Be Prepared - Alcohol and Your Quit

Be Prepared - Alcohol and Your Quit

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

06 Jul 2002, 07:35 #1

Alcohol and Your Quit
Freedom teaches that we don't need to give up any part of our life when quitting except for our nicotine. The weekend has arrived again and with it the opportunity to have a few drinks and be with friends. How do you approach this most important encounter with alcohol, smokers and good times? What planning, if any, can you do? When is it safe to do so?
The odds of a brand new quit surviving the pub or bar scene while consuming large quantities of alcohol are not promising! Walking into an environment loaded with ashtrays, lighters and packs everywhere in a smoke and smoker filled room, while consuming a mind and sense altering substance during a temporary period of time that you were giving it your all not to smoke nicotine can be a tragic mistake, even fatal. Although alcohol has been found to play a role in half of all fatal vehicle collisions, its death toll in relation to the destruction of quits is even greater.

Many of you have already successfully navigated this situation while others have not. If you have, please share the important lessons you learned. Your words of wisdom might save both a quit and a life.

My advice is simple! Think it though, plan ahead, keep your guard up, and always remember that you can walk away. An early encounter with alcohol can involve multiple triggers. Keep in mind that it's possible to address them one at a time. Alcohol itself could be a habit trigger, being around other smokers another, having a good or bad time while drinking a third or possibly even a fourth, and having too much to drink a possible fifth. Then again, your anxiety attack triggering cue could be something as simple as ice cubes hitting a glass in a dark smoke filled environment. We've each developed some pretty unique feeding habits.

You can drink at home first without the other stuff, or going out for a good time in a smoke and smoker filled location without drinking. The planning possibilities are numerous. It may be possible to handle it all at once and put it behind you but baby steps may be a better approach for you. You know you better than anyone else! Listen to yourself and above all keep in mind that loving "delay" - just three minutes - is one of your best friends right now. This too is doable!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! YQB John : )

Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 20:57

06 Jul 2002, 07:56 #2

Thanks for this one John. I enjoy my beer and this was a big concern for me at first. Here is what I did:

First time of moderate drinking: Invited my non-smoking brother (the really annoying one that used to pester me about smoking) who also likes to inbibe, up to my abode...This way, I hit a bunch of triggers, had a built in support person, who didn't even need to say anything, since I remebered all the previous comments, in an environment that did not have cig's available at all.

Next: Short stop at the local pub for a quick beer or two (not too much). This too will hit a bunch of triggers, but you can always leave, since you are alone. If you go with someone else be sure that they realize that you may want to leave quickly...Don't drink too much, and don't stay longer than you think you can comfortable. This is a tricky mix, so don't try to be a hero this early. If you are a regular at a pub, go to that pub and tell the bar tender that you have quit smoking...Usually even if they smoke they will be supportive.

You can then work your way back to normal drinking/bar hoping over a matter of time. Also think of it this way...if you are spending less time at the pub, that is even more money that can be added to your $$$ saved line of your quit meter!

Be careful...I had a few too many last weekend and was very close to buming one from a smoking friend...I didn't, but it was a close thing...


9W4D22H 2718 not smoked $543 saved (not including all the pub trips)

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

06 Jul 2002, 08:07 #3

Some great points Mark, thanks! I know it's been said in many other Freedom threads but it bears saying again. We don't want any of our members or youth visitors to think that Freedom advocates drinking alcohol because we don't. That being said, we don't want any of our members who do drink to lose their quit by doing so when a bit of planning could have made all the difference in the world. Thanks again Mark for sharing!

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

06 Jul 2002, 08:24 #4

Couple of other suggestions.

**One Day At a Time is crucial with respect to going to the pub/bar/saloon/nightclub and indulging. As you say, John, the triggers can rack up pretty tall, and all at once. It can get a bit overwhelming. It's always helpful to be able to fall back on, "hey wait, it's just one night. All I have to do is make it through ONE NIGHT. When you're preparing (and DO prepare) keep reminding yourself. "I'm going to get through this one night." Worry about nothing else. Don't fall into the trap of thinking, when you get to the bar, "oh man, this is tough. How am I going to be able to do this for the rest of my life?!" Just one night. Each successive visit, it gets easier. Still, each time is a night unto itself, and it's the only one you have to worry about.

**An ex-smoking friend. Can be really helpful to have somebody with you who's been through it. Serves as a good morale booster, a support, and a reminder that this can be done.

**Don't fall into the jealousy trap. It's tempting to look at smokers, (particularly in a festive atmosphere), and imagine that they're really enjoying smoking, and that you're being left out. No. They're feeding an addiction that demands regular feedings. They don't have a choice in the matter. They're being forced by early-onset withdrawal to administer poison into their lungs. Most, when pressed, would admit to regretting ever starting. Several are eyeing you, and wondering if you'll pull it off. They're wondering if you'll succeed. Some are hoping you won't, because your success will make their own addiction that much more of an embarassment. Some are praying you do succeed, because in your success lies hope that they too can break the chains. None are considering themselves lucky to be actively addicted to a drug they know risks their very existence with each drag.

**It's not a tragedy if you have a rough night. In the grand scheme of things, one rough night isn't a big deal. A rough night is a night where you're forced to do damage to your body every 20 - 30 minutes. A rough night is recovering from surgery to remove your lung. A rough night is trying to settle your affairs with your attorney through a morphine daze. In the end, if you go into it with the attitude that, "under no circumstances will I smoke tonight", it's unlikely that you'll be bothered for more than a few minutes here or there. Still, even if the night doesn't go too smoothly, it's still a resounding success if you get home in posession of your freedom. A resounding success.
Bob (6 months free)
Last edited by OBob Gold on 27 Feb 2009, 23:13, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

12 Jul 2002, 23:11 #5

THANKS to all who posted on this subject. I'm a new starter, 8 days in, and feeling GREAT who will heed your words of wisdom to a T. For now, I'm not going near alcohol or smokers, but will save these posts for the inevitable time when I will.

