By: Nathan L Sweeting
I had just graduated from high school and was about to start college. I had a car, (it was very old and beat up, but it was a Lamborghini in my mind), a job making ‘some’ money and all the freedom an 18 year old boy could ask for. To me I had it made. I was head of the pack; the leader among my friends.
But boy, not only was I wrong, but I was headed down a serious path of self destruction and didn’t even know it.
My friends and I were all drinkers, heavy partiers and they were smokers. I was the only one in the group who didn’t smoke, so you can guess what happened next. Yup, I gave in to the constant nagging to ‘just try it’ and took my first 'pull' of a marijuana joint. “It wasn’t so bad”, I said to myself but it gave me an unfamiliar feeling.
That was only the start of my destructive behavior. I started smoking every few days, then every day, which turned into 3 times per day, then 8 times, then 10 times per day. It got so bad that within a few months of my initial smoking session, I was smoking up to 15 times every day, 7 days per week ( I didn’t miss a day) and that lasted for 18 years. I became so addicted to it that I needed it to function in every aspect of my life.
This is how a normal day looked for me:
Wake up - Smoke - Shower – Smoke
Eat breakfast – Smoke - Get dressed – Smoke
Go to work – Take several breaks to smoke - Eat lunch – Smoke
Leave work - Smoke in the car - Reach home & settle in – Smoke
Take a shower – Smoke - Watch tv while smoking - Eat dinner – Smoke
Go to bed – Have an end of day smoke - Wake up in the middle of night - Smoke
- Repeat the following day and every day thereafter
As you can see, it turned into quite an addiction...actually a HUGE addiction but one that I was able to quit in just ONE day with ONE decision and I have never looked back since.
At this point I was already married to my lovely wife and had a child (my wonderful sunshine). I had hit a very low point in my life and weed was at the center of it all. Finally I couldn’t take it any more and stumbled upon some YouTube videos of sermons by Dr. Myles Munroe. Keep in mind I had never heard him speak, nor did I have the attention span to watch videos past 10 minutes, but this was different.
I watched several of his 1 – 2 hour sermons consecutively, then more the following days. Within a few weeks I was mentally dissecting my life and realized my family was missing out on their blessings because I wasn’t living right. You see God blesses the home through the head of the home, which is the father – which is me.
That’s when I broke down crying, while in the shower on a Tuesday morning. I made a promise to God that for the rest of my life I would live for Him alone and change. So, I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ.
That decision lead to developing a deeper level of self-awareness and this is where the coach in me came into play. I identified every negative habit and all sinful things I was involved in and decided to get rid of them all. At the top of my list was to quit smoking – which I did that same Tuesday morning in the shower. Yes, I quit an 18-year smoking addiction one beautiful Tuesday morning – with no withdrawal symptoms or longing for it of any kind.
How did I do it? I'm glad that you asked. My first step was to change my self-perception. I made the mental switch from being a smoker, to smoking being something I merely did. This mental shift was huge in my ability to quit ‘cold turkey.’ I realized that the human mind is so powerful, but many people are unaware of how to engage that power.
It was so hard for me to give up smoking when I considered myself a smoker, because that meant changing who I was (or who I thought I was).
My advice to you, is to put your focus into developing and mastering your mind, because it is the key to achieving every goal.
It works like this:
You associate a thought with an external circumstance. That thought forms your emotions, which determines your actions, which leads to your habits, which determines your life’s outcomes.
Going back to the beginning of the story, this is how that looked in my life. I associated a thought (I’m not cool without smoking) with an external circumstance (my friends smoking). That formed my emotions (insecurity), which determined my actions (I smoked), leading to my habit (increasing my smoking times), which determined my outcome (developed an addiction that held me back from succeeding for 18 years).
Your mind is the key to all failures and/or successes; it all depends on how you program it.
I’m happy to say I’m smoke-free, living my passion and fulfilling my purpose of helping people develop themselves and live their true potential.
About The Author
Years ago Nathan found himself on a destructive path of depression due to an 18-year smoking addiction, an alcohol problem and being overweight. Realizing that he was not only destroying his life, but also the lives of the people he loved, he decided to change.
After reaching this low point, Nathan rededicated his life to Christ, quit smoking, transformed his body, and completely changed his lifestyle. He now uses his own life transformation along with his knowledge, training, and experience as a public speaker and corporate trainer to empower professionals to overcome mental barriers.