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
Joel

March 24th, 2001, 10:10 pm #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)
marty (gold)

March 26th, 2001, 7:13 pm #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
Joel

March 26th, 2001, 8:45 pm #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)
marty (gold)

March 26th, 2001, 9:02 pm #4

Message understood
Last edited by marty (gold) on April 26th, 2009, 6:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 26th, 2001, 10:22 pm #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 April 26th, 2009, 6:05 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

April 1st, 2001, 9:26 pm #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)
mirigirl (silver)

April 1st, 2001, 10:18 pm #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 April 26th, 2009, 6:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

April 27th, 2001, 7:54 pm #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
Joel

May 3rd, 2001, 7:34 pm #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 April 26th, 2009, 6:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

May 23rd, 2001, 7:56 pm #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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Joel
Joel

May 26th, 2001, 10:29 pm #11

We want it to be clear to everyone that our sole intent at Freedom is to help everyone secure his or her quit. We try to accomplish this by keeping the board focused and thus keeping everyone here focused on one simple premise: everyone has the ability to stay smoke free and live the rest of their lives in their real outside world. We are trying to give everybody the knowledge to quit and stay quit so that they will have the strength and fortitude to live their lives to the fullest. We don't want anyone sacrificing any other areas of their lives, whether it is time with their families, jobs, or friends.

To try to keep the time people need to be at Freedom down to a minimum, so as not to take away time from their other life needs and goals, we try to keep the board on one topic and one topic only, the ability to stay smoke free. For people looking to establish life long friends and social networks, the Internet is loaded with such opportunities. But the general membership of Freedom is here to help secure their quits and help others secure their quits too. As management we promise to try to help keep this a realistic goal at all times.

So everyone please understand that we are all here to help and support each and every one of our members to quit smoking and have the basic understanding of addiction so they can stay off of smoking. We recognize that sometimes other areas of our lives threaten our quits and we try to address these issues when they arise. But please do not try to make us at Freedom more than we are.

Freedom is not a social network. We are a support group that offers focused care and support of one area of our lives. We understand that it is not the only area of our lives, but it is one that deserves its own special attention and priority because it truly is an area that more than any other lifestyle choice, this one can save our members health and lives. It is our reason for being, to help everyone understand that to stay smoke free everyone must always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

June 23rd, 2001, 7:59 pm #12

Summertime does appear to be a slower time at the board than others. Because of this some people may feel the need to supplement the board with other topics or non-smoking related threads just to sustain the appearance of activity. We don't feel any need to do this here at Freedom. We want the threads to always be about the importance of quitting smoking. This way if any new person just thinking about quitting who has only a few seconds to stop in on any given day, the posts they see near the top are focused and give the clear impression that this is a serious site to quit smoking.
Even if no one posts in a given day, the previous days messages are there and are being referenced by numerous people. There will even be days where MSN is down and nobody can post, just read. I know this can become a real drag for our regular members. But for a new member or a first time lurker, the board is still a wealth of information and hopefully an exciting place that grabs their attention and holds them here to read a little more and a little longer. The more people begin to understand about the addiction, and the more posts they see of success stories and the benefits of quitting these people are seeing, the more likely they are going to give a serious effort to quit. Beating an addiction does take a serious effort for the nicotine addiction is a serious problem. But everyone here shows every one else here daily that quitting is possible and maybe even more important, that being an ex-smoker is the preferable way of life.
When you are writing a post seeking help or trying to understand a specific smoking issue, don't feel the need to analyze your words, your understanding of a question is the paramount issue. But if you are starting a string to share a story, always think of how this story relates to quitting smoking and how it will affect any person who drops in for the first time wanting to see what Freedom is all about. Sometimes we only get one shot with a person, first impressions are very important. We want the first impression to always be indicative of what we are like. We are a board where smokers who want to attain Freedom from nicotine can achieve this goal. We are a board that if used properly can help all its members and lurkers to have the knowledge, skill and support to never take another puff!
Joel
Last edited by Joel on April 26th, 2009, 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

July 2nd, 2001, 8:24 pm #13

Even though things may appear quiet at the time, in the background thing are actually very active. We have lots of people who are actually trying to become members, but due to a technological glitch we cannot seem to get around yet we are experiencing a major problem getting them accepted. I have only been able to get one in while trying numerous times in the past few days and all of our other managers are experiencing similar problems. We have over 40 people pending in membership applications that we just can't get in. Some were not eligible since they had not stated that they were actually quitting cold turkey and had actually started their quits, but many are eligible and we all feel bad that we cannot get them right in.

