This Dutch anti-smoking poster from the 1990s was a powerful image I used to reinforce my quit smoking effort back then. Yet, I started again. And quit again. And started again… well, you get the picture. So now I find myself on my 8th attempt (I have actually lost track, it might only be my sixth). It is day 5, 4:30 in the morning. I am not using any Tobacco Replacement Therapy and cold turkey has got me on the run. I know this too shall pass, but this is a pivotal point: my first blog post without cigarettes.
Will I make sense? Will I babble? WHO CARES? I am not smoking.
I am not doing this totally unaided. I have to give a shout-out to the Community Care Network; they run QuitCore, “a free group support program that provides Albertans the tools and skills they need to quit using tobacco.” The cool part about this is I heard about it from my doctor. I love the notion that the idea of wrap-around services, preventative strategies and well-being is permeating out to Albertans through multiple avenues. More integration has to happen, but support for Public Health and solutions on the front end (preventative, proactive, long-term) rather than the back-end (reactive, short-term, stop-gap) works for me!
So, being me – Mrs. Lifelong Learning – what’s up with this? What’s the learning opportunity? Oh dear, there are many and I wouldn’t wish one of them on my worst enemy. The biggest? Just don’t start smoking.
I also want to give a shout-out to my group: the insight and trust of each of you has helped me to punt this dangerous and pernicious habit. Also to the group’s facilitators: your non-judgmental attitude and your acceptance that it will be “whatever it takes” for each individual is key to making this time permanent for me.
Lastly, there is a big lesson in differentiated learning here. For each individual wishing to stop smoking, there is an arsenal of tools and/or weapons to take that challenge on. Not all of what is available will work for every individual; the same weapons/tools won’t necessarily work for the same individual, each and every time. For example, sometimes what gets me through the next hour is database entry with some serious Florence & The Machine tunes on the headphones, sometimes it is four glasses of ice water – two to drink, two to pour over my fevered brow. Hour three might be a 15-minute walk around the block… and so on. But, truly, it’s a lesson that – while worth learning – was not worth learning this way.