Be Prepared for Holiday Triggers

Subconscious use cue extinguishment
FreedomNicotine
Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 16:58

01 Jan 2010, 02:49 #61

From above:

Being that we are now approaching a major holiday season, I thought it would be good to keep this one up near the top:

Driving to a specific place and following a route you have not driven since you quit smoking, and then getting together with family or friends who only gather on such occasion, or maybe it was eating with only a few people and maybe even being alone and feeling bad because so many others had big plans. Whatever the situation, the thoughts of smoking are likely to resurface from such time periods.

Not all days lend themselves to such predictability, but when they do occur it is best to be ready for them. By their expected nature they afford us the opportunity to take a little extra precaution. If you initially made a list of why you wanted to quit, the day of such events is a good time to pull it out and reread it. If you made posts the first few days here at Freedom, it would be a good time to review your early thoughts and the responses too. You will quickly see how strong of a grip cigarettes had, the importance you put on getting off of cigarettes, and realize that even though the day had its bad moments, in all likelihood it was easier than it was at the beginning and you never want to go through that state again.

I hope you all have a good day one way or another. But even if it is not a great get together, it will still be the first such occasion that you prove to yourself that you can survive it without a cigarette. That will make it a banner day. As awkward as it may or may not be, it will help prepare you for future such occasions. As with any other day, if you wake up the next morning still smoke free, the preceding day was a great day, at least in not smoking terms.

Since not smoking is a gift you give to yourself to help sustain your health and improve your life, whether it was hard or not now is not important. What is important is that it was possible to survive as an ex-smoker and have now proved to yourself that your life has gone on. This is the mark of a great day.

Also be aware that the day after a holiday can be awkward. Sometimes when contemplating an event is going to be rough you bring up a high level of resolve and focus to survive the situation. Once it passes then, you may go to bed relieved that it is finally over, confident that now it will be a breeze. As soon as you feel this sense of relief, you are a prime candidate for the following though process. "Boy, I am glad that is over. That was really tough, but I made it and now on the other side where it will now be easy. I did a great job. Boy do I deserve a cigarette for that!"

It really can happen this way. As soon as you feel it should be easy you can drop your guard. Do appreciate the fact that you did get through a time period, but always understand that moments can still occur and be prepared for them. And no matter what you do, you never deserve a cigarette for anything. A cigarette is not reward but rather a punishment of suicidal proportions.

When New Years or any other holiday that you may have unique to your country comes around, prepare yourself again. Come and read all the same posts, I will have them up again. As long as your guard is up AND your resolve is reinforced you will survive the first time triggers, but you really do need both safe guards in force. Some times are not as easy to predict, when triggers will occur, but others are somewhat foreseeable. At least take extra precautions for those times. For the unexpected triggers, just keep saying to yourself on a daily basis that you will not smoke today, spend a little time reminding yourself why you quit and why you don't want to go back, and always keep in practice to never take another puff!

Joel
Last edited by FreedomNicotine on 01 Jan 2010, 02:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel Spitzer
Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

24 Nov 2010, 14:25 #62

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]From original post:[/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]
[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Later this week we will be celebrating Thanksgiving in America. Since a high percentage of our members are off for less than a year, there may be many established traditions which are likely to be smoking triggers. Actually they may not wait till Thursday to start either. Some may find triggers in the preparation for the events, the cooking, cleaning, traveling, and planning.[/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]
[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF][/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]It is one of the busiest travel times of the year and this year in lieu of recent events any traveling may also be causing a little more anxiety than previous years having nothing to do with smoking. But again, even under normal traveling conditions, the first year doing it smoke free can often result in many thoughts about smoking.[/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]
[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF][/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Driving to a specific place and following a route you have not driven since you quit smoking, and then getting together with family or friends who only gather on such occasion, or maybe it was eating with only a few people and maybe even being alone and feeling bad because so many others had big plans. Whatever the situation, the thoughts of smoking are likely to resurface from such time periods.[/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]
[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF][/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Not all days lend themselves to such predictability, but when they do occur it is best to be ready for them. By their expected nature they afford us the opportunity to take a little extra precaution. If you initially made a list of why you wanted to quit, the day of such events is a good time to pull it out and reread it. If you made posts the first few days here at Freedom, it would be a good time to review your early thoughts and the responses too. You will quickly see how strong of a grip cigarettes had, the importance you put on getting off of cigarettes, and realize that even though the day had its bad moments, in all likelihood it was easier than it was at the beginning and you never want to go through that state again.[/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]
[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF][/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]I hope you all have a good day one way or another. But even if it is not a great get together, it will still be the first such occasion that you prove to yourself that you can survive it without a cigarette. That will make it a banner day. As awkward as it may or may not be, it will help prepare you for future such occasions. As with any other day, if you wake up the next morning still smoke free, the preceding day was a great day, at least in not smoking terms.[/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF][/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Since not smoking is a gift you give to yourself to help sustain your health and improve your life, whether it was hard or not now is not important. What is important is that it was possible to survive as an ex-smoker and have now proved to yourself that your life has gone on. This is the mark of a great day.[/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]
[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF][/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Also be aware that the day after a holiday can be awkward. Sometimes when contemplating an event is going to be rough you bring up a high level of resolve and focus to survive the situation. Once it passes then, you may go to bed relieved that it is finally over, confident that now it will be a breeze. As soon as you feel this sense of relief, you are a prime candidate for the following though process. "Boy, I am glad that is over. That was really tough, but I made it and now on the other side where it will now be easy. I did a great job. Boy do I deserve a cigarette for that!"[/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]

