Buddy Systems

Buddy Systems

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Apr 2000, 08:02 #1

Buddy Systems

You often hear about buddy systems in substance abuse programs. AA and NA and CA heavily utilize this highly effective and supportive technique. But it is important to understand something about the term "buddy system" These programs are generally "buddying" the newbie with a sponsor more than a buddy.

The sponsor is not a person quitting the same day; it is a person who has likely been quit for a significant time period. Someone who is more stable in their own quit because they have a myriad of time and experiences already under their belt. 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.

These people are here, and for you newbies. I am using "newbie" here as people in the first few days of their quit, even if they have been here in the past, this is a new quit for them. If you want real support, turn to the longer-term ex-smokers. They will help you in ways that you may not yet be able to help each other. But take heart here, this is not saying that you won't be able to help others too. But your primary focus needs to be on your own quit now.

Keep in mind, you will only be a smoker in the middle of a quit for a short time period. Pretty soon you will be the seasoned veteran. When this happens, remember how past seasoned veterans helped you and pass along the support. This community should only grow larger over time. Staying to help others will help secure your own quit too. Many programs use the phrase, "To keep it, you have to give it away." No where is this more true than dealing with addictions. And never lose sight that smoking is an addiction. Whether today is your first day, your hundredth day or your thousandth day, the trick to beating your addiction for today is the same, never take another puff!

Hope everyone is having a good weekend.

Joel

Video links added February 2011:

Why Freedom discourages "buddy systems"

Last edited by Joel on 21 Feb 2011, 01:16, edited 3 times in total.
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Penny
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

30 Apr 2000, 08:08 #2

Joel, I love this post. It is a wonderful thing to be able to "talk" to or post with people from all different stages of their quits. It helps us know what to expect along the way. As newbies, we are very much afraid of what is in store for us and to hear it first hand is so helpful! Thanks Joel!

Penny

I have been Quit for: 4M 4W 1D 20h 46m 33s. I have NOT smoked 5315, for a savings of $1,060.93. Life Saved: 2W 4D 10h 55m.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Jul 2000, 04:14 #3

I saw an occurrence today where one newbie asked another newbie for quitting tips. Thought this letter would bring some clarification to the issue of why looking to someone exactly where you are for information to help your quit may not be the best idea.

It's like asking a friend who has no special knowledge about mechanics to fix your carburetor because their car is disabled with the exact same problem at the exact same time. In essence, with their current situation and understanding, they are not even capable of giving you a ride let alone fix your car.

If you want informed advice, talk to people who have a proven record of knowing how to fix a problem. In the case of smoking and "Freedom", the people who can give the best tips are those who have quit. They are here to help you and answer any questions you may pose. They are credible because they got off smoking and can see issues with certain clarity that those who are still smoking cannot see.

Anyway, this concept is an important one. I don't want newbies, don't be discouraged by this message. You will only be a newbie for a short time. Once off nicotine you will be able to assist others the same as you will find others now assisting you. Just get some experience under your belt first. It is just in the early stages of quit you will learn more by asking questions than by giving answers. But your time to help with answers will come soon too.

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

05 Aug 2000, 00:27 #4

The posting of this letter is more important now than at any other time in Freedom's history. I think we have more than doubled our membership in a 24-hour period. We are truly excited at the potential of helping so many people achieve freedom from nicotine at one time. But at the same time, we are overwhelmed. There will be a natural tendency by people joining here today all at the same time to form internal support groups. This letter explains the pitfalls of "buddying up" with someone in the exact stage of quit as you are in yourself.

To be honest, there are a lot of boards out there for people looking for this kind of social support. We are different here, we want the longer-term quitters to be the teachers and the "newbies" to be benefit from their successful experiences. Don't be mistaken, you won't be newbies for long and we will actively want your support to help new members joining very soon. But for now, Newbies should spend more time learning than supporting others or teaching.

Again, your time for teaching will come. And you will find it a rewarding experience as well as a great reinforcement in keeping your resolve strong to stay smoke free. But for now the important issue is freeing yourself of nicotine. For that goal we offer you the Freedom Board and welcome you all.

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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Sep 2000, 21:05 #5

Since we have so many joining at once, thought I would bring this one up. Again, we have a lot of people here to help support you. The people who can offer you the most are the ones who have the most experience. Take the time to hear everyone, but pay special attention to learn from those who quit and have stayed off a long time. They see things from many sides now. Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

04 Oct 2000, 21:14 #6

Again, we have 30 new members here this week that makes this one important. 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.

Starla, you made the comment about people who are off 72 hours offering advice on how they did it. But many of the newbies coming in are not through their 72 hours; some haven't even started their quits and yet are ready to jump in with advice on quitting. This is a clear case of when everyone reading these messages have to be considering the source.

We are not against newbies offering support, just they should hang around a while first, read 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 can post it generally or email the whole staff and management team. But don't address contradictory advice to a person in their first days of a quit who are hanging on for dear life at the same time that their addiction is calling them back. The addiction would love to get some support from a bad piece of advice that makes relapsing seem like a legitimate alternative.

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
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

14 Dec 2000, 20:32 #7

For Nomohack:

Use us as a support system. If and when it comes time for your wife, send her here too. You can provide some support, but having a whole network takes the burden off you as well as helps her see quitting and not smoking from a group perspective with the advantage of accumulated time and varied experiences, not just an individuals reaction who may be drastically different than the other person quitting.
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freeflight silver
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:05

31 Dec 2000, 09:57 #8

Linda, I have been reading and printing from Joel's library tonight. I took some time to visit the clubs too and was so happy to listen to the music and imagine my name progressing thru green to bronze to silver to gold. I have met many friends here this past week, and I want all to succeed, however I know that my quit depends on me....and you know ehat else I noticed...you have a very important day coming up 010301....I'm so excited for you!!!!!Image Image
Last edited by freeflight silver on 14 Apr 2009, 03:45, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

03 Jan 2001, 23:36 #9

Also just saw a membership application from someone looking for a quit buddy, not literally using those words but the premise of the request was the same. No one should be worried about linking up with someone in their exact stage of the quit. The real lessons here are from learning from a spectrum of people, those off longer than you, those off the same as you and yes sometimes, those off shorter than you. Time not smoking is not a true common thread, neither is time smoking for that fact. Nicotine addiction is the common thread shared by all here. And more important, how to beat it. That can be shared by all too, it is by never taking another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

05 Mar 2001, 20:00 #10

I am focusing on a theme today, quitting for yourself. This one letter is quite important. For our newer members, read all the responses, starting back at number 1 which is currently off the screen and needs to be accessed by clicking first. I am not sure everyone knows to do this with our longer threads, but generally if a thread is long it is because the topic warranted many responses and those responses are often as good if not better than the originial posts.
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