What do we do when we’re struggling? Are there things that you’ve found that are helpful?
There are times during all of our lives where the struggle becomes real. Life happens and we find ourselves in the midst of difficult situations, some not of our own choices. “Life gets lifey,” as one of my friends likes to say. I have found several things that seem to help me when life gets rough.
- Try not to isolate yourself from friends and family. I know there, at least for me, is a tendency to want to try to work through things alone. “If only I think on this situation long and hard enough, I’ll be able to find a solution.” While personal reflection is important, I think it’s also productive to be amongst others and while we don’t have to share any or some of the details of what we’re going through, it sometimes does help to have input from others.
- Listening to music is helpful. I have a go-to list of artists that I love to listen to during the normal course of the day. If I am struggling, listening to perhaps a bit more of the favorites seems to take my mind far enough away to take a break from it all.
- Photography is one of my favorite hobbies. One of the reasons I like it so much is because it greatlly assists me in staying in the present moment. It’s just me, my camera, and whatever it is that I’m taking a picture of. Taking pictures out in nature seems to be especially beneficial. Once the pictures are done, there’s the editing process and of course sharing them with others on social media. Hobbies are most normally done for fun and nothing better than to have fun, even in the midst of struggling.
- Journaling is something that has been immensely helpful to me over the past twenty or so years. I started nearly twenty years ago on the advice of my therapist and have written nearly every day since. It’s also developed a love for writing along the way. Sometimes just putting all those thoughts on paper is the best medicine.
- Depending on what spiritual practices you possess, I suggest turning to those as well. Some would say this needs to the first thing you might do during a struggle. In my case, I pray to the God of my understanding for guidance, wisdom, and strength to face whatever life has brought my way.
- Stay with whatever life routines you have established. Don’t let the difficulties keep you from doing what you’d normally do. I wake up each morning and drink my coffee and post my daily inspritation entries on social media. I also have several meditation books that I read from and this always seems to give a good start to the day.
I don’t know that I have all the answers to those who have struggles in life. And certainly, some struggles are more difficult than others. But I’m hoping some or all of the above will be of help next time you find yourself in one of those places.
Left to our own devices, we can create pretty scary stories when considering what the future might bring. What if this,,, what if that? And for some reason, the most frequent stories I create don’t have favorable outcomes. And for some reason, I can’t figure out why anyone, including myself, would want to do that.
I think a part of the habit of creating stories with worst-case scenarios is that we lack faith in some sort of Higher Power. We’ve all had “bad” things happen in the past, things we’d like to avoid, and we’re left wondering how we’ll handle the next “bad” thing.
I think another reason we can tend to figure on a “worst case scenario” is that we want to be prepared if something bad were to happen. We think by keeping it close to us, in this case, pondering and obsessing about it, then we can keep the bad things from happening. Such is the case, even though we don’t have any control over most all of it. Control is nothing but an illusion.
I have a specific instance in mind in my own life. I recently made another concerted effort to try to quit smoking. After consulting with my physician, he and I decided it would be a good idea to get a CAT scan to see what damage had already been done. I was able to get an appointment relatively quickly and the scan took less than five minutes. Then the wait began.
From Wednesday of one week to Monday of the next week, I created all types of stories about what the results and prognosis would be. While I understood that there wasn’t anything I could do to change my past smoking habits, I still worried about what the scan would show. I came up with some pretty scary stories, concocted from nothing based in reality. It seemed every time I turned around, there was an ad on social media, a television show, or something of the sort that mention cancer. I came up with the story that perhaps I was being prepared for the ultimate worst outcome.
During this time, I debated on whether or not to call the doctor for test results. My first inclination was to wait, and that I did. I finally did call on Friday afternoon, but the doctor’s office had already closed. I made a promise to myself and a friend that I would call at some point on Monday. I even had that friend say that he was going to hold me accountable and to make sure I let him know when the call had been made.
I finally set a deadline of 3 p.m. to make the call. Fortunately, I didn’t have to make that dreaded call. The doctor’s office called while I was running some errands and my phone was hooked up to my car’s audio system via Bluetooth. I could tell by the number that it displayed that it was the doctor’s office. She said they had the results of the text and there was no evidence of any cancer. I breathed a high sigh of relief. The wait and the worry were over.