It really can happen this way. As soon as you feel it should be easy you can drop your guard. Do appreciate the fact that you did get through a time period, but always understand that moments can still occur and be prepared for them. And no matter what you do, you never deserve a cigarette for anything. A cigarette is not reward but rather a punishment of suicidal proportions.


[/font]

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF][/font]
[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]When Christmas comes, prepare yourself again. Come and read all the same posts, I will have them up again. As long as your guard is up AND your resolve is reinforced you will survive the first time triggers, but you really do need both safe guards in force. Some times are not as easy to predict, when triggers will occur, but others are somewhat foreseeable. At least take extra precautions for those times. For the unexpected triggers, just keep saying to yourself on a daily basis that you will not smoke today, spend a little time reminding yourself why you quit and why you don't want to go back, and always keep in practice to never take another puff! 

Joel[/font]
Reply

Johnnie
Joined: 17 Aug 2010, 16:35

19 Dec 2010, 14:05 #63

Thanks, Joel.  As a matter of fact, vaguely menacing thoughts had recently started to surface:  I'd moved across country three years ago to be closer to family--but a truly ridiculous fallout ensued...and for the third consecutive year I found myself facing the Yuletide alone.  Your post helped reinforce my growing resolution to gave a first-class Xmas, even if it's spent alone.  I mean, really, after all: what cooller gift could I receive than a pair of pinkening lungs, good friends and allies on this site...and a Perma Quit I'm proud of?
Gratefully Gold

I escaped from the prison of smoking on August 14, 2010.  
[font]The best revenge is quitting well![/font] 
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Joel Spitzer
Joined: 13 Nov 2008, 14:04

19 Dec 2010, 14:24 #64

Also relavent:

From the string Holidays

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]"Holidays"Once again, the holiday season is upon us. The snow on the ground, the chill in the air, crowded stores, people hurrying to and from, family get togethers, television specials, and the sound of Christmas carols everywhere you go. All this hustle and bustle affects everyone, although not always in the same way. Some people find this a happy, exciting time of the year, while others feel the sense of loneliness and depression more now than at any other time. While the holidays may make some people happy and others sad, there is one special group of people who are universally affected the same way. The group, recent ex-smokers, the effect--desiring a cigarette.

It is not that holidays reinforce the need for nicotine. When a person quits smoking, the addiction is broken. Within two weeks of his last puff, he ceases having any physiological withdrawals or cravings. He does not, though, automatically break the established associations between his activities and cigarettes. Whenever he gets into a new situation, sees a person, feels an emotion, hears a song, or smells an aroma which he has not encountered since he has quit smoking, it will trigger the thought for a cigarette. But if he does not take the cigarette, he will break the triggered response. Next time encountering the same situation, he will not even think of a cigarette.

The holiday season is filled with new sensations and emotions. These feelings vary from individual to individual. No matter what the exact emotion is, the automatic impulse is to take a cigarette. If the holidays make you happy, a cigarette just seems like the icing on the cake. "If I just had a cigarette, everything would be perfect!" If the holidays results in a sense of loneliness, the thought will be, "I really miss my cigarette. It was a good friend."

But if he doesn't take the cigarette, he will soon realize an interesting fact. The holidays go on without smoking. If the holidays made him happy before, he can be happy again. If instead holidays made him sad, he will be sad again. Smoking does not change it one way or the other. One thing is for sure, though, in a few days the holiday will be over. If he makes it through without taking a cigarette, he will forget about smoking completely until the next time a new situation is encountered. Even then, the desire for a cigarette will be a fleeting thought. The realization that he overcame the urges and didn't take a cigarette will be a good feeling.

If, on the other hand, he took the first drag, he is once again hooked into a deadly addiction. He will not only crave cigarettes during holidays, but every day, every hour, every waking minute. He will once again be under total control of his cigarette. He will be totally addicted and truly miserable.

Don't ruin all you achieved when you quit smoking. While the thoughts for a cigarette may be more frequent during the holidays, they are not strong and they will not last long. If you overcome them this year, next year they will be even weaker, and more infrequent, and eventually you will think of them no further. To stay permanently free from this miserable addiction requires only one step, NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!



[/font]
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tess99
Joined: 20 Oct 2010, 04:03

19 Dec 2010, 14:30 #65

Thank you for this post Joel. This will be my first smoke-free Christmas since I was 12. My children are 15, 13 and 9. I am now 43. There is an excellent chance that I may meet my grandchildren. Thank you for your help Joel, Thank you for your help John. Tess 
Near on 3 months and not suffering! God bless you guys.
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