by Tony Steenson, Coraki, Australia
I started smoking cigarettes when I was twelve, my first year of high school. It started out as something I would do on the weekend at my friend’s house… we thought we were so cool. A year later I was smoking daily. Sure, it was only one or two a day, but it was a regular occurrence before school. By the time I was fifteen I always had cigarettes with me as I was earning money and had the ability to do so. Twenty years ago the laws on tobacco sales weren’t as strict as they are now and there were always a few shops where an underage kid could buy some smokes.
The ciggies stayed with me through my teenage years and my twenties until I was around 30. Gee, they were loyal – they were there in the good times and the bad, just an arm’s length away all the time. I always knew cigarettes were bad for you, but by this time they had quite a grip on me (I was smoking 20-30 daily) and I did want to stop.
It was around this time I had an appointment with Serge Benhayon for the first time, and I remember leaving his place feeling like I wasn’t even breathing, but so alive at the same time. I wanted a smoke but didn’t want to let go of what I was feeling. Two hours later Peter Jackson was in my mouth doing what he does – he always used to get his own way.
Over the next year or so as I tried to give up, I took note of when and why I smoked – because I could stop, but I could just as easily start again. I noticed I smoked when I was bored, lonely, sad, driving, to fill in time; when things were getting too much was when I could really get into them. There were heaps of times when I did smoke but not many when I didn’t, and I was also realising that I wasn’t really happy much of the time. I was using cigarettes to make me feel better, as silly as it may sound. As I started to re-build myself with the support of Universal Medicine and its practitioners, I found that I could feel great without smoking, so the more I made choices in life to support me, the better I felt – and the less I needed to smoke.
I haven’t smoked now for about four years and don’t crave them at all. Infrequently I like the smell but I know that when this happens, I am not feeling as great as I normally do and understand why. It’s great, my health is so much better, I have more money and the most important thing is I look at my problems now – instead of lighting-up, blowing smoke out my mouth and nostrils and pretending I’m a dragon.
132 thoughts on “Goodbye Peter Jackson”
I wasn’t a daily smoker but loved one with a drink. How ludicrous when I kept fit, and by Thursday, I undone it all. It was something I would look forward to, but hated the smell on a breath or clothes.
When we really look at life under a microscope, we have so many addictions, sugar, alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, TV, gaming, porn, exercise and I’m sure the list could be endless. With all, they lead us away from our bodies, exactly where we need to be.
So at the end of the day it is asking us to look at why we do the things we do. There’s always some sort of avoidance, of what’s truly inside of us, which is so much more magnificent, than a temporary fix.
When we crave or like the smell of something, then somewhere in our day, we have allowed something to enter our thoughts. It’s like that weed amongst the fragrant roses, if we don’t nip it earlier, it continually grows. The more aware we are, the more we observe life from a different pair of spectacles.
We really need these conversations around addiction and the very real and practical role self care, self love and support have in letting go of things like cigarettes. We could also say that if self care, self love, and true support were a natural way of life, nurtured in us from an early age, then it’s unlikely addictions to self harming things like cigarettes would actually be reached for.
We underestimate what true self care is all about. It’s not a bath here and there, it’s something we build upon. Then we build a platform, like the foundation we lay for a home. And from there it continues to refine and refine. It is forever developing.
It is always important to have the understanding of why you smoke, what you are seeking, ‘I was also realising that I wasn’t really happy much of the time. I was using cigarettes to make me feel better’.
When we feel truly great, we don’t have that need/craving for those things that we often think we can never live without. Right now, I am having a craving for some food, and when I imagine what it would taste like in the mouth and how it would leave me in my body, I know I wouldn’t like that, but that feeling of wanting something is still there. I am wondering what that is that I am truly missing.
Making ourselves ‘feel better’ is transitory. Tue health is when we feel good from deep within, not dependent on what we eat, external substances or entertainment, but simply because we’ve built a loving relationship with ourselves. This is alchemy.