So all that time, from the day the test was ordered to today, when the results were known, I had created a story of doom and gloom. And as it turns out, none of that was based in reality. I had once again learned a valuable lesson and seen what my mind could create from nothing.
I’m not going to say that I’ll never create these stories again. But I will make a concerted effort to try not to paint the worst-case scenario again and keep the faith that no matter what happens, I will be able to handle it.
Adventures in Living: Trying to treat ADD with meds, while at the same time, quit smoking – Day Twelve ( I think)
Last Monday morning I smoked what I am hoping is my last cigarette for this lifetime. It was around 5:05 a.m. when I took my last puffs. Today I celebrate one week from my addiction to smoking.
The road has definitely not been an easy one. I’ve been able to lower the volume on my cravings for nicotine by using nicotine lozenges. I often pop two in my mouth at a time and the cravings soon disappear.
Another part of the struggle in cessation is that I smoked out of pure habit – it gave me something to do. I have found the usual rituals of having a morning smoke with my coffee, a cigarette after meals, and others had to be changed. It was not unusual for me to during this past week to catch myself looking for a my pack of cigs and lighter with any of these triggers.
I have had some episodes of coughing, especially at night when I am trying to go to sleep. It’s more of a tickling in my throat than it is a deep cough, but it’s nagging and nearly impossible to get to sleep.
One of my coping tools is the QuitNow app that I’ve downloaded on my phone. It keeps track of your time abstaining from smoking, how many cigarettes you haven’t smoked, how much money you have saved by not smoking, and other interesting stats. As a lover of numbers and former math teacher, it’s great motivation.
As a result of my latest attempt to quit smoking, the app reveals I’ve not smoked 146 cigarettes. It’s hard to believe I would have smoked that many in this one-week period of time. I feel that’s one way we ignore our consumption of cigarettes – one pack is “only twenty.” But when you add up a pack a day for a whole week, it’s quite a leap to see your total number smoked.
As I continue to trudge the road of quitting smoking, I haven’t found it necessary to smoke a cigarette in a week’s time. I’m still taking it one day at a time.
List five small wins from this week.
- 1. Smoked one cigarette on Monday morning and haven’t had any since.
- 2. Delivered Meals on Wheels to clients on Tuesday.
- 3. Celebrated my father’s 87th birthday with family.
- 4. Attended five recovery meetings, one virtually and four in-person.
- 5. Celebrated two months of marriage to my wife Lisa.
It’s been a while since I sat in front of the keyboard and wrote just for the sake of writing, so here it goes.
We’ve had some sweltering hot weather this week. It’s currently 93 degrees here on this Saturday afternoon. It is, after all summer, but it seems the older I get, the more of an effect the really hot weather has on me.
I went with my wife to an antique mall today and bought two filled soda bottles. The first was a large Diet Rite Cola. Back in the day, this was one of the few diet sodas available. I somewhere in my collection have a Diet Rite sign and I’ll make an effort this next week to find it to display with the bottle.
The second bottle I bought was an Orange Crush. While it did contain some sediment in the liquid, it had still retained its bright orange color. Even though it cost a bit more than I’ll usually pay ($12) I went ahead and made the purchase, figuring I’d never see another in my lifetime.
During this upcoming week I have several things listed on the calendar. Tomorrow and Tuesday Lisa and I will attend a gathering of friends. Sunday the featured attraction is Thai food and Tuesday’s main course will be tacos. In addition to the great food, it’s always good to be around good friends and enjoy the conversation.
Well, that’s it for now…and that’s what I call random writing….whatever pops up in my head.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
Adventures in Living: Trying to treat ADD with meds, while at the same time, quit smoking – Day Nine
I continue to trudge the road with prescription medication to treat my ADD and smoking cessation. I’ve taken a 10 mg pill for methamphetamine for the past nine days and seem to be having good results thus far. While I still can get off-focus at times and still misplace things around the house, I overall have seen an improvement, especially when it comes to reading and writing. I am planning on continuing the regimen and will keep monitoring the results until I return to the doctor in August for a re-check.
