The Big Jump and a Setback

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So last week, I shared with you that I was about to go on a crazy adventure – shark diving. Well, I am alive and here to report that it was by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life.

After making the trek up to San Francisco and spending the night, I got up bright and early to catch the shark diving boat at the San Francisco pier. About two and half hours later, we arrived to the Farallon Islands, where we prepared to jump into the cold Pacific Ocean and get some face time with the Great Whites in the area. Somehow, myself and the divers who joined me where the only ones to spot a Great White that day, and it was HUGE. It was unbelievable to see this creature and have it so close to me, that my adrenaline starting pumping. I was so excited to have at least gotten the chance to see a shark, even if it wasn’t ripping at the cage like I had hoped for. By the time I got up to the surface, I was so in the moment that I slipped up – I broke my streak of non-smoking and lit up a cigarette.

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I wasn’t even thinking. I was so amped up that I didn’t think having one cigarette would be so bad – until that one cigarette led to another, and another cigarette led to almost a full pack by the end of the trip. There was so much anxiety and excitement surrounding this new adventure that I hadn’t experienced before, and similar to my past of drinking, I used cigarettes as a way to cop out of paying attention to those feelings.

In the long run, I realize that smoking did nothing for me. All it did was make me wheeze and cough, and it was not the fix that I was hoping for. It quickly became a domino effect, and I saw myself start behaving like an addict again. For example, I would sneak a pack of cigarettes at the store, or I would not mention my smoking to my wife when she would call. Finally, I came clean to her and to myself, and knew that I needed to make my amends.

At the end of the day, breaking down and smoking cigarettes was no one’s fault but my own. In hindsight, I see that I set myself up for failure by not preparing myself for the range of emotions I could feel during the dive, and how I would cope with them. This is a habit that I want to break forever, so I took accountability for my actions and refuse to sit back and dwell on it. It is time to move forward with my efforts to quit smoking, and responsibly prepare for future setbacks in ways that keep me from slipping up again.

To read more about my shark diving trip and see more pictures, visit The Huffington Post.

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