Is sobriety all that we are to expect of a spiritual awakening?
No, sobriety is only a bare beginning; it is only the first gift of
the first awakening. If more gifts are to be received, our
awakening has to go on. As it does go on, we find that bit by
bit we can discard the old life — the one that did not work —
for a new life that can and does work under any conditions
Regardless of worldly success or failure, regardless of pain
or joy, regardless of sickness or health or even of death
itself, a new life of endless possibilities can be lived if we are
willing to continue our awakening, through the practice of
A.A.’s Twelve Steps.
GRAPEVINE, DECEMBER 1957 ( As Bill Sees It, p.8. )
Is sobriety all that we are to expect of a spiritual awakening?
Together We Change
Many of us once thought that living without using nicotine was “just impossible for me.” We may have thought there was just something wrong or weak about our character. We didn’t fully understand the power of nicotine.
At meetings we see and hear that we are neither unique nor alone. We discover our similar experience with this addiction and obsession. We support each other and share a common hope.
Our Fellowship offers sanity and strength to prepare us for, and then to live, the miracle of not having that “next” one. Your “impossible” becomes our “possible” as we each realize that, together, we change.
Keep Showing Up
One of the most important things active nicotine users can do after their first meeting is to keep showing up at the next meeting. Setting a date to stop using nicotine may not need to be the primary focus. Since a common trait we often have is to hide behind the prop and/or smoke of a “nicotine screen,” showing up might be enough of a new behavior for the moment.
When we keep showing up we receive the shared courage and inspiration. Maybe for today we can’t do the “big” thing but, if we’re willing to do a “little” thing, we’ll find hope we hadn’t thought possible. Ask yourself, “What am I willing to do for this moment?” The answers create possibilities.
Even old-timers can keep showing up and make fresh discoveries. Willingness is the key that opens new doors for all of us.
Lengths Become Strengths
For most of us, our relationship with nicotine has been deep and wide. That is why we must become willing to go to any length to get and remain nicotine-free. Often, just becoming willing, shortens the length we need to go.
Those areas where we would rather stop short are often where we need to stretch forward. Each of us has our issues; each person decides for themselves. However, the more we stretch to a new length, the more strength we gain.
First Aid First
Whenever a craving threatens our life or a character defect jeopardizes our sanity, we respond by using this program’s first aid first. By practicing the Steps and using the tools that help us (meetings, phone list, literature, sponsor, and service), rather than the things that hurt us, we welcome the healing of recovery into our lives.
To Postpone it, Phone it
We can postpone our usual reaction to a craving if we pick up a phone and talk about what we’re experiencing. We make the call to our sponsor, a member of our Fellowship, or anyone supportive we can reach. Waiting until we have done this first, we can then see how we feel.Using nicotine, we were visible but not always present. Using the phone, we can practice having conscious contact with others. When we let others offer this service, we help them enhance their recovery.
Right now is a great time to quit smoking. Why? In as few as 20 minutes, you’ll start to feel the benefits.
Here we break down the changes that occur in your body within minutes, hours, days, and even years of you kicking the habit. The health benefits of quitting today may surprise you.
The effects of quitting start to set in immediately. Within 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate will begin to drop back toward a normal level.
After two hours without a cigarette, your heart rate and blood pressure will be close to normal levels again. Your blood circulation will also start to improve. The tips of your fingers and toes may start to feel warm.
Nicotine withdrawal symptoms usually start about two hours after your last cigarette. Early withdrawal symptoms include:
- intense cravings
- anxiety, tension, or frustration
- drowsiness or trouble sleeping
- increased appetite
Carbon monoxide, which can be toxic to the body at high levels, is released from burning tobacco and inhaled as part of cigarette smoke. Carbon monoxide bonds very well to blood cells, so high levels of the gas can prevent the cells from bonding with oxygen. The lack of oxygen in the blood often causes serious heart conditions and other health problems.
In as few as 12 hours after quitting smoking, the carbon monoxide in your body decreases to lower levels. In turn, the amount of oxygen in your blood increases to normal levels.
he risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) for smokers is 70 percent higher than for nonsmokers. It is the most common form of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. However, just one full day after quitting smoking, your risk for CAD will already begin to reduce. Your risk of having a heart attack also starts to decline. While you’re not quite out of the woods yet, you’re on your way!
It may not be life-threatening, but an inability to smell or taste well is one of the more obvious consequences of smoking. Once you quit smoking for 48 hours, your nerve endings will start to regrow, and your ability to smell and taste will improve. You’ll soon start to better appreciate the finer things in life.
At this point, the nicotine will be completely out of your body. This means that the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal may peak around this time. You might experience some physical and emotional symptoms during withdrawal. These include:
This is when quitting smoking can become especially difficult. If you’re able to make it to this point, reward yourself so you feel motivated to continue. Use the money you would have spent on cigarettes to buy something nice for yourself.
Within three weeks, you’ll be able to exercise and perform physical activities without feeling winded. Stopping smoking for a couple of weeks gives your body time to regenerate and heal. Your blood circulation and heart function will improve significantly during this time. Your lungs may also begin to clear, allowing you to breathe more easily.
For most smokers, withdrawal symptoms start to subside about two weeks after quitting.
After one month without cigarettes, the cilia inside your lungs will begin to repair. The cilia are the tiny, hair-like structures that push mucus out of the lungs. Once the cilia are able to do their job efficiently, they can fight off infection and clear the lungs more easily. With properly functioning lungs, your coughing and shortness of breath will continue to decrease dramatically.
Your withdrawal symptoms will also go away completely within nine months after quitting. The length of time it takes varies depending on how long and how often you smoked before quitting he one-year mark is a big one. After a year without smoking, your risk for heart disease drops to half that of a smoker’s. This means that someone who smokes is more than twice as likely as you are to develop any type of heart disease.
A wide array of toxic substances is released in the burning of tobacco. Over time, these substances cause your blood vessels to narrow, which increases your risk of having a stroke. After five to 15 years of not smoking, your risk of having a stroke is the same as that of a nonsmoker.
Smokers are at higher risk than nonsmokers for a daunting list of cancers. These include:
- oral cancer
- throat cancer
- esophageal cancer
- lung cancer
- kidney cancer
- pancreatic cancer
Of these cancers, lung cancer is the most common form of cancer that affects smokers. Smoking is a main cause of lung cancer and accounts for 90 percent of lung cancer deaths worldwide.
It may take 10 years, but if you quit, eventually your risk of dying from lung cancer will drop to half that of a smoker’s. Ten years after quitting, your risk of getting other types of cancer also decreases.
Artist: Sadie Solagnier
Copyright © 1990 by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.
From the book As Bill Sees it.
It is plain that a life which includes deep resentment leads only to futility and unhappiness. To the precise extent that we permit these, do we squander the hours that might have been worth while. But with the alcoholic, whose hope is the maintenance and growth of a spiritual experience, this business of resentment is infinitely grave. We found that it is fatal. For when harboring such feelings we shut ourselves off from the sunlight of the Spirit. The insanity of alcohol returns and we drink again. And with us, to drink is to die. If we were to live, we had to be free of anger. The grouch and the brainstorm were not for us. They may be the dubious luxury of normal men, but for alcoholics these things are poison. ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, P. 66