Freedom's History, Policy & Staff

mirigirl (silver)

January 3rd, 2001, 12:53 am#26

Thanks guys - Zep is there a link to this history on your website? - sorry I'm still figuring out how it all works - but this history seems really important! Of course it makes so much sense now -like the penny has just dropped - If I'm a nicotine addict then the last thing I need is nicotine in my system! THANK YOU FOR THE COLD TURKEY CONCEPT Maz


January 6th, 2001, 7:50 pm#27

Since we have so many new members over the past week, thought I would bring this up to give some background to who we all are and how we got to where we are today. As you have seen, Freedom evolved over time. As we got more and more experience, we started to get a better sense of how to help people in a virtual world. We had a few growth spurts with growing pains.

First when we went to an exclusive cold turkey site, then when we went to a private site where membership applications were required. Both moves caused many people to at first be angered because we were trying to set up a more exclusive membership. But we were not trying to be elitists, looking for richer, stronger, smarter, better, or not even nicer people. We were not trying to set up a site that was even appealing to one country or continent.

We were trying to establish a site that disseminated real concrete quit information and support that we saw from ongoing experience was working to help more people quit. Not necessary the largest number of people, there are bigger sites with more people. But we were trying to set up a site that had a higher percentage of people who joined actually succeed. We wanted the absolute maximum percentage of people to succeed at quitting as possible. We truly see this as a fight for health and a fight for very life.

There are two aspects of our site that we believe help us accomplish this goal. First, the cold turkey methodology, which minimizes the time period that people experience physiological withdrawal. While mass media advertising makes it look like other methods are superior, if one looks in their real world of family, friends, coworkers and acquaintances they will almost always find that the long-term quitters (one year plus) they encountered through their lives the vast majority of the times had quit cold turkey.

The second factor that makes us unique and controversial in many circles is our relapse prevention policy. The one that Zep labeled as tough love policy in an earlier post today. Most professional literature ever produced on smoking cessation has advice in it with a variation of the statement, "Don't let a slip put you back to smoking." We feel that comment makes as much sense as telling an alcoholic not to let a drink put you back to drinking," or a heroin addict, "don't let a little injection put you back to using," or for a more graphic depiction, "don't let unprotected sex with a HIV infected individual or a person with other kinds of sexually transmitted disease let you get pregnant or infected."

These messages are ridiculous. The message should not be don't let these transgressions follow their natural tendency to result in major consequences, the message needs to be don't allow yourself to do these things because natural consequences are likely going to happen. In other words instead of saying "don't let a slip put you back to using," the message needs to be, "DON'T SLIP!" There is no slipping, or cheating, or just, or puff, or accident, or mistake. These words need to be thrown out of your vocabulary when used in conjunction toward smoking or any drug addiction. They all mean RELAPSE!

While the above paragraph may anger many, we believe that it is the real make or break point of understanding that is going to make this quit the last quit any of you will ever have to experience. It all translates to what runs through every piece of material I have produced in the last 30 years of working with people quitting. First in face to face live encounters, and now in the virtual world setting here at Freedom. If you want to quit smoking and stay nicotine free over the duration of your life, always remember to never take another puff!


selpel shelley

February 9th, 2001, 10:22 am#28

My, aren't the staff busy little bees!!!!! Glad I found this place--this thread is veryyyyy interesting--as are most of the manager posts---glad you all got it in your head to start this place---I quit so many times before and this is the first time I KNOW I will make it---got the determination of knowing what Nic was doing to me and my life---I WILL NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!!!! Education about my addiction makes all the difference in the world!!!


February 9th, 2001, 10:46 am#29

ZEP, JOEL, and JoANNE!!!
YOU are the most wonderful people on earth!! ((hmmm..okok... maybe some may have a difference of opinion ...**smile**))
I happened across this site by mistake??? Not sure..... I saw it on the side of my msc. homepage... "Quit Smoking" ..I thought... "heck, why not check this out..." I did .. I wrote .. I got a reply from John... we exchanged emails... I found my way to Freedom... Life has never been so strange... I quit on the 2nd of January but was not sure I would be able to really **go all the way...** (( hmmm...**snicker**))
here it is over a month... I am **eternally** grateful.... thank you!!! Thank you !!!!!!!!!!!
may the gods and godesses shine down on you, ALL, and make your world full of sunshine and love!!!
One month, six days, 14 hours, 26 minutes and 43 seconds. 940 cigarettes not smoked, saving $213.86. Life saved: 3 days, 6 hours, 20 minutes.

improud (golder)

February 9th, 2001, 9:36 pm#30

DITTO NYPAM. Thanks Freedom/ Founders you're the greatest. I too am now "addicted" to this site. Much better than smoking!


