Diversions

Welcome to Freedom, a support group dedicated to educated cold turkey nicotine dependency recovery. Prior to applying to join, it is critical that you read: (1) The Law of Addiction (2) Our Mission Statement (3) Relapse Policy and (4) Rules.

Diversions

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Mar 2001, 22:10 #1

I see on many boards, and even on our board at times where people find the need to start a diversion thread. I've been thinking about that a little and had some thoughts I want to share. Why would anyone log onto a quit smoking support group to divert their attention from quitting smoking. Hopefully people have a life outside the Internet. They should have family and friends and co-workers and clubs and voluntary organizations that could use their help if they have the time so spare, or more accurately the time to share.

If not, there are boards on the Internet whose sole purpose is to meet and talk to people who want to share thoughts and opinions on hundreds to thousands of topics. All these sources can help these people socialize, but most of them are limited on how much help they can offer a person to quit smoking.

I realize as I am running live 6-day clinics, that are supposed to be an hour and a half long but run over two hours and then having to be thrown out of the building so the maintenance crew can lock up an go home for the weekend, that every minute of time is spent on discussing different aspects of smoking and quitting and staying off. To divert the groups attention to other areas is taking away needed time of focus on quitting. It is not that we want people to fixate on not smoking 24 hours a day. But we do want some special time to focus their priority of not smoking so that they are prepared through the day for the times where other people or situations trigger the smoking thoughts.

So no one here should ever feel the need to divert the board's attention from quitting smoking. Quitting smoking is why people came here originally and why they stay. To reinforce their own resolve and to reinforce everyone else's, especially our newest members. We want people to grow more secure in their quits so that they have time and resolve to face other diversions, or more accurately, time and strength to live their life. Smoking was robbing people of this time, both in the present when smoking was pulling them away from others just to keep the person ability to once again deliver another drug fix and in the long run by taking off years and decades of their actual life by prematurely killing them. So by joining up here keep in mind, we are trying to help you get more time for your life, not turn your time over to us.

So while here devote your time to focusing your attention on why you quit smoking and to helping others focus their attention on not smoking too. You will give yourself and each other the greatest gift possible--more time to live, both quality time and healthier time. In a way you can have the time of your life here but simply reinforcing your decision to never take another puff!

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

26 Mar 2001, 19:13 #2

Joel, I'm not entirely sure what the probem is that you're referring to. The thought "one person's diversion is another person's central issue" comes to mind.

For example, I've just contributed to a thread on the subject of weight gain. Is this a diversion or is it a quitting-related issue which could adversely affect someone's willingness to keep their quit?

I agree with your central tenet - this site is for quitters who want to receive support for their quit, or who want to help other quitters. That's why you closed down the chat-room (which I believe was a right decision). Is the same sort of problem now occurring on the board? Maybe I just haven't seen the posts you're worried about, or maybe I don't understand and am being guilty of diverting.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Mar 2001, 20:45 #3

Hello Marty:

It's fine to talk about weight concerns, or how to face problems like jobs, families, illnesses, and even deaths of people close to you, or how to deal with happy events like reunions, vacations, weddings, births and the like. These events all can be eliciting smoking related feelings, especially when they are first time events for a person. Actually when people share specific examples of how they faced these situations with fear or trepidation but then overcome them, it often prepares others to face their own similar fears.

So events that on the surface have nothing to do with smoking do in fact sometimes have to do with smoking. When writing about the event on the board, it should talk about how smoking or thoughts of smoking are intertwined with the story. But if you go around to almost every other smoking board, you will see many examples of people writing about events that don't mention smoking and basically where the sole purpose of putting up the post is to serve as a diversion to keep people's minds off of smoking. They will say it in the post. You will see Oscar talks and movie reviews. If the movie review was on the Insider and how that made a person think about smoking issues, that is one thing. Even if it is on how watching someone smoking in the movie was reminding them of some smoking related issue, that would seem to be a legitimate topic helpful to write about. Or how when leaving the movie theatre for the first time you encountered a powerful urge to smoke. Then you realized that every time you left a movie in the past where you could not smoke for two and a half hours you would automatically light up so this was a first time trigger.

