Does it sometimes look like a lot of our members seem to be having a bad day?

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Does it sometimes look like a lot of our members seem to be having a bad day?

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Feb 2005, 01:37 #1

Did you ever notice how we can go days or even weeks without having a single SOS or 911 post, without a single person writing about having a totally miserable day? Then, suddenly we see one person after another posting about having trouble, everything going wrong, nearly at the point of relapse, ready to throw in the towel? If it seems like trouble comes in bunches, it's because sometimes it does, and with good reason. Over the years I have done two types of Stop Smoking Clinics. The first is community-based, with anywhere from 10 to 60 participants, few of whom know each other beforehand. The other is corporate-based, where many, if not all of the participants work together on a daily basis and are at least acquainted with each other.

In the corporate setting there is a real danger of two phenomena occurring. The first danger is the Buddy System, well documented and often talked about and cautioned against here at Freedom. That's where two people get together and quit at the same time and theoretically provide moral support to each other. The problem is that each buddy may start to feel that his or her quit is contingent on the success of the other buddy. If one buddy relapses the other one is likely to throw in the towel too. Or, even worse, the entire group becomes one big buddy system, with the danger of losing more than two people from the group in one fell swoop.

An example of how this can occur is seen when one of the clinic participants relapses. Typically he/she is embarrassed by the failure and will often try to hide the relapse from the other participants. Eventually, though, the relapse will be discovered and another class member will see the person smoking, maybe in the parking lot or another public area at work. The embarrassed smoker, instead of admitting the relapse and the failure, will say that he is only smoking occasionally and has everything under control.

The co-worker may spill the beans to the rest of the group or may keep it to himself and quietly ponder the situation. The idea of casual "social" smoking may begin to look attractive to him and the more he thinks about it, the more practical the idea begins to look. One day he tries it for himself. Then, in total shock and dismay, he finds himself hooked again and smoking regularly. While he may now be a daily smoker, he may try to hide from the others in the group and may even keep it from the person who originally relapsed for fear of looking weak in comparison. After all, that person is controlling his smoking just fine as far as the second relapsed smoker can tell. Before long, though, yet another member of the class catches Relapse Number Two. He may also profess to have the situation under control, instead of just owning up to the relapse. And so the cycle continues until a mass relapse is a distinct possibility, with all class members lying to each other on a daily basis.

We have controls in place to prevent this scenario from happening at Freedom. If a member of this group takes a puff, he doesn't get to tell the others that he "has things under control", because at the first mention of a puff that member is out for life. Whether or not that member convinces himself that he has everything under control there is no way his rationalizations can influence any other member. As soon as he/she writes about a puff, posting privileges are over.

The second phenomenon that can happen in a corporate setting is sometimes repeated here at Freedom. It can happen when all participants are still successfully not smoking. It can begin innocently enough when one member is having a bad day, possibly because of nothing related to smoking, and tries to share the problem with the entire group through a post. Those negative feelings are quickly picked up by someone else, who posts about more problems unrelated to smoking and then another and another and pretty soon the entire group is involved. They begin to fear that their quits are now in jeopardy, just because they are newly quit also.

It is crucial that all persons reading here understand that throughout their lives they are going to have bad days. This is not because they are ex-smokers; it is because they are human beings. Our moods will be affected by our environments, whether is be weather problems, family stressors, problems at work, shifts in the economy, world issues that affect the peace and stability of nations, or a host of other problems that plague mankind. Life continues to happen after people quit smoking and it is imperative to recognize that most of the same problems would have occurred even if they hadn't quit smoking and would also have occurred if they had never started smoking.

You should also realize that while many of these bad days would have happened regardless of your smoking status, by having quit you are avoiding many bad days that continuing to smoke would have caused. Days like the one where you have a smoking-induced stroke or the day you have a heart attack, or the day that a routine chest x-ray shows a spot that is more than a technological glitch. These days, while bad in themselves, will lead to a lot more bad days that may make your current problems seem totally insignificant in comparison.

