Don't Get Discouraged!

Subconscious use cue extinguishment
SurrenderGold
SurrenderGold

September 16th, 2003, 6:14 am #11

Thank you Parker for an excellent post. I used to think I was "different" because I still did and still do think about smoking, although the thoughts are very rarely a problem anymore. After smoking for many years I don't believe the thoughts just disappear. There are some days when I still want a cigarette but the thoughts are usually fleeting and easily ignored, then there are days when I don't think about smoking at all. I still come here often for re-inforcement and when I have thoughts of smoking all I have to do is remember one = all and that is something I definitely don't want. It's been a hard journey but very worth it. Sheila
Nine months, three weeks, three days, 10 hours, 13 minutes and 14 seconds. 4163 cigarettes not smoked, saving $728.59. Life saved: 2 weeks, 10 hours, 55 minutes.
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David Gold
David Gold

September 16th, 2003, 6:48 am #12

Hello Parker,
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for that post. I have come in here from time to time and looked at everyone's happy posts and thinking that everyone else was moving ahead and I was stuck in the mud. I've had a pretty normal quit with a few anxious moments early on. After a while I charged out ahead with all the glee that comes from thinking you have started a new life.

I really crashed hard when I realized that this wasn't a "new" life but the same "old" life without cigarettes. I started exercising and eating right and I am feeling great for the most part. I just had to realize that nothing magical happens when you quit smoking. You don't become a brand new person. You're the same old you without the cigarettes.

I still think about smoking every now and then but it doesn't consume me. I am a happy ex-smoker who will have to be happy with how far I've come. I love not smoking and wouldn't trade my life now for the way it used to
be.

Thanks Parker,
David
1 year +
Last edited by David Gold on June 3rd, 2011, 10:19 am, edited 1 time in total.
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janetd (GOLD)
janetd (GOLD)

September 16th, 2003, 7:40 am #13

Thanks for the excellent post, Parker! I still think about smoking but I can deal with a thought. Take it, look at it, turn it over, and be done. This is a life-long commitment being taken one day at a time. I like it a lot.

yqs, Janet :)
One Year Eight Months
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ComicForces GOLD
ComicForces GOLD

September 16th, 2003, 9:27 pm #14

You know, I thought a lot about this thread last night.

I am not as far along as the gold members, but I am almost 7 months into my quit. In my "silver" post, I talked about how I think I appreciate life more now as an ex-smoker than a never-smoker may appreciate life. I said this because I've now been on both sides of the coin. I've lived in the state of constant nicotine withdrawal. I've lived the guilty I-should-really-stop-this life. I've lived the I'll-quit-tomorrow, this-is-my-last-pack life. I've lived in the I'll-just-smoke-while-I'm-drinking world. I was a closet smoker. I was constantly guilt-ridden whenever I thought about what some people would think of me if they knew I smoked.

Now I'm on the "other" side. The side where I don't CONSTANTLY have a burden on my shoulders about what I am doing to my own body. I don't have the nagging "I really HAVE TO quit" thoughts in my head anymore. I can enjoy spending time with friends and family and be PRESENT, instead of mentally plotting when I can have the next smoke. I can run like the wind. I don't dread physical activities -- from walking up a flight of steps at work to helping a friend move -- because I know I have the strength and the energy to do just about anything any person with a normal lung capacity can do.

So… I've been on both sides, as all of us here at Freedom have. Who wouldn't think that, hands down, the smoke free life is the "better" life? I know some people posted in this thread that when you quit smoking, you are the same person as when you smoked, except that you no longer smoke. The further I get into my quit, I do see truth to this, but I also think that smoking DOES change your life… I think it can make you a different person if you let it. Even a pack-a-day smoker… Say you spend 5 minutes (minimum) smoking each cig in the pack. That's almost an hour and a half of each and every day of your life spent puffing away. Changing something that you did for over an hour each day EVERY DAY, without fail, for YEARS, is HUGE. Even just emotionally, there's a pretty big adjustment. Physically, it's another, different kind of adjustment. It's a different life. (At least, in my opinion!!!)

Like I said in the beginning of this post, I thought a lot about this thread last night. I really REALLY love what Parker said when she started the thread (in so many words): that craves are what you make them and you can make them bigger than they need to be. When I stopped to think about what I am doing, living this enjoyable smoke-free life, did I feel VERY nostalgic about the days I used to smoke out my apartment window the split second a visitor left? YES. Do I feel nostalgic about getting back together with old college friends and smoking two packs of Camel Red Lights? YES. Do I feel nostalgic about having a pack of cigs on snow days….and just standing outside in the peace and quiet, the white snow all around me, smoking away, enjoying the cool winter air? YES! Oh my gosh, YES.

