Becoming An Ex-Smoker

The emotions that flow from nicotine cessation

Becoming An Ex-Smoker

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

18 Jun 2002, 04:17 #1

"As long as a person feels like a smoker trying not to smoke, he or she is going to have the psychological problems and play the little mind games of a smoker trying not to smoke. When you cross over to the frame of mind that you are not a smoker trying not to smoke but rather you are now an ex-smoker--and that is what you want to be--the psychological benefit can be both powerful and profound."

The above is an excerpt from Message No. 24 in the thread Carrying cigarettes ( ... ply-425385). I read it for the first time today, and have not seen that teaching concept anywhere else in Freedom. It really got my attention. 

For two months now, I have been successful in my quit by telling myself that "I am not going to smoke, just for today. I may smoke tomorrow, but today I'm not going to smoke."

Lately I have not had to argue with myself each morning about this decision, and it has become much less important to me. What I am trying to say is my mindset is changing, and I begin to look more at the long range picture of not smoking for the rest of my life. That idea has been particularly scary to me, but I have to accept that my baby steps are getting bigger.

This post that I quoted above really affected me. I have been thinking of myself as a smoker who is trying to quit. I now begin to realize that is time to begin thinking of myself as an ex-smoker. This is a major step for me and I wonder if anyone else has been through a similar experience.

The one thing I don't need to forget is the fact that I will never be an ex-addict.


I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 4 Weeks 2 Days 18 Hours 12 Minutes 46 Seconds. Somewhere there are 2126 extra cigarettes.   
Last edited by Hillbilly(Gold) on 18 Jun 2013, 13:24, edited 4 times in total.

richard This is It GOLD
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

18 Jun 2002, 04:47 #2

Hi Dave... I'm not sure I can pinpoint when "the switch" happened - but I'm thinking more as an ex-smoker these days than as a smoker-trying-toquit - and accompanying those thoughts are different actions/reactions....

an example...
I was at a function this weekend, and sometime during the evening I was a participant in a fairly in-depth conversation....... as it happens with two smokers..... the conversation moved into the smoking room (indoors... with fan, full ashtrays, fog ans 8-10 or so other smokers. I moved with the conversation while the other two received their fix. I was not tempted to smoke at all.....and I didn't "recoil" at the thought of mingling with the smokers..... for fear of temptation.

My clothes absolutely reeked the following day tho' Image I don't intend to make a habit of this... (before anyone brings up the passive smoke threads Image) and I wouldn't advocate to anyone to "tempt themselves" this way....)

But in resopsne to your thread, Dave.... i do find the "evolution" of our quits to be intriguing..... and hopefully a source of strength to those with fresher quits

Last edited by richard This is It GOLD on 18 Jun 2013, 13:21, edited 1 time in total.

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

18 Jun 2002, 04:49 #3

Hi David

The concept you have now grabbed is indeed a crucial one. I think most people get to this stage, but many do so without recognizing what a huge change in attitude and psyche it represents.

I remember that post of Joel's in the Carrying Cigarettes thread, and I have a feeling that the same idea is put forward in a number of his articles. My personal way of expressing that idea goes like this:

For the first three months of my quit, I felt like a quitter.
For the next 6 months, I felt like an ex-smoker.
Since then, I have felt like a non-smoker.

I know that Joel and John and others think it's not a good idea for us addicts ever to think of ourselves as non-smokers, in case we ever forget that just one puff will take us straight back to full-blown smoking. But I'm comfortable with the term, and I find it represents my mindset most accurately.

As a quitter, I was always on the defensive, looking out for the negative events that arose in my quit like withdrawal symptoms, irritability, weight gain, triggers, and so on.

As an ex-smoker I started to find the positives in my quit, like being fitter, feeling in control, saving money. During this phase, I actually enjoyed the process of maintaining my quit, and started to create a whole new personality and lifestyle for myself.

As a non-smoker, I feel calm and comfortably in control. I am aware of my dark past, I am conscious that I am an addict, but all of that has become a comfortable and natural part of my life.

The names aren't what matter, David. As you have said, you recognize this change in mindset is a major event in your life, and an event for good. That's what matters.

NOT A PUFF for one year, six months, two weeks, four days : 10154 cigarettes not smoked saving £2,183.14 : 5 weeks, added to my life

misha (Gold )
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

18 Jun 2002, 04:58 #4

This very distinction is what made me dread my weekend trip to New Jersey....well, it wasn't the trip, it was the 3 hour layover cooling my heels in Hartsfield airport, at the gate next to the infamous smoking room. It is a nasty little place that has stained furniture, dirty carpet and walls, over run ashtrays, and a permanent cloud of smoke.

I used to hang out in that room.

And I was scared to death at the thought of being anywhere close to that room. I was thinking like a smoker, that is trying not to smoke. I was thinking that the temptation would be too strong. My trip had been one frustration after another.....long delays, missed connections, all that. As I sat there, I got out my magazine and read and read. After that, I strolled by the room and took a good look at the people in there. They looked uncomfortable and miserable. And I remembered that I had always felt that way when I was in there.

I think that my anticipation about my reaction to being there was much worse than the actual event. Hmmm, I gotta think about that.

misha your quit sister

Roger (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

18 Jun 2002, 08:32 #5

Good Thread David along with some very good posts relating to the subject. I like the way Marty has related to it and I think each and everyone of us goes through what David is describing. It may not be exactly as he feels it happening to himself but I think it follows along the same footpath. I relate it to the thread on depression and dealing wiht the 3 stages of acceptance. Of course the 3 stages here would be different. Such as the following.

