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Imagine being in early chemical withdrawal while your brain dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline neurotransmitters were in the process of trying to again adjust to functioning without nicotine. Imagine while your conscious dreams of freedom doing a wonderful job suppressing, calming and overcoming subconscious fears, craves and anxieties associated with leaving its sense of normal, it's 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 success?
It's what these threads are all about. Although we teach that you 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 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 but it likely plays a much greater role in the death toll stemming from nicotine relapse. Plan ahead and protect your investment in life!Breathe deep, hug hard, live long Freedom! John
We deeply believe that it isn't necessary to give up or change any aspect of your life when quitting but this is one area where a bit of common sense is needed during the first few days. Think it through, plan ahead and don't forget that baby steps are just fine when first learning to walk. Just one objective, no nicotine today!
|From: Joel. (Original Message)||Sent: 6/9/2001 7:12 AM|
| 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. Somethings you are forced early on to learn immediately, how to eat, sleep, use the washroom, breath, 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!
Be very very careful during early recovery. Within a couple of weeks you'll do fine but getting intoxicated while still in early withdawal, while badly craving nicotine, is not an intelligent move. Break it down into baby steps. Remember, you can always walk away.
This is your gift to you. Protect it above all else as your health and very likely your life are depending 100% upon you! There's only one rule - no nicotine today. The next few minutes are all that ever matter and each is entirely doable. We'll all be with you in spirit. Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John (Gold x5)