Fixating on a cigarette.

Retraining the conscious mind
John (Gold)
John (Gold)

July 27th, 2003, 7:07 am #21

Fixate on what life was like as an endlessly feeding nicotine addict
Fixate on the dreams those thoughts have fueled!
Baby steps, forget about quitting forever!
The next few minutes are all that matter,
and they are 100% doable!
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

August 2nd, 2003, 10:18 pm #22

The fantasy
The reality
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

October 26th, 2003, 12:39 pm #23

Fixate on this instead.
How many of the 800 million air sacs you started life with
would be destroyed by that next puff of 4,000+ chemicals?
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 8th, 2009, 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

November 1st, 2003, 6:53 pm #24

For Andrew

Andrew, unlike a subconscious trigger generating a less than three minute crave episode, we're capable of consciously fixating on a thought for as long as we desire. If you find yourself fixating use it as an opportunity to question and explore your core beliefs about your addiction, and the destruction it inflicts. Baby steps, Andrew, and before you know it you'll be running like the wind!
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 4th, 2004, 8:38 pm #25

From: Parker - GOLD! Sent: 9/15/2003 11:14 AM
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!)

Parker - 15 months of freedom & healing and obviously very long-winded today

Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 9th, 2004, 8:03 pm #26

Turn Fixation into a Truth Exercise

In your reading here at Freedom you'll see distinctions between subconsciously conditioned nicotine feeding expectations (what we call crave triggers producing less than three minute crave episodes - Pavlov's dogs), consciously fixating on a thought of smoking (something that can last as long as the conscious mind is capable of staying focused upon a single topic), and thinking about the topic of smoking without wanting to smoke (hopefully what you're doing now and will do throughout much of your day as you continue to study your dependency and even watch others to learn more about the grip it no so long ago had upon you).


Although conditioned cues are rarely triggered by fixating (as it was not an ingrained tobacco use pattern that most of us engaged in), in theory, thinking or fixating can exist on both sides of any conditioned habit trigger, and thinking about smoking, even during recovery, always has the potential to lead to fixation. Confused now? Don't be.


The bottom line isn't so much the source of any present wanting, the degree of anxiety associated with it, or even how long it last, but whether or not we'll provide an honest response to it. The most common fixation is every drug addict's dream of controlling the uncontrollable and smoking "just one" but when it comes to true chemical dependency, one is "always too many and a thousand never enough."


Don't try to chase the thoughts away or hide from them. Take them on head-up. If you are absolutely convinced that you like the collective taste of the 4,000+ chemicals present in each puff, that include 43 known carcinogens, then take that next step and acknowledge that your brain is chemically addicted to just one primary chemical - nicotine - and that you would no more smoke nicotineless tobacco than you'd smoke dried leaves from the yard.


The new Nicotine Free Quest cigarettes are proving to be a joke as thousands of smokers purchased one pack while almost none return for another. But even if you are that remote tobacco lover who loved it so much that you wanted to smoke smoke even without the nicotine, is that burning desire worth destroying your body's ability to receive and transport life giving oxygen? Is it worth spending what were to be your golden years fighting with every ounce of your energy to inhale enough oxygen to keep your body alive? Is it worth a roughly 50% risk of a birthday in the vicinity of your 60th being your last ever, or a 25% chance that you will not live beyond middle-age?


Fixating upon a cigarette is an invitation to accelerate psychological adjustment and recovery by fixating upon truth. Like it or not, we are drug addicts. The only question remains will we keep our addiction arrested or will it keep us arrested? The key to determining which side of the bars we'll live on is one powerful puff of nicotine. The choice is ours and there's only one rule to keeping our healing and freedom alive - no nicotine today!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,

John
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 8th, 2009, 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 13th, 2004, 9:00 pm #27

Fixating on A cigarette?

