Alcohol and quitting

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Mar 2002, 09:15 #11

Interesting observation Susan! Back in my navy bootcamp days they actually gave smoke breaks to smokers while if there were any extra duties to be conducted the non-smokers were expected to keep going. It was the only time in my life that I saw non-smokers contemplate an immediate benefit from smoking.

I read recently that roughly 20% of drinkers have drinking problems while only 5 to 10% of drinkers are chemically dependent upon alcohol. With between 70 to 90% of adult smokers chemically dependent upon nicotine it's almost the reverse. Imagine if 90% of regular adult smokers were not dependent upon nicotine but instead, like drinkers, were free to come or go as they pleased . It's my guess that like with alcohol, you'd see a bit more social sharing and encouraging each other to smoke a bit of nicotine!

But reality is reality! Just one big puff of new nicotine and the comfort is over for this kid and it's back to working hard each day to keep pace with his constantly falling blood serum nicotine level. Being an actively feeding nicotine addict is work!

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Mar 2002, 22:42 #12

Hello Susan and John:

Susan, you are right in your observation about most social circles now in regards to smoking. The one group that does face pressures still are younger people--and John, your recollections of the old Navy days still have relevance.

I was doing a little consulting work with the Navy a few years ago. They had initiated the total smoking ban in boot camps. Recruits would come in to basic training, be totally off cigarettes for 6 weeks I think, and then surveyed a few months later to see if they actually had lower smoking rates. The theory was, kids who got addicted when in high school or elementary school, now had the chance to detox and were then free to choose.

It sounded good in theory that there should have been a noticeable drop in smoking rates. In fact, the opposite was found--within a few months of time in the service there were actually more smokers than who originally enlisted.

The 18 to 24 year old age group has the highest smoking rates at this time in the United States. It is apparent that there still is some kind of pressure on these young people to smoke. In the military they seem to have felt that some of the pressure was coming from the training schools after basic training. The feeling was that many of the older instructors were still smoking, and one of the ways for the newer recruits to spend time with the instructors and maybe even win some favor was by sharing the cigarette breaks with them. I suspect this factor along with the one John points out such as the extra breaks for the smokers may be factors influencing the increased smoking trends.

Whether any specific person here has pressure on him or her to smoke or not to smoke, it still comes down to each individual's decision. The decision must be based on the available options--to smoke full-fledged until cigarettes eventually cripple and then kills you or to stay free from the total control that nicotine exerted on you in the past. If your choice is to stay free you must always remember to never take another puff!


Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

22 Dec 2002, 13:51 #13

HI! This is a great thread especially for the holiday weekend. I have been obsessing a bit about a staff party I have tomorrow at a bar in town. All but three will be smoking and it will be my first time at the other side of the bar( My profession is a bartender ) since I quit. I thought of not showing but I know I must ultimately face my fears and be prepared. So I thank you for these letters on alcohol and I want you to know. I take this seriously. I have to believe things will get better and easier. Thank you and have a happy Sunday. Lena 2 Weeks 3days 3hours WITHOUT A PUFF!!ImageImageImage

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Mar 2003, 20:38 #14

Everyone who drinks needs to go into drinking situations with his or her guard up and reasons for quitting and wanting to stay off intact. Waiting until being inebriated to deal with smoking thoughts on an intellectual level is dangerous and should be considered life threatening.

Life threatening when you consider that such a lack of preparation can cause a relapse and a relapse is fully capable of costing you your health and your life over time. People who know they are recovering alcoholics cannot drink--smoking or quitting smoking is not the variable here of primary concern for why they drink. They have an addiction to alcohol to be concerned with.

People who have never considered themselves to be an alcoholic or a problem drinker but who cannot drink in a controlled manner, or people whose drinking at one time has adversly effected their health or caused them any economic, professional, legal, or personal problems--these people need to think long and hard of whether they are in fact problem drinkers or possibly dealing with alcoholism issues. If your drinking threatens your quit, you are in effect a problem drinker--you are putting your health on the line to drink.

The vast majority of non-alcoholic social drinkers can still drink without risk of relapse--but being mentally prepared is crucial here. Go into ALL drinking situations reminding yourself that you are a recovering nicotine addict and you are going to be a recovering nicotine addict for the rest of your life.

