Being Honest About Our Addiction

Being Honest About Our Addiction

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

01 Nov 2002, 03:06 #1

The following was part of a new post from many months ago. It has always stood out to me as one of the most honest portrayals of what nicotine addiction really is... Image

I'm 51 years old and I had been smoking for 37 years. I started in high school at the age 14. My friends smoked and I had to smoke because all my friends were smoking and it was the cool thing to do then. I smoked even though I would throw up at even the smell of a cigarette, but I had to keep going. After all I had a reputation to save and to defend. NOW IT'S MY LIFE I HAVE TO SAVE AND DEFEND !!!!!!!!!!!!!

It did not take very long for my body to accept the smoke with pleasure. My body was welcoming the smoke so much that I could smoke even more until about 3-5 years down the road that I was up to a total of smoking approximately 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day.

Well, 37 years have passed and during this time I have lost both of my parents to emphysema, both in their early 50's (both smokers). My brother just turned 50 years old and has had emphysema for the past 6 years. He is on oxygen 24 hours a day and has been on a life support system 3 times in the past 6 months (he's still smoking). When I was a child I lost my grandfather to Buerger's Disease (smoker). He had one leg amputated and his twin brother had both legs amputated from the same disease (both smokers). Two other grandparents passed away from cancer (both smokers).
ALL SMOKING RELATED DISEASES !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Even after losing both parents I continued to smoke. O, I would try to quit, but after awhile I was right back to smoking full force. It just didn't seem like I would ever give them up. I remember as both of my parents were in their last days of life, they would say to me,
IF I COULD HAVE ONLY QUIT SMOKING !!! IF I COULD OF ONLY GIVEN UP THOSE CIGARETTES!!!

I don't know what I thought? People would say to me, how after all you have seen your parents go through and taking care of them during their illnesses, how could you pick up a cigarette? I DON'T KNOW. I guess I just thought this would not happen to me, maybe my genes are different and it will pass me by, that I could quit this bad habit anytime. Bad habit, very bad term for cigarettes, but I used it. Even when people would say, you are addicted to those cigarettes just like cocaine, just like heroin, just like alcohol. Well, I told myself and them that this is not an addiction because I don't do unusual things like sometimes is associated with drug use. WRONG!!! I AM AN ADDICT TO NICOTINE AND YES THIS BEHAVIOR IS UNUSUAL LIKE SOMETIMES ASSOCIATED WITH DRUG USE.

I would remember my parents words and think well if they couldn't give it up, I will probably never be able to give it up either. I almost felt that I was stuck with this. There were times I really wanted to quit, that I tried to quit, but I just couldn't seem to do it.

About four to five weeks ago my brother was in the hospital for the 3rd time on life support. He was on life support for almost 5 days, the longest since the beginning of his illness with emphysema. It was the second day of his stay in the ICU Unit while I was sitting with him that I really needed a cigarette.

Now I have osteo-arthritis in both knees and if anyone out there is familiar with this, you know the pain that comes just from taking a step at times. Well I made my way to the emergency room exit, the only place on hospital property where you are allowed to have a cigarette, which is a very long distance from the ICU Unit. I struggled with every step, stopping every few feet to rest my knees, and O, I also have 2 inhalers that I use when I have problems with my asthma. I stopped twice to use each inhaler, leaning on the wall and railing to get my breath, resting my knees to take another few steps to make it to my goal of having this cigarette near the emergency room exit. After quite a few stops, I had made it. Now hanging over the railing to light this cigarette outside, temperature is only about 10 degrees outside, to cold to inhale without a cigarette, much less additional smoke into your lungs.

As I stood there hanging over that railing, I said to myself, you are an addict to these cigarettes. If you don't do something, you will die. What is wrong with you, your brother is upstairs on life support and not knowing if he would make it this time and here you are struggling to have a cigarette.

In my ears began ringing the message

If I could have only quit smoking !!! If I could have only given them up !!!

I didn't know what to do or where to go, but I did know that I could not do this on my own.
I NEED HELP! I AM ADDICTED! I NEED TO DO SOMETHING TO SAVE MY LIFE
OR I AM GOING TO DIE!
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IrishLotus GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

01 Nov 2002, 03:37 #2

Wow...thanks OBob for pulling this up. Phhhewww....ok. Let me gather myself here for a minute. The tears are just flowing and flowing. I was reminded so much of my grandfather reading this post. How he looked as he struggled to bum a cigarette from me this August while we were on our family vacation. My grandfather, who was in CONSTANT pain and who struggled with every step....he actually made it up a flight of stairs and out to a balcony just to get a cigarette from me. And even though my parents basically forced him to quit months earlier, after knowing what a struggle he made to get to me, I gave him one.

