Crave episodes: the bigger the better

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

Crave episodes: the bigger the better

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 Jan 2006, 21:54 #1

Image
Craves episodes: the bigger the better
Although the above crave episode chart reflects averages of quitter data from a specific study of a unique population, it shows two factors common to every recovery: that the number of daily crave episodes (those mini panic attacks) will peak, and that they will then begin to gradually decline. I'd like to focus on the decline.

Nicotine's two-hour half-life inside human blood serum combined with dependency onset (initial neuronal saturation, desensitization and loss of use autonomy) and tolerance (the mind's continuing desensitization to the presence of increasing amounts of nicotine - known as a4b2 receptor count upregulation) to compel each of us to seek regular nicotine replenishment. Without even realizing it, we each selected our own unique nicotine feeding patterns in order to avoid sensing the arrival of urges and anxieties associated with the onset of early nicotine withdrawal.

Unless hiding in a closet or locked up in a hospital room, we had no choice but to meet, greet, defeat and extinguish the bulk of our subconscious mind's normal daily nicotine feeding cues within the first week. The early stream of battles in extinguishing our normal daily primary use cues kept us on our toes, prepared and ready, on a moment's notice to swing into action.

The above graph shows that by the 10th day the average quitter was experiencing just 1.4 crave episodes per day. That translates to less than five minutes of serious challenge. But what about the days that follow? What would be the normal, natural and expected consequences of beginning to go entire days without encountering an un-extinguished crave trigger? What would happen to anticipation, your preparedness, your defenses, battle plans and your recovery guard?

For purposes of discussion only, let's pretend that during days 14, 15 and 16, that although you remained occupied in dealing with highly controllable conscious thoughts about wanting to smoke, that you did not encounter any un-extinguished nicotine feeding cue. Although unlikely that you'd notice, wouldn't it be normal to begin to relax and slowly lower your guard?

And then it happens. On day 17 you encounter a subconscious crave trigger that wasn't part of normal daily life. It catches you totally unprepared, off-guard and surprised. You scramble to muster your defenses but it's as if they too are being swallowed by a fast moving tsunami of rising anxieties. You feel as if you've been sucker-punched hard by the most intense crave ever.  It feels endless. Your conscious thinking mind tells you that things are getting worse, not better. The thought of throwing in the towel and giving-up suddenly begins sloshing through a horrified mind.

It is then, when things seem worst, that we need to briefly pause and reflect upon what we're really seeing. Things are not getting worse but better. Think about how long it's been since your last significant challenge and how relaxed you had allowed yourself to become. It's likely that this episode is no more intense than prior craves. But you'd taken off your life jacket and you couldn't quickly locate and put it on. You panicked.

If an event similar should happen to you I'd encourage you to stop, reflect and then celebrate!!! You've reclaimed so many once conditioned aspects of a nicotine dependent life that serious challenges are growing rare. Oh, you'll still encounter remote or possibly even seasonal triggers but with the passing of time they'll grow further apart, shorter in duration and generally less intense.

Try to keep a clock handy as recovery time distortion is very real and a less than three minute episode can feel much longer. None of us will ever be stronger than nicotine but then we don't need to be as it's simply a chemical with an IQ of zero. Trust your dreams to your vastly superior intelligence, your greatest weapon of all.

Still just one guiding principle, a principle that no matter how far we travel or how deep our comfort becomes will always remain our common bond ... no nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff!

John (Gold x6)

Image 
Last edited by John (Gold) on 13 Oct 2012, 11:05, edited 1 time in total.
Reply

ChurnedSue
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:01

13 Jan 2006, 21:57 #2

Very helpfulImage
Sue
Nicotine free since 12 .15 am 1/1/2006
Reply

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 Jan 2006, 20:39 #3

Image


Be prepared for a natural transition where you begin coming out of your war mode and lowering your guard. If any crave episode feels worse than before, stop, reflect on the date of your last real challenge and then celebrate!



