Have you quit smoking? Or are you still preparing for it? In either case, have you ever had the thought, “I’d rather die than live without smoking”?
First of all, understand that this is perfectly normal: you’ve spent years cultivating your "inner junkie"; you’ve fed him, protected him, and helped him grow big and strong. Now you’ve decided that you’re not going to feed him or protect him any more, and he’s pissed!
It’s Not You
Secondly, understand that the thought, “I’d rather die than live without smoking” is not coming from you; it’s coming from the junkie, and right now he’s big and strong, because you’ve been feeding him and protecting him for so long.
Thirdly, recognize that you’re bigger, and you’re stronger, and you have free will; all he has is his hunger and the bag of tricks he uses to get you to feed him again. His entire existence is about getting the next fix, and every time you choose not to feed him, he gets weaker.
Finally, beware: the junkie will never die. You can starve him for the rest of your life (and I assume that’s what you intend to do) and he’ll continue to get weaker and weaker, but he’ll never die. He’ll always be there, ready to pounce on any perceived weakness with one of his tricks to get you to feed him again.
Recognize that, whenever you have a thought like, “I’d rather die than live without smoking”, that’s the junkie talking. When that happens, talk back to him; tell him why he’s wrong. Because you wouldn’t really rather die than live as a non-smoker.
But the junkie would.
Picture a wino laying in the gutter, dead drunk. Or a heroin addict, crashed out in some abandoned building with the needle still hanging out of his arm. Or a crackhead, screaming and fighting like a madman as he’s being taken down by a bunch of cops. They’re all people, just like you and me, but with one big difference: they’ve let their inner junkie take control of their lives.
Why Doesn’t that Happen to Us?
Of course, nicotine junkies like you and me rarely end up in the gutter (because nicotine is legal, cheap, and easily available in a variety of forms); we end up in chemotherapy, in intensive care, or in hospice, when feeding our addiction finally catches up with us.
And the only way to avoid those fates is to be aware, stay conscious, and starve the junkie; one day, one hour, one moment at a time.