Caring for Our Recovery

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Apr 2003, 18:39 #41

What if Freedom was a Heroin Recovery Forum?
What excuse would you find acceptable?
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 ...
"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."
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!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John
No excuse justifies drug relapse - none!
Last edited by John (Gold) on 02 Mar 2009, 21:53, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

03 Jul 2003, 10:28 #42

Last edited by John (Gold) on 16 Feb 2009, 02:51, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 Jul 2003, 09:58 #43

Whether the easiest or most challenging of your entire journey home,
the next few minutes will be entirely doable!
Last edited by John (Gold) on 16 Feb 2009, 02:52, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Jul 2003, 18:37 #44

There's only one rule - no nicotine today, NTAP!

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:56

30 Jul 2003, 09:25 #45

Thanks, I'm still smoke free!! And so is my son, he quit a week ago & I was able to share what I learned with him. He said, Wow, I didn't know one cigarette would put you back on the adddiction. He quit before and now understands it. Thank you, so.... much!!
Last edited by adnil on 02 Mar 2009, 21:54, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Aug 2003, 23:39 #46

While your conscious mind is dedicated to a nicotine free life as "you,"
the subconscious mind must be re-conditioned to again believe in "you!"
Believe in your dreams and reasons, not your inner fears and emotions!
You're going home! Baby steps, just one day at a time!
Last edited by John (Gold) on 02 Mar 2009, 21:55, edited 2 times in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

25 Oct 2003, 17:56 #47

What was life really like living in that never-ending cycle of nicotine feedings? Can you still recall the yellowish tars, stink, ash and packs that labeled you addicted to a far greater number of folks around you than you then probably realized?
With each passing year nicotine dependency is moving more toward its rightful place beside traditional chemical dependencies and as it does the anxieties of those still actively captive will likely escalate unless they can find new lies to fortify their thickening wall of denial.

Have you tried to get through to a smoker lately? It isn't as easy as you might think. They're each no different than we were in-between our priceless periods of confidence during which we made that mad dash for freedom that, on average, happened once every three years.

Like it or not, authorization to engage in selective indoor burning is on the decline around the globe as non-smokers assert that they should not be forced to breathe and smell like the 4,000+ chemicals released by each cigarette.

Remembering what it was like living an addict's life is important to protecting here and now. Watch smokers, study them and see them standing alone outside in the wind, rain or cold for the act it truly is - mandatory chemical replenishment
Last edited by John (Gold) on 16 Feb 2009, 03:02, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Nov 2003, 12:05 #48

Is being you worth protecting?
Is your freedom real?
Is life worth saving?
Just one rule -
No nicotine!

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:10

13 Nov 2003, 12:54 #49

Thanks for this thread, as always, and thanks to Freedom.

I'm almost at 2 years and I just wanted to let you know that I am still here with you :)

-Jessica aka AMD33
Celebrating freedom for one year, eleven months, three weeks, one day, 7 hours, 23 minutes and 24 seconds. 7213 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,893.32. Life saved: 3 weeks, 4 days, 1 hour, 5 minutes.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Dec 2003, 20:28 #50

Are those who forget the past destined to repeat it?
Not necessarily but it does make relapse easier.
Last edited by John (Gold) on 16 Feb 2009, 02:55, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

04 Jan 2004, 20:29 #51

Last edited by John (Gold) on 16 Feb 2009, 02:59, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

27 Feb 2004, 21:53 #53

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 ...
Last edited by John (Gold) on 16 Feb 2009, 03:04, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

23 Mar 2004, 04:08 #54

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)
Last edited by John (Gold) on 16 Feb 2009, 03:06, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

16 Nov 2004, 08:06 #56

This thread moved me so much, that it scared me! I can honestly see why I have failed before. I do believe that understanding & education on this horrible addiction for me will take me to the green, bronze, silver and yes GOLD! Very powerful stuff!
Karla- in control for 9 days 8 hours&4 minutes. I have not smoked 196 death sticks and saved $31.87 and 16 hours of my life

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

22 Nov 2004, 01:25 #57

I couldn't even tell you how many times I've read this, but read it I keep doing over and over again, because I am one of those who is already completely comfortable with not smoking.
This is why I am here today, and was yesterday ... and will continue to keep dropping in even if I can't for an extended period of time for some reason.
Quitting for me this time was pretty much a breeze, but I DID have some short lived but VERY tough moments in the first couple of months.
Complacency could be an issue for me because quitting was so easy ... and life now is so much easier.
I have to remember what a horrible trap smoking was and how hard it was to gather my courage to actually quit. THAT was the hardest part for me ... to win that argument with my junkie thinking.
So I thank you for this one, John.