But to talk about an actresses clothes, or a lousy plot and never tie the reason of the post to smoking in any way, just for the sole purpose to show other things are going on in life, this is not necessary on a stop smoking board, at least not this stop smoking board.

Another more important example of such divers ional posts could happen around national elections, where issues coming up can be quite divisive and serve no particular purpose in smoking concerns. Although at the same time, I myself brought up quite a few issues about smoking during elections, as in the trigger of leaving a polling place, and the general tension felt while awaiting a decision of who the winner was. Our last American presidential election caused a lot of people to go on an emotional roller coaster, with one candidate declared a winner, then the other, then the other, and so on. This went on for weeks and there was a general sense of anxiety being experienced by the nation as a whole. Recent ex-smokers who were feeling this same anxiety could have been writing it off to a not smoking issue where in fact many ex-smokers, never smokers and current smokers were all having the same feelings due to the abnormal circumstances.

So basically I was trying to say in this post, when a person is considering bringing up personal opinions or events that really don't tie into smoking, to the point that smoking is not even mentioned as an aside, again for the sole purpose of showing that there are other things in life other than quitting smoking, they should know that this is a given--there is a whole spectrum of events in their lives that will have nothing to do with quitting smoking. Everyone should be spending time outside the board living these events.

The problem with strings starting that are not smoking related issues, it makes people feel they too should bring up such strings. Soon, many posts may come up at once that are fringe at best. A new person coming in the first time may go to read two or three posts to get a flavor of the content and usefulness of the board. If the person is a serious quitter, looking for practical advice and tips and a real understanding of addiction, and the top two or three posts are about movies, or birthdays, or sporting events, etc, they will not go any further, they will move on. We want everyone go be cognizant of this when writing, that we want any new person coming in at any time to get real education, understanding and support and to feel that Freedom is a serious board where the more they read the better prepared they are going to get to face their life. I should point out, we do believe that there are a lot more people reading here than participating here. We get many applications every single day from people who never post. They are likely the majority here. They are here to learn and we want to keep this board a place that they feel is worth their time, as well as all of our posting members.

We do have some strings that seem to contradict this letter. The where are you from string with a hundred and seventy some responses that often say nothing about smoking. But this one was different; it shows the diversity of this group. In a way, it shows the smoking issue in a worldwide view, how people want to quit on every continent and in every country and often have little support or understanding how to do it. While it is a little different than most of our posts, the responses were relatively short and to the point, and I think a lot of people spent time seeing where all our people were from. I personally think this was one valuable thread for just that reason and enjoy when I see it come up again with new people in it. So there are exceptions, but we don't want to let exceptions be a policy that opens up the floodgates to turn us into a social site where people come to kill time socializing. We don't want anyone here for the sole intent to kill time; we want people here because they are focusing on no longer slowly killing themselves.

So tie all your posts to smoking issues. Smoking issues can be just about anything. You will know if it is a smoking related post when it asks a question regarding cigarettes, or answers a question regarding smoking and addiction. One way to know for sure that your post is about smoking, is if it ends with a simple affirmation that you know to stay smoke free, which was your ultimate goal in joining and staying around now, that you still want to continue to strengthen your resolve and to always remember that you want to never take another puff!

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

26 Mar 2001, 21:02 #4

Message understood
Last edited by marty (gold) on 26 Apr 2009, 06:04, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Mar 2001, 22:22 #5

Wonderful post Joel and good points Marty! The simple truth is that our journey leads to comfort, calmness and complete control. It will become natural at some point to want to say, "yippppeeee, I've made it, forget smoking for just a bit and let's all go celebrate!" We fought this war together and when we sense victory's arrival it is very very normal to want to let our hair down a bit and begin to enjoy our new lives with those who made this wonderful journey with us. The problem with a pipeline educational forum such as Freedom is that new students are always arriving, class continues 365 days a year and we l never get summer or even a holiday off. For every member achieving comfort there is a new arrival going into a serious state of tremendous distress and in need of immediate help.
Last edited by John (Gold) on 26 Apr 2009, 06:05, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

01 Apr 2001, 21:26 #6

I am attaching this letter here for two reasons. First, I wanted to point out how proud I have been of the board over the past week. I feel as if it has stayed focused and highly supportive in a remarkable way. We have had many new people, and I have seen days where in excess of 30 people are in the stats parade string as well as others participating throughout the board and great discussions and even healthy debates went on with a sense of continuity and focus that I feel makes our board unique and effective in the world of support groups for smoking as well as any other problems boards are around to help with.