I smoked my last cigarette on Monday morning at 5 a.m. Since that point in time, I haven’t smoked any more. I’m sincerely hoping that I will continue to be able to call myself a “non-smoker.” There have been quite a few challenges in this area, especially when first waking in the morning, which is to be expected since previously it would have been several hours without any nicotine. I also have a tendency to want to light one up after I’ve had a meal. But overall, my desire to smoke has dwindled significantly.
I think the fact I’m taking the prescription medication and using nicotine lozenges simultaneously is helping. The medication for ADD supplies me with a clearer head and I’m less likely to act impulsively, which includes lighting up. The nicotine medication gives me my “fix” of the drug and the urges soon go away.
I have also downloaded the “QuitNow” app for my phone and it has been a good source of motivation. It keeps track of how much time I’ve been able to quit smoking (5 days, 11 hours, 9 minutes as I write this). It shows how much money I’ve saved by not smoking ($31.70 at this point). Perhaps the most telling statistic it shares is how many cigarettes I have avoided since I quit. It’s quite mind-blowing to read that I would have smoked 109 cigarettes since I quit on Monday. The app also has a message board where you can communicate with others who are also trying to quit smoking. Overall, it’s been a big help.
I will continue on this path this weekend (it’s 4:17 pm on Saturday) and plan on doing so during the upcoming week. Each day that passes by makes it easier to not pick up a cigarette when the cravings begin. My improvement in focus time has convinced me that the ADD medication is working and that’s a plus as well.
Examine your name. Write down your full name and all the names you go by. Where did your name come from and do you like it? Has your name influenced your life? Which name do you prefer?
- Full Name: David Lee Moser – My mother said that I got my name from David of Biblical times. I think it fits me well. I have faced several “Goliaths” in my life and through faith, have been able to conquer them. My middle name came from my great grandfather on my mother’s side of the family.
- David: Many people call me by my first name and I prefer that.
- Mr. Moser: Having spent forty-one years in the classroom, this is the name that is probably used the most. When I see former students out and about, regardless of their age, they’ll still call me by this name.
- Dave: When I’ve worked for radio stations in the past, I’ve been told not to have a name longer than three syllables. “David Moser” would have four, so I opt for “Dave Moser,” which meets their criteria. Interestingly enough, there once was another “Dave Moser” that worked for the same radio station I did and it created quite a bit of confusion, so he changed his name on the air.
- Moe – This is a shortened form of my last name. It’s normally used by friends that I was closer to when I was younger. I also would allow my students to call me “Mr. Moe.”
I don’t know for sure that my life would have turned out any differently if I had been given another name at birth. My brother was a Jr., named after my father and my only other sibling is my sister. So in that respect, I have a unique male name in the family. My son’s middle name is David.
I saw it sitting there…that one lonesome cigarette. It was begging me to light it up.
I am three days and ten hours into my quest to not smoke any more cigarettes. I’m not going to say it’s been easy, but I am not struggling as much as I have in the past. The nicotine lozenges and new medication, Adderall, that I’m taking for ADD seem to be helping in unison with each other.
A couple of days ago, I found one loose cigarette in my car and in most previous cases, I would have lit it up without thinking. It lay in the cup holder, partially bent, but with no tears. It would be easy enough to straighten it out, find a lighter and smoke it. It was almost as if it was begging me to have “just this one.”
I overcame the urge, yet at the same time, didn’t throw the cigarette away. I tossed it on the floorboard of the passenger side of the car. I guess I figured I might be in need of it later and perhaps at a time when my will wasn’t as strong.
Later in the day, I got back in the car to run some errands and there it was again. Sitting on the floorboard, imploring me to light it up “for old time’s sake.” This time I took it up and destroyed it and threw it away. I could already predict what would happen if I smoked that one cigarette. I would smoke it rather quickly and still not have my “fix” of nicotine. I would then proceed to drive to a convenience store and buy a whole pack. I once again would be left back at square one. My usual mentality when smoking was, “I’ll finish this whole pack (20 cigarettes) and then I’ll make another concerted effort to quit. In other words, I played the tape ahead and knew that my resolve would have been weakened to the point I wouldn’t think I had the strength to stop again.
So my brush with a “near smoke” resulted in success for my status as a non-smoker. Some parts of it are easier than others. Right when waking up in the morning and just after a meal seem to be the most difficult times to resist. But as with most all of things, it’s one day at a time.