Crutches to Quit Smoking

Joel
Joel

October 16th, 2002, 1:35 am #21

I just tackled the sunflower seed crutch that I have heard used often on the Internet and for even longer from people coming into clinics.

Sunflower seeds are not that particularly low in calories. One ounce worth which can easily be eaten in a serving would be 162 calories. Lets day you "treat" yourself to one serving a day at one ounce each as a kind of crutch replacement to quitting smoking. In one month you would have consumed 4,860 extra calories which will translate to almost 1.4 pounds of fat. In one year this replacement behavior if not stopped would translate to over 16 pounds of extra fat. Be careful with food as a substituted behavior, no matter how natural the food may be.

The only crutch that involves no risk or implications is breathing. You can do it any time and any where you want to and the day you have to stop breathing, well smoking probably wouldn't make a difference that particular day. Except even on that dreadful day taking a drag would rob you of your final victory to have proven to yourself and the world that you were a person of your word--for the day you joined here and quit smoking you had made a promise to yourself that you were personally committed to never take another puff!

Joel

Joel
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Joel
Joel

March 17th, 2003, 11:49 pm #22

I saw where one member wrote to another member that he or she should do what ever it takes to quit smoking. The example specifically given was drink water or eat ice cream. I have to say, if someone plans on going the ice cream route they had better be ready to go buy a whole slew of complete wardrobes, of ever increasing sizes. If your crutch for smoking thoughts are going to be any high caloric food weight gain of massive amounts should be expected.

As far as using whatever it takes, I guess that can be translated to taking any food, any drug, legal or illegal to quit smoking or any activity, no matter how ludicrous or dangerous that activity may be. Does the comment smoke crack cocaine, or shoot up heroin, or drink lethal dosages of arsenic make any sense to anyone as practical advice to quit smoking? If not, the comment of do whatever it takes loses any real concept of credibility.

The comment needs to be do what it takes to quit smoking. What it takes is simply sticking to your commitment to never take another puff!

Joel
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

August 15th, 2003, 3:12 am #23

This is an issue to be aware of. The question you need to ask yourself:
"am I doing whatever it is I'm doing as a REPLACEMENT for my nic-fix?"
Not every new behavior is a replacement. Some are healthy adjustments we make when we realize that we've been substituting nicotine for various normal activities like drinking water, or taking naps (see Recognizing needs). Some things we do are simply comforting activities that help us cope with the anxiety that often surrounds quittng (back rubs, a walk on the beach, a cool glass of water....). Only you know whether something has crossed the line, and become a replacement; it's a question you need to ask yourself.
Last edited by OBob Gold on April 14th, 2009, 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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VoluntaryDebraSilver
VoluntaryDebraSilver

December 12th, 2003, 11:38 am #24

People who have never had a cigarette and won't ever have a cigarette--non-smokers, do things. They jog, exersize, eat chocolate, diet, stress, drink alcohol and on and on and on. When is it wrong for a recovering nicotine addict to do these things and normal for a non-smoker? Debra Flower - Free and Healing for Thirteen Days, 20 Hours and 8 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 1 Day and 10 Hours, by avoiding the use of 415 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $64.39.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 4th, 2004, 10:04 pm #25

Fear of Bad Health vs. Hope of Good Health
Bad or even failing health is often a powerful motivator in causing the actively feeding nicotine addict to contemplate engaging in nicotine dependency recovery but the amazing ability of the body to heal and mend itself, at least those bodily functions most visible to us (like smell, taste, improved breathing, and an obviously slower heart rate), can quickly leave the once wheezing quitter feeling that their primary concern was vastly overblown. When it comes to relapse it can almost feel like your crutch (fear of failing health) has been pulled out from beneath you as healing causes your primary motivation to seem to gradually evaporate before your very eyes.
Clearly we don't correct years of lung damage (

Smoking's Impact on the Lungs
Last edited by John (Gold) on April 14th, 2009, 1:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

January 13th, 2004, 10:12 pm #26

Turning to food, especially high calorie sweet foods, will usually result in a psychological need with a subsequent weight gain. The risk of weight gain is insignificant in comparison to the dangers associated with cigarettes. The ex-smoker would have to gain over 100 pounds to create the equivalent health hazard of cigarette smoking. But weight gain often results in a state of panic and frustration which can lead the ex-smoker to conclude that he or she would rather be a skinny smoker than an obese ex-smoker. The fallacy which causes the ex-smoker to reach this conclusion is that only two options exist for him or her - smoke or eat more. In fact, other choices exist. One is not smoking and eating in a manner similar to when he or she was a smoker. Another is increasing activity levels to compensate for the added caloric intake when eating extra amounts.

