Breaking Links to Our Crave Generator

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

Breaking Links to Our Crave Generator

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

27 Jul 2000, 20:50 #1

I've now twice read posts that assert that it takes 6 times of encountering a particular time, event, location or emotion during which we used to smoke, before the subconscious mind breaks the link between that particular set of smoking memories and our mind's crave generator. If this information is the result of some study, we'd all like to see it as it just isn't so. The vast majority of our triggers are disconnected by our subconscious mind after just one encounter with the exact same circumstances. It may be that the particular triggering memory looks much like a previous trigger, but if you keep a trigger log and look very closely, you'll often see the difference. Joel teaches that at MOST a couple of encounters will break even the strongest link. Dr. Michael Murphy in his book "The Power of the Subconscious Mind" teaches that it only takes ONCE, but that we have difficulty seeing the subtle differences between triggering events. Dr. Murphy, who has spent his life exploring the workings of the subconscious, says that our subconscious is incapable of reasoning, thinking or analyzing a situation, it only reacts to a lifetime of input.

How many times does it take for a good hypnotist to re-condition the mind to do what seems unlikely, impossible or unbelievable to the eye? Most of us have seen it with our very own eyes at Comedy Clubs or even with prior attempts at quitting, where it worked for a couple of days. Sure, the conditioning can be overcome by the vastness of our smoking memory banks, but I've seen some folks do some pretty stupid things on the stage when the hypnotist only gave the suggestion a single time. He didn't have to repeat himself over and over again. Once a link is broken, each time the same circumstances are encountered without generating a crave only reinforce the positive re-conditioning that has occurred.

That's one of the reasons I'm always harping on feeding our minds positive thoughts and avoiding defeatist negative thinking like fear and dread associated with quitting (STARTING) or the next crave. It just goes against the grain and only makes the challenge far more difficult than need be. We are what we think. Tell yourself this is hard and it will be. Tell yourself the healing is glorious and it will be. Fear your craves and they will each be nightmares. Believe that you are more powerful than they are and you will be. Know with every fiber of your being that there is no force or circumstances on planet earth (including the death or illness of a friend or loved one) that can ever cause you to put slow death to your lips again, and you won't! We are what we think!

For those still experiencing craves, keep a crave long and try to record as accurately as possible the exact circumstances that brought on the crave. Share your findings as the results will be astonishing. As you go through your day today, stop and notice all of the times that you DIDN'T experience a crave in situations where you used to always smoke. Now that is true reconditioning! That is worth celebrating!

Even with Pavlov's salivating dogs the reconditioning took only a couple of tries and the conditioning was associated with the most powerful memories and motivators of any dog - FOOD! Pavlov noticed that each time a dog saw food (the trigger) before actually eating, that the dog began to salivate (crave). Pavlov wanted to see if he could change the triggering event so he began ringing a bell at the same time food was shown to the dog, and then gradually increased the time between when the bell was rang and when the food was produced. Soon he had the dogs salivating (craving) upon just hearing the bell (new trigger). But, it only took a few times of the dog not seeing or receiving food after hearing the bell before it stopped salivating. The mind of a smoker is far more refined than a dogs and the subconscious breaks smoking memory crave trigger links much quicker.

Once a trigger link is broken between a particular set of smoking memories and our mind's crave generator, the risk of re-establishing the link always remains as our smoking memories, like any other memories, are not discarded. It only takes one puff or one cigarette to re-connect a particular link. If it's to one of our more vivid set of smoking memories, like eating or stress, full relapse can be almost immediate. If it's a less significant set of smoking memories (the food of habit), relapse will be more gradual, but that particular link has been re-connected and will soon be encountered again.

I've got a study here in front of me that finds that about 95% of those who smoke just one cigarette will experience full relapse (19 out of 20). Do you feel lucky? Joel tells us that when we feel the urge to bum a cigarette after quitting, don't bum just one, instead ask the person for their entire pack or better yet their entire carton, as you're not really asking for just one, but the return of your entire addiction in all its power and with all its destructive force - the nicotine addict back to square one.

Enjoy defeating and reconditioning each trigger as with the passing of each you're one step closer to glory! The quicker we recondition each of them, the faster our healing. Have a wonderful day, Zep : )
Last edited by John (Gold) on 25 Dec 2013, 11:04, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:35

27 Jul 2000, 21:10 #2


great post. I think your right, if you really think about the trigger that causes a crave and compare, there is differences in each trigger, but can be very subtle. Attitude, Attitude,Attitude, constantly reinforcing positive thought through your mind, I think is the essential key. At least that is what is working for me :)

Have a great day, talk to ya later.

Darcy :)

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:13

28 Jul 2000, 02:05 #3

ZEP!!!!! Thank you!! And here I thought I was going to have to go through 5 more vacations to finally get in a good one. LOL Would it be o.k. with you if I used this in a different forum? One where they think it takes 20 times of repetition to overcome???? That's even worse huh! GJ
Last edited by GrizeldaJane on 24 Mar 2014, 18:03, edited 1 time in total.

Linnee (Gold)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:58

28 Jul 2000, 06:01 #4

I had my first post-quit department meeting and encountered a new trigger today. I used to think that I couldn't wait for the meetings to be over so I could smoke. Actually, the meetings are really boring, and that's why I couldn't wait to leave. lol

Linnee One month, one day, 15 hours, 5 minutes and 17 seconds. 1106 cigarettes not smoked, saving $166.05. Life saved: 3 days, 20 hours, 10 minutes.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:29

28 Jul 2000, 08:11 #5

Zep, thanks so much for that posting. I have been going through something that I hadn't experienced since the beginning of my quit, 56 days ago. The last three days I have been craving practically all day and night. Just one acute attack after another. I have been assuming that it was because these last three days have been full of stress. But, since there has been stress in my life for years now, I couldn't figure out why this three day episode has been so intense.

