Crutches to Quit Smoking

Crutches to Quit Smoking

Joel
Joel

February 13th, 2001, 8:44 pm #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library


Crutches to Quit Smoking


"Boy did I ever drink my brains out, today," a clinic participant enthusiastically proclaimed, "But I did not smoke!" She was so proud of her accomplishment. Two whole days without smoking a single cigarette. To her, being bombed out of her mind was a safe alternative to the deadly effects of cigarettes.

Just 24 hours earlier I had made a special point of mentioning the dangers of replacing one addiction with another. In quitting smoking one should not start using any other crutches which might be dangerous or addictive. But this was not of concern to her. She said, "I already have a drinking problem, so what more could go wrong with getting drunk to quit smoking." Twenty minutes into the program, she stood up, passed out and had to be carried out.

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.

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.

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!


Video version of this string:

Last edited by Joel on October 3rd, 2012, 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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EileenS
EileenS

February 24th, 2001, 4:57 am #2

Thanks for this article. It reminded me of the last time I tried to quit smoking about 2 years ago and why this quit is my last. I quit previously because I had developed this new "habit" of going to the gym. Well, as I recall, as soon as I grew tired of the gym, I subsequently re-discovered smoking.

This quit is different. I quit and didn't change anything else in my life for the first 2-3 months. I believe it is helping me keep my quit because I'm not relying on anything else to go along with not smoking (no crutches).

I think it's very important, especially for the newbies, to remember that your quit is the most important change right now. Focus on it, protect it. You will have time when you're stronger to deal with the other issues that crop up. And remember: Never Take Another Puff!

Cheers,
Eileen
Smoke free for: 4M 2W 4D 3h 54m 55s. I have NOT smoked 3504, for a savings of $744.61. Life Saved: 1W 5D 4h
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marty (gold)
marty (gold)

March 13th, 2001, 11:56 pm #3

Thanks, Joel - I hadn't seen this one before. I think I now need my wrist slapped - I have acquired TWO crutches.

First, I'm eating dried fruit like there is no tomorrow (about 6lbs a week). I really do enjoy it, so PLEASE may I continue?
Second, I have become addicted to the Freedom message board, and I ain't dumping that.

Marty
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marty (gold)
marty (gold)

May 11th, 2001, 7:42 pm #4

I just saw my reply above from 2 months ago :-)
Still eating the fruit, still posting to the Board
But actually, they're no longer crutches - with or without those two things, my quit is my quit - and my quit has a life all of its own which only needs me and my mind to survive and flourish
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Joel
Joel

June 19th, 2001, 3:53 am #5

Addressing the issue of using other drugs. You should never use another addictive drug to quit smoking and visa versa. Quitting smoking is not an either/or issue for people with other drug addictions. It is imperative that everyone realizes that life can be sustained without using drugs for recreational purposes. To stay free from nicotine while staying free from other past problems too all that is necessary is to never take another puff!

Joel
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nkontheblock ( gold )
nkontheblock ( gold )

September 19th, 2001, 5:55 am #6

Hello Joel
I understand some of what you are saying but I need some clarification. I have the very worst time first thing in the morning, so now I have replaced the old ritual with a new one. I wake up and pour a large glass of juice and sit at my computer to read, post, interact and get motivation. I will be away from my computer in two weeks, so I have some good books to take and do that in stead. Are you saying that I am replacing my old habit with a new habit and that this is not smart?
nkontheblock
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Joel
Joel

September 19th, 2001, 7:50 pm #7

Hello Nkontheblock:

I am not saying that it is not smart, but it is a tad risky. As you say, you won't be able to do it in a few weeks because you will be away from your computer and I don't want you all of a sudden panicking when you can't get to us for support. So why not break the pattern now to prove to yourself that your day is not contingent on the specific ritual.

As far as the juice goes, were you drinking it in the morning before? If not, try to calculate some food you may have eaten daily while you were a smoker that may be of equivalent calories and cut it out of your diet. You may have noticed just now I didn't recommend cutting out the juice. I suspect that it is helping you get your blood sugar level up in the morning. Where as a smoker you used nicotine to elevate blood sugar, as an ex-smoker you need food to accomplish this task. If you had the juice before when you were a smoker then you need not worry about the calorie adjustment, but if this is a new practice it is prudent to adjust your dietary patterns to accommodate this change.

