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Quitting nicotine for just one hour is a pretty darn big deal. It's the very first baby step toward reclaiming control of your mind, body, health and life. Take pride in that hour, nurture and care for that hour and then delight in watching it grow into two hours of well deserved rest for two innocent lungs! Take pride in those two hours. Be sure and make a record of the reasons why you'd like to live the balance of your life free from nicotine. There's only one simple rule if you'd like to watch your healing grow into three hours - no nicotine whatsoever for the next 60 minutes! Baby steps are doable! We STRONGLY encourage you to continue your education as knowledge truly is power!
John - a very comfortable and content ex-smoker !
How much would you be willing to pay for an insurance policy that would guarantee that you'd never relapse and that you'd remain nicotine free for the remainder of your life? Sorry! There is way on earth to 100% guarantee that a former smoker will not take that one little puff that leads to full blown relapse. Although there are few guarantees in life, there is a way to substantially enhance our chances of NEVER TAKING ANOTHER PUFF! But how?
"Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it." In no situation is this phrase more applicable than with drug relapse. Personal relapse insurance is nothing more than a present gift of future memory. Some day down the road temptation "will" come your way. If you had to rely upon your memories of how to do high school algebra in order to prevail over temptation, would you be successful in resisting or would relapse occur? Thank the Good Lord that we don't have to remember algebra in order to remain nicotine free, but we do need to accurately document the history that is now or about to occur!
Our minds are conditioned to remember the good times, not the bad. It has to be that way, otherwise we'd each be so depressed that facing a new day would be an overwhelming challenge. A vivid picture of all the pain and hurt of all our yesterdays is a heavy burden to bear. Why would an ex-smoker's mind want to vividly recall the frustrations, anxieties, worries and feelings of bondage and worthlessness associated with continuing smoking. Pack after pack and ashtray after ashtray, the lies to hide our addiction and the faint hope we once had of ever gaining our freedom. As a father who twice witnessed what the word "labor" really means, I'm convinced that all women would only have one child if they were forced to remember the true pain of childbirth.
If you haven't already done so, please take the time to make a DETAILED list of all of the reasons that helped motivate you to quit smoking. Sure you remember them today, but you will NOT remember them all in a year or two from now when you just may need them most. We encourage new arrivals to go ahead and type your list of reasons right into your 1st Post - Diary. That way you'll always have quick access to them here at Freedom.
Also, spend a few minutes and take the time to write down a detailed description of a "Day 2" or "Day 3" crave in all their full-blown glory. What were the craves like? How long did they last? How did they make you feel? How did you react to them? What did you do to cope? Would you like to experience week one over agin in a year or two? Why not? What was it really like?
Our minds are conditioned to remember good times, not bad. Pain, hurt, misery, craves, bad health, worry, wheezing, the true pain of childbirth, coughs, fights with loved ones, stress, or even foul odors are not things that our mind wants to try and remember. We relish and replay our good memories, while suppressing and forgetting the bad. Relapse occurs because ex-smokers forget the motivational reasons that caused them to endure "Glory Week" in the first place. Relapse occurs because ex-smokers forget what it was really like! The mind forgets but inked paper doesn't!
Every now and then we see a new post on our message board at Freedom in which a member who is in beyond month two of their quit will tell us that they've had a terrible day and have been experiencing craves. If you closely read the remainder of the post they will also tell you that things are much better now and that they rarely have any crave. Which is it? Are they having craves or aren't they? Is it still bad or are things getting better? The truth is that most simply are not sure exactly what they are feeling. The truth is that by month two or three, most of us have forgotten the true intensity of "Day 3" or "Day 4," took no notes, and have no point of reference to describe or catalog what our minds are now experiencing.
Often the quitter in month two or three isn't experiencing craves at all. What they are experiencing are smoking related "thoughts." Two different animals altogether! "In my mind I thought about having a cigarette today and the thought was so vivid that I could almost taste it" -vs- "I encountered another powerful crave trigger today that caused my body to shudder, that generated such unbearable anxiety that my mind grew cloudy, I craved to the point of hurt, I began sweating, I became irritable, restless, I wanted to climb every wall in site, I was frustrated and it seemed like it would never go away."
Just like the thought of buttered lobster or a hot apple pie that is so vivid that you can almost taste it, a "thought" doesn't harm us and it can be pushed out of our minds almost as quickly as it arrived. A passing "thought" is NOT a crave, but if your mind no longer remembers what a true crave feels like, a "thought" can be mistaken for a crave.
The test of quitting isn't in forgetting all your memories of having smoked, it's in avoiding relapse by accurately documenting "why you were willing to endure nicotine withdrawal" and "what true nicotine withdrawal was like."Most of our recall of the details of "Glory" Week (the first 7 days) will have perished by week three. You'll still be having craves but by comparison they'll be very few and far weaker in intensity (although they may not feel weaker). If you have nothing to compare them with then you won't get an accurate picture of your true progress. Your mind will falsely begin to believe that things are simply not improving. Instead of recognizing a sea of lingering "thoughts" for what they are - "just thought" - you'll likely confuse them with a full-blown crave.
The risk here is acting upon your erroneous belief and taking it to the next logical step, falsely believing that you can now handle one little itty bitty nico-fix without relapsing and reviving your entire addiction in all its nasty glory.
If you treasure your new life and this wonderful gift that you've worked so hard to give to yourself, then take the time now to protect it. Make sure you put your words of "insurance against relapse" in a place where you can quickly find them. Make more than one copy. Leave one copy in glove compartment, one in the desk, one in the kitchen and one in your purse or wallet. Last, but not least, make yourself a promise to read each and every word that you'v written, before picking up any nicotine delivery device and before ingesting nicotine into your precious body. Don't allow yourself to get so far into the forest that the trees all look the same and discouragement begins to fill your mind, as you falsely come to believe that nothing is improving. Take the time now to pick up a free map and compass so that you'll know exactly where you are at all times! The next few minutes are doable!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John : )NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF !