I have been watching and reading this thread, all the way along. I found it fascinating because I have sure been there and been through this myself. I think we all have, so you are not alone.
The advice Rich and Pigs have been giving you, is right on target. You have been following their lead and it appears they have lead you through this thing and into 'the light'.
You did all the right things, starting with the most important thing and that was asking for help. Then trusting enough to follow their help. I know you learned something and this will carry forward to future smokes. So, it has been a 'Win/Win' situation.
Good job !!
Now just one thing. I know you are a little rattled, but don't forget to take a couple of pictures and let us see the results.