Don't Get Discouraged!

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

Don't Get Discouraged!

Parker GOLD
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

15 Sep 2003, 23:14 #1

In the past couple days, there was more than one post by members who admitted to doing some serious thinking about smoking. Folks on their way to or just past gold. I, for one, am glad that they shared. This forum is enriched by our honest sharing of our experiences of quitting.
When I was newly quit, I read posts by old time members who talked about never wanting to smoke. They spoke of total comfort. I assumed this meant they never had even a nanosecond of thought about cigarettes. That, of course, led me to believe that I was retarded in my progress. Because even as my quit time continued to pile up, there were these….thoughts. In the early months of quitting, they plagued me and I was pretty sure they would never go away.
The truth is they have not gone away completely. However, they have diminished to the point that they concern me not at all anymore. I've written before about the fact that as my quit matured the thoughts became harmless little things. A little whoosh through the brain. Completely painless.
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.
Personally, I counteract any tendency to sink into that cycle by taking care of my quit. I do that by reading here at the forum. Reading someone's first post full of fear and confusion and new hope reminds me of where I started. Posting congratulations for an accomplishment reminds me of my own successes. Participating in a parade fills me with a sense of wonder at how well we are all doing with out quits.
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.
Perhaps some people think that you quit smoking and now it's over. End of story. Close the book. File this away as an unfortunate incident of the past. You don't need to think about it anymore. Well, we do need to think about it - not obsessively, not continually - but it needs our attention. 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.
It's fine by me to get a little scared once in a while. Keeps me grateful for my quit. Reminds me of what a precious gift I am giving myself every day.
So, don't lose heart!
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.
(There I go stealing Joel's lines again!) Image
ImageParker - 15 months of freedom & healing and obviously very long-winded today Image
Last edited by Parker GOLD on 05 Nov 2009, 00:52, edited 1 time in total.

Sal GOLD.ffn
Joined: 16 Jan 2003, 08:00

15 Sep 2003, 23:45 #2

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.
Yes! Thanks for this post, Parker. It's definitely golden.
Eight months, three days, 9 hours
Last edited by Sal GOLD.ffn on 05 Nov 2009, 00:53, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:31

15 Sep 2003, 23:45 #3

ImageThank you, Parker, for putting it into such clear, concise wording.
I'm only a couple of months into my Quit, but I place so much value on it. I had to work hard to get to this level of comfort and appreciation, and it is one of my most prized possessions.
However, I realize that freedom from tobacco doesn't negate the fact that we still have the freedom of choice. I know that if I choose to relapse and play Russian Roulette with my health, all I have to do is go ahead light one up. End of story. End of Quit. Image

YQS - Peg
Proud to be Two Months, Thirteen Days, 21 Hours and 42 Minutes Nicotine Free, making the choice to NTAPImage
Last edited by PegIsGold on 05 Nov 2009, 00:54, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

16 Sep 2003, 00:09 #4

What a beautiful post, Parker. Thank you for saying out loud what a great many must feel. Your post should be required reading for all of us when we reach Gold. yqs, JD

Judy is SILVER and has been nic free for: 7M 4W 1D 8h 57m and has NOT smoked 10951 smelly cigs, for a grand $$$ savings of $1,834.42 plus life of Freedom extended by: 1M 1W 35m.

Toast (GOLD )
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 Sep 2003, 00:23 #5

Exellent, excellent, excellent!!
A very excellent post there, Ms. Parker,! Quitting smoking is not pretending smoking away. Well, not if a body wants to stay quit, that is.
Thank you!
27 months and counting 2 days to welcoming an old friend to gold ...
Last edited by Toast (GOLD ) on 05 Nov 2009, 00:55, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

16 Sep 2003, 00:25 #6

Well said, Parker, and very timely.

MareBear GOLD
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

16 Sep 2003, 00:28 #7

Terrific post Parker! This is definitely one for the archives. Just because we're comfortable doesn't mean that the little thoughts have completely stopped. We just know what to do with them... or what NOT to do, I guess.
We have the power to maintain our quits. It has always been there (just like Dorothy always had the power to go home again Image), but our addicted minds refused to allow us to hope. Now that there is time and space between us and our active addictions, we can remain free simply by remembering our commitment to our quits. As Parker said, not obsessing, just remember. Use the tools you've been given. Read Joel's library. Send out an SOS. This too shall pass and your quit will be intact.
Right on Parker!
MareBear Image

1 year, 3 months +++
Last edited by MareBear GOLD on 05 Nov 2009, 00:50, edited 1 time in total.

Alyson GOLD.ffn
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

16 Sep 2003, 00:34 #8

Recovery is a lifelong journey. Recent months have kept me so busy that I haven't had time for posting but I do read at Freedom at least every couple of days. I return so that I'll always appreciate my journey and acknowledge all of its aspects.

Once in a great while a smoking thought will pass through my brain. I appreciate the reminder that as a smoker, I was not the master of my own time, my own activities, my own life - I was so much at the mercy of my addiction that AT NEARLY 15 MONTHS CLEAN, the siren can still sing out. It's a potent reinforcement of the fact that nicotine cravings ruled me for twenty years. I am forced to remember how I responded immediately, a slave to my drug, over and over, all day long, every day. I was a gerbil on a wheel.

Now, I'm gratefully back in charge and life on this side of the bars is so much better in so many ways. So, when a brief thought visits me, I accept it as evidence that I have been permanently altered and proof that I can never take another puff. I remember how nicotine was integrated at every level of my conscious and subconscious life like a parasite and take the opportunity to celebrate reclaiming my birthright to exist free. I walk on and walk tall.

I never have to smoke again.
What a relief.
What a joy!
14+ months

SweetLorraine (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

16 Sep 2003, 02:36 #9

ImageHi Parker,
Excellent post and very timely. I'd like to add at this point in my quit I consider visiting Freedom to be entirely voluntary. I consider the lesson learned here to be well ingrained to that point of unconscious competence that I so longed for in the early days.
So why come here most days? Partially because I'm as Marty pointed out long ago a 'habitual' kind of person, partly because this is part of my personal daily celebration of Freedom. Partly as a reminder of how steep that trail was in the beginning. And once in awhile to read an inspirational new post.
Thanks for the inspiration Parker,
Lorraine Gold Club Image
Last edited by SweetLorraine (Gold) on 05 Nov 2009, 00:56, edited 1 time in total.

Shinelady Gold3282003
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

16 Sep 2003, 04:18 #10

Thanks Parker,
This is beautifully written. I think it is wonderful that members, of this group, are so free with the feelings and emotions they experience in their quits.
You summed it all up so perfectly. You've shared with us another "Parker classic" for sure.... Thanks for being you.... Image

yqs, sue
Five months, two weeks, three days, 22 hours, 25 minutes and 15 seconds. 6837 cigarettes not smoked, saving $987.76. Life saved: 3 weeks, 2 days, 17 hours, 45 minutes.