 Image
Last edited by John (Gold) on 13 Oct 2012, 11:08, edited 2 times in total.
Reply

FoolishWorkinj
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:06

20 Jan 2006, 23:16 #4

This was really helpful to me today.
Reply

0124tracyquits
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:59

09 Feb 2006, 10:15 #5

Thank you John!! I love this post!

I am the newbie who has recently been bragging about how easy I feel my quit has been to date (11 Days, 5 Hours and 5 Minutes). Today, I had my hardest day so far. I can recall at least 2 crave episodes where I was really beginning to "wig-out". It took me totally by surprise and I had no real explanation for why today should have been any different than the last 11 days. (My routine and regular triggers haven't changed at all) but WHAM...out of the blue...there was the monster breathing down my neck.

I decided to come to the Freedom site and read, post or anything to get my mind off of cigarettes. Then one of the first threads I came across was this one and these words (your words) explained it all. Thank you, thank you!!

Tracy - Free and Healing for Eleven Days, 5 Hours and 14 Minutes. I have extended my life by 18 Hours by avoiding the use of 224 cigarettes that would have cost me $82.61.
And then it happens. On day 17 you encounter a subconscious crave trigger that wasn't part of normal daily life. It catches you totally unprepared, off-guard and surprised. You scramble to muster your defenses but it's as if they too are being swallowed by a fast moving tsunami of rising anxieties. You feel as if you've been sucker-punched hard by the most intense crave ever. It feels endless. Your conscious thinking mind tells you that things are getting worse, not better. The thought of throwing in the towel and giving-up suddenly begins sloshing through a horrified mind.

It is then, when things seem worst, that we need to briefly pause and reflect upon what we're really seeing. Things are not getting worse but better. Think about how long it's been since your last significant challenge and how relaxed you've allowed yourself to become. It's likely that this episode is no more intense than prior craves. But you'd taken off your life jacket and you couldn't quickly locate it and put it on. You panicked.

If an event similar should happen to you I'd encourage you to stop, reflect and then celebrate!!! You've reclaimed so many once conditioned aspects of a nicotine dependent life that serious challenges are growing rare. Oh you'll still encounter remote or even seasonal triggers but with the passing of time they'll grow further apart, shorter in duration and generally less intense.
Reply

JJGambino
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:32

24 Feb 2006, 04:27 #6

regarding above post in blue: I hope so, because it's really something. I stopped using nicotine on 2/1/06 at 8 am. The cravings have gotten fewer and further between, but when they do come....it's like a punch in the face!! Everytime, I feel that I almost might.....but I don't. When the craving hits, it's almost like it doesn't matter how long I've been quit for. I'm in that moment at that time and I'm soooo close to relapse. Like the grip is only loosened. I guess this will get better with time though.
Reply

vbede772
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:55

24 Feb 2006, 05:01 #7

I had some major fights up until week 6...I nearly told myself I couldn't keep living like that and was about ready to give up. I was tired of fighting. I came here and read and read some more. I decided to give it one more day. I did the same thing the next day and the next. At some unknown time during that tough period I stopped fighting without knowing it. I realized that the quit was somehow easier and more comfortable...not total comfort---but very close.

Looking back now from 4 months quit I can definitely say I am glad I stuck with it. It's so very worth it. I can breathe freely now. I am not tied to any particular place--I can go anywhere and stay as long as I want. There is nothing I "need" to go get every night, or morning or whatever. I can sit in a meeting for 3 hours in comfort. I alone make the decisions...no drug has any power over my thoughts. I am truly free for the first time in 15 years.

You must resolve just to NTAP for the moment you are in...and just keep doing that over and over until you get to a time when you aren't having to fight so hard. If there is one easy trend to spot among the quitters it is that with time the quit only gets better and easier. I had to realize I wasn't different. I had to do my suffering and facing of the truth just like anyone else here. I'm an addict. I used cigarettes for nicotine...period. Nicotine and the chemicals in cigarettes will likely kill you and will definitely make your life miserable even if they don't. Do not romanticize your addiction---there is nothing romantic about it. See it for what it really was---an expensive, dirty, life-threatening addiction and let it go.