One of the reasons I am so proud of this week is the fact that I have basically been non-existent here for days now. Again, the reason I bring this here is because it fits into the diversion issue. My absence was not from not wanting to be here, but life has thrown some curves at me that made my availability quite limited. I didn't want to come to the board and distract anyone from the quitting issues. So I was quietly in the background, and the board functioned great. I am really proud of everyone here for the work every one is doing. Our managers and our members are all keeping real focus and support at wonderful levels.

The more serious issues (have had some family health problems needing my attention) are starting to settle down. But another problem is going to be limiting my posting ability here at Freedom for a few more weeks. I talked about this weeks ago where I was having trouble because a DSL service I use for my Internet access was going out of business. I was working very hard to migrate to another service and not lose service. I did the migration and all seemed as if it would pass with no downtime. Well the service I switched over to was using a contracted service for the line from a company named North Point who went out of business a couple of days ago and thus my DSL went down. My computer access is going to be problematic and I am being told that the fastest time I will be back online will be in three weeks.

I still have my AOL access, but my modem and system that use this are very unstable and unreliable when working in Freedom or any MSN forum or around the Internet. It literally takes me multiples of time to read the board and posting is a crapshoot at best. Some days it works fine, but more often than not, my posts are lost and take more time than ever. So I do suspect my participation will be limited for a spell here.

I bring this up because I do want everyone to know that I am still here and available. If anyone wants me to address a specific string or issue, post it at the board but also, send me a message and maybe even a copy of the post via email to [url=mailto:joelspitz@aol.com]joelspitz@aol.com[/url]. I will try to answer it at the board if possible, but if not I will really try hard to get back to you with the answer by the end of the day. I still have other issues pulling me away from the computer a lot, but really will try to get a reply to you as quickly as possible.

I have to be honest; I used to be a lot more worried about this than I am now. Again, what I have witnessed in the past week at the board is truly inspirational. People who are relative newbies have shown great strides quickly and our regular membership and staff have been great. You are all truly showing that you are educated quitters and the power of that process is remarkable at creating success. To stay successful, stay informed, focused and always remember that to reap the benefits that come with being smoke free you must always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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mirigirl (silver)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

01 Apr 2001, 22:18 #7

Oh Joel...we'll miss you!! Though we know you won't be far away, it will be great when you can post more easily again. I really like the way you help keep us right on track!!
Hear from you again soon and hope the family issues are sorting themselves out.
Meanwhile We'll Keep on Keeping the Quit!
yqs Maz
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!!
Two months, one week, five days, 1 hour, 21 minutes and 51 seconds of FREEDOM!!
1776 cigarettes not smoked, saving $568.45. Life saved: 6 days, 4 hours, 0 minutes.
Last edited by mirigirl (silver) on 26 Apr 2009, 06:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

27 Apr 2001, 19:54 #8

I have absolutely no reason for bringing this one up today. The board has been really focused for quite a while now. Some would think how much time could a person spend writing about or reading about one topic, such as quitting smoking without the material or site becoming redundant or boring. But smoking was so intertwined into so many areas of a smoker's life, that the implications of smoking, quitting and the benefits of staying smoke free can spark topics of interest for as long as a person wants to keep coming to reinforce his or hers' resolve or to keep coming to help reinforce others. We do want people to always feel welcome to come here for either of these reasons, and I just want to personally thank all of you who have been doing such an outstanding job of keeping this board focused on these two lifesaving goals, of helping yourself and others to always remember to stay smoke free you must never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

03 May 2001, 19:34 #9

I saw where yesterday where Ladyjen wrote the comment about how the managers would probably delete a post that was not about smoking.

