The Thoughts of a Frumpy Professor

............................................ ............................................ A blog devoted to the ramblings of a small town, middle aged college professor as he experiences life and all its strange variances.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Inner Dialogue

Now that Lent has concluded, I can say that my pipe "efforts" have changed considerably.  Below I give you a glimpse of the inner dialogue that has developed and recirculated in my mind repeatedly since the conclusion of Lent at NOON this past Saturday:

Self:  "Wow!  You did it!  You refrained from smoking your pipe during the entirety of Lent!"

Other Self:  "Yes, I did!  I am surprised and happy that I was able to complete this vow!"

Self:  "Yeah, it was not something I thought you could do."

Other Self:  "You have that right.  But, I have to admit that while there were SEVERAL difficult challenges I faced, I felt committed to working to complete my Lenten Vow."

Self: "Yep, Lenten Vows are important.  I am happy that you had the inner strength to accomplish it."

Other Self:  "Well, for me it was important for me to stick with it since I vowed this as part of my faith (Roman Catholicism).  To NOT do it would have left me feeling like a failure, or at least feeling like I do not value my faith. 
Self:  "Well, that is great!  Now Lent is done.  Let's have a pipe!"

Other Self: "Uh, well…."

Self: "It is perfectly "ok" now, Lent is done!"

Other Self: "Right, but part of me was trying to commit to the Lenten vow, as a way to trick myself into being better able to quit the pipe for good."

Self: "Ugh.   But, is that realistic?  That seems so very, very sad."

Other Self:  "It is sad.  I feel sad to think of NEVER having another pipe."

Self:  "What is the point?"

Other Self: "Well, the point is that if I do stop, I will have done the best that I can right now to try to reduce my risk for development of a horrific smoking related disease."

Self:  "What is the point, you are too old and have already smoked for a helluva long time."

Other Self:  "The studies suggest that anyone, regardless of age or length of prior smoking can have LOWER risk by stopping."

Self:  "Bah."

Other Self:  "Yes, I agree… 'Bah' … but it is still true."

Self:  "A pipe would be very pleasurable and enjoyable, wouldn't it?"

Other Self: "Yes, I fully agree and admit to that."

Self:  "One wouldn't really hurt, now, would it?  Think of it… you have gone more days without a pipe than you have ever done previously since you were a kid.  It will be AMAZINGLY wonderful!  It will feel much like it did when you were a kid!"

Other Self:  "That is true."  

Self:  "Mmmm… think of the gentle brown crumbles you would be able to fill into the bowl of your favorite Dublin pipe!  Pressing them gently but firmly into the bowl.

Other Self: "Mmmmm.  Yes, that would be wonderful."

Self:  "Think of that first lighting of the bowl!  So beautiful!  Think of the pleasure you have with the flavors of the vanillia tinctured burley leaf!  Think of the thick, beautifully chalky texture of the pipe smoke!"

Other Self:  "Mmmm….. Such wonderful ideas!  So many wonderful memories."

Self:  "Let's do it!"

Other Self: "Ugh.  I really should not."

Self: "Come on.  Let's just have ONE bowlful."

Other Self:  "No, I better not.  It took a helluva long time to get to day 48 (today).  I do not know if I want to have that "number" go back to zero.  I keep thinking I should AT LEAST try to get to 50."

Self: "What for?  Does it really matter to get to day 50?"

Other Self:  "I do not know if it REALLY matters to get to day 50.  But, I do know I will feel guilty and upset TODAY if I give in.  So, I really think at the moment, I should keep on "keeping on" with my fast.

Self: "That is just foolish hyperbole!  You have been holding that empty pipe in your hands and missing it for a LONG TIME.  I can really give you kudos for doing something for your faith.  I grant that was an accomplishment of sorts.  But, hell, it is done, you did it!  You do not have to agonize about it any more."

Other Self:  "In a perfect world, you are right.  I would RELISH and ENJOY every additional pipe I would very willingly have, and I would, given my druthers, have many.  But, this is not a PERFECT world.  There are costs.  Potential added risks to my health, societal pressures that I grow tired of. 

Self:  "Yeah, yeah.  Who cares?

Other Self:  "Unfortunately, I do… at least to some degree."

Self:  "Bah."

Other Self:   "Yes, Bah.  But, reality."

Self:  "I would say, you should live in the now!  Live in the moment!  Be a damn hedonist for once in your pitiful life!"

Other Self: "Hah.  Being hedonistic sounds wonderful, it truly does.  Sometimes I get so tired of this sort of inner dialogue.  I *would* like to just do what feels right in the moment.  But it feels selfish to do so.  I have responsibilities.  I have a lot of folks who count on me."

Self:  "That is stupid.  You are being a fool!  Wake up and live in reality."

Other Self:  Ugh.  I am getting a headache.  I need to quit thinking about this crap."

Self:  "I agree.  Quit thinking, and just DO IT!"

Other Self:  "I think I am going to TRY to wait.  I am going to try to POSTPONE starting again."

Self:  "Damn fool."

Other Self:  "You may be right."

The basics of the above have percolated through my mind at least a dozen times during the last 24 hours.  It may sound foolish, but it is a lot harder now that Lent is finished.



Blogger peppylady (Dora) said...

Job well done

Monday, 02 April, 2018  
Blogger Sharon said...

Ahh, you've made it over the first, hardest hurdle. You really did great, I hope you continue!

Monday, 02 April, 2018  
Blogger ^.^ said...

Hello from Alberta, Canada ... Awesome blog you got here ... Love, cat.

Tuesday, 03 April, 2018  
Blogger Jono said...

I had this argument many times before the last time I quit smoking cigarettes. Now I could never afford to do it again. I wonder what I have spent those thousands of dollars on since I quit over 25 years ago.
Just keep trying. While there will be good days and bad the process will get easier as time goes by.

Tuesday, 03 April, 2018  
Blogger Jane said...

"I think I am going to TRY to wait. I am going to try to POSTPONE starting again."

Good plan!

Tuesday, 03 April, 2018  
Blogger Liz Hinds said...

That conversation sounds so familiar (although not about smoking but other things)! Well done on winning the first fight.

By the way much of what i wrote on my blog was directed at me as much as anyone else. I frequently battle with the I'm not good/doing enough voice.

Tuesday, 03 April, 2018  
Blogger Pat McDowell said...

Do I understand correctly that you have not given up tobacco, but simply have replaced your pipe with an electronic device and lozenges to so your body's physical craving for nicotine is met even without a pipe? If your desire is to avoid "societal pressures" there are plenty of pressures surrounding widely scorned e-devices. I would urge you to change your society before you switch to an e-cig permanently.

However, your focus on the numbers might be a pretty big clue as to a way you might successfully motivate yourself toward radically cutting back on your smoking. Let's imagine that on Day 60 you decide, for whatever reason, to enjoy a pipe or two. Unless your doing so is part of a new strategy (e.g. restrict your smoking by time and/or place and/or circumstance), then when you next put the pipe down long-term, you will know that you could make it through Day 60 before, so you can surely do that again. Maybe the next time you'll make it to Day 85 and then slip. Then maybe Day 110 the next time. Let each milestone length be a kind of Lent-like marker as to your resolve, and you should each time be able to set a new milestone, until at some point you realize you are at Day 200 and your goal has become not just to give up the pipe, but to wean off the other nicotine delivery systems as well.

On the other hand, having made it to Day 50 once, if you find that by next year's Lent you haven't made it to another Day 50, you'll at least have some hard data to drive your decision about whether to keep fighting a deeply felt desire, or whether to establish some kind of negotiated truce with the pipe smoking you enjoy so much. The point is, no matter what you do, you will be making progress toward a happy goal. No failure, just different paths toward success. Good luck with it all!

Tuesday, 03 April, 2018  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Congratulations! Your accomplishment is not to be diminished. Maybe you could pick a new date that isn't too far away but is not this week. What about mid-April as a next goal?

Tuesday, 03 April, 2018  
Blogger forsythia said...

One day at a time, as they say. Congratulations. You've made me begin to think seriously about cutting way back on sugar. I am told that once you do that, candy and other sweets seem cloying. I hope so, because I know the amount I consume is not doing me any good. Again, congratulations. The conversation between the two selves sounds familiar!

Tuesday, 03 April, 2018  
Blogger PipeTobacco said...


Thank you for your comments and support! I appreciate it greatly.

PepperLady - I am not sure if I have done the job "well" but I have done it.

Sharon - I also hope that I continue. I am not sure if I have enough gumption.

Juno - You are indeed correct. Some days are reasonably easy. SOME are DEFINITELY NOT EASY at all.

Jane - Thank you. Yes... I can only say that I am going to TRY and I am going to POSTPONE. To say otherwise has me feeling even more emotional about the "loss".

Liz - Thank you! Please know again I would never delete your comments. The good/bad duality is something I struggle with. I *know* in my heart that I could and should be better than I am day-to-day and it makes me feel squandering away so many opportunities to try to do something good.

Pat - your ideas about numbers are quite wise. I have been thinking about them in similar ways myself. For some reason the increasing number is an encouragement to me in many ways.

Anvil - Yes... I am thinking along a similar line. My first postponement will be to day 50 (seems hard as hell, really, but it is at least a small step).

Forsythia - I understand the sugar issue you feel as well! Thank you for your encouragement!

Wednesday, 04 April, 2018  

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