I'm not yet at the comfort I hear of from the long time quitters. I don't think I have had that magical day where I don't have any thoughts about my quit or smoking or whatever yet. This is not to say I am not comfortable...I very much am for 23 hrs and 59 mins per day.

I wish I could let "younger" quitters into my mind for a day---then they would know to stick with their quits. But I can't. You just have to trust me...and the many many other longer term quitters here that it will get better...it's not always going to be the struggle it is for you today or tomorrow or next week.

And remember...you are doing just fine as long as you NTAP. You ARE in control of what you do. You do have a choice in the matter. Rationally, there is only one thing to do---and that is NTAP. There is no valid reason for a relapse. I understand tough times---cry, scream, squeeze a pair of socks---whatever you must do---but NTAP and you will get to feel comfort someday soon.

Jeff, 4 months, 7 days nicotine free
Reply

JoeJFree Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Feb 2006, 06:41 #8

Wise words indeed Jeff.
We don't find comfort, it finds us when we are willing to allow it entry.

I see the word "Crave" bandied about here alot lately. Craves are physical in nature and are actually very rare in a quit after the first two weeks. Can they happen after that time? Yes. They are anxiety based for the most part and come on when our minds are allowed to escalate thoughts of smoking into something akin to a want or desire to use a cigarette. But I ask you WHY (not you Jeff) are you allowing that to happen?
Once nicotine is removed there is no Need for the chemical. Thoughts, and in some fashion, desires will remain for quite awhile. I still have 'smoking' thoughts of one kind or another. So What!

What you need to ask yourself - young quitter - is will you ever want to go back to ingesting nicotine and rekindling your addiction more than you want to never be ensnared by the grip of nicotine addiction agian.

Jeff tells true, we all do who have gone beyond wanting.
Comfort will come to all who keep their personal pledge to NTAP.

Thanks for the great affirming post Jeff.

Be Free, it's the way you're supposed to be.
There is no legitimate reason to relapse.

I have not had a flutter in my heartbeat, feel it in my gut have to breathe deep and slow crave since a few days before my Bronze milestone passing. I may have one again, I may not. I've had thoughts and urges reminders to be sure.

But there is no thought or urge or even an honest to goodness have to grab my knees and grit my teeth crave that would cause me to give up my long sought Freedom From Tobacco by lighting up or taking a dip. No way never never uh uh uh.

How bout You?

JoeJ Free - NicotineFree and Living as I was meant to be for One Year, One Month, Thirteen Days, 7 Hours and 19 Minutes, while reclaiming 35 Days and 12 Hours, Image by choosing not to use 10233 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $2,055.32.
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 13 Oct 2012, 11:15, edited 1 time in total.
Reply

KatieDidIt1999
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Feb 2006, 07:46 #9

JoeJ,
You said "I have not had a flutter in my heartbeat, feel it in my gut have to breathe deep and slow crave since a few days before my Bronze milestone passing." I don't have to tell you how much good it did me to hear that because I know you've been where I am. It's probably the most fantastic thing I've heard all week. Thank you for writing it.
Kat
Reply

JoeJFree Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Feb 2006, 09:08 #10

Kat,

You are welcome. I would like to add that I had that reaction MAYBE a total of 8 times from day one. The first 6 were in the first two weeks. Read my journal, the story of the last 'Biggie' is in there.

I'll also let you know that I had nearly those same type anxiety attacks (yep that's what the are not really craves for a drug no longer in play) nearly every time I seriously would begin thinking about getting rid of 'my cigs'.

Little did I know that worrying about quitting was much worse than the actual temporary period of adjustment we commonly call quitting. I never was able to break free until I paid the 72 hour price of admission to Freedom forum and became nicotine clean. As soon as I regained control I knew I was gonna make my way back to the real me I'd left behind in my childhood. By simply NTAP, no matter what. The logic is irrefuable.

In my mind the most important part of my message and Jeff's as well is that comfort comes to all who are stubbornly determined enough to get through a couple of tough patches and break on through to a calm state of mind that will bring a lifetime of comfort being who we were meant to be by staying nicotine free. It really is as elemental as NTAP.

Joe
Reply