These people are here reading, along with all of the other people who don't apply to join but are turning to us for reference material on how to quit. For all these people, as well for our even more seasoned ex-smokers, we want to always keep a high level of focus on the task at hand here, making sure people know how they can stop and supplying the ammunition and to keep strengthening their personal motivation to stay off smoking. The main point we are trying to reinforce to all is that to stay smoke free we must all remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

July 15th, 2001, 4:45 am #14

Let no one be confused, the focus of this site is smoking cessation. Please don't bring matters into Freedom which are beyond our scope of reasonable assistance. There are sites on the Internet to deal with all sorts of issues, although some issues are better to be addressed by live professionals in the field in question. Whether another Internet site on other issues is the correct route of action is nothing we can answer. We can only say we are not a site able to deal with all the problems people face in their day to day existance. We can deal with one problem here--nicotine addiction. We deal with it very effectively too. How do we deal with it? We focus our message to be that no matter what happens in your life, the only way to beat this addiction thus saving your health and your life is to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

September 11th, 2001, 11:06 pm #15

Bringing up the thread today is not to admonish any one for anything that is happening now. I just want to make it clear the importance of keeping Freedom focused on not smoking, even though many of our members our focused on other serious issues happening in the world today. I suspect many people will be spending time in other sites or watching television accounts of events, but if you ever are feeling overwhelmed to the point where your thoughts are turned to a cigarette, get back here and refocus on your quit at that moment. As always, that is what we are here to address. We will be here to remind you why you chose to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

September 14th, 2001, 1:08 am #16

I am bringing this one up again because I want to reemphasize the importance of keeping Freedom focused on not smoking. We appreciate that most of the rest of our members from other countries are behind America at this terrible time, but in fact we are not an American board, and we are not a board focused on any political or ideological issues, no matter how popular they may be. We are a truly international site whose members share one purpose--to break free and stay free from tobacco.

People come here to focus their attention on the importance of their quits. It is not that we are trying to be an escape here from other world issues. We all suspect most of our members are absorbed a good part of their days now on other issues and keeping apprised of such matters are likely of great importance. But I would suspect that if anyone here went to a bulletin board designed for supporting victims of terrorism and started writing about quitting smoking issues, you'd either be ignored or ridiculed by the majority of members there.

I would hope neither situation would happen, that instead of being ignored or ridiculed you'd be directed to go to a support group whose interest was helping you to quit smoking. That is what we feel here, that if any of our members feels the need to let out feelings on terrorism or support of America, spend time at sites dedicated to those premises. But spend your time here supporting your quit or helping others support their quits.

We are Freedom from Tobacco, and our members here are fighting to sustain their health and enhance the quality and lengths of their lives. They accomplish these goals by continuing to reinforce their focus and resolve to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

December 6th, 2001, 10:16 pm #17

I just realized something about this string. We have not "needed" to bring it up since the time surrounding the events of September 11, and even then it was to prevent the board from getting distracted, not in response to people actually diverting it. Prior to that we had not used this string since mid-July. This is a testament to the fact that our members do keep this board focused on smoking and quitting issues.
It also shows that the topic of quitting smoking is big enough to keep a board active and lively day after day, week after week and now month after month, without having to bring in news and events of the day that are not smoking related.
Smoking and quitting are issues of such great importance that they can inspire interesting and enlightening conversations that will keep new members coming, as well as keeping our old members interested enough to continue to return to reinforcing their resolve and help others to stay committed to never take another puff!
Joel
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Joel
Joel