While that may not sound great in concept--being a recovering nicotine addict--it beats being an actively using nicotine addict hands down. For over time being a recovering addict has no real signs or symptoms and no real adverse health or even social effects associated with it. Being an active user would actively be destroying tissue with every puff, depositing cancer-producing chemicals with every puff, assault your heart and circulatory system with every puff, cost you money with every puff, and make you reek with every puff. To avoid all the problems of being an active addict still translates to always knowing that to stay smoke free--even when not totally sober, still only requires remembering to never take another puff!


Sal GOLD.ffn
Joined: 16 Jan 2003, 08:00

28 Feb 2004, 06:54 #15

Last edited by Sal GOLD.ffn on 10 Apr 2009, 04:55, edited 1 time in total.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 May 2004, 03:04 #16

The below recent study is not offered to show you how far science
has come in understanding the chemical and neurochemical
relationships between alcohol, nicotine and the function of human
mind but to instead show how little we yet understand.
No nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff!

Neurochemical and behavioral studies
on ethanol and nicotine interactions.
Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2004 January;27(8):713-20.

Larsson A, Engel JA.

Department of Pharmacology, Goteborg University, Box 431, Goteborg SE-405 30, Sweden.

The most commonly abused drugs, alcohol and nicotine, are likely also the most costly drugs in terms of health and societal costs. A large body of evidence from epidemiological studies indicate that smoking and alcohol-intake are positively correlated. The mesocorticolimbic dopamine system has been implicated in mediating some of the reinforcing effects of ethanol, however, the mechanism(s) of action remains to be elucidated; consideration as to ethanol's ability to interact with ligand-gated ion channels should be considered.
Accumulating evidence from electrophysiological, pharmacological and neurochemical studies suggest that ethanol may interact with the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR). Thus, it has been shown that the ethanol-induced stimulation of the mesolimbic dopamine system and of locomotor activity as well as ethanol intake and preference in rodents may involve central nicotinic acetylcholine receptors.

Additionally, data has been presented that nAChRs located in the ventral tegmental area may be of particular importance for these effects of ethanol. Studies aimed at defining the nAChR subpopulation(s) involved in mediating ethanol-induced locomotor stimulation and accumbal dopamine overflow as well as ethanol-intake have revealed that alpha(3)beta(2) or alpha(6) (using alpha-Conotoxin MII) but not alpha(4)beta(2) (using dihydro-beta-erythroidine) or alpha(7) (using methyllycaconitine), could represent targets for developing new drugs in the treatment of alcoholism. These results do not allow any conclusion as to whether the involvement nAChRs in mediating the effects of ethanol is direct and/or indirect.

With regard to an indirect effect, evidence has accumulated indicating that the cholinergic excitatory input to the dopaminergic neurons in the ventral tegmental area may be an important part of the neuronal circuits mediating natural as well as drug-rewarded behavior. The possibility may thus be considered that ethanol activates the cholinergic afferents causing a release of acetylcholine in the ventral tegemental area leading to a stimulation of nAChRs and thereby excite the mesocorticolimbic dopamine system.

PMID: 15019421 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

05 Jan 2005, 09:50 #17

"best to take it on gradually
in the beginning in a safe environment"

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Jan 2005, 21:19 #18

Imagine being at or near the peak of physical withdrawal and nicotine detox, where your brain begins working fast and hard at restoring natural neurotransmitter sensitivities now that nicotine's arrival has ended. Imagine your conscious dreams and desires of freedom doing a wonderful job at calming, suppressing and overcoming subconscious fears, craves and anxieties associated with arresting your world of chemical dependency, a world of "nicotine normal."
Now imagine taking early recovery into a smoke and smoker filled environment and then commencing to drink large quantities of a mind altering and inhibition diminishing substance. What are the chances of your healing surviving?
It's what these threads are all about. Although Freedom teaches that we need not give up anything when quitting, that rule must be applied using a bit of common sense. We also teach baby steps and little bites and those principles work extremely well in helping each of us work-up to fully engaging all aspects of life. Alcohol may play a role in half of all fatal vehicle collisions here in the U.S. but it likely plays a much greater role in the death toll stemming from nicotine relapse.
Plan ahead! Break the event down into smaller doable bites. Have a coping plan ready. Have a back-up plan. Have an emergency plan. You have but one healling patient to protect and it is "you!" A host of expectations, emotions and new experiences to encounter but only one guiding principle determining whether the patient's healing lives or dies, no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time, Never Take Another Puff, Dip or Chew! John (Gold x5)
Last edited by John (Gold) on 10 Apr 2009, 05:07, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 May 2005, 22:12 #19