Create a more honest vision as there is no such thing as just one!
One is too many and a thousand never enough!
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 8th, 2009, 12:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

wackylaurie
wackylaurie

February 13th, 2004, 11:03 am #28

Well I have been fixating on something today. this has not been one of my better days. I am not sure what is wrong. I just dont feel very good. Have had thoughts of smoking. instead I have eaten more today than normal. I also keep telling myself that I had bad days when I was smoking. Maybe I am just down in the dumps today. I think I will read a bit more then just go to bed. Maybe I will go to sleep and tomorrow will be better. I didnt want to make a post for help. I know what I am suppose to do and I am reading. If tomorrow is not better i will post and ask for some suggestions. I like what Parker wrote :Dont get descouraged"
Laurie
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

February 25th, 2004, 9:49 pm #29

Fixating on "A" Cigarette?
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 8th, 2009, 1:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 6th, 2004, 7:56 pm #30

There are at least 43 carcinogens inhaled with each puff.
Fixate on the fact that 87% of all lung cancer deaths are
the result of inhaling mainstream cigarette smoke.
Fixate on the fact that a male smoker's risk of those 43
carcinogens causing them lung cancer are 2,200% greater
than for someone who doesn't inhale 43 carcinogens.
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 8th, 2009, 1:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 13th, 2004, 3:06 am #31

How many of the 800 million air sacs that we each started life with would be destroyed by that first puff of relapse and the 4,000+ chemicals that are collecticvely referred to as tar? How many healthy air sacs do each of us have remaining, 700 million, 600 million, 500 million? Do we have enough left to comfortably complete this amazing journey called life?
As the ALA is fond of saying, "when you can't breathe nothing else matters." Do you want to see what advanced emphysema is like? Try breathing through a straw for a minute or two. Imagine that being your entire day. Imagine the exertion of walking from the bed to the bathroom being almost too much to handle. Imagine the straw getting thinner and thinner and thinner.
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 8th, 2009, 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

ButterfliesareSilver
ButterfliesareSilver

March 30th, 2004, 12:20 am #32

Thank you

Butterflies 2 months and a bit.
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

April 19th, 2004, 11:25 pm #33

Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

June 8th, 2004, 9:28 pm #34

Flavor, pleasure, friend, boredom, stress, love,
extra pounds, I can't, what's the use now ...




Conscious Fixation - an opportunity to set the record straight
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 8th, 2009, 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

August 2nd, 2004, 6:59 pm #35

I was reading through the board this morning to see issues that I would like to address. I think I read one member's post who was saying he or she was wondering what it would be like if he or she would smoke a cigarette now after being off for a period of time. I was going to attach a number of links to that post, this being one of them. If I run across it again I will attach these links and a few others.
Quote
Share

Lynn Andrews BRONZE
Lynn Andrews BRONZE

November 1st, 2004, 10:07 pm #36

Sadly, I've found myself doing this for about 3 days straight and it's been such a struggle - at 10 months quit, how insane is that? It doesn't take much to get those junkie thoughts going sometimes...a stressful test at school, teenagers at home, a Halloween party in unusually mild weather sitting outside surrounded by active addicts...
You get to thinking of the "just one", which of COURSE doesn't exist. I came here this morning knowing I had to find this thread to knock some sense back into my head.
Thanks Joel, again, for having the words we need, right when we need them.
Lynn, STILL free and healing for 9 Months, 3 Weeks, 1 Day, 8 hours and 7 minutes (296 days), by not smoking 7,408 cigarettes. This has saved me $1,481.69 and helped me regain 1 Month, 5 Days and 16 minutes of my life!
Quote
Share

Joel
Joel

November 24th, 2004, 12:40 pm #37

The Fantasy
Quote
Share

ShutterJulieG
ShutterJulieG

December 23rd, 2004, 11:05 pm #38

Thanks Joel....you put into perspective for me (although I have read it a million times already, this time it HIT) that the choice is not "just one cigarette": the choice is "being a smoker again." "Just one cigarette" is a lie and an illusion. Going to add that to my daily "self-talk."
Julie
One week, two days,
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 6th, 2005, 7:53 pm #39


Through physical symptoms and detox, to subconscious trigger reconditioning, to conscious fixation, you may not notice but your focus is likely changing as you continue with this most amazing temporary journey of readjustment. Recognize the change in landscape for the true healing it reflects.

Whether you use each conscious fixation encounter as an opportunity to put years of rationalizations under honest light or not, with each passing day the time spent fixating will slowly begin to decline, such encounters when gradually grow further and further apart, and they generally grow less intense.

Whether hard or easy, if you'll only remain patient and allow yourself to go the distance, the day is coming where you'll awake to a re-newed expectation of going your entire day without once wanting to smoke nicotine. Such encounters will happen from time to time but they'll become the exception not the rule. When they do they may even bring a smile to your face as they'll be one of your few reminders of the amazing journey you once made.