Because you suggested that each crave situation involved somewhat different circumstances, I was forced to look a little closer into this attack. And, guess what? You're right. This bout of stress also brings with it a very important decision that I have to make real soon. And it is the painful decision that is making me want a killerette. So....I'm going to dive in and make that decision....and do away with the craving. I'm also going to start that journal, or logbook, to keep track of the worst moments. Thanks, my friend!

Jan: 1m,3w,5d,17hrs,4min. 2552 cigarettes not smoked, $383.80 saved,and 1w,1d,20hrs,40min. of life saved!
Last edited by Gigi on 24 Mar 2014, 18:03, edited 1 time in total.

R b rt
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

12 Aug 2000, 23:57 #6

Zep . . . great post! The log sounds like a good idea. Before I started this [current] quit I decided to do things a little different than I did them yesterday . . . one thing I could not change easily was that smoke on the drive to work! So what I did [while i was still smoking] was have a smoke BEFORE I got in the car. I did this a couple of times and DIDN'T smoke on the drive to work. I found out that when I DID quit - the drive to work wasn't so bad!!! I did the same thing for the drive home. I wouldn't smoke til I got home. Well, that worked for me anyway . . . it might not help everyone. Now when I drive to and from work - I don't have a craving. Actually - now when I am in my car I don't have a craving no matter WHERE I am driving to and from!!! :o)

-robert- Day-12

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

25 Aug 2000, 19:54 #7

Barbie, I hope you see this as it will hopefully help explain why you're still having some crave episodes at one month. It would be very unusual if all of our triggers were encountered and reconditioned within the first month. The example I give is when we smoked during or after graduations, weddings and/or funerals. Although we consciously don't recall smoking during these events, the hidden memories our subconscious minds are still there. You'll often hear former smokers who've quit for many years tell you that every now and then they find themselves still wanting a cigarette. If you quiz them a bit they'll admit that it wasn't a serious urge and that it passed within seconds or minutes, but still, it did occur and it was usually associated with an uncommon event that they'd experienced as a smoker.

I was reading a study yesterday entitled "Coping in Real Time" (1998) that was published in a journal entitled "Research in Nursing & Health," 1998, 21, pages 487-497). Here, 36 smokers were trained in how to accurately document their craves and how they coped with each. Each smoker carried a tape recorder and received fairly extensive training in how to record the date and time of each crave, to give a brief description of the urge, to describe the situation surrounding the crave (triggering event), and to document the manner in which they coped with the urge (if any). The average smoker in the study was 40.5 years old, they had smoked for 17 years on average, they smoked an average of 24 cigarettes per day, they'd averaged 4.7 prior quit attempts, 61% were married, 67% were employed outside the home, and 58% were female. The finds were very interesting.

I hope that the following findings of this study give our newbies the confidence that we are being truthful in telling them that withdrawal symptoms do peak at the 72 hour mark and then begin to gradually subside (with a bump every now and then). I also hope that it help them consider different ways to cope during their craves. Please keep one important fact in mind that is not shown by the below coping findings - many quitters used more than one coping method during a single crave. For example, chewing bubble gum while walking and trying to distract your mind from your crave by intentionally thinking about something else.

The average number of craves for the group during the first 10 days of their quit were as follows:
Day 1 5.0 craves
Day 2 5.8 craves
Day 3 6.1 craves
Day 4 3.7 carves
Day 5 3.0 craves
Day 6 2.1 craves
Day 7 4.2 carves
Day 8 2.1 craves
Day 9 1.8 craves
Day 10 1.4 craves
The day seven spike could be explained in part by the groups celebration triggers as they celebrated the end of "****/Glory Week." A similar spike occurs at One Month. The most common methods used for coping with craves included:
Behavioral Coping Exercises
15.76% Behavorial distractions to take their mind off of their crave (keeping busy).
13.28% Taking slow deep breaths - usually three.
11.46% Food or drink - the most common were candy and water.
7.55% Oral strategies - chewing gums, sucking on cinnamon sticks.
5.73% Avoiding or leaving situations where smoking was likely.
5.64% Informal exercise - used primarily as a distraction and not fitness.

Mental Coping Exercises
8.6% Self-encouragement - confidence building, it gets easier, I am a ex-smoker.
7.74% Mental distractions - thinking about something other than the crave.
6.4% Reviewing their list of their reasons for quitting.
Last edited by John (Gold) on 13 Apr 2009, 12:30, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:13

23 Sep 2000, 08:43 #8

Hello, i was very happy to read this info, since before reading it, i didn't think i had enough years left to undo, all the triggers i have for picking up a cigarette. This is very encouraging. Christiana

nomadfaerie gold
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

23 Sep 2000, 09:10 #9

Thank you, Zep! I'm printing this to keep on me like many other wonderful articles and discussions I'm finding here. I hope you don't mind a brief comment from someone who is pre-quit...

Regarding the study that concludes that it take so many encounters with a prior trigger, I wonder if they consider that in any smoking pattern (taking a break from your desk, driving to work, etc.), there are actually a number of different events that lead up to the actual smoking (encountering the elevator, disarming the car alarm), that we also subconsiously associate with the anticipated cigarette.

If their study found that it takes multiple encounters with a triggers to disengage from it, perhaps the key there is that we are not referring to a single trigger stimulus.

Just a thought...It's really good to hear you guys, I'm gearing up.


Heather R W
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:39

10 Nov 2000, 12:07 #10

I have to say thank you for this posting. I have printed this one out. I am experiencing the cravings so bad and have already made it 3 weeks. I will read this one over and over. Just to see this kind of information in writing, helps a lot.