Weighty Matters

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Weird Dream Fear

on August 3, 2013

On October 28th, I will mark the 27th anniversary of the day I quit smoking.  I haven’t lit up a cigarette since that day, except sometimes in my dreams.  Every once in awhile, I have a dream in which I’m smoking that’s so vivid I can taste, feel, and smell everything as if I was wide awake and actually smoking.

When I wake up from those dreams I experience a very real fear that they aren’t dreams at all, but that I’ve started smoking again and all of the years of abstinence were for naught.  To understand the grip and awfulness, you have to understand how much I hate cigarettes and the habit.  I enrolled in a hospital-run program to help me quit.  One of the things it taught us was to develop an aversion to smoking and cigarettes.  This was extremely useful.  Now I can’t stand to sit downwind of a lit cigarette.  I’m repulsed by the smell of them on clothing, or on someone’s breath or skin.

I loathe the habit with my mind and emotions too.  My mother suffered lung cancer that metastasized to her brain and, during the same time period, had a couple of strokes, clogged carotid arteries — all caused by cigarettes.  To my mind, she died because of her 50 year addiction to cigarettes.

Given this information, can you see why dreaming that I’ve started smoking again can cause such a strong, negative reaction?

Last night, I dreamed that I was super obese again.  It wasn’t a flashback sort of dream to my past.  I think I could have lived with the memory and used it as a good reminder.  Now, in this dream I was very much aware that I’d once lost the weight because of the weight loss surgery and commitment to healthy eating and physical exercise.  However, for reason or reasons undisclosed, I’d gained it all back and all of the wonderful benefits were gone.  Can I just say that it was a sucky way to wake up this morning?

For the most part I was able to shake it off fairly quickly, but periodically throughout the day, a “what if” thought drifted across my mind.  You know how you’re sometimes tempted to stick your fingers in your ears and chant “lalalalalalalalalalalalalala” to block the sound of a particularly obnoxious song or keep from hearing something you really don’t want to?  That was me today, internally repeating, “nonononononononononono” at the mere thought that I would ever torpedo my successful effort and backslide back to obesity.

I also employed some positive reinforcement.  At Tai Chi class I thought about how much more flexible and strong I’ve become because of the weight loss and the regular practice.  Silly as it sounds, I marked in my head the ease with which I get in and out of my low slung car, and how automatic it is for me to be able to strap my seat belt around and buckle it.

I walked the dogs earlier and paid attention to not only the fluid movements of my arms and legs, but also the healthy beat of my heart and my ability to generate a quick pace without gasping for air.

I focused on my food choices and allowed myself to feel pleased and happy that I willingly eat healthier and on my plan.

All of my life, I’ve believed in the power of our dreams and how with determination and perseverance, we can convert our dreams to reality.  In this case, I need to be specific.  I don’t want last night’s dream to ever become the least bit real.  I simply refuse to screw this up and go back to where I was before.

The dream of good health, fitness, and happiness with my self; the reality of finally getting to goal weight in coming months — those are the dreams I want to make come true.


I can scarcely believe that this is the 400th post here at Weighty Matters.  Heartfelt thanks to all of you keeping me company on this journey!

3 responses to “Weird Dream Fear

  1. Hope says:

    Congrats on 400! 😀

  2. Skye says:

    Congratulations on post 400 and all the amazing progress you’ve made since post 1!!!!

    Sorry about the sucky dream. I know how they can stick with you throughout the day and cling to your thoughts. The way you went about unsticking the dream from your thoughts is wonderful: noticing how well you are doing and feeling and how much more easily you move is terrific. You are so strong and so aware. You’ve overcome TWO major addictions in your life, which takes guts and courage.

    The dream sounds like a gasping attempt by that addictive section in your brain to scrabble for power and sameness and you fought it back and defeated it soundly. You won’t ever be there again. While you may need to refight the battle from time to time, as with any addiction, I believe you have won the war.

    • Mary Stella says:

      Skye, your comment gave me a great image of the addiction in battle and me vanquishing it. Thanks! I’m going to hold that thought for anytime it tries to rise up against me again.

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