Sandy - Free and Healing for Eight Months, Twenty Three Days, 10 Hours and 24 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 11 Days and 3 Hours, by avoiding the use of 3209 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $1,297.89.
Last edited by FearNothingDK GOLD on 16 Feb 2009, 03:08, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:03

22 Nov 2004, 01:41 #58

Thank you for bring this up. I am feeling so good, so
free and maybe complacent. My addict is asleep today
but will it be tomorrow? Good question. I am hugging
my quit tight and so thankful for it.
I am a deep shade of green with one month 3days two
of not indudging my addiction.
Thanks for being here for me!
Last edited by Radsqaw1 on 02 Mar 2009, 22:24, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

03 Dec 2004, 22:55 #59

The holiday season is upon us. If this is your first nicotine-free journey through December and a new year it would be prudent to review your list of reasons for commencing recovery and to try hard to remember what life was like when nicotine's two-hour chemical half-life was the clock calling the shots.

Try hard to remember exactly what it was really like living on the other side of the bars living with diminished lung capacity, strange sounds associated with waking or breathing, the endless string of mandatory daily feedings, keeping supplied, avoiding activities lasting longer than 2 hours, how you felt after a brief period of sudden exertion, standing alone in all forms of weather just you and a chemical, running out, digging up enough money, the emergency trip to your supplier, the world begging you to come to your senses, declining health, your stink announcing your arrival, family begging you to stop before you killed yourself and a 50% chance that they'd be right.

Millions of words here at Freedom but just one abiding principle governing the outcome for all ... no nicotine today, Never Take Another Dip, Chew or Puff!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long Freedom! John (Gold x5)

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

25 Feb 2005, 06:47 #60

Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 16 Feb 2009, 03:16, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

23 Mar 2005, 22:53 #61

Tearing Down the Wall
by John R. Polito
Nicotine Cessation Educator[/size]

The final phase of nicotine dependency recovery is in either allowing sufficient time to pass so that thoughts of wanting to smoke -- reflecting the mountain of denial garbage we constantly fed ourselves over the years -- gradually fade away and stop haunting and replaying over and over in the mind, or accelerating the process by seeing the arrival of each as a golden opportunity to set the record straight.

Imagine residing inside a mind chemically dependent upon a substance that addiction experts contend may possibly be the most captivating of all. Although it isn't likely that any of us then knew or realized that our brain had physically grown millions upon millions of extra acetylcholine receptors, that it had de-sensitized select critical brain pathways from an endless onslaught of nicotine, or that nicotine was in command and control over the flow of more than 200 of our body's neurochemicals, we didn't't need to know the details.

We'd each already felt the punishing anxieties of waiting too long between nicotine feedings. We knew we'd lost the autonomy to simply turn and walk away. Even though we'd tried to tune it out, we also couldn't't help but hear the dull roar of the endless stream of new study findings telling us that each and every puff not only destroyed more of our body's ability to receive and transport life-giving oxygen, but that with it came a greater accumulation of the 43 carcinogens present in each burning cigarette. We knew that a time-bomb was building in each of us.

Although clinging to the security blanket that all we suffered from was some "nasty little habit," deep down we knew we were hooked solid. So how did our conscious thinking mind cope with the sobering reality that our brain was a slave to its own senseless self-destruction?
Dignity's Denial

How did we look in the mirror each morning and maintain any sense of dignity, self-worth or self-respect while constantly being reminded that we were prisoners to dependency, decay, disease, and that today we'd move closer to completing the act of committing our own chemical suicide? It was easy - we learned to lie.

We each called upon our intelligence and conscious mind to help build a thick protective wall of denial that not only insulated us from the hard cold realities of daily dependency but behind which we could hide when those on the outside felt the need to remind us of who we really were and what we were doing. Our basic tools for building the wall were conscious rationalizations, minimizations and blame transference.