8 days, 140+ smokes.

Kit Cat (Gold)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

02 Aug 2002, 23:30 #6

I guess I was more fortunate than others when it came time to drink and not smoke.
When I QUIT smoking I promised myself that I was not going to let the matter of "smoke" still run my life after I QUIT (I'm pretty stubborn) , so when we went to the bar and I noticed others smoking, I basically told myself that they may be smokers, but that I was not!
I'M in control now not the cigarette.
If I do get that craving I give myself a pep talk (in my head, so no one else hears me!) that I made the choice to socialize and not smoke. For me it's been a mind over matter and believe it or not, even when I'm drunk!Image
This won't work for everyone, but it has for me.Image
"I'd rather be an ex-smoker who has an occasional thought about smoking than a smoker obsessing about quitting."
I have not smoked for 2 Months 3 Weeks 6 Days 9 Hours 37 Minutes 35 Seconds. I'M NEVER TAKING ANOTHER PUFF!
Last edited by Kit Cat (Gold) on 12 Apr 2009, 07:02, edited 2 times in total.

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

30 Aug 2002, 22:18 #7

The weekend is here.
Please be careful !

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

31 Aug 2002, 10:09 #8

Big Party down here in New Orleans . Not for me however. I do
not think that I would be ready to go out to the bar with friends have a few and be able to keep what I have been working so very hard at. I will keep it quiet, 2 Hefe Weizen that is the limit and no going out to the bars at all.


IrishLotus GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

11 Sep 2002, 21:06 #9

I am a girl who enjoys her drink, and who socializes with friends and family in many different environments which include alcohol. I made the decision to quit smoking and took my last puff last Friday morning. That of course immediately set me up for two nights of alcohol filled revelry with no cigarettes....on the first two nights of my quit. I could have stayed in bed and avoided as many triggers as possible but instead I was determined to attack my alcohol related triggers head on (not recommended for all newbies, certainly) because I wanted to test my resolve as soon as possible... alcohol related triggers being the most anxiety producing for me. Also, to tell you the truth, I was feeling quite invincible with my decision to STAY QUIT Image and I felt I was up for a challenge.....SOOOOO, what was my game plan?

First of all, it is extremely important that everyone you are out with knows that you have QUIT SMOKING. Not that it wouldn't have been obvious what with my constant rubber band snapping, but friends who are used to seeing you smoke WILL offer you a cigarette out of sheer "courtesy" if they see you are the only one without a butt in the bar so it is VERY IMPORTANT to keep everyone informed.

The build up to the bar scene was the worst part. Not only was I visting a bar, but I was visiting my boyfriend's local pub, the one he has been to ever since he hit 21, filled with all of his friends that, this early in our relationship, I still had yet to meet. This was a good and bad situation, I suppose, because I felt a bit more anxiety related to meeting new people, yet these people did not know me as a smoker so I was kind of starting off with a fresh slate, you know? Anyway, the other good thing was the "challenge" my boyfriend inadvertently presented to me right before we got into the bar. "If you make it through tonight without a cigarette, I will be shocked" he told me, right as he swung open the doors and revealed the smoke-filled bar for the first time. I took a deep breath of the clean outside air and stepped over the threshold.

I sat at the bar and thought....hmmmmmm, this isn't so bad, I can do this. I started sipping my first drink. The bartender came over and began flirting with my boyfriend (apparently she is married but still enjoys flirting with him). I bit down on my lip and started to feel a crave come up from my toes. It seemed as if each person around the bar lit up, one by one, the guy next to me smoking my brand. The bartender lit my boyfriend's cigarette for him. He turned and smiled at me and said in a challenging way, "you're never gonna make it." Of course, he knows me well enough that he is aware that such a statement will only strengthen my resolve...especially when it means I can prove him wrong. Image I sat and sipped my beer and looked at all of the slaves to nicotine puffing in around me. I didn't feel as if I needed or even wanted a cigarette, I just began to feel this overwhelmingly strong feeling of not belonging. I couldn't take it anymore, I excused myself and went to the ladies and just sobbed and sobbed.

After catching my breath, and splashing some cold water on my face, I returned to the bar and felt an overwhelming sense of relief....Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh (MUCH better than any inhale off a sickarette)....I knew at that point, I DID IT! Just one crave at a time. After that, the night was a piece of cake because I felt as if I had defeated, for the first time, the nicodemon that lurks in bars and taverns and in every sip of alcohol I will ever take for the rest of my life. If I could do it once, I could do it again, and again, and again, one puff at a time. The final piece of advice I would offer to anyone taking on this trigger for the first time, would be to make sure you have a good friend who will be able to watch you (the designated driver or an ex-smoker would be helpful), should you have one too many, who will be able to help you defend your quit no matter what. Or better yet, don't get so drunk that you won't be able to defend your quit yourself.

Well, that's my way of tackling the tavern trigger. I hope it was helpful to some of you. Thanks again for all of the constant support and encouragement. You have helped me to continue my vigilant march towards FREEDOM, one step at a time.

I have chosen to be nicotine free for 5 Days 1 Minute 18 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 150. Money saved: $37.51.

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

05 Oct 2002, 09:55 #10

Please be careful this weekend!
Remember, you can always walk away!