Always know that the reason you will be smoke free in the future is not because of your morning ritual. The reason you will remain smoke free is you got rid of your old ritual of lighting up a cigarette everytime you popped into drug withdrawal. You will always stay smoke free no matter how your life adjusts to curves that life may throw at you as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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nkontheblock ( gold )
nkontheblock ( gold )

September 19th, 2001, 10:21 pm #8

Thank you Joel. I do use this routine as a crutch to some extent but I also have a plan B and a plan C. I just seem to find it works better if I have a routine to my life right now ( all be it ) not a strict routine. I plan for forks in the road. Basically right now my life is planned out with an escape plan in the event that I come up against a real trial. Am I making any sense?
nkontheblock
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Joel
Joel

September 20th, 2001, 6:41 am #9

Hello Tom:

Be careful forming a support system with your friend. Here is a link to the post on the potential pitfalls of a buddy system. I am not saying this because I feel he is unstable either, I would tell him the same thing in regards to you or any other individual early in a quit. Every one here needs to be independent of specific other people in regards to their own quits. You can use the entire board as a support network, but don't be tied into any one individual. And you also have to have some computer independent ammunition ready in those time where computer access becomes limited too.

But be especially careful having your quit tied into another person's quit. 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 close to you 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
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Tom S
Tom S

September 20th, 2001, 3:32 pm #10

Hi Joel
Point taken. I had a feeling you would say someting like that :-) I realise now that he doesn't have any experience to share with me, he's more of a newbie than I am! Besides, we're both travellers and he's going home in a month or two. The good news is, I made it through **** Week! 1w 10h 31m.
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Joel
Joel

February 5th, 2002, 4:32 am #11

For all our members and lurkers considering the use of "natural" or herbal remedies to quit smoking. The physiological need for nicotine will not be broken or influenced by taking another product, it is broken simply by not taking nicotine. It is no more complicated or expensive than that. I think a lot of people are getting a false sense of needing another product or method to make quitting possible. The vast majority of people who have quit smoking have not used such methods and equally important, the vast majority of people who use such products don't actually quit smoking. Save your money and risk of unnecessary complications and just know that the way to quit smoking and stay free from smoking only entails knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

March 4th, 2002, 9:50 pm #12

I had a member bring up in an email to me a few days ago that she thought she may have started drinking more alcohol after she had stopped smoking. I can't say it strong enough that this is a dangerous practice. Taking up any other behavior at a higher level after quitting smoking can easily be indicating a possible substitution behavior and thus carries an implication of being a crutch replacement. This is bad enough with a pattern that may be habit forming but when dealing with a substance that has an addictive potential in its own right, it can be downright dangerous.

Again, this article spells out the pitfalls of crutch replacement. Be cognizant of any new establishing patterns and just recognize that the reason you are not smoking days, or weeks, or months or even years after you quit is not by activities you have done and not by things you have put in your mouth. The way you have stayed off cigarettes is by what you have not put in your mouth--a cigarette.

To continue to stay smoke free still only requires that you never administer nicotine from any source again, or stated more clearly, that you never take a swig of nicotine water, stick nicotine on your skin to be absorbed, inject nicotine into your arm, inhale nicotine through a nicotine inhaler, put nicotine in your mouth via a cigar or pipe, **** on nicotine in the form of a lollipop, stick nicotine up your nose in the form of snuff, plant nicotine in your cheek in the form of chewing tobacco, and of course--never stick nicotine in your mouth in the form of a cigarette and basically just knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

March 17th, 2002, 8:05 am #13

As in the post above, comments are coming to me via email that many of our posts have a heavy drinking influence about them. It appears that some people may get the impression that drinking is condoned as an alternative behavior to smoking. It used to be where you would go to AA meetings and it would appear that everyone was smoking. I personally encountered numerous people who went into alcohol treatment programs as never smokers and who came out of treatment heavy addicted smokers. It was obvious that their encouraged behavior was a direct crutch replacement. We don't want anyone to get the same impression about drinking as a replacement to smoking. I want this statement to be perfectly clear...DO NOT INCREASE DRINKING OF ALCOHOL IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM NOW THAT YOU HAVE QUIT SMOKING.

Also, 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.

Joel
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

April 21st, 2002, 8:50 pm #14

One of the cardinal principles here at Freedom is that in order to break free from nicotine all we need to give up is nicotine - nothing else! There may be some situations or risks that we may want to go slow with, or even delay for a bit, but the only thing causing any user's brain to grow or activate millions and millions of extra nicotinic receptors, and keeping them chemically dependent, is nicotine itself!


