward 18-24 months we find a person whose pleasure has diminished from hours to minutes or maybe even to seconds. Their only joy is the first few minutes or seconds of their new high. And after this limited pleasure quickly fades they remember again the wreckage that their life has become.
A more common example is one who parties their head off and smokes in High school or college, then graduates and parties and smokes for the next few years with hardly a break. What was new and exciting in school is now the norm. There is nothing new about smoking now. What is new now is the cautionary tale you feel obligated to add to your stories. It now goes like this; kids (or little brother or sister) don’t even try smoking one time. It is a bad habit – it is expensive and it will ruin your health.
Now instead of doing something fun you are just plain smoking. Finances are often in the toilet. Always feeling tired and unhealthy. The short time of pleasure you now get when you start smoking for the day has been partially or completely overrun by the problems the addiction has created.
The point of this article is that most people can never increase the amount of pleasure that they can have in their lives for the month by going back to an addiction. If you have been clean for a while you can go back to your addiction, have a binge and have pleasure. But you are simply stealing pleasure from the future and selling it back words. The extra pleasure you are stealing now will be stolen back from you later with interest. The interest you will pay is a decreased amount of pleasure later and an increase in the amount of pain and damage you will have.
Lewis B. Smedes wrote in his book, Forgive and Forget, “When you release the wrongdoer from the wrong, you cut a malignant tumor out of your inner life. You set a prisoner free, but you discover that the real prisoner was yourself.” We will know the work of forgiveness is complete when we experience the freedom that comes as a result. We are the ones who suffer most when we choose not to forgive. We must pray to forgive so that the Lord sets our hearts free from the anger, bitterness, resentment and hurt that previously imprisoned us. Most times, however, forgiveness is a slow process.
Pray 3-13 times per day: Father, thank you for forgiving me. Give me the strength to forgive ______ who hurt me.
Let’s continue to watch people who are quitting smoking to see how they did it. TJ wrote in his journal things that he does that leads him to smoking.
To change his thinking Tom decided to read Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. It might change your life to try something like that.
Sue is trying to memorize the principal that she will not gain extra pleasure (for the month) by going back to her addiction. When she is tempted by smoking she is telling herself; if I give in to this temptation I will not get more pleasure, I will just increase the pleasure now and decrease it later. And that will come with a severe price.
Instead find other ways to enjoy life that will help you quit smoking. Learning how to pray can bring you great joy. Read the Bible, read Christian books which can help you find your purpose. Today make it your goal to replace your addiction pleasure (which comes with pain) with the pleasure of trying to help the people around you and by trying to bring them joy.
I want to recommend two activities for you. First make a list of other pleasurable activities to do instead of your addiction. Refer to this list when you are tempted and do one of the activities instead of the addictive behavior.
Next, say to yourself every morning and every evening “I can’t increase my pleasure this month by going back to my addiction”.
Say three times every day: “This temptation will go away if I don’t act on it. If I give in it will return and it may be even stronger next time. If I don’t give in it will go away and someday it will go away for good. I have the self control to change”.
God has unfailing love for us. Every day I will add another verse that talks about His unfailing love. Psalm 13:5
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
Read Matthew 2 and first Corinthians 2
Continue reading the Pupose Driven life.
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Thank you for reading day 5: quitting smoking.
Day 1 Overcoming cravings
Day 2 Why can’t you quit
Day 3 Start a Journal
Day 4 Overcoming negative emotions