John (Gold x5)
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 11th, 2006, 5:40 am #40

The fantasy
The reality
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 8th, 2009, 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

kattatonic1 gold4
kattatonic1 gold4

January 14th, 2006, 9:51 am #41

For Sherry. I had a few evenings like that. They pass.

Kay (Gold x 2)
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 19th, 2006, 2:19 pm #42

Last edited by John (Gold) on July 8th, 2009, 1:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share

0124tracyquits
0124tracyquits

March 10th, 2006, 2:01 am #43

Wow!!!! It's amazing to me how threads will suddenly pop up to the top just when I need them the most. I swear someone here is reading my mind. Thanks!!

Tracy - Free and Healing for 1 Month, 11 Days, 5 Hours and 51 Minutes after having smoked for 21 years. I have extended my life by 2 Days and 17 Hours by not smoking 785 cigarettes. and have saved $289.30!
Quote
Share

Almost Island Gold
Almost Island Gold

March 20th, 2006, 4:05 am #44

Fanatical against a puff


Hi Joel, hi every friend here at "Freedom"in fact we have to remind ourselves of those awful and stinky cigarettes. Cigarettes being always connected to uglyness.



I hope some of you remember me although I have been forum/writing-absent in spite of being reading you regularly. Actually I spend a great deal of my working time in front of pc and laptop screens, which I shouldn't do (serious sight problems, but I must)so most of my free time is being spent otherwise and NEVER SMOKING : ). But Joel often says it's not a problem if some of us don't post : ) as long as we keep remembering to NTAP!

Nevertheless I came here today to type one of my handwritten translations for my mother tongue - Portuguese - of Joel's e-book "Never Take Another Puff" which I've done not even for ex-smoking friends, but also for my ex-smoking students at school, so they all could always care about their resolves: Page 103's "Just One Little Puff": also at http://whyquit.com/joel/Joel_04_16_just_one_puff.html. I've been also preventing teens smoke and encouraging others to quit.

"Just One Little Puff": is one of my favourite texts as an addict preventing relapse. I think it will be very useful for some Portuguese native speakers that come by to "Freedom". What everyone should do it's exactly what I, myself, do once in a while - feeding the resolve specially when someone offers us a cigarette!

I'm sorry for being translating your words Joel, but I've done it most seriously and respectfully although "traduttore - traditore" (Italian expression meaning translator's always a traitor as he changes words) is a fact. Words are such a serious deal!

I guess it would be nice every now and then if I could post some other texts (pt) of Joel's or even some threads of other friends' here at the forum, like these ones for example John's(Freedom From Tobacco - Quit Smoking Now or John's "See each crave episode as the true healing it reflects": http://www.msnusers.com/FreedomFromToba ... sage=62429 . Please tell me if I'm being inconvenient. Well, my friends - thank U all for helping feeding my will and my resolve and congratulations also for U all : )



"Só mais uma passa" por Joel Spitzer

É duro para muitas pessoas agarrar o conceito de que só uma pequena passa possa resultar na maior recaída. Pura e simplesmente não parece lógico para alguns. Mas mesmo que se encontrem lutando contra o pensamento de se esquivarem com fumar "só uma", pensem qual o conselho que dariam a pessoas das vossas famílias que vos fossem imensamente queridas e que soubessem ser ex-dependentes do vício da cocaína ou heroína e que, pela primeira vez, em meses ou anos, considerassem o uso recreativo dessas drogas. Imaginem o vosso choque e horror perante, sequer, o pensamento em tal atitude, especialmente se já estivessem estado com eles no auge do seu vício, quando arruinavam a quase totalidade de suas vidas e as estivessem mesmo levando ao limite.

Será que diriam a um desses vossos parentes "bem, talvez estejas melhor agora, talvez possa valer a pena descobrir se podes fumar só uma"? Sentiriam a necessidade de fazer algumas leituras para se certificarem se porventura "uma" fosse agora uma opção? Será que iriam vasculhar nalguns escritos neurológicos para ver se os cientistas da actualidade têm uma melhor teoria sobre veios neurotransmissores que pudessem explicar porque é que o vício acontece? Talvez então pudessem dizer "bem, eles estão a começar a compreender um pouco como o vício actua e talvez em breve, possam alterar a psicologia cerebral. Portanto agora se tiveres uma recaída poderá não ser nada de especial para uma cura, é somente uma pequena questão - talvez esteja somente a alguns anos de distância" È mais verosímil que possam seguir um caminho no campo racional e dizer, "se o fizeres, irás recuar até ao ponto onde estavas quando tiveste que deixar. Irás dar cabo da tua vida e da de todos à tua volta".

