Joel
Joel

12:20 AM - Jan 14, 2002 #21

With the threat of MSN being down for a few days, I thought it might be good to bring this one up for those who see Freedom itself as a "buddy system."

Also, I thought it would be a good time to point out that we really are different than most other boards out there. I am not saying it is better or worse, just different. People come in here that have often been at other boards first where the rule of the day is everyone has good ideas of how to quit. The fact is, many people come with their old techniques and understanding of how to quit. That is why many if them are current smokers. Their old techniques failed them.

We on the other hand are trying to share methods ands approaches that are tried and true. Not methods that one person used and it seemed to work for them, but that you can find dozens of people who used the exact same method only to have it basically undercut their quits. We are trying to highlight the methods that enhances the vast majority of members and even ex-smoking non-members overall success.

It is not that we are not against newbies offering support, but just that they should hang around a while first, read all of our philosophies and try to understand what we are doing here and why we have some of our guidelines in place.

If a person has a difference of opinion with our technique, which is basically quit cold turkey, don't carry cigarettes and never take another puff, they should not post about it on the board. If they want to discuss it with management, we can each be emailed and we will explain why we don't advocate a specific piece of advice. Or maybe we will see your point and modify our approach.

But if a new member reads it in their first days of a quit, before we have a chance to point out the pitfalls, they may think that this advice is accepted strategy for enhancing smoking cessation. The fact is for most people, if the advice in contradictory to our basic premise, it is probably going to be counterproductive to the person's quit. People just quitting who are hanging on for dear life will often grasp onto things that are written in our posts and responses. The addiction would love to get some support from a basically bad piece of advice that makes the potential for relapsing seem a bit easier.

Also, we need to keep focused on the real danger of the buddy system. The buddy may have the best advice in the world, and the other buddy may really count on the person to get them through thick and thin. But there is no guarantee that the buddy will be available when needed or worst, there is no guarantee that the buddy won't be a smoker next time contacted. Stranger things have happened.

Count on yourself first. You can count to some degree on the group after that, but there have even been times where due to technical difficulties the whole group disappears all at once. Again, that is where counting on yourself is paramount. Print out your own reasons for having initially quit. Print out materials here that struck a personal chord helping you at a critical moment. Have alternative resources of support established. But don't count on one individual, no matter who they are. The stakes are too high to gamble on one person helping you when he or she may not be able to do this for him or herself.

Joel
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Joel
Joel

9:17 PM - Feb 27, 2002 #22

I just saw a post that said to a member something to the effect that we need them like they need us. No one here should ever feel contingent on any one person or even on the whole board. The board cannot be a crutch. For technical reasons, your computer can break, you could lose power, your Internet connection can go down, or MSN can take Freedom down for maintenance. There have been times where Freedom was unreachable for hours and I even think at some point we had days where it was almost impossible to get into Freedom.

If you feel tied to the board for success your quit can be jeopardized by a technological glitch. If you are tied to any one person--that person could lose their Internet connection, or relapse, or get sick or may even pass away. There are just too many variables if your quit is tied to another that can undermine your quit.

Freedom is a tool to help you with your quit. We are giving you an addiction education. But you need to keep these lessons with you, incorporate the education into your general knowledge and way of life. Your success is contingent on you and you alone. Your quit is contingent on only you remembering that to stay smoke free you must never take another puff!

Joel
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Slycat
Slycat

4:44 AM - May 18, 2002 #23

Hi Joel:

This is a great post regarding Buddy Systems. I had wrote back to you before and than my computer crashed.

From the viewpoint of a Newbie, I have not hooked into one person individually. Everybody has helped me. Particularly the older members. They have given me a lot of advice because many of them have been there and done that. I am just now starting to get to know some of their names. There are a few people who stick out in my mind that have given me excellent advice, especially when I was in bad shape. These people are long time quitters, anywhere from 6 months to beyond a year. They have shared with me their opinions and their experiences. They have directed me. Many of them have saved me in many ways.

I have not created a buddy system with anybody in particular but the advice I have received has been the best... and You always manage to show me the way......