Sidenote: The quantity of weight that needs to be gained to pose a similar risk to your heart as smoking is 75 pounds. The numbers were revised after I originally wrote this.
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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

January 16th, 2004, 9:07 am #27

Quitting by crutch replacement carries varying degrees of risks. Turning to any other addictive substance, even legal or prescribed drugs, carries the risk of a new addiction. In many of these cases the end result will be a more significant problem than just the original smoking. The new addiction can cause the person's life to end in shambles, and when it comes time to deal with the new dependance he or she will often relapse to cigarettes.
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Joel
Joel

May 24th, 2004, 9:47 pm #28

Be careful forming a support system with any other specific person on the board or even in your real life. Here is a link to the post on the potential pitfalls of a buddy system. Every person here needs to be independent of any other specific individual in regards to your quit. You can use the entire board as a support network, but don't be tied into any one individual. And you also should have some computer independent ammunition ready in those time where computer access becomes limited too.
The reason you must be careful of having your quit tied into another person's quit is that you do not know that that a specific individual will be there in a time of need or worse yet, that they will still be smoke free when you are in a weak moment. You can quit at the same time as other people but your quit must be for you and their quit must be for them. Both of you can make it though as long as you both understand the bottom line premise that to stay free you must never take another puff!
Joel
Last edited by Joel on April 14th, 2009, 1:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

June 9th, 2004, 7:25 pm #29

I saw where one newer member wrote to another longer term member that the newer members needed him or her here. This is not the case. This string talks about how even Freedom itself should not be used as a cructh, let alone any specific member. It is dangerous to feel that your quit is contingent on any specific person or group. Your quit is only contingent on one person and one person only and that person is you. Your quit will continue to succeed as long as you stay totally committed to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

June 20th, 2004, 10:39 pm #30

I see a few people are experiencing technical difficulties while trying to post. There is a danger of using anything as a crutch, even Freedom itself. For if you ever experience tough times during times when we are experiencing technical difficulties, either reading or posting at Freedom may not be possible, you can start to feel that your quit will not stick since you don't have us as a crutch. We need to be seen as a tool, a source of information of how to quit and how to stay off even more than a source of support. In the technological world a particular website may not always be going 24 hours a day 365 days a year without interruption, or your computer capabilities may not be able to get here at some points in time.

If you have learned our lessons, keep reinforcing your own primary reasons for first wanting to quit, keep reminding yourself why you still don't want to go back and keep our one simple message in your mind at all times, even if you can't read it at the board at the moment, just remembering it will insure that you will do fine. The message is that no matter what seems to go wrong in life that to stay free during it only requires keeping in practice your commitment to never take another puff!
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Joel
Joel

July 3rd, 2004, 11:00 pm #31

Sometimes activities like running are options that opens up to people once they quit smoking. For the record though, running is something that a person may be able to do now because they want to, not because they have to. This article discusses the importance of always keeping that distinction. The only exercise a person has to do to sustain his or her quit is to always exercise his or her option to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

August 21st, 2004, 7:10 pm #32

The reason a person will have been smoke-free for a week, or a month, or a year, or a decade is not because of some other activity he or she has repetitively done or some other substance he or she had put in his or her mouth, but rather he or she will still be successfully smoke free because of one thing he or she has not put in his or her mouth--a cigarette. To keep this quit going is as simple as sticking to your personal commitment to never take another puff!

Joel
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

September 27th, 2004, 7:35 pm #33

Could Articles from Joel's Library Form a Crutch?
As Joel points out above, not only can Freedom become a crutch that could be quickly removed by storm, server down time, a computer crash or finances, but written words printed upon paper can be formed into a crutch that if leaned upon too heavily and unavailable at a moment of challenge could threaten recovery.
A crutch is any activity, person, place or thing that you tie to success in quitting and lean upon so heavily that if suddenly removed or unavailable could increase the risk or likelihood of relapse.
If you should forget to carry your list of reasons with you one day, or your favorite Joel article isn't in your pocket or purse when that next challenge strikes, you'll do just fine so long as you maintain a bit of perspective (a subconscious crave episode will last less than three minutes but be sure and look at a clock as recovery time distortion can make the minutes feel like hours) and remember that it is impossible to lose so long as no nicotine finds its way into your bloodstream. No nicotine just one challenge, hour and day at a time ... Never Take Another Puff! John (Gold x5)
Last edited by John (Gold) on April 14th, 2009, 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

October 6th, 2004, 7:24 am #34

weight gain often results in a state of panic and frustration which can lead the ex-smoker to conclude that he or she would rather be a skinny smoker than an obese ex-smoker. The fallacy which causes the ex-smoker to reach this conclusion is that only two options exist for him or her - smoke or eat more. In fact, other choices exist. One is not smoking and eating in a manner similar to when he or she was a smoker.