1. Quitting: Hour to hour and Day to Day
2. x-smoker: Thoughts of smoking still prevelant.
3. Secure quit: No desires to smoke again. We are aware we are addicts but we now control the strings.
Comfort is a key element.

I believe it parallels the thread Every Quit Is Different. For each of us our goal is to reach step number 3. Some of us get there relatively fast and others take more time. There could be a multitude of events and things that assist each of us along the way. Craves, triggers, situations of stress etc. All of these happen to each of us probably at one time or another and depending on how we deal with them and process them depends on how long it takes us as individuals to reach our goal. On a personal basis my quit was relaxing to me in the very early stages. It was easier than expected. Was it? Or was it just how I dealt with everything? Was my attitude more accepting of the symptoms I was naturally going to recieve due to withdrawl of my drug of choice? Or were the symptoms just easier or not as intense for me? Was I more ready to journey to a better me this time? Who knows!!!!!

I am of the opinion this whole quitting business, once we get passed the physical cravings and withdrawl symptoms is nothing but a mind game we play with ourselves. We as individuals unknowingly make it as hard or as easy for ourselves by our attitude and how we accept and personally deal with things. I guess the whole point is that we all get to the Secure Quit and comfort zone nomatter how long it takes. We will all get there sooner or later as long as We Never Take Another Puff.

David, Your realization is a major step in the right direction. Keep up the good stats. I apologize for the long windedness.


5 months +

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

18 Jun 2002, 09:29 #6

"I have to accept that my baby steps are getting bigger"
That's a keeper David Image
The baby does learn to walk and eventually to run like the wind! Being a teen to grave nicotine smoker is not who any of us are and once the real us starts shinning through going back seems ever so wrong! Half way between being an active smoker and ex-smokerhood is a no man's land of sorts where things can seem a bit confusing. It's there where the one day at a time and patience values we prefected as newbies become ever so valuable!
It's great reading that you're seeing the light up ahead, David! It's you! Enjoy yourself! The comfort is deep! Regardless of what we call ourselves the key to staying ourselves is in NEVER TAKING ANOTHER PUFF! Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! YQB John - The Gold Club
Last edited by John (Gold) on 19 Feb 2010, 16:34, edited 2 times in total.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

18 Jun 2002, 09:58 #7


Maybe it is something in the air ... or maybe it is just that we are in a similar place right now, but your post describes something that has been running through my mind today. It occurred to me that right now more than half the battle with quitting smoking, or anything else I want to change in my life, is in how I see myself. For so long it seemed like smoking was almost a part of my identity. I am sure a big part of that "identity" was created either through messages received via advertising, or ideas I came up with on my own to defend, explain, or support my addiction.

I feel like I have come to a place in my quit where I want / need? to reexamine my vision and beliefs about myself - to see what I can toss and what I want to keep. I am sure when I look at it there will be things that just don't ring true and other things that have nothing to do with whether or not I smoke - it is just that, up until now, I haven't given it a lot of thought. It seems like such a strange and sick thing to have part of your identity defined by an addiction, but there is definitly a transition from being a smoker to an ex-smoker or non-smoker. Maybe this process would just work itself out over time, but it seems to me that it wouldn't hurt to spend some time envisioning what I and my future look like without this active addiction tagging along for the ride.

Interestingly enough, I think it also takes the people around us a little time to get the picture that we REALLY don't smoke. The thread on lighters today reminded me of something that happened over the weekend. I went on a short camping trip with a friend who has been wanting me to quit for a long time. When it came time to build a fire, she realized there were no matches so she asks me if I have a lighter. I think my response was something like "Nooooooo?!" We both got a little laugh out of it. I don't think there was any bad intent on her part - it's just that I had always been The Bringer Of Fire in the past :-)

Like I said before, I am pretty sure all of these things would work themselves out whether I actively do something about them or not. Just seems like it wouldn't hurt to be a little proactive in the process. Thanks for your post. Its good to know that other people are wrestling with similar kinds of things!

YQS on this fabulous road to freedom

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

18 Jun 2002, 12:12 #8

Hi Dave,
I'm kinda where you are as well. I can't really say exactly what day it was that I
began thinking of myself as an ex-smoker instead of a smoker trying to quit, but it happened!
I like the thought of being an ex-smoker. I argue less with myself!
When I first quit, I kept waiting for this moment and once I stopped thinking about it,
presto here I am!
Here's to staying an ex-smoker!Image
I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 1 Week 4 Days 22 Hours 20 Minutes 30 Seconds.
Last edited by Kit Cat (Gold) on 12 Apr 2009, 05:45, edited 1 time in total.

BillW Gold.ffn
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

18 Jun 2002, 21:55 #9

" I have been thinking of myself as a smoker who is trying to quit."

We all know that quitting is impossible!.. Not only are we addicts for life, but we're gonna be in withdrawal for life......and so,

We think of ourselves as smokers who are trying to quit........

And then one day we realize..........................
We have quit!!
BillW Four months, one week, three days, 54 minutes and 59 seconds. 3871 cigarettes not smoked, saving $770.23. Life saved: 1 week, 6 days, 10 hours, 35 minutes.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

19 Jun 2002, 02:14 #10

You know, sometimes it takes some one to smash you over the head
with a house!!
I mean is this a "DUH" thing or what!!
Here I've been for 1 1/2 months and still saying I'm quitting smoking.,instead of saying I'm an ex-smoker! How simple!

I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 2 Weeks 7 Hours 53 Minutes 16 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 2855. Money saved: $426.93.
Last edited by Rickgoldx5 on 12 Apr 2009, 05:46, edited 1 time in total.