Then there are the bad days where withdrawal is worse while still smoking, because the environment you are in is not allowing you to feed your addiction on a regular basis. This is becoming more and more commonplace as more cities, states and countries are implementing smoking restrictions in public places.

There are also bad days when smoking becomes a greater economic hardship because the price has jumped significantly. Or maybe burning some piece of clothing, furniture or your entire house will cause a bad day, especially if a pet or even a loved one was in the house and didn't get out in time.

Smoking does have one advantage, though. It pretty much insures that you will have fewer bad days as a whole. It does this by causing your death a lot sooner than you intended. Unfortunately, smoking also limits your number of good days too and it will normally leave your loved ones with a lot more bad days than they would have had if you did not smoke.

Freedom is a lot more like the corporate based clinics because we have the opportunity to stay in touch and share experiences over the long term. While this allows our members the ability to share experiences and help to reinforce each other's resolve, it also carries the additional risk of the spreading of negative experiences and having it appear to be effects of having quit smoking. It is crucial for our members to be more discriminating than this. When you are having bad moments, try to look around your surrounding circumstances and determine if other areas of your life may be responsible for certain physical or emotional reactions. If you come to the conclusion that absolutely nothing is wrong in your life or in the lives of others around you that can account for some bad feeling--congratulations are in order for you have reached a state of paradise and bliss that most of mankind has been seeking since its inception and has never been able to attain. Although, if this is the case, there is a chance that you may have lost touch with reality just a little.

Life goes on after you quit smoking--accept that fact. It is indeed what you were hoping for when first quitting--that your life would go on as it did before, maybe even better. While you may not be happy with the way everything is going in your life at any given moment, if you really examine the benefits to your health and to your life of no longer having to maintain an expensive, dirty, dangerous and deadly addiction, you will at least always be a little happier by the fact that you made and stuck to a commitment to never take another puff!
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Feb 2005, 01:39 #2

A special thanks to David (Hillbilly) for editing up this one for me before I ever posted it. It was a compilation of a few posts and was quite a bit choppy
when I first wrote it. It flows much better now thanks to David's editing.

Edited September 20, 2012 to add in related video:


Last edited by Joel on 20 Sep 2012, 19:27, edited 1 time in total.
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JoeJFree Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Feb 2005, 01:48 #3

Again, it's like I'm wearing a monitor or something. Thanks Joel!Image
My name is JoeJFree a nicotine addict and Ex-smoker for 1 month, 3 days, 2 hours, 28 minutes and 36 seconds (33 days) Image (MY quit is my daily gift to myself) NTAP!
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John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Feb 2005, 21:54 #4

Relapse Parties

I pulled the below message from Freedom's old relapse policy, now part of our history. It may just be an online support group thing but in the early days of my quit I watched it happen far too many times at a number of online forums. I called them relapse parties. As Freedom's managers exchanged views on how to diminish nicotine's influence and voice within our group, it played heavy on my mind.

Could extremely zealous online peer support following relapse actually motivate others to want the same? Could they relapse to stealing dopamine and expect a party here when done? As Freedom's early archives would show, once a member started bringing group support benefits into their mind's relapse rationalization game you'd often see them take center stage to proclaim "I've smoked but am back" again and again. Something had to give and that something was nicotine.

It may seem harsh to new arrivals, a forum where nicotine is deprived of a voice, but those battling to break free from a 50% risk of losing 13 to 14 years of life deserve a serious recovery forum as free as possible from nicotine's influence.