Thanks...Judy
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tash
tash

1:07 AM - May 20, 2002 #24

Joel,
Thanks. I admit the time I've spent my first few days here has been somewhat excessive. I'm on summer break from school and have the time to be connected and absorbing as much information as possible. But I know there will come a time when I won't have so much free time, nor will I have the need for such immediate support. I am glad to have the community here while I need it, but know that I will take what I've gained here and carry it with me at those times when I can't be connected to Freedom.
-Tash
Smoke free for 1 week, five days, 12 hours.
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bugs7001
bugs7001

7:36 AM - Jul 14, 2002 #25

Thanks Joel... Sometimes it just seems easy to gravitate to those people we feel comfortable with or feel like we have something in common with. I've already noticed 2 people whose quits are within hours of my own. It seems like it would be very easy to build a whole group of us, but... where's the leader? The blind leading the blind is probably not a great idea right now, right? I'll make sure to make a conscious effort to lean on those who are stronger, then return the favor when I get there. Thanks for all that you do. Your site is a life saver...literally. Michelle
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Joel
Joel

8:34 PM - Jul 18, 2002 #26

Don't feel the need to wait for some significant other person to quit smoking in order for you to start your quit. If others quit at the same time as you do, make sure that your personal feeling is that you are quitting in spite of this fact and not because of it. This quit is for you--their quit is going to be for their benefit. See the article Quitting for Others for additional perspective on this issue. To make this quit work only requires that YOU stay committed to never take another puff!



Joel
Last edited by Joel on 11:03 AM - Jun 22, 2013, edited 2 times in total.
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Juanjuanjuanjuanjuan200
Juanjuanjuanjuanjuan200

9:40 PM - Aug 03, 2002 #27

Great thread, I always feel a bit embarrassed and no one to tell a newbie what to do and at the same time I deeply aknowledge the effective result of helping others as a way to help ones quit, to keep it better. Others feel enthousiastic. But when my smoking wife told me she saw on the computer my stats, and that she envy them, I pray in my silent mind, that she finds also Joels texts, the same ones that not to long ago- for general standards but almost two succesfull an exhilarating green months for all my buddys in this cybercorner- made me stop, without planning it, without strategies, substitutes. I needed to stop, freedom invited me to do it on a eyes closed jump, and it is working.............Speaking about sponsors, I miss Obob. When is he coming back?


juan
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

11:45 PM - Oct 27, 2002 #28

Freedom would be honored
to be your quit buddy
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

8:18 PM - Nov 11, 2002 #29

A crutch is anything that you lean heavily upon in order to support or motivate your effort to break nicotine's grip upon your life. If your effort is dependent upon any crutch, what will happen if the crutch is for some reason removed? Why allow your health and very possibly our life to depend upon any person, place or thing other than you!
Eating lots of extra food that must lead to substantial weight gain, major lifestyle changes that would eventually tire anyone, a quit smoking exercise program that can be interrupted by weather or injury, an uneducated quitting buddy who statistically has an 88 to 90% chance of relapsing within 24 weeks, the support of family and friends who are not drug addicts themselves and can not in fairness be expected to appreciate the magnitude or duration of chemical nicotine withdrawal or psychological recovery, or even leaning too heavily upon any support group to keep your motivation strong.
This is your quit and the list of reasons on your reasons list all belong to you! The next few minutes are doable and you'll be the only one doing them! If you have only quit for one hour be proud of your accomplishment as no one hour during this temporary journey of adjustment called "quitting" is any more important than another. Baby steps, just one hour, challenge and day at a time! This is doable if we simply NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF! John
Last edited by John (Gold) on 3:51 AM - Apr 14, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

9:01 PM - Nov 27, 2002 #30

From: Joel. Sent: 11/27/2002 6:01 AM
Did you ever notice how we can do days, weeks or sometimes months without a single person feeling the need to post an SOS or a 911 or a totally miserable day and then all of a sudden, we see one after another all at the same time? Well yesterday seemed to be one of those days where negativity just seemed to be abound.

For all of our newer members, go look at posts from two day ago, and last week and last month and see how many look like yesterday did. It is important that you realize what you were witnessing here then was not the norm. Don't walk away with the idea that longer term quitters are not in constant withdrawals and also know that most are not in constant internal battles with chronic thoughts either. What you were witnessing was a few people having a bad day.

Over the years I have done two types of Stop Smoking Clinics. The first is community based, and the other is corporate based. In the community based programs, we would normally get anywhere from 10 to 60 people. While a few may know each other before hand, most are strangers when first meeting at the clinic.

In the corporate based programs many people come in already knowing each other, or, meeting co-workers who they may never have talked to before and then seeing these people throughout the day during the clinic and then for as long as both parties stay in employment of the company.