Tony, like you I once smoked cigarettes, a habit picked up at school, took two decades to unhinge myself from. It was a revelation to discover that smoking was a false crutch, a far healthier way was to simply love myself. This understanding of the importance of care for my body came from attending Universal Medicine workshops and presentations.
Living life responsibly and lovingly responding to problems as they arise is far healthier than avoiding them and filling our bodies with harmful substances.
Understanding why we smoke or adopt any abusive behaviour is the key to dealing with the hurt and emptiness we feel. And when we do, we no longer need to self abuse and release the habit.
Great blog Tony and I can really see how you looked at why you were smoking in the first place not just trying to quit, which really made the difference.
Dragons are simply a fictional character and the distraction that smoking has on us is another fictional story that leads to one of the worst addictions. As cigarettes are in a league of their own when it comes to seemingly fill our out of control emptiness, which in many cases we are also addicted to so we have a double whammy when we feel empty and smoke.
What we buy into symbols of growth may conspire against us growing up. Yet, we grow up as we move beyond them.
We work so hard to will ourselves to stop an addiction but that never works and defining ourselves by our behaviours equally doesn’t work. We use behaviours to deal with what we don’t feel equipped to manage, therefore we will never really give up our coping mechanism till we understand what it is we do not yet feel equipped to manage. It may change what it looks like though so you get fooled into thinking you have given something up!
Brilliant blog Ariana, you’ve shared so honesty and openly about your experience with smoking and it makes so much sense that it is not just about looking cool. Deep down there is a level of self-loathing before any self abusive choices are made.
Goodness the thought of pretending to be a dragon makes me laugh and then I remember that these are the precious lungs, the only lungs we have to breath. Taking time to understand why we smoke is the only way to give up, otherwise, as you say, we are always one step away from falling off the wagon.
When we reflect honestly on our lives lived over the years we mostly can say that we have always had an inner-knowing of what is and what is not ‘good’ for us, what does and what does not feel true. Because we have not grown up learning to honor and be guided by our bodies, we more often than not overlook the wisdom of our bodies reflecting the truth to us, and allow unloving choices and behaviours take the lead. It is life changing when we begin to honor the truth felt in our bodies as we then begin to live in honor of who we are, the love we are and deserve to live.
I gave up smoking over 20 years ago, and it feels like another life, but back then I needed them, they were very much a part of my life throughout my 20’s … I took my time giving them up and one day realised that I lit up a cigarette to avoid connecting with someone and in that instance I saw myself blowing smoke screens around me to hide from people and life and decided no more. And then I began the process of living my life without them and taking the time to care and know more and it continues today.
Stopping an addiction based on will doesn’t sustain. Only if we choose real love for ourselves we can stop these built in patterns. And just like giving up sugar, gaming or alcohol, to stop smoking asks you to wish for a body filled with love instead of with smoke and poison.
I absolutely agree Monika, choosing to embrace self-love supports us to drop and discard any unloving choices. For years, I knew sugar was not good for me but I couldn’t give it up completely, but once I embraced self-love, it was easy.
Yes, and choosing to give ourselves permission to show the world our power and all of our love is also very beneficial in dropping unloving choices and habits. I have learned that my love for others also helped, for I could see how my sugar intake effected my contact with them.
Thanks Monika, your comment was so supportive to read about giving ourselves permission to show the world our love and power, and to feel our love for others when we need to let go of something unloving in our lives.
It’s pretty amazing that you could give up smoking Tony and with the support of Universal Medicine. Most of us don’t realise we can feel great without using something to temporarily prop us up, like sugar, carbs, smokes, alcohol, drugs – whatever it is. What I appreciated is the openness you shared this blog in as it is supportive to understand those who smoke and what they may be going through. And this makes sense too “I found that I could feel great without smoking, so the more I made choices in life to support me, the better I felt – and the less I needed to smoke.”. Ultimately we all want to feel good in ourselves but we may reach for self harming things to get us through, until we can learn to truly care for ourselves.
Yes, I read that all Universal Medicine did was make her aware of the ways we can build a more honest relationship with ourselves. The key was feeling herself and her breathing and how she could feel, after that there was a physical ability to feel where she was pulled into the coping mechanism.