Copied from the post Crutches to Quit Smoking
I just saw a post suggesting a nice way to celebrate being successfully off smoking for a year is to buy a bottle of wine to share with friends and loved ones. It made me think of the original article here and the commentary I attached the other day. The casual suggestion of celebrating successfully not smoking for a given time period with an alcoholic beverage of any kind really does not belong at a site dealing with treating a drug addiction. Are there people who may celebrate this way here at Freedom? Sure there are--I suspect that a lot of our members drink occasionally. But there are some members and readers here who don't drink to celebrate either by personal choice or, because they can no longer drink to celebrate without having to drink all of the time whether there is anything to celebrate or not. These are people who are recovering alcoholics and who hopefully know their own limitations. I suspect that some of these people may be put off by the suggestion of using alcohol to celebrate quitting smoking. Also, there are likely members and readers here who while they may not be alcoholic themselves, they may have family members and friends who are and who may think that buying wine to share with these people is not an appropriate method of celebrating breaking free from the nicotine addiction.

As it says above: not use this site to glamorize drinking. There are people here who are recovering alcoholics who find posting about the fun and glamour of drinking to be quite disconcerting. Also, the frequent use of the emoticons, portraying a mug or a champaign toast are really seen as poor taste to these people. Put yourself in their place--if you belonged to a site that was on a totally different topic, and people came in touting the joys of recreational smoking, you would feel the need to enlighten the group or could be offended and annoyed with the casual way the subject was being portrayed. You could then either feel the need to take it head on and stir up debate with the group, or just leave the group. Neither of these options is acceptable to us at Freedom--for we have strict policies about diversional posts, and the idea of a person leaving because of an issue that is really unnecessary is abhorrent to us. Because the people who are here trying to secure their quits are here because they are fighting for their lives. Their needs then take precedent over people who are here for more social or fun reasons. Freedom is a quit smoking education and support site. We try to get the message out that life goes on without smoking--things you could do before can still be done after quitting. Things that could not be done before, such as safe or controlled drinking for a recovering alcoholic cannot be done now either. So as a general rule of thumb now, we are asking members to minimize the amount of time they are posting about drinking at this site. We have ample strings to cover alcohol issues. We will continue to bring them up as holidays come up, and around weekends where drinking situations are often encountered more frequently. But we ask that people who are regular users of alcohol not to raise the issue over and over again.

All posting members need to stay cognizant of this concept. It is not saying that issues involving drinking cannot be discussed. Again, if a person finds him or herself in a social drinking situation and it creates smoking thoughts, or if a person is nervous about how to get through a party or gathering where he or she will be drinking, it is totally legitimate to raise these concerns and for others to explain how they deal with such circumstances. Suggesting or encouraging the use of alcohol though to others who you do not know their full histories on is a risky proposition.

As we discuss in the thread The Freedom Classroom
Since December of 2002 we have had over 1,056,000 distinct hosts view pages at If only 10% of these people find their way to Freedom it would still be over 100,000 people. The numbers may be higher. While we don't know the exact numbers of people who do read we know it is a lot. Every person posting at Freedom has an awesome responsibility because every word you are writing is capable of influencing hundreds or even thousands of people. Considering what we are trying to influence them to do, which is to quit smoking and to save their lives, it is easy to see how why we feel that this is indeed an awesome responsibility.

So everyone be aware and stay cognizant to the fact any advice written on this board is being read by hundreds to thousands of people. Make sure that any specific suggestions that you are sharing is sound advice for all people. Offering celebratory drinks to all people is an unwarranted suggestion in the event the people who you may be making the offer to are people in recovery from alcohol.

It is similar to our members getting offered a cigar to celebrate the birth of a baby or other special occasions. While the act may seem acceptable to some people in some social circles, I think most of our members and readers would feel that this act would be uncomfortable to say the least, and in poor taste if the offer was being made by a person who knew you had quit smoking, and that you had made it clear to that person that you realize that you are a nicotine addict and cannot smoke without relapsing.