December 29th, 2001, 6:08 pm #18

We are trying to get prepared for the possible influx of members and lurkers that may be happening over the next few days. New Years has the full potential of bringing in hundreds of people in a matter of days. It causes all the managers to have to go into heavy overtime work just trying to handle applications and often leaves little time to help on the day to day posting and monitoring of the boards.
These are such important times to us because it is when we have the best possible chance of helping many new people. The odds are when you arrived that you received quite a bit of focus from one of our managers and many of our members. But this may not be possible if a great influx does occur.
We ask that all of our members do everything they can to help keep the board as mature and focused on quitting smoking as possible. We ask that we keep the site a serious quit site. We also want to make sure that everyone recognizes that we are a family site. Kids do come here and we want parents to feel safe advising their children to come here and read.
There is in fact no reason that we ever need adult content material posted on the board. Just yesterday we pulled a string that had some graphics that some people may have found objectionable for children, or maybe for themselves. Such posts can be distracting and raise controversies that are just unnecessary in securing a quit--and that is the only thing we are really trying to accomplish at Freedom, securing each and every one of our members quits.
We try to keep the board focused under normal circumstances, but under the extraordinary circumstances that may happen soon we take extra effort to ensure are board is safe and offers the best support we can give. When we normally pull strings we notify the person why and even explain on the board why we did. But we may not have the time to do this if inundated with applications. Please understand in advance if such events occur.
The fact is we don't do it often, usually weeks or even months pass where we don't have to control the content of the board. That is because of the maturity and commitment of our general membership that we all appreciate and greatly benefit from. But we ask that at these times we all take extra precautions to keep our board focused on the importance of quitting smoking and staying smoke free. Lets make sure any person reading any string walks away with the feeling that his or her goal remains to never take another puff!
Joel
See also the "I'm Dying" thread. It covers quite well how distactions can really hurt this board, especially under times of heavier traffic.
Last edited by Joel on April 26th, 2009, 6:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

April 4th, 2002, 5:08 am #19

We pulled a string that was going off on a diet pill debate. A number of people responded to the string and for this reason we felt bad deleting it. It is not an action we have to do often here or take lightly. But the string was going off into issues that were diversional at best, and bad medical advice at its worst.

I have brought up a number of strings that pretty much discusses the pitfalls of diet aids or any medications being used as a crutch to quit smoking.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

August 22nd, 2002, 11:53 pm #20

Although some of our members get lucky enough to have major quit milestones fall on their birthday or other special days, when such events do happen we don't want to leave our newest members with the belief that Freedom allows or encourages the celebration of anything here at freedom other than freedom from nicotine.
The principle is really pretty simple. If a smoker arrives here fighting for their very life -- possibly even a few days, weeks or months away from a smoking related stroke or heart attack -- we want every message on this board, and the one that they click upon, to show them that this site is deadly serious about helping them reclaim their life. It's all we do and it's our only reaons for being.
We only have 50 page one thread positions and as you already know we do our best to try and keep them about a 50/50 mix of education and support as we cycle through articles discussing the core principles taught here at Freedom . As Joel often reminds members, we'd rather have zero new posts for an entire day than to have one new post that is a diversion or distraction from what we're really all about
You should have seen us during 9/11. I think this was one of the few places on the planet where those trying to keep their resolve didn't have to focus on the horrible events that had happened. Such focus wasn't easy but it was very necessary.
With over 3,000 members with posting privileges and all of them having birthdays, children with birthdays, anniversaries, pets, human relationships, problems, financial concerns, and family disasters, once we start down the path of using this forum for anything other than helping the next generation of arrivals break nicotine's deadly grip upon their lives, its value -- as a quality cessation tool -- diminishes dramatically.
The above is written for the benefit of all new members. Every once in a while we do have to stop and share this lesson as it's sometimes hard to understand why it's so important to maintain such tremendous focus. We have a couple of posts discussing our focus principles and the evolution of the online journey that we each make in assocation with our quit. We sincerely thank each of you for helping Freedom maintain the same serious focus that each of you found when you first arrived. Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John
Last edited by John (Gold) on April 26th, 2009, 6:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

September 18th, 2002, 10:48 pm #21

I saw where Dave just mentioned that he sometimes thinks as Freedom as a "Social Club." This post is the one we use in the event that the board is ever pushed into that direction. We strive to be more focused than a social club--I think the post above this one from Carl from just last week spells out exactly how important this effort is.
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Joel
Joel