O provável é que fossem pelo segundo caminho. Ficariam horrorizados e iriam ficar com uma convicção firme de que ele ou ela não deveriam fazê-lo -seria estúpido e ainda pior, suicida. Bem, não existe diferença entre este cenário e o cenário: "talvez possa dar só uma agora".

Há de facto uma diferença. Não é nem médica nem fisicamente baseada, mas socialmente. As nossas sociedades não foram ensinadas sobre o vício na nicotina. As pessoas tiveram ensinamentos sobre o vício e outras drogas. Apesar da nicotina ser uma substância mais aditiva do que qualquer outra, e ser talvez a mais aditiva de todas, as pessoas ainda não se dão conta como qualquer toma da substância possa causar uma recaída, mesmo tendo sido ensinadas acerca deste facto, relativamente à maior parte das drogas que viciam.

Quantas vezes alguém lhe perguntou, após saber que já deixou de fumar "mas tu nem sequer fumaste um?" Este é um comentário tão surreal, mas ainda assim tão comum. Ou quantas vezes viu já literatura publicada por organizações médicas avisando um toxicodependente em recuperação para não deixar um descuido levá-lo de volta ao seu uso? A mensagem tem sido clara e consistente com outras drogas, sendo 'não se descuide' a mensagem.

Todos aqui têm estado expostos a esta discrepância, não só desde que deixaram de fumar, mas também ao longo dos anos e décadas enquanto fumavam. Vocês têm agora que alterar a forma, que faz parte da vossa cultura seja ela qual for. A atitude predominante da sociedade que vos rodeia está errada.

A sociedade pode aceitar o perigo do fumar, mas ainda não atinge o conceito da toxicodependência. Têm de ser mais perspicazes e estar mais informados do que a sociedade que vos rodeia, ser os zeladores dos vossos próprios cuidados de saúde. É pedir muito a um indivíduo, que pense diferentemente da sociedade no seu todo, mas no que diz respeito ao fumo, tal tem de ser feito.

A consequência de não se ficar fanático acerca de uma passa é demasiado séria para simplesmente se prescindir dela. Será a perca da vossa decisão em deixar de fumar e isso pode traduzir-se na perca da vossa saúde e eventualmente da vossa vida. Têm de estar vigilantes a toda a hora para se manterem alerta de que são viciados em recuperação.

À medida que o tempo passa podem não haver sinais do vício, pensamentos em cigarros podem tornar-se agora acontecimentos raros e até mesmo inexistentes. Mas mesmo nesta etapa do jogo, há ainda um vício silencioso que vos pode deitar abaixo, com toda a força, por terem errado os cálculos - pensando que talvez fossem diferentes.

Vocês não são diferentes de quaisquer outros toxicodependentes, quer a droga seja álcool, cocaína, heroína, etc. Serão toxicodependentes a vida toda, mas à medida que levem a droga para fora do vosso sistema e não a tomem novamente, nunca serão conduzidos à espiral inferior, dinamismo este conduzido pela droga, nos seus utilizadores. No que diz respeito ao fumar, essa espiral é a perca do vossa liberdade, da vossa saúde e da vossa vida, o que significa a perca de tudo.

Para manter o que já obtiveram, lembrem-se sempre de que, para ficarem livres do fumo, têm que NÃO DAR NEM MAIS UMA PASSA!

Joel Spitzer

traduzido por Fernanda Lopes



not having a single puff since 2004, February 10th 0:00h
Quote
Share

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

May 17th, 2006, 10:02 am #45

The Fantasy
The Reality
What was your most memorable nicotine fix each day? The first one or two in the morning after sleeping through four nicotine half-lives (about 2 hours each), the one after not being able to smoke or chew during a 20 to 40 minute meal, or upon exiting that place where you were not permitted to smoke? The longer we went between nicotine fixes the more we needed it and the more memorable it seemed to become.


It's pretty sad when you think about it. The "best" often followed our longest periods of deprivation. Boredom, like, flavor, taste, love? Shouldn't honesty compel us to admit that regardless of our excuse for the fix that what was really at work was a drug addict rationalizing a mandatory chemical need?


Just one overriding principle to staying on this side of the bars and keeping our now arrested dependency on the other ... no nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff, Dip or Chew!


Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,


John (Gold x7)
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 8th, 2009, 1:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Quote
Share