Crutches to Quit Smoking

Crutches to Quit Smoking

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Feb 2001, 20:44 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library
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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!


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Last edited by Joel on 03 Oct 2012, 01:11, edited 1 time in total.
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EileenS
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:08

24 Feb 2001, 04:57 #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)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

13 Mar 2001, 23:56 #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? Image
Second, I have become addicted to the Freedom message board, and I ain't dumping that. Image

Marty
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marty (gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

11 May 2001, 19:42 #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 Image
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Jun 2001, 03:53 #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 )
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:08

19 Sep 2001, 05:55 #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
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Sep 2001, 19:50 #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 )
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:08

19 Sep 2001, 22:21 #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
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Sep 2001, 06:41 #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
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:08

20 Sep 2001, 15:32 #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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