Alcohol and quitting

Alcohol and quitting

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Jun 2001, 19:12 #1

It is imperative that everyone here recognizes that everything you can do as a smoker, you can also do as an ex-smoker. You just have to teach yourself how. Some things you are forced early on to learn immediately, how to eat, sleep, use the washroom, breathe, etc. These are things that are required from day one for survival, so even though you may resist doing one of them, you can't resist it for long and will thereby be forced to start to break the association to smoking early on. Other things are sometimes put off and seen as not critical to face early on. Things like working, laundry, cleaning, brushing teeth, combing hair, etc. While it is true you won't die if you stop one of these activities for a day or two, putting off doing them too long will create a set of problems that can be quite annoying to those around you. Besides threatening your livelihood and making you look like a slob in general, if carried on too long, you can really start to feel intimidated that you may not be able to do one or more of these activities ever again. Once again I need to repeat the opening sentence here, everything you do as a smoker, you can also do as an ex-smoker--but you have to teach yourself how.

Now when it comes to areas of less importance, watching tv, sports, playing cards, being a couch potato, and yes, even drinking with friends--things that are not necessary for survival and in fact, things that may not even be good for you, well, the truth is you can do these things too as an ex-smoker. The same process is necessary though, you have to teach yourself how. Holding off too long can create a sense of intimidation, the feeling that you can never do it again. This simply is not the case, you will be able to get yourself back to your prequit existence if you choose to.

Drinking is a special case because the association is so strong and by its very nature lowers your inhibitions and can cause people to do some very irrational behaviors. Smoking can be one of them. Because of the drug influence, it is best to take it on gradually, in the beginning in a safe environment. By that I mean the first time, limit it to one drink just to show yourself you can do that. Also, do it with people who are non-smokers and who really are supportive of your quit. This is a much safer situation in the beginning by going out with drinking smoking buddies who may be a tad envious of your quit, and who, while drinking also have their inhibitions lowered that may manifest in behaviours of encouragement of your smoking at a time when you are more vulnerable.

Soon you will be able to face these environments too, but work your way their gradually, breaking some of the association and intimidation factors in the safer controlled environments. The fact is though, for the rest of your life you will need to keep your guard up, in a sense reminding yourself of your reason for having quit and the importance to stay off smoking everytime before you go drinking. It prepares you to face the situation in a much safer state of readiness.

One special note I need to make here. When I say everything you do as a smoker, you can do as an ex-smoker, the reverse is also true for some activities. If you were a recovering addict to alcohol or any other substance before, you couldn't use that substance as a smoker and you can't as an ex-smoker either without a full blown relapse.

There are some things you may be able to do now that you couldn't do before due to physical limitations posed by smoking. You may find that you are capable of doing activities that you gave up years ago because you were too old to do them or they hurt when you tried, and now, without smoking limiting you physically, you may find you will recapture activities you lost in your youth. This is great when it happens. But again, use of a substance you had a known problem with in the past is still an issue as an ex-smoker and will be for the rest of your life.

So anyway, use your own timetable that you are comfortable with, but the sooner you prove to yourself that life goes on without smoking, the sooner the concept of life after cigarette will become less intimidating and actually welcomed. Just start out gradually and in the case of alcohol, in a little bit of a safer more controlled environment and fashion.

The way to learn to do everything though is to gradually do everything while always remembering to never take another puff!


Related videos:

Can people quit smoking and still drink alcohol?
"I can't drink alcohol without a cigarette"
Everything you did as a smoker you can do as an ex-smoker
People in recovery from other addictions
Crutches to quit smoking

Related string; Alcohol - can people quit smoking and still drink alcohol? 
Last edited by Joel on 31 Dec 2016, 19:42, edited 7 times in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Jun 2001, 19:28 #2

Yesterday I saw a few people refer to articles I have on the board about drinking. I could never seem to find them quickly when I need to so have brought them and a string that refers to the drinking issue in this string. This one I have categorized under "My New Life" so I can find it quickly in the future when the need arises. There is one more that I couldn't put my finger on but I will attach it next time I come across it.
So for all our non-alcoholic ex-smokers who who want to know whether or not at some point in their lives they can ever have a drink again and stay ex-smokers, the answer is yes as long as you always stay mentally prepared before and during drinking to be resolved to never take another puff!

Crutches to Quit Smoking
Last edited by Joel on 10 Apr 2009, 04:44, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Jun 2001, 19:43 #3

This is a letter I wrote to a member who said when she came in she was also a recovering alcoholic. For privacy reasons I am not going to reveal the members identity. The message that applies to her applies to every recovering addict.

If some of you have personal insights from having dealt with other addictions you are free to attach into this string. As I said, it is one I will bring up often as the question of drinking arise. We have three groups of people here at Freedom, people who never drank, people who were social drinkers, and people who were recovering alcoholics. The first two groups can choose what way they approach alcohol once they quit smoking. The last group cannot, alcohol controlled them once just as nicotine did. Both substances must be dealt with the same way now. That is by the individual understanding that he or she can never take another sip and never take another puff!


Hello xxxxx:
Let me echo everyone else's welcome and assurance that you are in the right place. Your background in AA will serve you well here. You basically come to us with a thorough understanding of addiction. If you didn't, you would not be a recovering alcoholic but rather, an actively drinking one. You understand the principal of one drink, or one sip for that fact.

Now it is just transferring your experience and knowledge with alcohol and aiming it at nicotine. Same problem, drug addiction--same solution, stop delivering it into your system.