Then, two months later, I watched him die a horrible death from a very advanced form of lung cancer. I watched my pop-pop, whom I could still rememeber as a vibrant and mobile man, writhe around in a hospital bed, weighing in at about 80 pounds, partially restrained, with tubes coming out of every orafice...I watched this man, my beloved grandfather, DIE a horrendously painful death all because he couldn't stop smoking cigarettes. This made me very angry. Mostly, at myself.

It is important to remember that feeling. Thanks-
-Lotus
Very gratefully healing for 1 Month 1 Week 12 Hours 35 Minutes 14 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 1125. Money saved: $281.43.
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Lilac (Bronze)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

01 Nov 2002, 04:03 #3

Such a pathetic message. Makes one so sad and so angry and yes, immeasurably bitter, for so many smokers didn't know that they would inevitably become addicts. Only the tobacco companies knew. Lilac
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

01 Nov 2002, 05:48 #4

She actually quit for almost three months and had a "minor" slip. But she quit again a few weeks later. That quit lasted for a few weeks. Since then she started the clinic two other times, the last time just last month and didn't even make it two days. We are not kidding when we say if you have a quit going do everything in your power to make it last. You really don't know that you will ever have the strength, desire or opportunity to quit again. If I am not mistaken, her brother fits into this last category now. I think he passed away right before the last clinic that she was in.
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Blade Gold
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 20:16

01 Nov 2002, 05:53 #5

God help us all with this terrible addiction! I guess I'm just starting to realise how strong it actually is. I personally know several people who used to use cocaine, pot, exctasy, and a lot of other harder drugs and none of them would have subjected themselves to some of the things that smokers do. Below is part of an article from Joels Library and I think it says alot about the power of addiction, just like the stories that were related in this thread. I'm glad that it didn't have to come to that for me to understand that I have to quit.

While Buerger's Disease is much more common in men, I have personally had two women who were Bueger's Disease patients in my clinics. My first actual encounter with a Buerger's Disease patient was with a woman who was 38 year old when I met her, which was about 24 years ago. Three years before I met her, at the age of 35 she was diagnosed with Buerger's Disease. This is actually relatively late to first be diagnosed. Her doctor had told her she had to quit smoking, but she did not comply and within a few months she had her right leg amputated. The circulation in her left leg was also badly affected, and after the hospitalization from the amputation she did quit smoking and had no further circulatory complications for the next three years.

Then one night at a party, a friend offered her a cigarette. She figured that since she had been off cigarettes for so long, she now had control over her dependency. If she liked the cigarette, she would smoke one or two a day. If she didn't like the cigarette, she just wouldn't smoke anymore.

Well, she took the cigarette. She didn't particularly like the cigarette, but the next day she was up to her old level of consumption. Four days later she lost circulation in her left leg. She knew the reason. After three years with no problem and only four days after going back to smoking her circulation was affected. Her doctor told her that if she did not quit immediately, she would probably lose her other leg.

This is when I met her. She enrolled in a smoking clinic that week and quit smoking. Almost immediately her circulation improved. The doctor took her off anti-coagulant drugs and vasodilators he had put her on a few weeks earlier to try to slow up the process even though they were highly ineffective at stopping the likelihood of gangrene and amputation. But once she quit smoking she no longer needed them. Soon, her circulation was back to normal.

Nine months later, I called to ask her to serve on a panel. At that time, she sluggishly replied, "I can't come. I have been in the hospital the last two months." When I asked what had happened, she hesitantly replied, "I had my toes amputated." She had gone back to smoking. She tried one because she just couldn't believe she would get hooked again. She was wrong. She lost circulation, had her toes removed and eventually had her leg amputated.

I have had other clinic participants with similar experiences, being told to quit smoking or lose limbs who did not quit smoking. The reason I talk about this particular woman again and again is about a year after she had the second amputation, she came back into a clinic I was conducting and told me she had quit again and was now off about 9 months. I told her I was surprised, I thought she had permanently lost control. After all, she had her leg removed, the toes from her other foot, and eventually her second leg. When I confronted her with that information she replied, "The doctor finally convinced me. He said, 'You might as well keep on smoking, I'll just take your arms off next.'" That scared her into quitting smoking. Her next comment to me was unbelievable. She looked me straight in the face, dead seriously, and said "I DIDN'T NEED A HOUSE TO FALL ON ME TO TELL ME TO QUIT SMOKING."