We can each take comfort in the fact that we're taking their life seriously, that 100% of our materials are still available to them, and that they now know the law of addiction, that staying free is as basic as knowing and deciding to Never Take Another Puff! John (Gold x5)



Freedom's Original Relapse
and Tough Love Policy
We don't call it a "slip" at Freedom, we call it "relapse!"
"Slip" is a word that losers use to candy coat defeat.
When one of our members relapses we truly do hope that they can get back up, bite their lips if necessary and get on with the rest of their lives. We caution all of our new members who continue to give 100% to be very careful in just how much comfort you give to those who have relapsed. Tough love is extremely tough to do as it requires each of us think hard about what we're about to say, and how we'll encourage that member to regather their "desire" and fight on. What you'll often see happen is a well meaning newbie giving a relapsed member so many hugs, flowers and pats on the back that it makes other struggling members crave similar attention. Does it make any sense to pat someone on the back while they're in the process of jumping off a cliff, or to hand them a flower? What would make sense?
We are nicotine addicts - real live honest to goodness nicotine addicts! If we were all heroin addicts sticking needles into our arms, when one of our members relapsed and started again injecting heroin into their veins, would we pat them on the back and tell them that "it's ok", "don't worry about it," "it's just a little slip, nothing big," "you just keep slippin and we'll just keep huggin ya each time you come back," "hey, we all slip every once in a while, it's just part of life," "it's NO BIG DEAL! "

We're here to tell you that it is a BIG, BIG DEAL! Our addiction will end up killing some of us! Yes, statistically, half of all long term smokers will be killed by tobacco. HALF of us!! If the person who relapsed didn't learn ANYTHING from their relapse except that it brings a massive amount of comfort and hugs, THEN THAT PERSON IS DESTINED TO RELAPSE AGAIN, AND AGAIN AND AGAIN until they get tired of trying and throw in the towel. If we fail to learn from our mistakes, we are destined to repeat them.

"Tough Quit Love" seeks to get the member who relapsed to learn from their relapse. Is a two day quit even a serious quit attempt? Isn't something wrong with this picture? Does the two day quitter really want it badly enough? What was their motivation? How strong or weak was it? What will it take to keep them going? How can we help motivate them or fuel their desire? What's it going to take to get them to quit? Difficulty breathing? A heart attack? Death? Are we asking the right questions? Is our concern genuine if all we do his comfort them to the point that we make them and others feel that it's no big deal to relapse? How many more quit attempts to they have left in them before they give up and simply wait on bad news to someday arrive? Do we want to be part of the solution for their success or part of the reason for their eventual demise?

Imagine a few hundred quitters seated in a circle in a very large room when all of the sudden one of them quickly pulls out a full pack, lights-up, and begins ingesting nicotine into her lungs. The room slowly begins filling with the smell of smoke. How will the others react? Most are strong but a few are really struggling. What should be said? Do hugs really seem appropriate? For those who've long been a part of online support, they've witnessed this exact scenario unfold many times. Unless we are very careful we can send a terrible message to those teetering on the verge of relapse themselves. They are called "relapse parties" and they are very very real. The two most important posts that we'll ever make are to the member crying out for HELP and to the member who has just relapsed. Please take a moment now to reflect on how you'll respond. Brotherly and sisterly love can make a difference here but only if wrapped in truth.

Be bold, brave and caring enough to come to the board, post a quick HELP, and reach for your online support family BEFORE reaching for nicotine! When a family member reaches for nicotine before giving us a brief chance to help ease their troubled mind, it can feel like a hard slap in the face. They enjoyed our support but they failed to understand what the word SUPPORT means. To be too proud to post for HELP but courageous enough to post a relapse is the product of a JUNKIE thinking mind! If you want for us to hug you, support you, and make you feel good about what you've just done, then be honest and do the right thing! Promise yourself NOW that instead of running to the store, bumming from a smoker, or digging through an ashtray that you'll come here and give us a few minutes first. If you don't, we have a right to be upset! We don't need to hear how there was no computer around. You can find us when you want to - just bite your lip and head in the right direction!