If you are going to develop a crutch, make sure it is one which you can maintain for the rest of your life without any interruption. One that carries no risks and can be done anywhere, anytime. About the only crutch which comes close to meeting these criteria is breathing. The day you have to stop breathing, smoking will be of little concern. But until that day, to stay free from cigarettes all you need to do is - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
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Pryde65 GOLD
Pryde65 GOLD

November 1st, 2004, 3:02 am #35

As I learned last night, let nothing be your crutch! That crutch may not be there when you need it most, that person, this board, whatever, and then you will be left with nothing to lean on, nobody to turn to except for yourself and your knowledge...educate yourself and prepare for anything...be ready, be alert, and then you just never take another puff, period.

Sue
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Joel
Joel

December 22nd, 2004, 10:06 pm #36

I saw where a member was saying that drinking tea now was making a huge difference in his quit. Taking any specific food or beverage is not in reality going to make or break a quit. The thought that a specific food is going to have a huge impact can easily turn that food or drink into a psychological crutch. It does not matter what other things you put into your mouth, as long as you don't put one specific class of things into your mouth or onto your skin (for patch users.) That thing is nicotine. As long as you keep totally clear of tobacco or nicotine products your quit will stay strong and secure, by simply sticking with your commitment to never take another puff!.
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Joel
Joel

December 31st, 2004, 12:33 pm #37

A suggestion was put up to a member facing a stressful situation to consider taking a glass of wine in order to deal with the stress instead of smoking. This post explains the limitations and potential problems associated with that advice.
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Alyson GOLD.ffn
Alyson GOLD.ffn

January 11th, 2005, 2:38 am #38

For all the newbies -

You don't need to adopt any new behaviors to quit smoking (and as Joel's article suggests - even positive lifestyle changes can hurt your recovery more than they help). All you need to do is NTAP. ODAT.

Alyson
Gold x2
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Ladybug592
Ladybug592

January 19th, 2005, 11:33 pm #39

Since I was a little girl I have an addiction: fruits.... love fruits!
That's one addiction I will never get rid off, and I found out that, when the 'urge' for a cig comes a knocking, I grab few grapes, and the 'cig urge' is gone in no time! I use to smoke a lot in front of my computer, so when I get on it, I have an apple and munch on it slowly, watching TV some peach, or plum, well, you get the idea, it has a double benefit, your cig craving is gone and you are eating something that is good for you.
Ana

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Joel
Joel

January 20th, 2005, 12:55 am #40

This article discusses the limitations of using any food item as a crutch. The primary limitation is that at some point the specific food may be unavailable at a time when a cigarette presents itself. The reason I want to address the post above is the comment written that the person has been addicted to fruit for a long time. I'm going to pose a few questions to the person.

Have you ever gone through the garbage to take an extra couple of bites from a piece of fruit that was discarded hours earlier? Have you ever seen a half eaten piece of fruit in a gutter and gotten a little bit excited that maybe you can get a couple of extra bites out of it now? Do you see apples or pears with just a bite or two out of them on tables in restaurants and sneak them out to devour later? If your doctor were to tell you today that he was going to do a surgery where you couldn't chew or taste food for a few days or weeks, would you be asking him to make an extra large orifice into your throat to accommodate getting a pear or an orange straight to your stomach? (see the post "I smoke because I like the flavor" )

If your answer to these questions is "no," understand that what you have to fruit is not an addiction. You like fruit but fruit does not control you and fruit has not been slowly crippling you or threatening your life. Nicotine addiction has been controlling you and threatening your health and your life. We want to make sure that no people who read here minimizes just what are members and readers are dealing with. We are dealing with a drug addiction--an addiction that is only kept at bay by a total understanding and commitment to stop delivering nicotine from all tobacco and nicotine replacement products and as far as for smoking tobacco products to stick with the promise that you made to yourself to never take another puff!

