A nightmare woke me up last night. Dreamed I smoked!

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

A nightmare woke me up last night. Dreamed I smoked!

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

23 Mar 2008, 23:32 #1

So, tonight shortly after midnight, I will celebrate six weeks as an ex-smoker/nicotine addict. Cold turkey has worked for me. The biggest surprise is that the cravings really haven't been that bad. A few times a day, former smoking triggers will make me think of a smoke, but these thoughts are easily dismissed, lasting a few seconds. I can deal with the waking urges.

Then, out of the blue last night, I woke up from a nightmare. In my dream, I had thrown away my quit (and the six weeks of which I am so proud) by smoking a cigarette. Even in my dream, it wasn't a conscious urge. I must have come across a half-full pack of smokes lying on a window sill. It was one of those inadvertant non-conscious smokes (you know, where you light up and smoke without even thinking about it). I was half-way done with the cigarette in my dream when I realized I was smoking!

At least my dream reaction was right. I immediately snuffed it out and was furious that I had inadvertantly thrown away my quit through carelessness. I took the pack of cigarettes straight to the kitchen sink and doused them under running water. Then, I woke up in a cold sweat, hours before the alarm. The smoking dream had really rattled me.

Moral of the story? I don't know. Joel writes that these dreams are common. For me, it just confirms that I did the right thing six weeks ago when I went around the house and tossed all the cigarettes, just to avoid the temptation or the possibility of an inadvertant smoke. That way I know that any craving or urge would have to be so strong that I would actually have to drive to the store and hand the man five bucks to throw away my hard-earned quit.

Today, I'm just thankful that my "relapse" was only in a dream and that I woke up from the nightmare with six weeks as a former smoker still under my belt, still going strong.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

23 Mar 2008, 23:49 #2

That is so weird because I too had the same type of nightmare last night. I came on here just now to write about it.

I woke up feeling like I had betrayed myself by smoking but the more I woke up the more I realized it was only a dream and I was thankful for that.

Yesterday I had noticed that I was literally smelling nicotine. I don't know if you've smelled a nicotine patch before but that's what I was smelling. It was pretty weird too.

Nicotine has got to be one mean chemical to take such a hold on our subconsciouses. I'm happy to be nicotine free now for 16 days. Woo Hoo!!!

John
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

24 Mar 2008, 00:35 #3

I had a dream where I had two long cigarette butts that I had left out front. I decided I was just going to smoke one of them. But I knew if I did I would be smoking again. And so I head outside, but then decide to yank out all the tobacco and pretend to smoke the filter. That is about when I woke up. I was glad that it was just a dream.

Tracy - Free and Healing for One Month, One Day, 10 Hours and 25 Minutes.
It isn't always easy, but it is always simple.
Never take another puff or dip!
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Joined: 04 Apr 2005, 07:00

24 Mar 2008, 00:40 #4

This message has been deleted by the author.
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Joined: 04 Apr 2005, 07:00

24 Mar 2008, 00:43 #5

We can't control the world or change it to suit us. Stimuli will always be there. It is how we react to that stimulus that makes the difference. This is another example of how what we learn keeps us from reacting as we did in the past; by picking up a cigarette. While you could have absent mindedly picked up a pack that you found on the window sill six weeks ago or could do so now in a dream, there is no way that you could do that in reality because your focus is on recovery. At some point between seeing the pack and taking a puff you would be conscious of what you were doing or about to do.

In response to John's post, the idea that nicotine is mean is incorrect. Nicotine is a chemical. It can't plot against you any more than ammonia or chlorine bleach can. If we were to make such claims against household cleaners people would give us a sideways glance as they walked away. The only control nicotine has over us is that which we give to it. If we use it, we can not control how much of it we use but we can choose not to use it at all.

Keep reading and you will continue to retrain your brain to react to stimulus consistent with recovery instead of how you reacted as a smoker.

You are doing great!

