Crutches to Quit Smoking

cxb cxb
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:17

04 Feb 2007, 03:14 #51

I've been thinking about this "crutches" idea.

#1 on control:
In the fall I tried to stop. I told myself that I could have anything I wanted except a cig. I would go to my favorite grocery store and wander around for a long time and collect things I thought would help - cupcakes, cheeses, lotions, magazines, etc. Although it was sort of fun, and I did manage to stop (for awhile? mostly?) I think the result was that I still felt totally out of control. And eventually I was back to smoking just as much, not even trying to stop, hating it just as much and being a little more disappointed in myself. And I got a little fatter too. :)

I like this new plan of just one simple idea, not taking another puff. It doesn't require any substitutes or gimmicks. I'm dependent only on myself.

I went to the store this morning and wanted to "treat" myself and settled on a little tube of lip balm that has a fun flavor. I think it's a nice treat, because I'm happy and proud and particularly fascinated by this newfound sense of smell and taste. But it's not an attempt to replace something that I feel I need.

#2 on this site:
I spend a lot of time here lately. I feel that I have a "love/un-love" relationship with my use of this site. I have such admiration and respect and love for all these people who are doing something positive for themselves and those around them. But there are sad stories here. And when I look up from my computer, I see all my colleagues, working away, productive, presumably most of them free to do so without the weight of an addiction. I'm envious of that. I wish I didn't have to spend so much time on this site. I felt good when I was outside in the street and in the sun today. Here I'm always confronting something that, although we are wonderfully optimistic and cheerful, is deadly serious. I'd like to find a way to spend just enough time here to feel comfortable and strong in my quit, but no more than that. I'd like to be more productive, out and about more.

Thanks Joel and everyone for being deadly serious.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Apr 2007, 19:59 #52

We seem to have a couple of members who are experiencing problems because they started eating and drinking more when they quit smoking. We make it very clear at Freedom that eating more is going to cause a person to gain weight and that drinking more after quitting is going to result in weight issues also, along with a host of other problems that are beyond the realm of this board. No one should be using food or drink as a substitution for cigarettes. No one. Any one who is going to use food and alcohol as a crutch is doing so on their own. We are not going to be able to deal with or fix the problems that these people induce by their crutch replacement.
From the string "Do whatever it takes to quit smoking"
As far as using "whatever it takes," I guess that can be translated to taking any food, any drug, legal or illegal, or participate in any activity, no matter how ludicrous or dangerous that activity might be. Does the comment smoke crack cocaine, or shoot up heroin, or drink as much alcohol as it takes, or admininster lethal dosages of arsenic or cyanide 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.
As far as quitting smoking goes, the advice should not be "do whatever it takes to quit smoking," but rather, "do what it takes to quit smoking." What it takes to quit smoking is simply sticking to your commitment to never take another puff!
Also see the string Alcohol - can people quit smoking and still drink alcohol?, and if you are having problems that you believe to be alcohol related read the sections on problem drinkers and active alcoholics.
Last edited by Joel on 14 Apr 2009, 13:54, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

04 Jun 2007, 21:39 #53

Video Title Dial Up HS/BB Audio Length Added
"What bad habit should I replace it with?" 1.86mb 18.4mb 0.75mb 05:04 10/02/06

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 Sep 2007, 07:51 #54

I saw a suggestion being made of getting up to brush your teeth after eating. This indeed is a good suggestion when it comes to the weight control aspect of cessation. As it says below:
Another very good solution is getting up and brushing your teeth. This can become the new cue for the end of the meal as well as improve dental hygiene. The clean feeling in your mouth may be a new pleasurable experience for an ex-smoker. While smoking, brushing of the teeth was often followed by a cigarette, compromising the overall cleansing process.

