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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 !
If there is any one month of the year when we found more excuses for not quitting than any other month it was probably December but our logic was flawed. What better month that to give ourselves a loving gift or remind ourselves of the wonderful healing happening inside than December? What better month to meet, greet and defeat so many different types of triggers than a month that causes us to confront so many different aspects of life? This is a wonderful time to begin our new life and also a wonderful time to celebate this very special gift. Happy Holidays Freedom! John : )
Those thousands of enticing memories in the relapsor's mind told them to expect a sense of relief and satisfaction" but their body had adjusted to life without nicotine. Although nicotine did stimulate their brain's dopamine pathways, their brain wasn't in a state of dopamine deprivation, they were feeling no early anxieties that needed quieting and the expected sense of relief wasn't there. It didn't arrive. Unlike when the thousands of replenishment aaah memories in their mind were created, there was nothing missing and there was nothing that needed replenishing. So what happened next?"I tasted a mouth full of warm smoke, I remembered the smell, I felt dizzy and wanted to cough but I didn't get the sense of satisfaction, that sense of relief, that I'd expected. It just didn't come!"
What allowed us to skip all those once mandatory nicotine feedings that continue to build on our quit-counters? Strength, willpower, strategy? It would be natural to think that it's a combination of the three but none of us are stronger than our addiction, as is clearly evidenced by our inability to live the nicotine addict's dream - to control the uncontrollable.
Yes, we can each temporarily muster mountains of willpower but can willpower make any human endure a challenge that they lack the core motivation to complete? If we are incapable of using strength to control our addiction and we can't "will" our chemical dependency into hibernation, then what remains?
Strategy begins with honest simple motives that desire and emotion gradually build into one or more reasoned motivations. The successful quitter finds ways to protect and safeguard their reasoned justifications for wanting to be free, so that they remain robust, alive and available to fuel the patience needed to transition this temporary period of adjustment called "quitting." The intelligent quitter's strategy combines an understanding of the law of addiction - one puff, dip or chew of nicotine equals relapse - with well-protected core motivations.
The intelligent quitter realizes that if they allow their motivations to die that it is highly likely that their freedom and healing will die along with them. The intelligent quitter finds ways to recall and revive their once vivid memories of the horrors of dependency and their dreams of freedom so as to re-fuel their motivations.
The one day at a time philosophy that allowed us to make early cessation manageable by focusing only upon the task at hand will naturally seem to grow a bit less significant as the periods of extended comfort begin to build. You'll read message after message from long-term Freedomites who know the law of addiction but who have gone for months and months without a single challenge.
But they do not return to Freedom and read the concerns and struggles of our newest arrivals out of a sense of boredom. Nor are their honest gifts of hope without benefit to them. They are here, for the most part, because they deeply love their freedom. Their intelligence - and sometimes a brief encounter with a memory driven urge - have called them home to renew and invigorate fading memories of one of the most amazing journeys that most have ever made.
Each of us are 100% guaranteed to continue free today if we'll only maintain and protect that horrors and hopes of our original day #1 dream to ... Never Take Another Puff, Dip or Chew!
P.S. If just getting starated I recommend that you post to our parades as often as time permits. Celebration damages and destroys negativism. It fuels the spirit!
Lydia, the further along our quit evolves the fewer daily reminders we have of just how bad things once were. The stink that was us is long gone and so is the cough, the wheezing, our yellow fingers and that extra layer of body oil that came from 4,000+ burning chemicals. When's the last time you had to jump in the car and head for the nearest nicotine merchant? When's the last time you badly needed to smoke but couldn't, stood outside in the cold but didn't want to, or dreamed about quitting but doubted the possibility? When is the last time you pulled hard earned money from your purse and paid to destroy a little more of your excess lung capacity? When is the last time you felt like a social outcast? Once vivid memories of living life from inside a pack are vivid no more.
It's good you've returned to recharge your batteries! If you did make a list of reasons for quitting I encourage you to read it through the eyes of lady who wrote it. There is no such thing as just one and there is still only one rule - Never Take Another Puff! John
Imagine, for a second, that Freedom is a heroin recovery support group instead of nicotine. Picture each of us as recovering heroin addicts and none of us smokers. When a "great" EXCUSE for relapse comes along what would we each consider putting into our blood stream? Nicotine? No, the thought would never cross our minds. Instead, we'd reach for heroin as we sold our minds on the belief that we could handle "just one" fix and now had the "perfect" reason for injecting it. The recovering alcoholic, the cocaine addict, they'd each reach for their own substance and similar junkie thinking.
All dependency experts agree that the ability of a drug to produce an intoxicating type high is not a measure of its power to create permanent chemical dependency in those who use it. In every drug comparison research study that I've been able to locate (three so far) nicotine has ranked first in "dependence" when compared to heroin, cocaine or alcohol. We can either use this information as another "excuse" or as "motivation" for getting serious about taking our lives back. It will never be easier than it is today to keep our addiction under arrest.
This isn't new information either. The first study findings made headlines in 1988 when the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Koop, proclaimed to the world that nicotine was addictive in the same sense as heroin and cocaine. Science has come a long way but there is still much to learn.
We would later learn that the Surgeon General's study findings were only 25 years behind what the tobacco companies had long known. Today we can read industry documents from 1963 declaring that "Moreover, nicotine is addictive. We are, then, in the business of selling nicotine, an addictive drug." Addison Yeaman, Vice President and General Counsel, Brown & Williamson.
Today we can read industry research papers teaching tobacco industry executives that exact same information that we're all doing our best to share with you here at Freedoma. For example a 1972 Philip Morris document prepared by William L. Dunn, a senior researcher, says ...Today scientists are just beginning to understand how addictive substances interact with and alter the brain's normal dopamine delivery circuits to give each type of addict a bit different "aaahhh" sensation. We don't need to become brain scientists in order to taste victory in our lives. All we need to do is remember the most important lesson of all - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!"The cigarette should not be construed as a product but a package. The product is nicotine. Think of a puff of smoke as the vehicle for nicotine."Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! JohnNo excuse justifies drug relapse - none!