The title of the post are the words that were spoken to me by a student in my class Monday. We were talking about change and readiness to change and I had my students self-assess where they were at regarding change in their lives.
One student stood out because she looked panicked. She just looked at me and said, “I’m not ready. I know I’m going to use again when I get out.” To be honest, while this is harder to hear, I would rather hear this than the B.S. that students often think I want to hear. I’d rather someone have the courage to be real with me because the conversation is more honest and I feel I have more to work with as far as getting them to connect to the side that does want to change. When they lie, I can’t do this. In some ways, pretending one is going to change is a great defense mechanism because then I don’t spend much time with you.
Yesterday, she said I was good at talking her about change. I wasn’t always. It is pretty easy as someone outside the problem to think things like, “Can’t you see how fucked-up your thinking is?” And say things like, “You are just going to end up back in jail!” Sometimes my head screams it. But instead I met her where she was at and I could see despite her lack of readiness to change, she was at least now considering the possibility. That doesn’t mean it is going to happen this time, but instead of having a person that has shut down on me, I had a person that was at least willing to listen.
Helping others think through making changes in their life always gets me reflecting on making changes in my own. Working with people with addictions reminds me of my own. My addiction won’t land me in jail but sometimes I still feel like a bit of a hypocrite for engaging in it. Therein lies my ambivalence regarding quitting nicotine entirely myself. But I think I’m almost there. Almost ready.
Yesterday, I didn’t vape at all during my work day. Mostly because I got busy and ran out of time to step out. It was uncomfortable at first, but I guess I got used to it. It wasn’t unbearable, but at the same time, I know that if I wasn’t actively using the craving would pass and I wouldn’t have to be in uncomfortable physical withdrawal all afternoon because I didn’t use. If I didn’t have the job I do, I likely would vape much more frequently than I do. I know this, because on the weekends I do. Does being I’m withdrawal during the affect my performance at work? Probably, if only slightly. My job requires me to be very present, engaged and is very active. Any concentration issues are counteracted by the energy I obtain from doing my job. Sometimes I notice I’m more irritable and less patient than I otherwise might be. I find all this does is actually make me more assertive to what me needs are as patient me is sometimes too patient. That said, not being in withdrawal during the day is still a significant motivator for me to quit.
My other big one is sleep quality. I find that my nicotine use affects the amount of deep sleep that I get. This makes sense, it is a simulant. Paradoxical affects aside, if I awake during the night, I’ll sometimes find it hard to go back to sleep. I think this is because I wake up, notice in withdrawal and feel that ‘uncomfortable’ feeling and because I’m not comfortable I don’t fall back to sleep easily. That said, since reducing from 6 mg juice to 3 mg juice I have say, my sleep has improved to pre-use levels. I’ve got the sleep graphs to prove it.
In fact, today I noticed how much less bothersome my withdrawal symptoms are compared to when I smoked actual cigarettes and also when I was vaping 6 mg and 12 mg juice. And therein lies my ambivalence. Today, I was I was feeling no desire to quit. Which to me means I’m not ready. Maybe almost ready and. I’m OK with that.