Joel
Last edited by Joel on April 14th, 2009, 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

February 2nd, 2005, 6:10 am #41

Some people turn to a healthy alternative as a crutch, like jogging or swimming. These activities carry low risk and, in fact, often result in physical benefits. But if they are being done as a direct crutch in maintaining abstinence, they pose one major threat. As with drugs, alcohol, or food, when the day comes that one must stop the activity, the seemingly successful ex-smoker will often relapse. Sometimes a minor ankle sprain will temporarily end a jogger's running, or an ear infection will interfere with swimming. What should be a temporary minor inconvenience ends in a tragic result - relapse to cigarettes. Again, the ex-smoker believes that only one of two states exist for him or her - either smoking or mandatory exercise. But, in actuality, a third choice exists, not smoking and doing nothing. This is not to say an ex-smoker should not take up physical activities after quitting. But exercise should be done for the enjoyment and for the true benefits derived from it. The ex-smoker should do it because he or she wants to, not because he or she has to. The above paragraph gave a couple examples of how a minor injury or illness can effect our ability to do certain activities and how dangerous that can be if the activity is in any way viewed as a cruth. Being in the heart of cold and flu season, it is important for people to know that there may be some limitations encountered in day to day activities if you get any kind of these common infections. Just know that over time you will be less likely to get infections and more likely to recover from them quicker when you do by simply sticking to your commitment to never take another puff!

Joel
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

April 13th, 2005, 9:59 pm #42

Yes, even exercise can be a crutch
I received the below email on April 9, 2005 and Heather consented to my sharing it here at Freedom.

I started smoking at age 15, and quit finally at 27 to run a marathon. After the marathon, I had some injuries and had to stop working out. I also started smoking again--Amazing how strong the devil is! I can't believe it, but I was a smoker again for another 3 years. Smokers always feel like outcasts, but I felt even more ashamed by my smoking, because see firsthand how devastating smoking is.
My mom has been smoking for 30 years, and has COPD. She's so out of breath that sometimes it takes her nearly the whole day to even just comb her hair. She also has stools placed a few feet apart throughout her house. This is so she can stop, rest, and catch her breath every few steps when trying to walk from one end of the house to the other (it's a small house!). She's not even 60 years old. : (
Fed up, I quit cold turkey again, and often look at WhyQuit for encouragement. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you are doing here; I often refer friends who still smoke here for information and support.

Best wishes,
Heather
Last edited by John (Gold) on April 14th, 2009, 1:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

April 26th, 2005, 12:00 am #43

Even drinking water when ever you have an smoking thought can be an ill advised crutch. Sure it poses a minimum risk of any health problem or any weight issues, but what happens of going for a drink of water is what you believe you need to do to stave off an urge? What happens if one day you are alone in a forest preserve, a desert or some other isolated place and you come across a pack of cigarettes and a lighter and all of a sudden it looks tempting. You look north, south, east and west and there is not a water fountain or any other source of water in sight. You can panic and now think that the way you sustain your quit is by drinking water, there is no water around and you now have to smoke.

Again, as it says above:
If you are going to develop a crutch, make sure it is one which you can maintain for the rest of your life without any interruption. One that carries no risks and can be done anywhere, anytime. About the only crutch which comes close to meeting these criteria is breathing. The day you have to stop breathing, smoking will be of little concern. But until that day, to stay free from cigarettes all you need to do is - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
Last edited by Joel on February 15th, 2010, 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

May 12th, 2005, 9:41 pm #44

I just saw a post suggesting a nice way to celebrate being successfully off smoking for a year is to buy a bottle of wine to share with friends and loved ones. It made me think of the original article here and the commentary I attached the other day.

The casual suggestion of celebrating successfully not smoking for a given time period with an alcoholic beverage of any kind really does not belong at a site dealing with treating a drug addiction. Are there people who may celebrate this way here at Freedom? Sure there are--I suspect that a lot of our members drink occasionally. But there are some members and readers here who don't drink to celebrate either by personal choice or, because they can no longer drink to celebrate without having to drink all of the time whether there is anything to celebrate or not. These are people who are recovering alcoholics and who hopefully know their own limitations. I suspect that some of these people may be put off by the suggestion of using alcohol to celebrate quitting smoking. Also, there are likely members and readers here who while they may not be alcoholic themselves, they may have family members and friends who are and who may think that buying wine to share with these people is not an appropriate method of celebrating breaking free from the nicotine addiction.