There is a real danger in the corporate setting of two phenomena's occurring. First, the buddy system that we talk often about here at Freedom--where if one buddy fails the other follow suits, because the two people start to feel contingent on one another. Sometimes this is even a bigger problem when the whole group is a big buddy system, and then numerous people could be lost all in one swoop.

The other phenomena though that can be a real danger in such systems is where one or two people are having a bad day, possibly having nothing to do with quitting smoking, and then start to spread the word of negative feelings that they are now experiencing some horrible effect from quitting smoking. Then as soon as something goes awry in another person from the group's day, again, likely having nothing to do with quitting smoking, and the person starts to feel angered or upset by the external situation, he or she now thinks too that his or her feelings are some quit smoking effect. Pretty soon the whole group is scared and their quits are now in jeopardy. This can happen in community groups too, but usually on a smaller scale for groups rarely form long lasting bonds and have regular contact with each other.

It is crucial that everyone who reads here understand that throughout their lives they are going to have bad days. This is not because they are ex-smokers, it is because they are human beings. It is even broader than that, it is because they are living organisms. Our environments will effect our moods. Be it weather problems, stresses with family members, problems at work, shifts in the economy, issues in the world that effect the peace and stability of nations, and a host of other problems that plague mankind, life continues after people quit smoking and it is imperative to recognize that you are going to have bad days as an ex-smoker. But you must recognize that you were going to have most of those same days if you were a current smoker and you would likely have had some of those same days if you had never been a smoker.

Also you should note that while many of these bad days would have been happening no matter what your past or current smoking status had been, by having quit smoking you are in fact averting a whole lot of really bad days that smoking would have induced. Examples would be the day you have a smoking induced stroke, or the day you have a heart attack, or the day that a routine x-ray shows a spot that turns out to be more than a technological glitch. These days, while bad in themselves are the start of a time period which may make your current problems seem small and totally insignificant in comparison.

Then there are the problems of the bad days when withdrawals are just a tad worse as a smoker, because the environments you are in are not allowing constant smoking. These days are happening a lot more often for people too as more and more cities, states and even whole countries are starting to implement smoking restrictions in more public places.

Then there are the bad days when smoking becomes a greater economic hardship, because the price per pack all of a sudden jumps significantly. Then there are the bad days when you burn some piece of clothing, furniture, or maybe your whole house down. That last one would be a particularly noteworthy bad day--especially if you had pets or family members in the house who did not get out.

Smoking does have the one advantage of pretty much insuring that you will have less bad days of life though. It does this by killing you earlier than you were really intending to go. Unfortunately, this also limits your number of good days too and it will normally leave your loved ones with a lot more bad days than they would normally have had if you did not smoke.

Freedom is a lot more like the corporate based clinics because we all have the opportunity to stay in touch and share experiences over the long-term. While this allows our members the ability to share experiences and help to reinforce each others resolve, it also carries the additional risk of the spreading of negative experiences and having it appear to be effects of having quit smoking. It is crucial for our members to be more discriminating that this. When you are having bad moments to be able to look around and surrounding circumstances and try to determine if other areas of your life may be responsible for certain physical or emotional reactions.

If you come to the conclusion that absolutely nothing is wrong in your life or in the lives of others around you that can be accounting for some bad feeling--congratulations are in order for you have reached a state of paradise and bliss that most of mankind has been seeking since its inception and has never been able to attain. Although if this is the case, there is a chance that you may have lost a little touch with reality.

Life goes on after you quit smoking--accept that fact. It is indeed what you were hoping for when first quitting--that your life would go on as it did before, maybe even better. While you may not be happy with the way everything is going in your life at any given moment, if you really examine the benefits to your health and to your life of no longer having to maintain an expensive, dirty, dangerous and deadly addiction, you will at least always be a little happier by the fact that you made and stuck to a commitment to never take another puff!

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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

12:50 AM - Dec 14, 2002 #31

while we tend to enjoy a "specialness" and/or a certain "bonding" with a member quitting the same time as us, or becoming members at the same time, it is more important to remember that our quits must be ours and ours alone.

Linda
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

10:24 PM - Jan 02, 2003 #32

Imagine two infants trying to support
each other as they take their first steps.
Does that sound prudent?
Make sure that any buddy assisting you in learning to
walk already knows how to do so themselves!
Last edited by John (Gold) on 3:52 AM - Apr 14, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

8:14 AM - Mar 02, 2003 #33

I read in a post today where one new member said to another that they could support each other. While it's nice to have someone who's quit the same time as a friend, we strongly recommend at Freedom that you do not lean upon that person to help you with your quit. Listen to the people who are comfortable and understand what nicotine addiction is all about, for they are truly in the position to help you understand what you are going through. The way you feel when you first quit smoking is NOT the way it feels to be a comfortable ex smoker. So read and learn and read and learn and before you know it, you too will also be a comfortable ex smoker.