Be prepared that such offers may occur from others. Offers for drinks will likely happen at times even if you are a person who is in recovery from alcohol. Understand that if you are a person in recovery that the reason that you have maintained your sobriety up to this point is that you have worked out some sort of response to deal with such offers and the bottom line is that it is your responsibility to stick to your commitment not to drink.

The same concept holds true for all of our members regarding smoking. I hope most of our members and readers never find themselves feeling that there is a right time to pass along a cigar or any tobacco product to another person to celebrate any event. All members and readers must be aware though that offers of tobacco products to you can occur over time. Once again, it is the personal responsibility of each member and reader to sustain his or her own quit even at such times by remembering that in spite of the nature of these offers that the only way to sustain your own quit and truly have something to celebrate is to stick to your own personal commitment to never take another puff.

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Last edited by Joel on 10 Apr 2009, 05:01, edited 1 time in total.

Kristen Goldx3
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Apr 2006, 05:38 #20

Smoking May Hinder Brain's Recovery from Alcoholism

By Jeff Minerd, MedPage Today Staff Writer
Reviewed by Rubeen K. Israni, M.D., Fellow, Renal-Electrolyte and Hypertension Division, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
March 16, 2006

MedPage Today Action Points

Explain to recovering alcoholics that this study suggests quitting smoking may lead to faster brain recovery.

SAN FRANCISCO - For alcoholics whose drinking brings on cognitive deficits, smoking seems to retard their cognitive recovery when they go on the wagon, a study here suggested.

"It is pretty well established that long-term chronic drinking of the amount that alcoholics do leads to abnormalities of brain structure, chemistry, and blood flow as well as cognition," said Timothy Durazzo, Ph.D., of the San Francisco VA in an interview.

Alcoholics may appear to be functioning normally, but cognitive tests will usually reveal abnormalities or "frank deficits," he added.

So it stands to reason that diminished cognition should reverse itself when alcoholics stop drinking. But, Dr. Durazzo found, cognitive recovery can be retarded by cigarette smoking, at least during the first month of abstinence from alcohol.

Smoking appears to interfere with metabolic brain recovery and cognitive improvement, Dr. Durazzo and colleagues reported in the March issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

They evaluated 25 recovering alcoholics-14 smokers and 11 non-smokers.

Using MRI, the investigators examined participants' brains for N-acetylaspartate, a marker of neuronal viability, and choline, a marker of cell membrane health. Measurements were made after seven and 35 days of abstinence.

Concentrations of N-acetylaspartate in the parietal white matter of the non-smokers increased from an average of about 28 institutional units on day seven to 29 units on day 35, but concentrations significantly decreased in smokers from 28 to 26.5 units (P<.05).

Similarly, choline concentrations in the non-smokers increased from an average of about 4.5 to 5.2 units (P<.05), but in non-smokers the average concentration stayed put at 4.7 units.

The authors reported that increases in N-acetylaspartate and choline concentrations were positively correlated with improvement in various cognitive domains including executive function, visuospatial learning/skills, fine motor skills, auditory verbal learning and general intelligence.

At one month of abstinence, the investigators also found "huge" differences between the smokers and non-smokers in performance on cognitive tests that measured such things as visual-spatial learning and memory, Dr. Durazzo said. However, these data are in another paper which has been submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, he added.

Cigarette smoke contains many toxic compounds, such as carbon monoxide and free radicals, that may directly or indirectly compromise the central nervous system tissue, the authors said.

The study's results suggest that for faster brain recovery, it may be beneficial for alcoholics in early abstinence to stop smoking as well, the authors said.

"This may be a lot to ask from an alcoholic individual going through drastic brain chemical imbalances in early recovery," Dr. Durazzo said.

On the other hand, "cigarettes and alcohol tend to go together," he said. "One may elicit cravings for the other. So if you are able to give up both at the same time, it may increase your chances of staying sober, because you don't have one substance serving as a trigger for use of the other."

The results of this study should be considered preliminary and must be confirmed by larger and longer-term prospective studies, the authors concluded.

Primary source: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research
Source reference:
Durazzo TC et al. Brain metabolite concentrations and neurocognition during short-term recovery from alcohol dependence: preliminary evidence of the effects of concurrent chronic cigarette smoking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. 2006; 30(3):1-13. ... ns/tb/2877