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        29 July 1999 
          " Sometimes I picture my own arrival on the other side, imagining myself to being rather indignant. I hear my first question as: 'Okay... just what was that all about?' Then the days, I see myself gratefully aware the experiences and tests were endured and that most lessons were grasped. Crazy stuff. 

          "What I have been discovering in my own life is that learning to rid myself of an addiction is initially began by realizing my inability is built on the fear of losing something I dearly love....We feel vunerable...too vulnerable. It would be easier to walk around downtown naked, or it would be easier to forfeit a portion of our life on earth. 

          "But what finally hit me Summer was that I actually realized wanting to quit. I realized I wanted the chance to learn to paint, write, and generally live, without the 30 year on and off habit of smoking. I wanted to see what new creative juices would come, good or bad. Painful or not. I wanted to learn to interpret a movie or article or piece of music or even digest my dinner without the message being tainted by anything other than my natural and spiritual mind....Slowly, my head has been exiting a vice-like womb which once constrained me with rather artificial and common stimuli....I wanted to feel the pain of quitting so I could eventually experience the freedom. 

          "We are taught to run from the pain, instead of embracing it, when in fact, it is the pain which actually heals us. In a sense, it has been like being a child again."

- William C. Payton 


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