February 10th, 2001, 1:15 am#31

As they said in the movie...if you build it they will come! I'm at five days completely nicotine free and the information found here at this site has been just amazinly helpful. I would never have made it through day one and especially day two except for the commitment I made when joining to remain completely nicotine free for seven days. Thanks for the inside look into how this site came into being and has developed and progessed to what we find freely given to us all here. No more "soap boxes" will be needed...


February 16th, 2001, 8:42 pm#32

This string gives a good history of how Freedom got to where we are today. We are an ever changing and growing board, both in number of members as well as how we operate. With so many new people coming in over the last few months we thought it would be a good time for you to see who we are and how we got here. We are currenly going to make some other procedural changes here, this post will give a good overview of how these policies are acted on and give some past perspective of how we do survive and flourish during times of change.


February 16th, 2001, 10:47 pm#33

very interesting. I have been here just over a year. It is interesting to note the differences between then and now. You've come a long way baby. No pun intended lol



April 4th, 2001, 1:19 pm#34

Dear Joanne, Joel, and Zep;
Thank you for the ongoing effort that each of you make to these two companion sites, and Freedom From Tobacco.
But also, thank you for your commitment to your truth when surrounded by bad science, ill-informed
traditional medicine run amok with pharmaceutical t.v. ads passing for reality. You measured truth with results, not hype. You changed as the sites grew to keep the integrity of your vision.
Lastly, thank you for your dipolmacy and gentleness towards each other that ensured that the three of you could work together to create a site that was here for me to learn how to educate myself to never take another puff.


April 4th, 2001, 3:26 pm#35

Words are not enough for the gratitude felt towards all of you. Thank You very much for this site :Joel , Joanne and Zep.

Three months, four days, 20 hours, 38 minutes and 47 seconds. 1328 cigarettes not smoked, saving $265.61. Life saved: 4 days, 14 hours, 40 minutes.

Joanne Gold

April 6th, 2001, 1:07 am#36

Oooops, Victoria, I see you have already been here. I'll bring this thread up again for our newest family members. Also, a special thanks to GrumpyOMrs/Linda, she is a manager here as well and works quietly on a daily basis. Just don't mess up, she is like everyone's caring hurts her if we don't take our journey seriously.

Thanks Freedom. Enjoy the gets better with every new day!

Michael I Quit

April 6th, 2001, 9:57 am#37


This truley INSPIRATIONAL ,It is because of people like you and us who make it possible for us to keep smoke free.The group has been a blessing for me with all the other things going on in my life and i am sure in all the rest of our lifes also it has been a great help in the day to day cravings and what not.I thank you and all my BROTHERS & SISTERS


Two months, two weeks, two days, 7 hours, 50 minutes and 49 seconds. 1506 cigarettes not smoked, saving $301.31. Life saved: 5 days, 5 hours, 30 minutes.

Kina gold

April 11th, 2001, 8:17 am#38

I found Freedom when I was frantically looking for something to distract me from the craving that I was feeling while still using the patch. I have to say, it saved me and helped me to keep my conviction until I left the patch altogether. I actually started the process in early March and went through extensively prolonged withdrawal. Now, thanks to Freedom, I've had my first birthday nicotine and smoke free in 20 years. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for the work you've put into this site.

farmer ( gold)

April 20th, 2001, 7:25 pm#39

I cant believe how everyday I find info to reinforce my decision not to ever puff again! I also had know for years that I needed to quit and just never had the nerve to take the step. I thought I would fail anyway. Been smoking way to long to quit .etc. etc.. I thank God I found this place and have probably used it more than my fair share. I am almost 44 and have smoked for 31 years. I am a newbie ( 2w 2d ) and dont know enough to help others but I feel like its a battle for life and I am a soldier (private) . It has got a little easier day by day . It just seems like what ever motivation I need for that moment I find it . I appreciate the time and effort all of you put into this site and I am gonna do my part to pay you for your time and trouble. I am gonna be one of the stats that -- 1st time tryed-- cold turkey--never to puff again. THANKS TO YOU ALL

Joanne Gold

June 23rd, 2001, 2:15 am#40

We haven't see this thread for a month.
For our newbies.

Have a great weekend!