As soon as nicotine's urge commands began telling us that smoking was no longer an optional activity we each found ourselves forced to explain our involuntary obedience to them. Although nicotine's two-hour half-life inside our bloodstream was now the basic clock governing mandatory feeding times, we each became very creative in providing alternative justifications and explanations.

In our pre-dependency days we may have found honest pleasure in experiencing an unearned flood of dopamine accompanied by a nicotine induced rush of adrenaline but once the feedings became mandatory it didn't matter how we felt about them. Choice was no longer an issue. Even if we didn't fully appreciate our new state of permanent chemical captivity, many of us rationalized the situation based upon what we found ourselves doing.
Building Protection

"I don't do things that I don't like to do," we reminded ourselves. "I smoke lots and lots and lots of cigarettes, therefore I must really love smoking," instead of "therefore, I must really be addicted to smoking nicotine." Not only were our "like" and "love" rationalizations easier to swallow, they provided a conscious defense against those encouraging us to stop. Yes, the first bricks in our wall of denial were now being cemented into place, and made thicker with each empty pack.

Some of us hid from our dependency by blaming our chronic tobacco use on what we described as tobacco smoke's wonderful smell or taste. This rationalization brick not only ignored the over 600 flavor additives that the tobacco industry uses to engineer an amazing spectrum of smells and tastes, it ignored the fact that hundreds of other plants, products and people smell good too but we have never once found the need to light any of them on fire and **** them into our lungs in order to complete the experience. But if man ever decides to soak any in nicotine, stand back, as the nicotine addict will likely be burning them soon too.

One brick was our sense that we were each somehow able to control the uncontrollable. Some of us purchased just one pack at a time, playing the endless mind game that tomorrow would always be our last. Some intentionally never made a serious attempt so as to avoid having to admit dependency. Others rationalized that since they only smoked a little more than 5 mg. of nicotine daily (about 5 cigarettes) they were either less addicted than others, somehow better than other smokers, or not addicted at all. And then there are our closest smokers - like my grandmother - who constantly tried to convince us that the cloud of smoke rolling out of the bathroom behind her really wasn't there.

The most fatal control rationalization of all is the fraud of "just one," "just one little puff!" Although a primary maxim of addiction is that "one is always too many and a thousand never enough," instead of picturing all of them and the return of our entire dependency and the endless destructive chain of feeding linked to it, we rationalized countless relapses by lying to ourselves that we were stronger than nicotine and that we could smoke "just one." Why waste time entertaining the repeating thought reflected by this brick when we now know it be a lie?

Each time our wall was pierced we simply added another brick. There was our "you have to die of something" brick, our "there's still plenty of time" brick, and even the rationalization that went as far as to counter tobacco's 50% kill rate by asserting that it really meant that "there is a 50% chance that smoking won't kill me."

We also have all of our "why we smoked" rationalizations. We told ourselves that it made the coffee taste better when in fact it deadened our sense of smell and drowned coffee's flavors in the 4,000 chemicals present in each burning cigarette. There was our "best friend" brick which asserted that a chemical with an I.Q. of zero was most loyal companion we'd ever had, even when smoking it had long ago deprived us of up to one-third of our functional lung capacity.

There was our boredom brick, our appetizer before every meal brick, our after each meal dessert brick, and the brick proclaiming the first cigarette of the day to be one of the best of all. Each such rationalization totally ignored the real clock driving the situation - nicotine's two-hour chemical half-life.

They ignored the fact that the average pack-a-day smoker will receive a command to smoke (an urge) about every thirty minutes regardless of which activity their denial wishes to credit. It ignores the fact that after sleeping through three to four nicotine half-lives we were left with nicotine blood-serum reserve levels that were somewhere down around our socks. Those first daily smokes should have been memorable.

Then there was our alcohol and stress bricks. Living in a world of dependency ignorance, very few of us knew that nicotine is an alkaloid and that both stress and alcohol are acid producing events. Instead of understanding how stress and alcohol can neutralize the body's nicotine reserves we rationalized that smoking reduced our stress and that we liked smoking more when drinking.

