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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!
No matter how far we travel or how deep & rich our comfort becomes, just as with the recovering alcoholic, our arrested dependency travels with us. The key to staying on this side of the bars is in keeping all nicotine out of our bloodstream! There was always only one rule ... no nicotine today ...
It has now been over two years since I last had anything that could honestly be called an "urge" to want to smoke nicotine. Will I feel an urge this year? Maybe but right now I can't see how as I know far too many who are suffering far too much for me to have any reason to want to do the same.
But let me tell you about the last urge that I did have back in December of 2001. It was very real yet extremely brief and brought a smile to my face during every second of the encounter. Why? Well it reminded of where I'd been, how far I'd come but that my dependency had traveled with me. It reminded me of daily life as an addict and having lots of daily urges just like it. It was no more intense than most of them.
We're each different and every recovery is different, I'm probably far from typical of the average 30 year three-pack-a-day ex-smoker who is less than 2 months away from 5 years of freedom. But even if I had 100 urges during 2004 none would take my money, destroy my healing, steal my dreams or shorten my life! This amazing sense of comfort is my gift to me and it's a keeper! John (Gold)