Linda
3 years plus
Last edited by GrumpyOMrsS (Gold) on 3:53 AM - Apr 14, 2009, edited 2 times in total.
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ladygrace
ladygrace

5:34 AM - Mar 08, 2003 #34

Thank you, Joel. I don't need a "buddy", I need a mentor. Someone older and wiser into their non smoking life than I am. Someone with experience and the abiltiy to guide me. Thank you for being such a great mentor to all of us.
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valeriescleanGOLD
valeriescleanGOLD

5:48 AM - Mar 08, 2003 #35

Ladygrace you are right on- I have always contested that EXPERIENCE was the greatest teacher. Every day of Freedom is reason to celebrate. Heres to Freedom's Bronze, Silver adnd Gold members! They SHOW us we can do this! Golds PROVE a year is possible. Silvers PROVE triggers are overcomable and Bronzes PROVE comfort awaits! Heres to LIFE!
Valerie
2 Months 6 Days
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BubblyDoodlebug Gold
BubblyDoodlebug Gold

8:02 PM - Jun 09, 2003 #36

I don't have a buddy. I do have someone who has stopped smoking a few years ago who used to smoke lots more than I ever did. She is my boss and she is so supportive. When she found out I had quit she started crying. She said it scares her to see people smoke. She never gave me any advise about quitting but when I saw her cry for joy that really got to me. She also gave me a month party (a little early), she bought pizza and gave me gifts. The next day I was talking to a co-worker and told her I don't see how I could ever go back to smoking now after she gave me the party. I would feel like such a brat. I don't want to make her cry sad tears. I'm not looking for a buddy but I do keep my eye on the vets. posts because I do get a lot of wisdom reading them, I also read the newbies posts because it reminds me how hard it would be to start all over again. There are some people's posts here that I love to catch like Red Orris, she is so positive and honest and I like her style and Rickdabler seems so much fun, he makes not smoking such a cool thing to do and there are others, it is so neat to see people's personalities in their posts. Like Joel he is a caring person but also a no nonsense type of person. Taking on that nononsense attitude has kept me from relapsing, it took away the power of excuse making and the way we can justify our taking another puff. Taking on his attitude made me realize I had to be SERIOUS about never taking another puff. I knew coming into the group that I couldn't go through a trial or tribulation go back to smoking and then post about it and have everyone go on about how I can try again and baby me. Before joining the group I had to ask myself "Are you really ready to commit yourself to this because if not I'll be banished forever." Katherine
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

2:54 AM - Jun 10, 2003 #37

Hi Katherine. Having an experienced mentor... or multiple mentors.... that's a good thing. It's different than the buddy-system issue in that your mentor(s) is/are experienced, and aren't going through all of the early quit issues at the same time as you (they've already passed that test). So, Yeah! Keep your mentors and learn. I had a couple of real-world... more examples than mentors.... when I first quit. It helped to watch them, and to use their inspiration in times of difficulty.

YQB,

Bob
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Lyverbyrd
Lyverbyrd

2:42 AM - Jul 20, 2003 #38

My mentors are all right here.
My partner has quit smoking, and is finding it difficult but perservering. His quit is very much separate from mine, but I'm going to try to get him to come here to post; I think he lurks here sometimes anyway.

The friend I mentioned earlier on in my posts here, the one who was adamant I couldn't do it; his quit has failed, I saw him smoking earlier today, but he hasn't told me.

I think this sort of mentoring system works better for me. I have all the support I need right here without the added complication of you all truly knowing who I am. You know what I'm going through, and where I'm heading, and it means that the tough love policy of freedom is going to be more effective than the possibility of someone I'm friends with massaging my ego if I decide to relapse.
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Joel
Joel

12:30 AM - Oct 08, 2003 #39

I just pulled the post from a member who was saying that she was having problems and wanted people to help. Her method of asking for help though was to ask people to write her off directly via email and off the board. We do not operate that way here at Freedom. There is a good chance when any member looks for this kind of one on one help that they are looking to form a buddy system. We offer all the help we can right here on the board. We want to ensure that anyone asking for support or more likely advice is getting advice that is medically and psychologically warranted and sound. Trying to take support into the background is not taking full advantage of what we really can do here to help at Freedom. If any member ever feels that there is something of a private matter that he or she does not wish to post on the board, drop any of the managers and email. We will be glad to help.

Joel
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

12:59 AM - Feb 15, 2004 #40

No Crutches - Especially Ones Likely to Break
Freedom's almost 40% six-month continuous nicotine cessation rate may sound rather amazing and it may very likely be the highest Inter net recovery rate in the world, but it still means that the majority of all new members will relapse.

Although it's great to see new members encourage and support each other, it is extremely dangerous to psychologically link their quest to yours. Root for each other, pull for each other but also know with every fiber of your being that your recovery belongs only to you and that their relapse will not stop you from completing this temporary journey of adjustment and tasting lasting comfort.
There was always only one rule, no nicotine today! John
Last edited by John (Gold) on 3:54 AM - Apr 14, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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carvoiero gold
carvoiero gold

6:47 AM - Apr 23, 2004 #41

Hi John,
I just read your post about Freedom's 40% 6 month cessation rate. How can you tell - if I decided not to post any more it wouldn't necessarily mean I had gone back to nicotine - and you must have lots of successful quitters who just stop posting as they get on with their non smoking lives? I would have thought that - good though 40% is - the rate was even higher than that. I don't like to think that 'the majority
of all new members will relapse'. I want us all to be winners! Do you follow up on those that stop posting to find out if they relapsed?
Whatever your answers, I know that what you are all doing for me is fantastic and I am committed to being in the 40%!
Thank you.
Marion
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whynotmee1
whynotmee1

9:03 PM - Jul 20, 2004 #42

Joel, Thanks for your advice on this one. I would have thought going threw something with someone else at the same time would be of benefit. Now, I see after reading this just what your talking about. I'm so glad I have your knowledge to turn to. I'm learning! I know I'm making mistakes, but turning those mistakes around and learning useful info is a important key to winning. Learning One Day at a Time.
DA-smokefree:11days
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Joel
Joel

6:47 AM - Dec 31, 2004 #43

Nobody here, whether a new quitter or a longer term quitter should be seeking help or assistance from our newest members. Newer members are here to learn and to work at securing their own quits and should not feel any responsibility or obligation to be helping others in the early stages of their quits. Newer members are here to learn and not to teach. The string The Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom also covers why newer member should not be the ones sought out to learn about how to sustain long-term success. At this point in time no new member has proven that he or she has mastered sustaining a quit. They will prove it to themselves and to us as they get more and more time behind them with their quits intact by having stuck with their commitments to never take another puff!

Joel
Last edited by Joel on 4:08 AM - Apr 14, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

11:02 PM - Mar 27, 2005 #44

The uneducated and unsupported quitter has roughly 1 in 20 odds (5%) of succeeding in remaining nicotine free for one year. Two new quitters buddying-up can all too easily become heavy reliance crutches for each other, which if one relapses spells relapse for both. Why lean upon a crutch with 95% odds of breaking? If we want to have another quitter support us in this journey it makes sense to select a person who does not face substantial odds of craving, caving and relapsing themselves.
Millions of words here at Freedom but just one guiding principle determining the outcome for all ... no nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff. John (Gold x5)
Last edited by John (Gold) on 4:14 AM - Apr 14, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

1:49 AM - Jun 10, 2005 #45

They are not cured but they are more secure and probably have a deeper understanding of not only what quitting is like, but more important what it is like not to be using after an extended time period. This is the message that the person in the middle of a quit needs to hear. Not just what today is like, they know that already. Talking with people only in this stage of the game is just sharing misery. What is more important for the person in withdrawal is to understand the importance of overcoming this time period. To hang in to see what next week, next month or even next year will be like, if they just don't smoke for these time periods. Who better to deliver this message than people off these amounts of time? Smokers who never quit smoking know what it is like to smoke. Smokers who are in the middle of their first week of quitting know what it is like to smoke and what it is like to be in withdrawal. But smokers who are off for longer time periods know what it is like to smoke, quit, and stay off. They know there is life after smoking, life after withdrawal. The people who even know more are those who have smoked, quit, went through withdrawal, stayed off months or maybe years, relapsed, quit again, and are now off a long time. They have more experience than anyone does and likely a deeper appreciation of the addiction and recognition of how precious and fragile their quit actually is. They still have to work at it, but it is among the most worthwhile work that they do any given day.
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