Let's not forget our romantic fixation bricks proclaiming that some of our best memories ever were based upon the presence of nicotine, and that somehow the moment or underlying memory would have been less significant if nicotine had not added dopamine and adrenaline to it. Wouldn't honest reflection have us asking how many of life's perfect moments were interrupted by a mandatory need to leave and feed, or by a mind pre-occupied with the need to do so?

And what about our quitting bricks? Pretending that we'd be quitting soon or going so far as to actually set a date would always make today's nicotine fixes far more bearable. When we failed to follow through or relapsed we could always reach for our blame bricks and lay the cause for our defeat upon family members that just couldn't handle the temporary anxieties associated with recovery. We could blame friends, a lack of support, a relationship, stressful times, financial hardship, other smokers, alcohol or even our job.
Natural Erosion or Conscious Intervention?

The only limit upon the bricks within our wall was our imagination. Have you ever noticed just how challenging it really is to coax a smoker out from behind their wall? After years of construction it tends to be a secure and comforting place to hide from those seeking to impose their will upon us.

It is not necessary that any of us set out to consciously dismantle our wall of denial in order to successfully keep our dependency arrested. But what it may help to realize is that the bulk of our "thoughts" of wanting to smoke nicotine are likely a reflection of the very wall that we ourselves created.

As each thought arrives, will spending a bit of time reflecting upon its origin and validity help shorten this temporary period of adjustment called quitting, and diminish the number of excuses available to justify future relapse?

The day and moment is approaching when you'll awaken to an expectation of going your entire day without once wanting to smoke nicotine. Oh, you'll still have thoughts now and then but with decreasing frequency, shorter duration and declining intensity. They'll become the exception, not the rule. It may even get to the point where you'll greet them with a smile as they'll be your only reminder of the amazing journey you've made.

They say that "truth shall set us free" but here at WhyQuit we have an even better guarantee. It is impossible to lose our freedom so long as we refuse to allow nicotine back into our bloodstream. The next few minutes are all that matter and each is entirely doable. There was always only one rule ... no nicotine today ... Never Take Another Puff!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long!

Last edited by John (Gold) on 16 Feb 2009, 03:19, edited 3 times in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

23 Mar 2005, 23:44 #62

Wow. I'm speechless after reading that. You're amazing, John! I daresay that that post should start a new thread.


33 months free

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Sep 2005, 09:02 #63

After 5 months plus I feel quite comfortable in my quit and don't really miss cigarettes. But a post like this reminds me that "Whether it's daily, weekly or monthly, our quit needs care". John, thank you for these wise words.

Ivano - happy to have made this decision and determined to stick to it - one day at a time - forever

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Oct 2005, 21:47 #64

"Instead of saying that you can handle" just one ," a truthful statement would have been "I can handle them all, give them all back to me, my entire addiction, all the ashtrays, the coughs, the smells, I want it all back." It's far easier to create an exception to the "law" than to admit the truth. A one pack a day addiction is 7,300 cigarettes a year. Don't picture smoking just one. Picture smoking 7,300 each and every year. "To thine own self be true." You deserve the truth - you paid the price - you earned it. " - John Polito
joejFree - Nicotine Free and Healing for Nine Months, Ten Days, 23 Hours and 33 Minutes, (283 days)
Reclaiming 24 Days and 15 Hours
7100 nicotine delivery devices not used - $1,425.83 retained earnings.
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 16 Feb 2009, 03:18, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

10 Nov 2005, 05:41 #65

As a smoker, I always envied my relatives, friends, customers, and everyone else I came into contact with in my life, who quit smoking. As a smoker, I always wondered why people who had quit for any length of time, whether it be a couple of weeks or decades, why anyone would go back to smoking. I always said to myself that if I made it past the first few days without a cigarette, I would never again smoke. I didn't know why I said that, I just know that I didn't want to be a smoker.

At the time though, I never imagined smoking and nicotine as an addiction and when I did, everything began to come together. Now, with that information in hand and with all the information I have learned at Freedom, I have the tools necessary to know why quits are lost and what I need to do to remain nicotine free for life.

Nothing gives me more joy than to see the very people who came to us taking those first few baby steps and then celebrating weeks, a months and then years quit. Read, learn and never take another puff and you will be too. It cannot be stated's a simple as never taking another puff.

after smoking 41 years, almost 6 years free and loving every day of my freedom