But… I can't hold onto those memories as they relate to smoking. What good will it do me? I think you can mourn the loss of a person, say, by looking back fondly at the good times. But I really cannot allow myself to look back fondly at smoking. I can for a few moments, as I did last night, getting all nostalgic…but I can't spend much time dwelling on that. If I do, as Parker suggested, the crave/nostaglia/etc will get even bigger and more powerful.

Sometimes I find it helps, when I start thinking fondly back to my smoking days, to run up a flight of stairs. Nothing big, even 12 steps in an office building stairwell. Just quickly shoot up the flight of steps. Then think about what I felt like doing the same thing 7 months ago. Or, when I get to the top, I ask myself if I want a cigarette? The answer is always NO. You all should try it.

I guess, as was also stated in this thread, that's the problem with addiction. That's why addiction is BAD (I'm speaking in 5-year-old language here!). It is a shame that we'll have to deal with this addiction our whole lives. Others who never smoked (or were never addicted) don't have to deal with it. I do see my current non-smoking life as a gift. I do feel like I appreciate things a lot more. But, sometimes when I'm at the gym, all tired and sweaty, I start thinking: it would be a LOT easier if I just forgot about this stupid exercise routine, went home, and smoked a pack of cigarettes. But then I have to think…Would it?

Thanks for listening!!!!!!!

ComicForces
6 months 3 weeks 5 days
Last edited by ComicForces GOLD on June 3rd, 2011, 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Toast (GOLD )
Toast (GOLD )

September 17th, 2003, 12:50 am #15

A pleasure to listen, CF, when what you say is so true!

 Melissa
27 months
Last edited by Toast (GOLD ) on June 3rd, 2011, 10:21 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Jeanne Gold
Jeanne Gold

September 17th, 2003, 1:20 am #16

Beatiful post, Parker, and thank you for saying so well what I feel in my heart every single day. I used to live with a mind that obsessively put my drug above every other person or thing in my life for many, many years and promised to continue to get worse until it crippled or killed me or at least made me broke and miserable on a daily basis. I worked so very hard to break free from the monster of nicotine addiction and I WON! I can make decisions about my life and my family without one concern over how or when I will be able to feed the addiction. I flow smoothly through my days without so much as a thought to smoking unless it's to notice how badly someone else smells or how unhealthy they look because they smoke. I am 100% free from the way I suffered as an actively-feeding addict.

Do I ever have an undefeated trigger slap me in the face?
Rarely, it happens, but it doesn't last very long.
Do I ever find myself wanting to smoke?
Rarely, it happens, but it doesn't last very long.
Do I allow these rare and fleeting thoughts to consume me and make me romanticize the drug that was ruining my life and trying to kill me?
HECK NO, I DON'T! I just acknowledge the trigger, remind myself that I no longer smoke, and it doesn't take much convincing since I am now sickened by the stench. I also acknowledge that it would only take one puff to make me not care about the stench anymore, not care about my kids anymore, not care that my life is calm now, even when things get crazy, I am still calm because today I have the ability to choose whether or not I'm going to smoke. When I was smoking, I never had that choice. All my choices were made for me.

If I had it to do all over again, would I do anything different? Yep, I would. I would not be so scared of quitting and I would have quit years sooner. It's the best thing I ever did, and I love myself for doing it. It's just my opinion, but I think anyone who is at a year's quit and is still missing smoking has forgotten why they started down this road to begin with. What's there to miss about slow-motion suicide? A little perspective always does the trick for me.

Boy, I don't post for months, then I can't stop the fingers....geez! I must feel passionately about this or something.

~Jeanne
Eleven months and totally in love with my quit!
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valeriescleanGOLD
valeriescleanGOLD

September 17th, 2003, 2:26 am #17

Thank you Parker! I enjoyed this post so much. I will NEVER forget how I felt actively using my drug nicotine. I made a promise to myself that I never would. And every day I am grateful for the Freedom I have earned, One Day at a Time, by Never Taking Another Puff!

Valerie
8 Months 2 Weeks and 1 awesome day of Freedom!
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

December 5th, 2003, 5:31 pm #18

"The thoughts would only have power if I latched onto them. If I grabbed that thought as it was flying by and captured it and began to stroke it and worry about it and magnify it and reproduce it and clutch it to me….then it would cease to be powerless. It would grow in size and strength and take up more and more space in my brain. I might begin to feel less grateful for my freedom and more like I was deprived of something. Then perhaps some feelings of resentment might arise. Maybe I might even begin to entertain the thought that this one puff leads to relapse business is a bunch of malarkey. I imagine that more than one of you is nodding your head in recognition as you read this. We've all been there---this is junkie thinking. This is one of the long-term results of drug addiction."
Parker

Last edited by John (Gold) on November 5th, 2009, 12:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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jennyissilver
jennyissilver

May 4th, 2004, 10:01 am #19

Thank you, Parker, for both writing this and for sending it up for me. It deserves to be read again and again by all of us. When I turn silver, this is the post that I want to list as my favorite.