You probably feel quitting is scary, what will your life be like without smoking? Well, you probably had those exact same fears when quitting drinking. You were right when you thought your life would be different. It in all likelihood became immeasurably better. The same will hold true with this effort.

I always state it this way. Treat an addiction as an addiction and you will learn to control it. Treat an addiction like a bad habit and you won't have a prayer. Your use of nicotine is an addiction. Take your understanding of addiction, aim it at nicotine and you will do fine.

I should point out, whenever I have anyone who quits smoking after quitting another substance; they often have a harder time than many others in the group. Smoking may have been a crutch off the other substance. Now, when quitting, not only are they trying to break free from a primary addiction, but, they are trying to pull off the crutch from the other addiction.

While it may be harder up front, they are usually more successful than the average, again, because they understand addiction. Aim your other program at this and you will do fine.

If anything we can do to help, don't hesitate to ask.


Roberta (GOLD)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:58

11 Aug 2001, 21:37 #4

Thanks for keeping this post up top. I came here today because I was so bothered by an incident a few evenings ago that involved smoking, excuse me-NOT smoking, and drinking. I had gone out drinking with friends and wanted a cigarette so bad it ruined my entire night. I had to switch to water, I had to go home early.....wah, wah. I was so insulted by myself for wanting to smoke so bad it was "all encompassing", I couldn't even focus on a conversation I wanted to smoke so bad. I never thought it would feel that way after six months.

So, everyone, pay attention. Liquor is bad for not smoking and don't forget it even after six months. Gear up before going out, I always will in the future. Thanks for the reminder.

YQS, Roberta
I have been Quit for: 6M 3W 5h 36m 57s. I have NOT smoked 6127 sticking butts, for a savings of $919.05. Life Saved: 3W 6h 35m.

MSN User
Joined: 02 Apr 2004, 08:00

16 Aug 2001, 01:22 #5

This is something I am really worried about for myself. I have quit several times before this one and all but one quit ended in a bar or party. I can't trust myself to not smoke when I have a drink. But, I like to drink, and right now, I'm still trying really hard to convince myself that I don't like to smoke. I don't drink often, and when I do I rarely get drunk, but it seems, always has, that a cigarette just goes with a drink. My course of action is to avoid drinking as well as going out with my smoking friends for at least a month. Then I'll reevaluate.


1 week, 1 day, 12 hours, 55 minutes, 58 seconds without a sickarette
170 sickarettes not smoked

marty (gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

16 Aug 2001, 18:34 #6

Take your time, Eve

Having a drink is not a life-or-death issue, unless you're an alcoholic which clearly you aren't. So what's the big deal? Don't drink. Yet.

One day when your mind is telling you that your quit is strong enough, have one drink. If that feels OK, then stop worrying about it. If it starts to make you feel uneasy, lay off the drink for another couple of weeks, then try again.

Eve, you don't have a drinking deadline to meet. If you don't have a drink in the next two months, say, your world will not come crashing in. If you relapse, your world will come crashing in. We can do as non-smokers everything we used to do as smokers, (except take that one puff), but we don't have to do them all today Image

Image Marty
NOT A PUFF FOR 8 months 2 weeks 3 days : 4664 cigs not smoked : 2 weeks 2 days 4 hours added to my life

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

17 Jan 2002, 21:27 #7

Image I know drinking comes up as an issue every once and a while and I think this thread covers it from a two distinct angles that I want everyone to always be aware of.

First, that you need to go into all drinking situations with your guard up, higher than in normal non-drinking situations where you should have your guard up anyway.

Also, for anyone who has had past drinking problems, quitting smoking has not cured those problems. If you couldn't drink before, you still can't drink now.

Stringbender Bronze
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 20:20

24 Feb 2002, 01:30 #8

I would like to comment on this subject, I am a recovering alcoholic, I have been sober for 6 years and 10 months. I haven't smoked a cigarette in 4 weeks and 6 days. I use the principles I've learned in A.A. on a daily basis and I am applying them to giving up nicotine. Just like alcohol I don't quit for a lifetime, I just don't smoke or drink for today. It has been a good 4 weeks and 6 days and I hope to have many more, but I know I have to do it one day at a time.I want to thank everyone for all the help

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

02 Mar 2002, 20:49 #9

As seen earlier this week, we almost lost a long-term member from drinking without proper mental preparation. 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!


Ladybird is Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

26 Mar 2002, 08:29 #10

I know exactly your vision with the cigarette in full view (the moment of the loss of so many quits before) . . . & I too did not take one puff!! Happily Image!!
It was a very trying weekend for me with quite a few struggling moments as I sat in a room with 3 smokers puffing away constantly & me being the only person there not smoking (I could hardly believe I was!!). Having a few drinks probably added to the urges, but I made it, which makes me know I can have a few beers, enjoy them & not have to have a cigarette.
Today I was listening to a client (I am a counsellor) with an alcohol addiction describe how hard it has been for her to give up drinking (several admissions to detox & rehab, many relapses, etc) & I thought after about how socially acceptable drinking is in many situations. As an adult (& hopefully as a teen) there is very little outright pressure to smoke. Even if you are the only person in a group not smoking, no mention is even made of it. I have never seen a person who is a non smoker be repeatedly offered a smoke, whereas if someone says they are not drinking, often a series of coaxing follows. It is not necessary to explain why you don't smoke. There are no excuses or reasons or explanations required. It's great!!
Just wondering oif any other nicotine addcts thought about this . . .
Susan Image