At the same time though, people must be careful not to use any activity, even healthy ones, as a crutch to quit smoking. 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!
Losing a tooth brush or a roll of dental floss can throw a person into a state of panic who thinks that the way he or she doesn't smoke is to brush his or her teeth or to floss. Be careful not to feel that your quit is contingent on any device or utensil. All that your quit is contingent on to insure success is sticking to your personal commitment to never take another puff.


forza d animo
Joined: 04 Apr 2005, 07:00

25 Oct 2007, 00:56 #55

If all of the ex-smokers were to take up straw chewing, it would do nothing to help them remain nicotine free but would make the manufacturers of plastic straws very happy.

We never smoked cigarettes because there were no straws to chew. We smoked because we are nicotine addicts. Believing that they are an effective deterent to smoking or somehow lessen the cravings for nicotine, may encourage the manufacturers of NRT to start including a supply of straws in their packages.

Buy your stock now as the price of straws is bound to increase with the demand.

Joined: 21 Apr 2009, 02:43

08 Jul 2009, 17:09 #56

So is this website tailored just for me???Image

It certainly seems that way some times. This is a situation I am presently dealing with (successfully I think).

I have two items to talk on.

First, I was just reading :

"A flood of recent studies teach that nicotine addiction is about living a lie. It's about an external chemical taking the minds priorities teacher hostage. It's about the brain's "pay attention" pathways compelling us to believe that that next nicotine fix is as important as eating when hungry or drinking fluids when thirsty. We all know what food cravings feel like. We also know the dopamine "aaah" sensation that arrives following obedience to them. Imagine your brain being fooled into seeing nicotine as food: food cravings, nicotine cravings - food dopamine "aaah" sensations, nicotine "aaahs."

I haven't had a nicotine "aaah" for three months but I did have a food dopamine "aaah" , actually it was coffee, less than a minute before reading the above passage. Although I have read it, I have never until now, put a nicotine "aah" remotely close to a food "aah".

Today I have felt and recognized these sensations as the same. Fortunately, I have never experienced food or water withdrawal mode so I can't attest to that one but today, I truly felt the dopamine sensation is the same for "maintenance purposes".

Now to the second topic. Addiction substitutions.

I hadn't read this thread recently but I knew I had strayed from the program and so the last few days had just started to search information about addiction substitutions. Started to find something of possible interest regarding carbohydrates and seratonin highs.

Sorry to say, I didn't find any website anything like our wonderful website.

So in a nutshell, for the first month I used food alot and then in the second month I believe I started to substitute the food by having a couple of beer every night. Rationalization, hey, the weather was turning nice, the nights are longer and beer and nice weather go hand in hand. As I typed, hand in hand, I had a thought, am I partially dealing with a hand/oral thing??? Regardless, that's a whack of extra calories and now I am having to deal with it.

I had been happily looking forward to my three month quit on Friday July 10 but when I started to take away the beer substitution I found myself falling lower on my "happy nicotine quit".

Early on, for a few weeks, I did find having a piece of gum after a meal was an excellent signal to stop and got rid of the after eating trigger. I do have coffee several times a week now, which I never drank before. For a few weeks, I drank large bottles of calorie free pop.

So please, all you guys who are starting out, I know it's seems hard but avoid the addiction substitution trap because just like our nicotine addiction, you may not get the chance to fix it later.

Think I am going to investigate the hand thing and see if I can find which is calorie free....or is this just my addictive personality looking for another crutch. Part of me says, maybe I should delete this post..... just digging myself in deeper. I'm such a loser. LOL Yeah I know, use positive self-talk.

No, we are supposed to keep a journal of our recovery so I won't delete.

I am going to shut-up now and get ready to go to work.

I'll be fine, I'll be fine, I'll be fine..................................LOL
The intelligent quitter's strategy combines an understanding of the Law of Addiction
with well-protected core motivations.

Nobody ever graduates from Addiction

Cathy, Gold

[Quit April 10, 2009]

forza d animo
Joined: 04 Apr 2005, 07:00

08 Jul 2009, 17:44 #57

In Massachusetts we have a saying for an "Ah Ha" moment - "The sun shines on Marblehead ..." No need to feel guilty. It's a journey that we are on as long as we keep our mind open we can continue to learn. Yes, this website was tailored just for you and for anyone else who has has made up their mind to never take another puff.