August 3rd, 2001, 8:14 pm#42

Today is an anniversary of one of our red letter days at Freedom. One year ago today MSN put Freedom up on their homepage. I think our membership doubled in one day, I don't remember for sure but I think about 600 people joined up in one day. It was pandemonium around here. We were an open board then, any one could come in, say what they like, and give any advice, good or bad. While we had a few of these people succeed, it was actually only a handful. There was so much clutter and distractions happening at the board we feel we missed a major opportunity with hundreds of people. This day more than any other taught us the importance of getting our board focused. We know that we may only get a few seconds with a given individual to reach them with who we are and what we are trying to accomplish at Freedom.

Many of our diversion policies and many of our principles in our mission statement were born from that one-day experience. That day was exhausting to our managers, we all tried to come in throughout the day and keep strong educational message coming to the top but we were overwhelmed, no matter how hard we tried we could not keep up with the influx.

The only day that was even close to this was January 3, when MSN did it again, but this time we were more ready. We made it where only members could post. We were still overwhelmed as management, over 1,000 people applied for membership in just a couple of days, but that was just an administrative nightmare, the board stayed uncluttered and people who came here to read got quality information, even if they could not post--they could still learn.

So today is an anniversary of one of those days of how we got to be who we are today. We are glad you are all here with us and hope you find our board providing you with the tools you need to be able to get on with your life as a successful ex-smoker. We have only one mission now that we put all of our focus into, and that is to make sure that each and every one of our members know that they will always stay successful as long as they never take another puff!


John (Gold)

August 4th, 2001, 1:41 am#43

August 3rd and January 3rd, I remember them well ; )) Those were wild days indeed : )) There wasn't much sleep for any of our olbies and our email boxes were filled to the brim with requests for membership. Let's hope MSN gets the bugs out of their last software revision before they try it again : ))))

Becomming the only 100% "nicotine clean" site on the internet was also a "major" milestone in Freedom's evolution. Each of us have demonstrated that we're deadly serious about taking back control of our lives, each of us were willing to read, learn and invest in ourselves, and each of us deserve at least one place on spaceship earth where nicotine has no voice!
Freedom from Nicotine !


August 4th, 2001, 1:27 pm#44

Incredible! I have really enjoyed reading this thread.How lucky we all are that Zep and Joanne were able to connect with Joel and come up with the only nicotine clean site on the internet. And how blessed to,to meet others so willing to give of there time.

John (Gold)

September 8th, 2001, 7:03 pm#45

Happy Birthday
Last edited by John (Gold) on June 23rd, 2009, 3:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dionne (gold)

October 12th, 2001, 9:51 am#46

I love you guys!


November 12th, 2001, 12:54 am#47

How we got to be who we are. We are not the site for everyone--but if you are a person who wants to quit smoking, do it in the cheapest, quickest and simplest manner, and do it in the way the vast majority of long-term ex-smokers you know and the vast majority of long-term ex-smokers who you don't know for that fact initially quit (cold-turkey that is) and now your goal is to stay nicotine free forever no matter what, we are the site for you. To accomplish your goal just always remember and keep in practice your desire to never take another puff!


John (Gold)

January 27th, 2002, 9:50 pm#48

In Honor of Joanne's Three Year Quit Anniversary
Janurary 27, 1999 to January 27, 2001
Last edited by John (Gold) on June 23rd, 2009, 3:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.

kughes (green)

January 28th, 2002, 12:20 am#49

Congratulations, Joanne on your three year quit!
May I take this space also to give great thanks to you, John and Joel, along with all the assistant managers, for all you have done here at this site, volunteering your time, energies, experience, wisdom, patience, support and kindness. Along with so many others I cannot express enough to you my gratitude for this site and the assistance I received that made my quit possible.
Not only was I able to become nicotine free, finally, but I learned and continue to learn many other things that give me power in my life. Essential to a successful quit is being honest with oneself and learning the tricks our desires play to divert our minds from what is best for ourselves. Knowledge, education is the key to mastering control again, not only in our quit..but other areas of our life. Put into practice, we can manage what we know is a better diet, exercise plan, work habits, etc. What a marvelous gift it is, to learn this. Of course quitting smoking is essential to be able to live healthy enough and long enough to enjoy the life we want to master. Hats off, to Freedom for giving us the opportunity to do this!
Very gratefully,
YQS, kughes

OBob Gold

June 24th, 2002, 4:12 pm#50

Here's one that hasn't seen the light of day for a while. Great reading for late-night quitsters...