One other important point that causes great distress. You need to know in advance that there is NEVER ever any justification for putting nicotine back into your blood. We all will have loved ones who will die, so if the death of a loved one is an acceptable reason for relapse, we all will start smoking again some day - all of us! Some members will return after relapse and do their very best to sell us on the belief that their relapse was justified. Their mind's excuses for ingesting nicotine will sound extremely stressful, horrible or even painful. Some will almost dare you to think that you could have gone without relapsing under the same circumstances. The sad part is, we can't let them leave our newbies with the false belief that there are times when relapse is justified. This can be cause for turmoil in a relapse thread as both other newbies and the relapsor must either be told the truth or the post must be erased. You will see it happen. Instead of admitting that their reasons were not justification for ingesting nicotine, they'll post and then fight to the death to defend their use of nicotine.

It's important to remember that something MUST change in the mind and thinking of the relapsed member if their next quit is to be successful. Tremendous energy can be expended in the first few days of a quit. Early withdrawal can be draining. Although we'd love to see a relapsed member immediately start a new quit, under some circumstances it may be of greater benefit for them to take a moment to reflect and regroup. A rapid cycle of defeats can be extremely demoralizing. If their resolve is no stronger tomorrow than it was yesterday then the result will be the same.

Tough love is blunt and honest but it doesn't mean that we're rude, cruel or that we intentionally hurt someone's feelings. Tough love means that we make these folks think, learn and become motivated to go the distance, not to give up. Yes, at times you'll see some of our oldbies challenge them or challenge their determination, but they do it with caring hearts that seek to make the relapsed member dig deep inside themselves to find what it takes to make freedom ring!
Image
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coryw42
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:12

25 Feb 2005, 21:55 #5

Love this post

Cory

29 days free from nicotine
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

03 Mar 2005, 07:41 #6

The second phenomenon that can happen in a corporate setting is sometimes repeated here at Freedom. It can happen when all participants are still successfully not smoking. It can begin innocently enough when one member is having a bad day, possibly because of nothing related to smoking, and tries to share the problem with the entire group through a post. Those negative feelings are quickly picked up by someone else, who posts about more problems unrelated to smoking and then another and another and pretty soon the entire group is involved. They begin to fear that their quits are now in jeopardy, just because they are newly quit also.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

14 Jul 2005, 19:55 #7

Actually, this issue doesn't seem to come up all that often anymore. I still think it is a good message to get out there though, especially if any of our readers have quit at the same time as other friends, family members or coworkers.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Aug 2005, 06:33 #8

I referred to the dangers of the phenomena of class members in corporate based clinics who lie about their smoking status. This post explores this situation in good detail.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Jan 2006, 00:01 #9

John popped this one up earlier today. Since then, a comment was made in today's parade that I think warrants bringing this one up a second time:

The second phenomenon that can happen in a corporate setting is sometimes repeated here at Freedom. It can happen when all participants are still successfully not smoking. It can begin innocently enough when one member is having a bad day, possibly because of nothing related to smoking, and tries to share the problem with the entire group through a post. Those negative feelings are quickly picked up by someone else, who posts about more problems unrelated to smoking and then another and another and pretty soon the entire group is involved. They begin to fear that their quits are now in jeopardy, just because they are newly quit also.
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CindyL 106
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:04

15 Jan 2006, 02:12 #10

Joel: Thanks for reminding me how important it is to 'accentuate the positive'....I apologize if it was my parade post that seemed to reinforce any negative perceptions. I'm still learning how to think about and deal with my addiction in a productive way so sometimes I might offend without meaning to Image...

This part of the above post is right on target....
___________________________________________________
Smoking does have one advantage, though. It pretty much insures that you will have fewer bad days as a whole. It does this by causing your death a lot sooner than you intended. Unfortunately, smoking also limits your number of good days too and it will normally leave your loved ones with a lot more bad days than they would have had if you did not smoke.

_____________________________________________________

Cindy

Quit for 1 Week, 6 Days, 1 hour and 10 minutes. I have saved $48.92 by not smoking 326 cigarettes. I have saved 1 Day, 3 hours and 10 minutes of my life.
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