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Building a bridge

There comes a time, when with the best of intentions you need to look at your own life and with love, and a slight touch of exasperation you tell yourself to build a damn bridge.

Back in August I set myself a handful of tasks to achieve before August 2013 arrives and I turn 40 for the very first time – unlike turning 21 which I’ve done 18 times in a row so far.

None of the tasks were earth shattering. None would have any impact beyond myself. There was lose weight. That’s being achieved slowly. There was quit drinking and I’ve been sober since September 16th 2013 and counting. There was write something more than a conference agenda or piece of marketing copy – we’re still working on that one – and there was to quit smoking.

Back in October, riding the wave of “holy shit I’m freakin’ sober Joyce” I chucked the cigarettes and decided I was free and clear. In late November I had a “bad day” at work and had “just one cigarette”. It’s now January 28th 2013 and I’ve been cigarette free since January 26th 2013. All day Saturday, all Sunday and all Monday.

Today I have been an utter prick to put it in the most polite terms possible. I felt like my chest was being constricted by thick iron bands. I couldn’t breath. I was suffocating and there was no one around to yell at, or bitch out, or pick a fight with for no reason what so ever.

All that was around was my cat Millie who felt this weekend I was to be her bed. She has slept within reaching position all weekend. She’s a doll. Every time I felt like my head was going to explode she’d wake up, lick my knee or my arm and then curl up again and go to sleep.

I have a feeling she knew I was out of sorts this weekend and decided to keep me company. I have a tendency to talk to myself. When I’m out in the world I do it inside my head, at home I do it out loud.

Late this afternoon I was huffing and puffing, sighing, being wonderfully dramatic with no one but a sleeping cat to notice. She didn’t care. And then the thought hit me “You’re almost 40, grow up, you want to smoke, then do it, just shut up about how much you hate it. If you don’t want to smoke, than don’t smoke, just shut up about how hard it is to quit. You chose to smoke when you were 17 because the boy you liked told you he only dated smokers. He’s long gone, you’re still an idiot. Do or don’t there is no try.”

Truth be told it sounded so much like my Grandmother. I knew it was me, but her influence was so loud I nearly fell off the bed And I considered it. I thought about it. About going to the shop and buying a drab olive green packet of cigarettes with an enlarged picture of a tongue with cancer on the front and I thought about sitting under the house in the pouring rain and smoking that cigarette. I thought about it. I felt absolutely no desire to actually do it. I knew it wasn’t going to happen.

I realised that just like the “Great Wine Purge of 2012” I had reached the point where I had made the decision to never let myself down again. I realised no matter what I’d make it, just like I made it with the booze. And you know what, those iron bands that had been suffocating me all weekend faded. They turned into light and returned to the universe. Instantly.

With no thought, no effort they left and I breathed deeply. And I knew. It doesn’t matter me to me what other people expect or believe or that they may doubt. I know that no matter what I’m as done with smoking as I am with drinking.

At this rate I’m going to have to develop a new voice to broadcast the life I have without vices, or a handful of new vices either way really.

And I remembered a scene from The Secret where one of the people being interviewed talks about how people send out their dreams, and they believe and they see nothing and all the while the energy is flowing and building into the manifestation you’ve been asking for. And the person turns and says “this isn’t happening” and the universe says “your wish is my command” and the energy flows away.

When I quit drinking I didn’t believe in myself. I couldn’t see a world where I never drank again and so I tried to have “just one” and instead woke up the next morning passed out on my bed, 4 empty bottles scattered across the floor. In November I couldn’t see a world where I never smoked again, so I had “just one” to get me passed a “rough patch” and instead smoked another three months, 25 or more a day.

Friday night when I was preparing for Saturday morning, I realised I had half a packet of cigarettes in my bag and a full packet on my desk. I instantly thought “well it will need to be Sunday when I quit”. I then smirked at myself and poured a jug of water into a bowl and made tobacco porridge – seriously, dissolve a packet and a half of cigarettes in hot water, it looks like porridge with bits of paper floating in it – and then chucked the lot in the bin, bowl and all.

It was sort of like The Great Wine Purge in a way. Only with no alcohol. The end result felt identical.

I guess my point here is that sometimes, if you sit and look at what you’ve lost you’ll only see what you’ve lost, not what you’ve gained. I’m not saying this is going to be a snap and a bubble and the epitome of easy, but I am saying I’m done. Like the wine, there is no place for the cigarettes anymore. There comes a time when you have to say to yourself “snap out of it”.

One thing I’ve learned recently is “be careful what you wish for.” When you’re dealing with conscious creation you may just get it. I’ve poured so much energy into removing cigarettes from my world that when I followed the instructions I almost blew it.

Not all manifestations have to be large. Some of them are simply listening to your inner voice and doing as you’re told. So many more adventures to have but for now I’m going to savour the success of this journey.

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43 year old Australian writer currently working on the first of a planned three book Epic Fantasy series. When he's not writing policy discussions, or tales of swords, Gods, and magic, he can be found making a mess in the kitchen, and turning perfectly good ingredients into crimes against humanity.

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