November 8th, 2002, 9:41 pm #22

I edited out some political commentary from a post of a newer member who may not have known how serious we are at keeping this site focused on smoking cessation. I am bringing this thread up so that every member here understands why we feel the importance we do on keeping the board discussions on smoking cessation and on nothing else. No matter how popular or politically correct a topic might be, if it is not related to quitting smoking it has no purpose on the board.
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Joel
Joel

December 17th, 2002, 6:18 am #23

We are going into what has historically been our slowest time of the year at Freedom. Don't let the quiet times discourage you and don't let the slower times make you think that we need to bring in extra content to keep the board seeming lively. Posts that are designed to keep people motivated to quit smoking and stay free are lively enough. More important than keeping our board lively though, they are helping to keep our members and lurkers alive. Our members have a much better chance of staying alive and well as long as they are constantly reminding themselves why they are totally committed to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

March 21st, 2003, 8:09 am #24

Our standard response for how to keep your focus during major world eventgs that often create stressful times. You will see that we relied on it heavily during the September 11 events back in 2001. I am going to attach the comments we put up just a few days after that event. I think it clearly spelled out the importance of people coming here to Freedom staying focused on what Freedom can do to help during any kinds of tragedies. What Freedom can do is make sure that our members and lurkers know that the only way to stay smoke free even during disasters and tragedies of any kind, which translates to preventing very personal tragedies for them and their loved ones down the road is to always stay focused on the importance of remembering to never take another puff!

I am bringing this one up again because I want to reemphasize the importance of keeping Freedom focused on not smoking. We appreciate that most of the rest of our members from other countries are behind America at this terrible time, but in fact we are not an American board, and we are not a board focused on any political or ideological issues, no matter how popular they may be. We are a truly international site whose members share one purpose--to break free and stay free from tobacco.

People come here to focus their attention on the importance of their quits. It is not that we are trying to be an escape here from other world issues. We all suspect most of our members are absorbed a good part of their days now on other issues and keeping apprised of such matters are likely of great importance. But I would suspect that if anyone here went to a bulletin board designed for supporting victims of terrorism and started writing about quitting smoking issues, you'd either be ignored or ridiculed by the majority of members there.

I would hope neither situation would happen, that instead of being ignored or ridiculed you'd be directed to go to a support group whose interest was helping you to quit smoking. That is what we feel here, that if any of our members feels the need to let out feelings on terrorism or support of America, spend time at sites dedicated to those premises. But spend your time here supporting your quit or helping others support their quits.

We are Freedom from Tobacco, and our members here are fighting to sustain their health and enhance the quality and lengths of their lives. They accomplish these goals by continuing to reinforce their focus and resolve to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

April 16th, 2003, 10:11 pm #25

Yesterday there was a post up for a little while that was deleted. We really try not to delete posts often here, actually we go pretty good periods of time where we don't have posts that are pulled. Generally if people follow our guidelines set out in Our Courtesies posts are pretty safe here. There were actually two reasons that this particular post was pulled. First it had an external link to another site and we clearly spell out that we want such links cleared before being shared on the board. In events where external links are posted, the post will generally be pulled. There are times when if a manager has time he or she may edit the post taking out the link, or, if the link is from a good source we have been known to let it stay. It's hard at times to determine a good source, meaning one that is credible as well as a link which is not sending our members to commercial sites or to sites that may actually be delivering information that may actually be deleterious to an individual's quit.

The second reason this post was a problem that belonged in this string was that it was a news story which while centered around smoking was not a story that was necessarily conducive to helping people quit. The article was about an incident where there was a murder of a bouncer in a New York establishment because he was doing his job of enforcing the new ban on smoking cessation in public places that is now a policy throughout the state. The slant that some of the news media is spinning on the story is how bad the new policy is that it can lead to smokers having to resort to murder to smoke. I guess this means that the idea of a smoker not being able to smoke predisposes normal and otherwise law abiding individuals to fits of anger and criminal behavior and even justifying or explaining the need to murder. After all as the articles point out, smoking is a drug addiction.

Is it true that smoker's are addicted to smoking? You bet, smoking is a drug addiction. Do people resort to murder when trying to get drugs to feed addiction? Yes this is known to happen. But here is the catch--these people are not excused for their actions because they are addicts and the laws are not changed to just give everyone access to the drug. Also, most of these crimes do not happen because the person is denied a particular place to dose him or herself, meaning, that the person is not allowed to shoot up in a public place but he or she can step outside into an alley to shoot up freely. This of course is the option that almost all individuals have who cannot smoke indoors have--they can simply go outdoors and deliver their nicotine fix.