Joined: 06 Dec 2008, 16:58

08 Jul 2009, 21:36 #58

I join Joseph, Cathy, in agreeing that all of this was put here for you Image
In all frankness, brain reward pathways science is still in its infancy, with nicotine clearly being the most studied receptor agonist of all. Although we should be careful to distinguish between normal, natural and healthy stimulation, and stimulation via addictive chemicals, you're right, when ending nicotine use we should be extremely careful about using extra food, alcohol or caffeine in order to try and replace nicotine's "aaah" sensations.

As for the current state of nicotine science, let me close by sharing with you a few quotes from the most recent dopamine pathway study. Be proud of you Cathy as you've come far. Still just one rule ... none!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,


Nicotine-induced Upregulation of Nicotinic Receptors: Underlying Mechanisms and Relevance to Nicotine Addiction

Biochem Pharmacol. 2009 June 17. [Epub ahead of print]

Govind AP, Vezina P, Green WN.
Department of Neurobiology, University of Chicago, 947 E 58(th) street, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


A major hurdle in defining the molecular biology of nicotine addiction has been characterizing the different nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) subtypes in the brain and how nicotine alters their function. Mounting evidence suggests that the addictive effects of nicotine, like other drugs of abuse, occur through interactions with its receptors in the mesolimbic dopamine system, particularly ventral tegmental area (VTA) neurons, where nicotinic receptors act to modulate the release of dopamine. The molecular identity of the nicotinic receptors responsible for drug seeking behavior, their cellular and subcellular location and the mechanisms by which these receptors initiate and maintain addiction are poorly defined. In this commentary, we review how nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are upregulated by nicotine exposure, the potential posttranslational events that appear to cause it and how upregulation is linked to nicotine addiction.


Below is a sample of just one topic within the full text of the above study. Although few if any of us will be able to follow it, it gives a bit of the flavor of where things are in cutting edge dopamine pathway research. Upregulation is the growing or activation of new or additional acetylcholine receptors (referred to below as nAChR) in response to nicotine's presence. The above image is not from this study but suggests nicotine induced upregulation changes. Recovery is about returning counts to as normal as possible.

1.4. Nicotinic-induced upregulation of high-affinity nicotine binding

A slow acting change in nicotinic receptors caused by long-term exposure to nicotine is an increase or ''upregulation'' of high affinity nicotine binding sites in the brain. By comparing the brains of smokers to those of non-smokers, chronic exposure to nicotine was shown to cause an increased number of 3H-nicotine binding sites in postmortem human brains [92-94]. Similar increases in 3H-nicotine binding were observed in mouse [95] and rat brains [96,97] in response to repeated administration of nicotine. This upregulation in response to nicotine is posttranscriptional because no change in receptor subunit mRNA levels is observed for upregulation of high-affinity nicotine binding sites in vivo caused by nicotine exposure as long as 10 days [51]. The nicotine-induced
upregulation of binding sites has been interpreted as an increase in the number of nicotinic receptors and, consequently, an increased sensitivity to nicotine [98,99]. It is important to note that 3Hagonist binding is not necessarily an exact measure of the number of nicotinic receptors. Because agonist binding alters receptor conformation and nAChR affinity for the agonist, as discussed above, it is possible that nicotine exposure changes the receptor's affinity for nicotine. Equilibrium binding measurements were performed and there appeared to be no change in affinity for agonist after nicotine treatment [95]. However, equilibrium binding does not necessarily detect large changes in the receptors' affinity for agonist [76,100].

