Here is a true story.
There was a woman who struggled with quitting smoking for a long time. Then she finally made it and quit smoking for a whole year. On the one-year anniversary of her quitting smoking, she decided to smoke just one stick of cigarette to celebrate. She hasn’t stopped smoking since. She now smokes more than she ever did before and doesn’t know how to quit again. It is harder for her to quit now than it was before. She just doesn’t know how to quit anymore.
You may read this story and think, “What a stupid thing she did.” But the truth is that we all have our demons. The mistake we often make is that we kid with our demons.
Her story is not uncommon if you think about it. I see people who quit doing drugs for a while and then return to them. People lose weight and then put it all back and then some more. People stop abusing alcohol and then return to it.
When you have identified one of your demons–such as an addiction to cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, pornography, sex, etc–and have managed to overcome it, the worst thing you can do for yourself is to go anywhere close to it again. Our demons never leave us completely. They are always close behind us, waiting for a weak moment to overcome us again. So when you quit your addiction, do everything in your power to avoid even the slightest temptation.
If you quit smoking and don’t want to backslide, don’t hang out with your friends who smoke. If you have to make new friends, so be it. Your life is worth more than friends. You can make new friends. In fact, many times, to successfully kick our demons, we have to move out of the environment that we were in when we caught the demon in the first place. That environment is usually our friends and sometimes our family.
If you want to quit doing or selling drugs, you may need to move out of your community altogether. You may need to move to a different state, make new friends who don’t do drugs, get a job where people don’t do drugs. Your demons are stronger than you and they have you figured out. The only way to beat them is to flee from them and their temptation. It would be foolish to assume that you can beat your demons or addiction. Not in this lifetime. And no amount of therapy, counseling, or rehab is going to help you learn to live with your demons and not have them ruin your life.
It is within our power to create an environment that removes our demons–that shuts them out of our lives. But it is not within our power to befriend our demons and overcome them.
Don’t kid with your demons!