I wanted to comment on this story clearing up the misconception that a smoker being deprived of nicotine for a time period of being indoors is generally going to be so out of control that it is likely that the person is going to resort to violence and even to murder. I don't think legislation should be adjusted on the basis that smokers are going to murder others if they can't smoke. This particular argument is not valid and should quickly be dismissed. This leads to the question though of whether or not there are then there valid reasons for not having smoking policies enforced?

We could spend time discussing these other issues, and some of them will not be so clear cut so that every single person reading here will share the same opinions. This can lead to some very lively debates. But when it comes down to it how is this debate really going to help any single individual quit. If any of us are pulled into these policy debates it leaves the opportunity for us to alienate or offend people of the opposing viewpoint. Why risk such confrontation when the issues at hand are not really crucial in helping secure any specific individual's quit?

There is another group of people who I worry about though even more than our regular members. It is people who are first looking into our site who are wanting to get help to quit smoking. What if the first post they saw was a string developing on smoking restriction laws being too permissive or being to prohibitive. What impression are they going to have of what Freedom from Tobacco is. Will they see this as a site where people are working at quitting smoking or may they conclude that we are a site set up and designed to enforce anti-smoking laws? Will we be viewed as their advocates or as anti-smoking policy enforcers? To a person who is off smoking for weeks or months a group working at strengthening such policies may not be seen as a bad thing, but to a person who is still using we can easily be viewed as a fanatical group trying to enforce smoking regulations to protect our rights to not have to breath polluted air.

This is an issue I have been very cautious about for over 30 years. I am often asked to speak at certain forums where second hand smoke and smoking restriction issues are the agenda. I have a very good track record of avoiding all of these engagements. In my first few years of lecturing I did do presentations to a few groups that were anti-smoking advocates. I never refused any groups that asked me to talk back then. These were of course easy lectures--I would talk about the dangers of smoking and everyone there would agree that people should not smoke. What could be easier? I never joined these groups but I would sometimes get written up in local papers as an expert coming out to push their cause.

The truth be known though is that their cause was not my cause. I have never focused my efforts to make people quit smoking. My desire has always been to help people who want to quit smoking to accomplish their goals. I do smoking prevention programs too, where I speak to kids about the dangers of smoking. Even in these programs I don't push the concept that they should not take up smoking because of social or moral implications but rather because of the long-term effects it is going to have on them specifically as opposed to the effects that it is going to have on others around them. I guess the only group that I will take a stand with is when lecturing to pregnant women but even then I point out that if the quit is going to last over the long-term the women are going to have to personalize their reasons for quitting to themselves and not to the children.

I feel the need at times to discuss second hand smoke issues here at Freedom but only on the point that second hand smoke will not cause a person to relapse, that nicotine cannot be delivered in a sufficient dosage to cause a person to go into withdrawal from exposure. If anyone raised the point that second hand smoke is going to put his or her quit on the line I will make it clear that this is not the case. I can also point out that there are health implications of second hand smoke exposure and that our members should avoid such exposure whenever possible for the benefit of their health. I will even come out stronger and say that if a person has specific allergies to tobacco smoke or COPD or cardiac conditions that they may need to make a real concerted effort to limit their exposure at all times and may even have to make a clear stand at a workplace or maybe even leave places because of the real immediate risks that are posed to them by second hand smoke exposure. Again, this is to protect people who are in a clear and present and immediate danger from such exposure and I feel like I am shirking an important responsibility if I do not address this group of people and even to help people who smoke realize that there are people out there at great risk from such exposure.

There are other sites out there to deal with these issues in depth and there are other experts out there who are not working at helping people quit but working instead on the legislative front. My only hope is that people who feel strongly on any side, if they are smokers themselves and one day realize that they want to quit, that they see us as a resource and people who are going to be their advocates in helping them to achieve their goal to never take another puff!

Joel
Last edited by Joel on April 26th, 2009, 6:25 am, edited 2 times in total.
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