With nicotine levels achieved by smokers, the acute effect of nicotine following smoking is to activate and then desensitize receptors. Because nicotine is eliminated with a half-life of 2-3 h, blood nicotine levels accumulate to levels of 100-200 nM during the hours of repeated smoking, and even higher levels are achieved immediately following each cigarette [101-103]. Nicotine levels, thus, reach and are maintained at levels at which receptors should be upregulated. There is considerable evidence based on behavioral studies in rats that repeated exposure to nicotine causes sensitization of locomotor activity and DA overflow in the NAcc because the dopaminergic VTA neurons become more responsive to nicotine. A possible mechanism for the increased response to nicotine is the upregulation of the nicotinic receptors on the dopaminergic VTA neurons. This link between receptor upregulation and the sensitization has been interpreted as an increase in receptor numbers in response to the desensitization of the receptors by nicotine [99].

Nicotine-induced upregulation of high-affinity nicotine binding also occurs when a4b2 or a3b2 receptors are expressed in cells other than neurons. This indicates that the upregulation is a property intrinsic to the receptor as opposed to a regulatory property specific to the neurons in which the receptors are normally found. The nicotine-induced upregulation has been studied using chick a4b2 receptors stably expressed in mouse fibroblasts (M10 cells; [100,104-107]), human a4b2 receptors stably expressed in HEK cells [75,108] and rat a4b2 receptors transiently expressed in HEK cells [109]. The level of upregulation of a4b2 high-affinity ligand binding varied from a 2.5-fold increase in the M10 cells up to a 15-fold increase in one of the HEK cell lines [108]. In most studies, the increase in binding was interpreted as an increase in the number of receptors. In two studies, an assay of receptor number was performed in parallel with the nicotine-induced increase in binding. In the first study [104], less than a 2-fold increase in surface receptors was measured using 125I-mAb 299 (anti-a4) binding after 3 days of treatment. However, the nicotine-induced upregulation saturated much sooner, specifically 10-24 h after nicotine treatment [104,108]. In the second study [109], the binding of antibodies specific for a4 and b2 subunits increased, but less than the increase in upregulation assayed with agonist binding. When our laboratory repeated these experiments, we found that there was very little Ab binding because of cell fixation [88]. When repeated using living cells, there was no significant change in Ab binding in parallel with the 4-5-fold increase in agonist binding. A more recent study [110] using radio-immune assays with mAb 290 (anti-b2) showed increased antibody binding after nicotine exposure of HEK cells stably expressing human a4b2 receptors. Radio-ligand binding was not performed in parallel so that comparisons cannot be made.
Last edited by FreedomNicotine on 08 Jul 2009, 22:12, edited 3 times in total.

Joined: 08 Dec 2009, 12:01

27 Dec 2009, 01:17 #59

Free and Healing for Twenty Six Days, 6 Hours and 7 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 1 Day and 19 Hours, by avoiding the use of 525 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $157.70.
I have become very worried because I find myself eating constantly and I am almost 4 weeks into this. It actually seems to be getting worse. I have increased my cardio workout at the gym from 40 minutes to 60-90 minutes like 5-7 days a week.trying to combat the weight gain. When I can't get there I get very bumbed out because I have already gained 10 lbs. I have even taken meds for anxiety recently which I never took in the past. I guess I am wondering after reading all of this info here tonight if I am just replacing my terrible nicotine addiction with many other bad habits that may lead to worse problems. If I have been nicotine free for almost a month then why am I feeling such levels of anxiety (heart racing, extremely fast speech etc). I am wondering if I possibly have an anxiety issue I was treating with nicotine. Would appreciate any support and advice! Thanks!

Joined: 08 Dec 2009, 12:01

27 Dec 2009, 01:31 #60

Hi Ccathy!
I am so glad you did not delete your post.....5 months later and here I am in my 26th day and feeling exactly what you wrote in your post and wondering how you have dealt with all of the substitutions in the past 5 months since your posting. I have tried gum, sugar-free candy..side effects of this were not very pleasant:), food, exercise. I wonder if this behavior will ever stop or is it something that is just part of my personality and I will always need some sort of "vice".