The other side of the coin is equally important. It's a cardinal principle here at Freedom that in giving up only our nicotine that members not pick up any new crutches either, as once that crutch is removed the risk of falling is increased. Additional food can be an oral crutch that, if allowed, may demoralize your incentive to continue this wonderful journey of healing! Leaning too heavily on a quitting buddy or heavy reliance on loved ones for motivation can be a dangerous crutch should your buddy relapse or your family not appreciate the length of this temporary period of re-adjustment. Even something as wonderful as a new exercise plan can be a crutch in that should it end you'll again be on your own!


Joel wrote a piece yesterday about quitting being a lonely journey that really struck a chord in me. As he noted, one of the wonderful things about Freedom is that we have each other and a growing wealth of wisdom to turn to. It's ok to go on a health kick, to find hightened food flavors exciting or engage in new activites and it's also ok to fall in love with food and decide that you wouldn't look so bad in an extra 40 pounds but if you're a new member we encourage you to consider the wisdom of holding off on any new campaigns for just a couple of weeks, at least until you get the ten days to two weeks of primary physiological re-adjustment behind you! That way your recovery won't be to blame and the risks will be substantially diminished!


Baby steps and patience to glory! We can all make it!

John - The Gold Club
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 8th, 2009, 11:45 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Joel
Joel

April 21st, 2002, 8:56 pm #15

Here is the post John is referring to: Quitting can be a very lonely experience
Last edited by Joel on April 14th, 2009, 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

May 18th, 2002, 2:42 am #16

For Tash:

Relying too heavily on anything, even Freedom itself can become a crutch. Don't see us as a crutch to quit, rather see us as a tool to help you understand what you have to do to keep your quit. You are the only important variable making or breaking your attempt. You will succeed forever as long as you always remember why you have chosen to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

June 7th, 2002, 8:33 pm #17

For Dos:

There is a danger of using anything as a crutch, even Freedom itself. For as you are experiencing, during times of technical difficulties where you cannot post you can start to feel that your quit will not stick since you don't have your crutch--Freedom. 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. But 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 with you that even if you can't read it at the moment it is easy enough to remember 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!

Joel
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Hillbilly(Gold)
Hillbilly(Gold)

June 11th, 2002, 7:20 pm #18

Joel, what you and I have discussed more than once has actually happened to me. Two weeks ago I suffered a groin pull playing tennis. I hadn't played since 1975.

Yeah, it was stupid, but I felt so good just being able to play that I kinda overdid it. Anyway, point to this post is the doctor told me to lay off all exercise for a while. No walking, no biking, complete rest.

We had talked about this in abstract in the last few weeks, and I got to find out for real what the answer is. Is exercise a crutch for me?

The answer is, maybe it was a cane, but not a crutch. Yes, I missed it, and yes my mood was not the best, but no I did not relapse or even want to. Like a lot of things, I went to the edge and looked over but exercise was not a crutch.

I did come close enough to realize how easy it would be to make exercise, or anything else for that matter, a crutch for nicotine. Just one more reminder that each of our quits is a very fragile thing, not something to be taken lightly. Overconfidence can be a dangerous attitude.

I have to remember how tough the first two weeks were. I don't need to totally forget about smoking and I need to keep my guard up. If I totally forget, then a suprise crave will only remind me of the good ones, not all the rest.

But I digress. Or is it rambling? Bottom line, be very careful of crutches.

Dave

I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 3 Weeks 3 Days 9 Hours 20 Minutes 42 Seconds. Somewhere there are 1903 extra cigarettes.
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Juanjuanjuanjuanjuan200
Juanjuanjuanjuanjuan200

July 18th, 2002, 3:24 am #19

Tottally agree. No way. No adding a problem. But then again, the nature of the problem is so different, that one does not notice it. The reading of these texts has made me realize a couple of crutches, i have been holding on to. Why call it crutches, look to me like unknotted ropes to the sky? I am so down, feeling like starting again.

Juan
I have been Quit for: 1M 6D 16h 23m. I have NOT smoked 942, for a savings of $141.31. Life Saved: 3D 6h 30m.
will not take another puff.
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Lilac (Bronze)
Lilac (Bronze)

September 29th, 2002, 9:34 pm #20

Joel, you are , of course, absolutely right. I do not want to be beholden to any addiction or crutch. I will be ss severe on my vague yearnings as I am on my desire to smoke. Not tomorrow when I may feel better but today when I don't want to face them. O,K, Lilac
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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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