There are some extraordinary thinkers and writers here at Freedom and you are certainly one of the best.

Jenny
Free, free, free since March 23, 2004
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smurfetteirl
smurfetteirl

May 4th, 2004, 9:44 pm #20

fantastic post Parker( sounded like it was wrote just for me )!!!
wonderful stuff from
Alison in post 8
David in post 12
ComicForces in post 14 and
Jeanne in post 16
im so glad they all wrote to you parker, its a diamond thread alright!


i agree with you Jenny, it deserves to be read and read and read
because it is so true and needs to be remembered.
lynda
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Parker GOLD
Parker GOLD

August 24th, 2004, 1:45 am #21

For Jeff...who has worked hard to maintain his beautiful quit.
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johnny
johnny

August 25th, 2004, 4:21 am #22

WHAT A BLAST FROM THE PAST! THANKS PARKER. I NEEDED THAT! johnny-free&healing
I have stopped nicotine for 3 months, 25 days, 18 hours, 21 minutes and 24 seconds (116 days).
I've not smoked 2919 death sticks, and saved $439.98.
I've saved 10 days, 3 hours and 15 minutes of my life.
Last edited by johnny on November 5th, 2009, 12:59 am, edited 1 time in total.
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kwhtlw
kwhtlw

August 25th, 2004, 5:24 am #23

What he said!
Thanks Parker!!

Kevin, NicFree & Luv'n It for 68 days. I quit chewing tobacco on 6/17/04, and have save $341.49 while expecting to be on earth 2 Days, 8 hours and 50 minutes longer.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

December 4th, 2004, 2:45 am #24

The nicotine industry wants us back as we each represent thousands of dollars in lost income .... if we lived that long. They're spending billions and billions in marketing each year to lure us into relapse by trying to convince us that we're missing out on pleasure, adventure, flavor and taste.
Don't let the facade and maze of marketing at the gas station, grocery store or pharmacy convince you that one chemical is worth 14 years of life. That's absolutely crazy. But that's what chemical addiciton is all about, a craziness willing to exchange freedom, health and life itself for an unearned flood of dopamine.
Baby steps, just one day at a time and it won't be long before the primary discouragement you feel isn't about quitting nicotine but of watching other smokers you care for or love be deprived of their own natural beauty hidden beneath de-sensitized neuronal pathways, scores of conditioned feeding cues and a small mountain of dependency rationalizations. Millions of words in Freedom's 250 thousand member posts but only one rule ... no nicotine today! John (Gold x5)
Last edited by John (Gold) on November 5th, 2009, 1:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Parker GOLD
Parker GOLD

December 18th, 2004, 9:19 pm #25

From: Jeanne-Gold
"Do I ever have an undefeated trigger slap me in the face?
Rarely, it happens, but it doesn't last very long.
Do I ever find myself wanting to smoke?
Rarely, it happens, but it doesn't last very long.
Do I allow these rare and fleeting thoughts to consume me and make me romanticize the drug that was ruining my life and trying to kill me?
HECK NO, I DON'T! I just acknowledge the trigger, remind myself that I no longer smoke.... I also acknowledge that it would only take one puff to make me not care about the stench anymore, not care about my kids anymore, not care that my life is calm now, even when things get crazy, I am still calm because today I have the ability to choose whether or not I'm going to smoke. When I was smoking, I never had that choice. All my choices were made for me."

~Jeanne
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VoluntaryDebraSilver
VoluntaryDebraSilver

January 9th, 2005, 8:49 am #26

I came looking for inspiration for the over a year quitter, sure it wouldn't be here because of all the New Year Newbies, and it took only 2 clicks of the mouse. I don't come here for weeks at a time but when I do someone is ready to speak to my heart. Thanks so much.
Debra...about 409 days
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Starshinegrl Gold
Starshinegrl Gold

March 9th, 2005, 2:32 am #27

for Mark

please make sure you hit the First button!

Thank you, Parker!