I had periodic contact for the next 15 years at which time she moved away. She was fine over that whole time period. Whenever I brought up that conversation, we both found ourselves amazed that she could ever have made such an irrational statement. She happened to be a very rational, bright and inspirational individual. She would get around on wooden legs, socializes, and even occasionally would sing and dance on stage. Once she had broken free of the drug's effects and the smoker's psyche, she knew she could do anything.

Frequently, I would encounter people who quit smoking on their own. When I ask how they did it, they tell me of this marvelous lady they met who told of how she used to be hooked on smoking. Hooked so bad, in fact, that she had her legs amputated from a smoking related illness. It usually turns out to be the same person. By spreading her story, she offers inspiration and hope to countless smokers to break the addiction before the addiction breaks them.

Her story represents the real power of the addiction. She could not deny any where along the way smoking wasn't the cause. Not only would every doctor and all the research she could do pinpoint smoking as what was causing her problem, but she had quit, was fine, relapsed and within days lost her circulation-twice! The second time she actually lost her toes and her foot and then her lower leg. There was absolutely no way she could deny the cause and yet it took another 9 months for her to quit again.

Her continued smoking and ease of relapsing shows nicotine dependency at its worst. This overpowering nature of nicotine should not be lost on anyone here. You probably don't have a condition that is obvious as to force you to make a decision almost immediately upon relapse. In many ways this is worse, for cigarettes are quietly and insidiously destroying you, sometimes with little warning, or at least ones you will acknowledge. The first symptom to many circulatory diseases caused by smoking is sudden death. You may get no second chance.



Blade - A Slave No Longer

I have chosen not to smoke for 2 Weeks 17 Hours 51 Minutes 49 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 442. Money saved: $88.47.
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Lilac (Bronze)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

01 Nov 2002, 05:54 #6

Is it possible that there is some kind of a genetic "weakness" at work here?. This is a terrible story There must be some explanation for her steadfast self destruction. I am not making light of her's or my own inability to quit long before we did but the examples before her were so wrenching------------------Lilac.
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SammymnGOLD
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

01 Nov 2002, 05:59 #7

I would just add that Joel's words:
"if you have a quit going do everything in your power to make it last. You really don't know that you will ever have the strength, desire or opportunity to quit again."
are written on a 3x5 index card that I had the movie rental place laminate and now I carry around with me. I just don't know that I've got another quit in me.
Thanks Joel.
Sarah ( doing everything in my power to keep my quit for a couple days shy of four months)
Last edited by SammymnGOLD on 12 Apr 2009, 06:09, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

01 Nov 2002, 06:18 #8

Is there a genetic weakness at work here? You bet there is. It's called drug addiction. You know what else--every one of our members have the same genetic weakness too. Luckily though, most of our members know what they need to do to avoid a similar fate. They know that the only way to keep this quit going is to never take another puff!

Joel
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OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

21 Jan 2003, 11:44 #9

What makes this story even more tragic is that the person telling the story recommitted to smoking, finding a reason... maybe the stress over her brother's illness, maybe something else... to recommit to her addiction. We can only hope that she didn't burn her last chance to escape...

 


From: Joel.   Sent: 10/31/2002 1:48 PM
She actually quit for almost three months and had a "minor" slip. But she quit again a few weeks later. That quit lasted for a few weeks. Since then she started the clinic two other times, the last time just last month and didn't even make it two days. We are not kidding when we say if you have a quit going do everything in your power to make it last. You really don't know that you will ever have the strength, desire or opportunity to quit again. If I am not mistaken, her brother fits into this last category now. I think he passed away right before the last clinic that she was in.
Last edited by OBob Gold on 08 Jul 2010, 15:08, edited 2 times in total.
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MareBear GOLD
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

21 Jan 2003, 23:06 #10

Oh my, what a powerful message. Even more depressing knowing that this former member has gone back to smoking. We can't save the world, only ourselves, but stories like this just break my heart.

On the "up" side, I am so grateful to sign on every day and see so many of the same names, and new milestones. We really are making a difference, one quitter at a time. That warms my heart.

MareBear
7 months, 3 weeks, 2 days free
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