Joseph
3x Gold
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Mar 2008, 00:48 #6

I did not mean to personify the chemical nicotine with the word "mean", obviously it is just a chemical.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Mar 2008, 08:17 #7

Joseph:

You are right. I don't believe I could inadvertantly smoke a cigarette today....although I realized on day two of my quit that I better get rid of all smokes to avoid the easy temptation! I'm glad that I did. Along about day five or so, I didn't need a pack of cigarettes staring me in the face. It's a lot easier to tamp ignore an urge when you don't have any cigarettes. Just being without access to smokes is a big step in quitting. It had been 35 years since I would allow myself to be without smokes in the house.

What was interesting is that my dream had no sensation of actually smoking. Just looking down and realizing that I had a half-smoked cigarette in my formerly nicotine stained fingers. The immediate dream-state anger at my dream-state relapse is actually confirmation of my new former-smoker mindset, I guess. It was like one of those dreams where you go to school without pants or something.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

25 Mar 2008, 04:27 #8

I had the same dreams early in my quit. Lot's of people did (do). One theory is that as our lungs start cleaning out all the tars and smoke residues within, that we can taste and smell these expectorants as they travel up the tracea and out through our nose and mouth.

If this cleanout process occurs while we are asleep in a dream state, the taste and smell makes the brain think we are smoking. After all, it's what we did for a long time and our brain associates those sensations with smoking, so we dream we are smoking.

The good news is twofold: first, you cannot relapse from a dream. There is no nicotine to be had. The second piece of good news is the ususal reaction to this dream - initial horror at having blown your quit followed quickly by relief that it was only a dream and that you are still an ex-smoker idicates that you are serious about your quit and only serves to reenforce your resolve to: NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

The "smoking dream" frequency usually reduces over time as your lungs pink up and will eventually stop.

You are also right to get rid of all cigs in the house during the early phase of a quit.

best of luck!

Beavis
4X gold
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:55

29 Sep 2008, 14:02 #9

Hi all i am new hea, but what a faboulous site, and its also great to know i am not alone with these smoking nightmare sensations.. and to have more insight as to why our psychological mind is still rampaged with cigarette thoughts is also good.. knowledge is power :)
9 Days smoke free :)
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Sep 2008, 12:58 #10

Nine days is a real accomplishment. Just keep doing what you are doing. I think you'll find life as an ex-smoker getting a lot easier as you go.

I'm now at 7 and a half months without nicotine. That one dream I had at six weeks (described at the start of this thread) is the only smoking nightmare I've had. Never had another one.

Thank goodness, because I can still remember the horror of that first one!
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

10 Oct 2008, 05:12 #11

Heh, heh.... guess I typed too soon. Guess what? Eight months as an ex-smoker tomorrow and I had my second smoking dream last night. I hadn't had one since the nightmare six weeks into my my quit.

This one was completely different. I was an ex-smoker in the dream. I didn't smoke in my dream, but I had some weird recollection of smoking a certain type of cigarette during my quit and how those didn't count or something like that. It was all rather muddled. It caused me some anxiety in the dream trying to sort it all out. It wasn't a nightmare because I wasn't smoking in the dream. Just concerned about whether those dream cigarattes I might have smoked would change my quit counter.

I never got it all resolved 'til I woke up and remembered I haven't taken a puff since the one on Feburary 11th that made me snuff out the cigarette and become an ex-smoker.

I thought it was funny though... getting a variation on a smoking dream after eight months. Don't ya know... it came on a day when I hadn't had the first thought of smoking.
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

10 Oct 2008, 06:37 #12

Wow. I am getting similar dreams from 2-3 days. Today is my 20th Day after quit.

Somehow i am feeling a bit weak(in resolve) now.
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Joined: 16 Jan 2003, 08:00

10 Oct 2008, 07:06 #13

From The smoking dream:

In regards to smoking, no matter what you do in your dreams, you will be OK as long as you remember in your waking state to Never Take Another Puff!
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