As it says above:

...do not use this site to glamorize drinking. There are people here who are recovering alcoholics who find posting about the fun and glamour of drinking to be quite disconcerting. Also, the frequent use of the emoticons, portraying a mug or a champaign toast are really seen as poor taste to these people. Put yourself in their place--if you belonged to a site that was on a totally different topic, and people came in touting the joys of recreational smoking, you would feel the need to enlighten the group or could be offended and annoyed with the casual way the subject was being portrayed. You could then either feel the need to take it head on and stir up debate with the group, or just leave the group. Neither of these options is acceptable to us at Freedom--for we have strict policies about diversional posts, and the idea of a person leaving because of an issue that is really unnecessary is abhorrent to us. Because the people who are here trying to secure their quits are here because they are fighting for their lives. Their needs then take precedent over people who are here for more social or fun reasons. Freedom is a quit smoking education and support site. We try to get the message out that life goes on without smoking--things you could do before can still be done after quitting. Things that could not be done before, such as safe or controlled drinking for a recovering alcoholic cannot be done now either. So as a general rule of thumb now, we are asking members to minimize the amount of time they are posting about drinking at this site. We have ample strings to cover alcohol issues. We will continue to bring them up as holidays come up, and around weekends where drinking situations are often encountered more frequently. But we ask that people who are regular users of alcohol not to raise the issue over and over again.


All posting members need to stay cognizant of this concept. It is not saying that issues involving drinking cannot be discussed. Again, if a person finds him or herself in a social drinking situation and it creates smoking thoughts, or if a person is nervous about how to get through a party or gathering where he or she will be drinking, it is totally legitimate to raise these concerns and for others to explain how they deal with such circumstances. Suggesting or encouraging the use of alcohol though to others who you do not know their full histories on is a risky proposition.

As we discuss in the thread The Freedom Classroom:

Since December of 2002 we have had over 1,056,000 distinct hosts view pages at www.whyquit.com. If only 10% of these people find their way to Freedom it would still be over 100,000 people. The numbers may be higher. While we don't know the exact numbers of people who do read we know it is a lot. Every person posting at Freedom has an awesome responsibility because every word you are writing is capable of influencing hundreds or even thousands of people. Considering what we are trying to influence them to do, which is to quit smoking and to save their lives, it is easy to see how why we feel that this is indeed an awesome responsibility.


So everyone be aware and stay cognizant to the fact any advice written on this board is being read by hundreds to thousands of people. Make sure that any specific suggestions that you are sharing is sound advice for all people. Offering celebratory drinks to all people is an unwarranted suggestion in the event the people who you may be making the offer to are people in recovery from alcohol.

It is similar to our members getting offered a cigar to celebrate the birth of a baby or other special occasions. While the act may seem acceptable to some people in some social circles, I think most of our members and readers would feel that this act would be uncomfortable to say the least, and in poor taste if the offer was being made by a person who knew you had quit smoking, and that you had made it clear to that person that you realize that you are a nicotine addict and cannot smoke without relapsing.

Be prepared that such offers may occur from others. Offers for drinks will likely happen at times even if you are a person who is in recovery from alcohol. Understand that if you are a person in recovery that the reason that you have maintained your sobriety up to this point is that you have worked out some sort of response to deal with such offers and the bottom line is that it is your responsibility to stick to your commitment not to drink.

The same concept holds true for all of our members regarding smoking. I hope most of our members and readers never find themselves feeling that there is a right time to pass along a cigar or any tobacco product to another person to celebrate any event. All members and readers must be aware though that offers of tobacco products to you can occur over time. Once again, it is the personal responsibility of each member and reader to sustain his or her own quit even at such times by remembering that in spite of the nature of these offers that the only way to sustain your own quit and truly have something to celebrate is to stick to your own personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
Last edited by Joel on February 15th, 2010, 4:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Joel
Joel

July 26th, 2005, 12:46 am #45

I saw toothpicks and sunflower seeds mentioned in a "gold" post. I am bringing up a few posts addressing how new quitters don't need to start in on these or any other products to quit--in a way they all carry a certain risk. In the case of toothpicks, they can become a crutch as talked about in this article--and for sunflower seeds, besides just being a crutch they can lead to excess calorie consumption and weight gain. All that a person must take in order to sustain a quit is some simple advice--which is simply to stop administering nicotine and then to stick with a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
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