Crutches to Quit Smoking

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

02 Feb 2005, 06:10 #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)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Apr 2005, 21:59 #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 14 Apr 2009, 13:34, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Apr 2005, 00:00 #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 15 Feb 2010, 16:41, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 May 2005, 21:41 #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 15 Feb 2010, 16:40, edited 2 times in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Jul 2005, 00:46 #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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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 Jan 2006, 07:30 #46

Rubber bands...an age old technique of putting a rubber band around your own wrist so that when you get a smoking thought you snap it and hurt yourself. Supposed to be a form of aversion therapy. You see, it can make a person think that if they take a puff they will get a sudden sharp pain in their wrist.

I do suspect that it will work if you are trying to get your pet rodent to quit smoking. They will learn to associate smoking with pain and be afraid that if they take a puff a sudden sharp pain will come out of no where.

I feel this technique has limited use on people though--at least people who are smart enough to realize that the pain they are feeling in their wrist isn't really coming from the cigarette at all. It actually just came from that awful rubber band that makes that loud snapping sound when ever the person himself or herself pulls on it and lets go.

If the person really thinks about it he or she will recognize that he or she can actually take a puff and not snap the band and thus avoid any real pain or damage.

Problem is, that last statement isn't true. Oh yes, the person can take a drag and avoid inducing a wrist pain by skipping the rubber band trick. But he or she is still going to be inducing lots of damage to many tissues throughout his or her body whether he or she feels it or not.

As you can tell, I am not a big fan of the technique. I want people to work on a cognitive level--really putting thought into why they don't want to be a smoker as opposed to going for a quick aversion technique.

If a person spends a little time and focuses on seeing smoking for what it really is and the kind of pain, suffering and destruction it really can cause he or she will walk away from any smoking thought with his or her resolve reinforced to never take another puff.

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Mar 2006, 01:20 #47

I saw where one newer quitter expressed the thought that exercise is the greatest ally that a person can give themselves.

There are some people that due to physical limitations or injuries cannot exercise. These people are just as able to quit smoking as anyone else, for exercise is not the ally that is going to make or break a quit. If I had to narrow it down to one thing that can really help a person to stay quit it is understanding of the addiction that he or she is fighting. Although, there are even plenty of ex-smokers out there in the real world, most of them him in fact who quit without even having the education that are readers have here.

There are things that some individuals may take on that do indeed help them when they quit. No one though should feel that he or she needs to do the same thing as other people have done.

From above:

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.

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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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

02 Jun 2006, 10:36 #48

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 75 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.

(I see this version of the article said that you would have to gain 100 pounds to add the strain on the heart that smoking could cause. I thought I fixed this to read 75 pounds quite a while ago. I don't remember where I first read the original figure but I know all of the recent ones I have seen have said 75 pounds. Just wanted to keep things accurate here.)
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Aug 2006, 04:40 #49

A crutch is any form of dependency recovery reliance that becomes so great that if removed could result in relapse.
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!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 Sep 2006, 06:02 #50

No one should be increasing alcohol consumption while quitting smoking.
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