Gitte
102 days and a bit
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JoeJFree Gold
JoeJFree Gold

March 9th, 2005, 6:01 am #28

Parker, the entire theme of this essay truly will make a difference in the thought process of every member of Freedom who is lucky enough to catch this as it passes atop the board again. I also now realize that it is not unheard of nor all that unusual to have a request for assitance from even a well established Freedomite. We are all indeed just one puff away. I will remember to suggest this essay in reply if I ever again am on the board when a request for assistance is posted. THANKS.

This excerpt is the core of your message for me -
"There is no denying that those recent posts are scary . They remind us of the deadly power of this addiction. We don't just quit and then lah-di-dah our way through the rest of our lives. Initially, we need to work hard at our quits. Then comes a time when we realize the work is not as hard. We are able to ease up, we think less about it. But, we never get to forget that we are addicts in recovery.
Nobody graduates from addiction."


I, for one, am not discouraged by the fact that I'll always be an addict. I am empowered by this fact. I was reborn in that wonderful moment of realization and acknowledgement of my addiction to nicotine.
Knowledge of my addiction is not a millstone that I'll have to lug around the rest of my natural-born days (really like that phrase now). I carry the knowledge of my addiction and how I keep it disconnected with me at all times by recalling how I inscribed NTAP in red ink on my inner left wrist daily for the first three weeks of this journey to freedom. I look down even now and can still 'see it'. It is my own personal Freedom Key that unlocked the door to my freedom to live Nicotine FREE. Knowledge of my addiction is not a burden, it is a cherished gift.
Maybe I will get that NTAP! tattoo done.
World class quitters all and so many world class writers in the archives here at Freedom I may never post again. NOT!


joejFree for 57 Days and have now reclaimed an extra 4 Days and 23 Hours. NTAP!
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on December 13th, 2014, 12:36 am, edited 2 times in total.
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tumnisbb
tumnisbb

March 9th, 2005, 10:32 pm #29

Great post ! i hadnt seen this before , thats why i stopped in today to care for my quit and give others who are just quit encouragement , reading the post from those who have just quit helps me to keep it perpective .. becca I have been quit for 10 Months, 5 Days, 12 hours, 47 minutes and 8 seconds (309 days). I have saved $1,315.50 by not smoking 7,738 cigarettes. I have saved 3 Weeks, 5 Days, 20 hours and 50 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 5/3/2004
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TeraGold
TeraGold

March 11th, 2005, 3:07 am #30

Wow, yeah, exactly.

"We need to remember how desperate we felt to quit. We need to remember how awful withdrawal might have been. We need to remember how we began to gradually feel better and could concentrate on something besides not smoking. We need to remember how we began to understand that years of smoking had stunted our emotional responses. We need to remember cutting ourselves off from other people in order to smoke. We need to remember that we quit smoking because we valued our lives and ourselves enough to take a frightening step into the unknown territory of recovery."
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JamieIsGoldNow
JamieIsGoldNow

March 23rd, 2005, 12:26 am #31

I'm really glad I saw this. I have the daily digests coming to my email, but I rarely look too closely. Lately, I've been having urges for a cigarette, and I really thought I'd be over them by now. I just want to point out to the folks that are still new in their quit that the urges may not stop coming, but mine, at least, barely last long enough for me to give voice to it. In fact, it's more like any other wicked thought that runs through my head - I just have to let it keep running. So there's the hope - the urges might still be there, but nothing at all like the CRAVINGS used to be.

Jamie

I have been quit for 11 Months, 2 Weeks, 4 Days, 22 hours, 20 minutes and 16 seconds (352 days). I have saved $3,088.13 by not smoking 17,646 cigarettes. I have saved 2 Months, 6 hours and 30 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 4/3/2004
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JoeJFree Gold
JoeJFree Gold

June 7th, 2005, 2:04 am #32

Parker has penned a classic.
Thanks Gitte for again reintroducing us.

Don't get discouraged!

This is hard work, but it does get easier. All you have to do is keep reading here and you see that. Post after post after post reinforces the message that this is doable and desirable. There is real comfort on this journey and it is yours for the taking as long as you never take another puff.
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JoeJFree Gold
JoeJFree Gold

October 10th, 2005, 12:12 am #33

For Billie.

This is hard work, but it does get easier. All you have to do is keep reading here and you see that. Post after post after post reinforces the message that this is doable and desirable. There is real comfort on this journey and it is yours for the taking as long as you never take another puff. - Parker
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on June 3rd, 2011, 10:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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FreeBillie61
FreeBillie61

October 10th, 2005, 12:31 am #34

Thanks Parker.

Billie
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Mike851
Mike851

March 31st, 2006, 6:44 pm #35

Parker,

Bravo!!! Thank You, Sir!!

All the points you made went for me.

Kind regards,
Mike W...no nicotine since 13th Feb 2006
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