One of the first self-made myths I had to dispel when I chose to not allow nicotine to dictate the rhythm of my life was one referred to a couple of times of late on the boards. The assertion that we chose to take a break in the action to 'fix things' by stepping out or away to inhale some nicotine laden tobacco smoke. That we told ourselves nicotine supposedly had all of these wonderful properties - it picked us up, calmed us down, made us more social, helped us deal with difficult issues, sharpened our wit, helped us laugh and enjoy a splash through the surf or climb a mountain - like is depicted in so many advertisements for this dangerous and addictive product. Well you and I can now both see that those assertions are ridiculous in the extreme. As the distance from inhaling that last puff of choking smoke increases the clarity of the truth of the matter of tobacco smoke inhalation comes into sharp focus. As Joel's classic essay - Smoking Breaks - makes clear we repeatedly made a break in our daily activity to go inhale nicotine because we were feeling the anxiety effects of early withdrawal, not because we needed to take a break in our routine. One of the at first surprising things I discovered when reclaiming my freedom from nicotine dependency was that I could stay at my desk or drive a car or do yard work or watch TV or stay at a party talking with people for an almost unlimited amount of time. Didn't need to run away and hide to inhale some 'bad air'. I did learn to take breaks for relaxation or sustenance as my body - not my mind - demanded. Recognizing needs is a wonderful take on that aspect of recovery by long time member of Freedom O'Bob.
Why Do I Smoke is a Joel's Reinforcement Library staple of recovery education. That article sure made it clear for me, finally, the answer to that question I'd long asked myself and others had asked of me.
Tearing down the wall is an article written by the founder of WhyQuit and co-founder of this forum, John Polito. It's highly recommended reading that helps, I believe, to set the foundation to an educated recovery journey.
We all need to rethink the links we created between activity and dependency. Look past former usage patterns and see the cause and effect of active nicotine dependency. Nobody relies on nicotine to get though life's activities. Life's activities became linked to nicotine usage because we couldn't go more than 40 minutes to an hour without dosing again ....or we felt the withdrawal anxiety effects of low nicotine levels in our bloodstream. We experience anger and sadness and even crying not because we are missing something that served a purpose. We experience extremes of emotion during early recovery because our brain is healing, because our receptor count in the emotional control center of our brain is being down-regulated to a normal and natural level once nicotine is no longer present.
Restoring volume control
Nicotine - a neuromodulator
Which came first....the chicken or the egg? That's a tough one, have yet to see a definite answer to that question.
Which came first....inhaling tobacco smoke to ingest nicotine to satisfy a chemical dependence or the habituation of that constant routine?
Without a doubt, the addiction comes first and hence fosters use patterns and habits.
The aim at Freedom from Tobacco / Nicotine has always been to present 100% factual and verifiable information to assist members and non-member readers to work their way through abrupt cessation and the many adjustments that come with dependency recovery. My only aim with this post is to help others also see that what we are recovering from is not a 'bad habit' but a true chemical dependency. I wish it was just a nasty little habit .......but it's not. Years upon years of conditioning and rationalizations did not lead us to taking control of our addiction dependency. The teaching of conventional wisdom everywhere else but at Freedom did not help us realize that we are addicts, true chemical addicts who need to get clean, stay clean and work our way through recovery in order to 'quit smoking'. As it says in the essay by O'Bob - I am an addict! Hooray! - in order to quit smoking we need to ......quit smoking. We don't need to quit doing anything else nor do we need to start doing anything else. We simply need to disconnect the addiction dependency cycle. What Joel teaches has proved to be 100% true - Life goes on without smoking.
Habits, associations, links ....to tobacco use? Sure. I had 'em too. Millions of them. Still do actually but they do not matter anymore. Rationalizations, denial and blame transference in abundance yet they have no effect on how I live my life as a free person. That's who I used to be, not who I am now - an ex-smoker comfortable with my recovery. What I'm attempting to share with you is that even after 40+ years (or in the case of my parents much longer) the habit component drops away by simply dealing with the source cause - nicotine addiction. Change the way you think and you will change your life.
Joe J free since I chose to live life clean of nicotine on 1/10/05.