Thursday, July 05, 2012

So far

I told myself, it’s only 48 hours. Forty-eight hours is nothing. And it’s true, 48 hours is not very long. But it’s amazing how the time drags when you’re fighting off craving. I amuse myself with coloring in the little squares on my graph, but it surprises me how I look at the time again and again and it hasn’t been another hour yet.

Still, I’ve made it ‘til the evening of the first day.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

When I was a teenager I had the most horrible cramps. So bad that sometimes I’d pass out from the pain at school. Worse than the migraines that started a few years later - late teens I guess – and the migraines were so bad that I used to bang my head against the cinderblock walls of the dorm room. Making pain on the outside of my skull helped to distract me from the pain inside my skull.

Anyway, with the cramps and the migraines, I usually ended up in bed, in the dark – or as dark as I could make it in the daytime, sometimes that meant under the covers – being very still. I’d think about pain, wondering what exactly pain is, trying to figure it out. And I’d ponder that so intently, trying to really feel the pain, totally and completely, so that there was nothing that existed for me except pain. It was like a place that I could go to, a room I could walk into if I concentrated hard enough, a fog that surrounded me, a fog of nothing but pain, that I breathed and touched and saw – that’s all there was, was pain.

I would talk to the pain, as if it were a being of some kind, challenging it “C’mon, pain, is that it? Is that all you got?”

It startled me the first time it happened. If I could reach a place where there was nothing but pain, where I had emptied my mind of everything else, every stray thought, every sensation other than pain . . . the pain stopped. It simply didn’t hurt.

It was hard to hold onto that place, but I got better at it over time and most of the time, if I could be very still, if it was very quiet and dark, I could get there and stay there long enough to fall asleep. When I woke up the pain would either be gone or down to a manageable ache.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

So anyway, when I find that I really, really, really want a cigarette, I try to immerse myself in that craving feeling the way I used to with the pain feeling. And when I do – when I consciously feel the feeling, and at the same time look at it and think about it from the outside – then it’s, well, it’s a craving feeling. It’s annoying and unpleasant and uncomfortable and frustrating, but it’s not really all that terrible. I mean, it’s not pain.

[published on 6/30/11]

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