First I would like to state that we very rarely delete posts here unless they are really against our common courtesies. Normally if someone posts something controversial we will come in and explain the problem with the post, unless the post is real inflammatory at which point we will delete the post quickly. But this is not a common occurrence.

We do ask that people think before they post if something is really offensive or of a nature that you would be improper for keeping our family ratings here. We do in fact have kids refer to this site for we do promote Whyquit and thus freedom at schools, so we do wish to keep the content of a proper decorum for such readers.

The post in question though was not of this nature and was actually about not smoking, or at least about the temptation to smoke because of specific circumstances triggering a desire. If anyone reads the third post in this string it addresses the difference between a totally diversional post and one that while on the surface may not be a smoking issue, when looked at it in its entirety we can see that it was truly a smoking related story.

In fact, next time someone here gets pulled over by the police for speeding, they may reflect back to this story and remember how the temporary annoyance was actually overcome and the person was able to remain smoke free. You may not remember when you read it, or even who it was about, but the lesson is learned.

So don't be afraid to let us know how certain situations made you think about a cigarette, but try to always bring the story full circle--how it created the thought, how you got through it and how you feel afterwards, when the smoke has cleared so to say. The lesson you have learned from the experience is then shared by all and you may have just helped other members in their continued commitment to never take another puff!

Joel
Last edited by Joel on 26 Apr 2009, 06:08, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

23 May 2001, 19:56 #10

We are a board dedicated to one simple premise. There is no legitimate reason to relapse. Some people may not like this premise. Some may feel that if the most tragic thing in the world imaginable were to occur, smoking would be understandable. Well, if a person relapses under such a tragedy would the rest of us understand. In fact, yes we would. We would understand perfectly what happened.

We would understand that the person who just went through a horrible life tragedy has just compounded his or her problem by thinking that somehow relapsing to a drug that will slowly cripple him or her, cost him or her a small fortune over the rest of his or her life, will make him or her a more nervous and sadder person for the rest of his or her life, and will likely eventually kill him or her. Do we feel bad for the person for the original problem? Sure we do. But the fact is every person on this board has past, present and will face future life tragedies.

But every person on this board has to recognize that no matter what the stress, smoking cannot solve it. All smoking will do is cause another problem, in many ways a bigger problem than the problem that led the ex-smoker to take relapse. While it may sound heartless to say a bigger problem, if the problem were a loss of a child, spouse, parent, sibling, or even a close friend, the bottom line is smoking can cause the death of you.

That is going to leave your parents, wife, husband, siblings, friends and everyone else you know facing the same feelings of loss and disruption. Do you want any of these people to relapse to drug addiction when you die? If on your death bed would pass out cigarettes to your children who are ex-smokers, heroin to your siblings are a recovering addicts, bottles of booze to your parents who have been successfully off drinking for decades? Would you say to them, "Well I am going now, you may all want to consider taking this stuff, I understand how upset you must be."

There are only two legitimate reason to relapse. One, you want to go back to smoking until it cripples then kills you or two, you enjoy withdrawal so much you never want it to end. If this is the case just take one puff every third day, withdrawal will last forever.

Any other reason you take it is not legitimate, and thinking that it is will only undercut your ability to ever quit and stay off for over life other things will happen. If one tragedy is a good reason, so will the next one be. To have to explain this to each and every members specific past life tragedy would tie the board up. It would in fact become a diversion to what everyone is here for. To focus on not smoking today.

We must remember the past, and hopefully learn from it. But the lesson had better be the real understanding that a past relapse was a mistake, a big mistake, one that if not undone now in itself will be a tragedy. If the lesson is anything else, that relapse was the biggest mistake you ever made in your life, one that in fact one day will cost you your life. Don't get caught up in the mind games of a legitimate relapse. Instead, learn from the past and prepare yourself to face the future, no matter what it holds with your full commitment and resolve to never take another puff!

Joel
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