Be Prepared for Holiday Triggers

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

Be Prepared for Holiday Triggers

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Nov 2001, 00:16 #1

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.

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.

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 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
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Nov 2001, 18:52 #2

I probably won't be around much during the next few days, lots of family commitments and the such, just wanted to make sure everyone was sufficiently prepared for the holidays. Again, to make this holiday a happy and safe one stay focused on the concept that to stay smoke free on holidays entails the same precautions as staying smoke free all 365 days a year--it is by knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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knowbutts (Gold)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:25

23 Nov 2001, 00:46 #3

Joel,
Thank you for the holiday post.
You are psychic.
Last night the preparations for T-day almost got me. I was one second away from that first puff. The only thing that saved me was knowing the law of addiction.
What a gift that knowledge is.

knowbutts
thanks to Freedom 13 days is my lucky number
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

25 Nov 2001, 00:04 #4

I hope everyone made it throught the holiday okay. If you kept your initial reasons for quitting reinforced and even strengthened your ammunition with the benefits derived from having quit it should have made it an easier job of overcoming all the triggers and keeping your resolve intact to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Dec 2001, 22:47 #5

I saw the holiday thread John started yesterday really hit home with a few of our members. While the upcoming holiday is still a number of days away, many are already starting to experience office parties and get togethers, more shopping and likely more hassles with crowds, and numerous rituals unique to this particular time of year. Not to mention the change in clothing from the pretty drastic seasonal effects that will soon be happening to many of our members. This post explains that while these circumstances are likely to create thoughts and awkward moments, their predictability gives us all an edge in prepping for them in advance. When you wake up each day and remind yourself that you are not going to smoke, take a few extra seconds to think of what you are doing that day and how those activities may in fact be triggers. Then remind yourself that whether they trigger or not, you are going to get through them as long as you stay focused on the fact that you are still committed to your goal to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

25 Dec 2001, 08:37 #6

ImageThe holiday is here...everyone stay focused and prepared for occasional thoughts and triggers. If you keep yourself mentally prepared you will overcome anything with your quit intact, and will always keep it that way as long as you remember the life saving importance of staying committed to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

25 Dec 2001, 15:22 #7

The holiday will likely trigger smoking thoughts and memories. Don't be discouraged if this happens, just be prepared with ammunition to overcome and ride out the thoughts. Even under normal days and conditions thoughts can be triggered, let alone the holiday situations.

Do you want a cigarette every now and then? Probably. Do you want to be a chain smoker for the rest of your life, spending tens of thousands of dollars for a product that is literally controlling you, crippling you and will eventually going to kill you? Probably not.

The debate cannot be how you feel about one, it needs to be how you feel about the others that will go with it and the problems that will go with the others. If pondered like that, the obvious choice you will make each and every time the thought arises will be to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

25 Jan 2002, 20:19 #8

Don't get alarmed, there is not a holiday coming up that you forgot. I am bringing this one up because of a couple of posts this week from members saying that they knew that they were going into situations that were known triggers to them and were curious to how difficult these situations were going to be. As this article discusses, going into events that are known risks creates a state of preparedness, making the actual event significantly less traumatic or dangerous than you initially thought it would be. But you must always have your ammunition reinforced for the unexpected trigger that comes out of nowhere. If you reasons for why you quit and why you want to stay off are significantly reinforced, you will sail through the unexpected trigger with you're quit intact because you will have remembered under such events to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

22 Feb 2002, 20:24 #9

For Ingrid:

Again, while not a holiday, going to a large social gathering with a lot of smokers is likely to be a trigger. The post above (#9) talks about how while these times can be tough--by going into the event with your guard up and your reasons for why you quit and why you want to stay off reinforced--you will generally survive these kind of events much more comfortably than you would if you go into them thinking like this is no big deal. As an ex-smoker you can do everything and go everywhere you did as a smoker, but you must be mentally prepared and always have your commitment reinforced as to why you have chosen to never take another puff!

Joel
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Tulip GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:08

13 Oct 2002, 23:51 #10

Image Thanks Joel .... very timely for me today. First time making a Thanksgiving dinner with a cigarette in my hand.

Tulip 1 month 2 days
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