Getting vigilant and staying vigilant with the concept of addiction

Getting vigilant and staying vigilant with the concept of addiction

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Dec 2002, 21:20 #1

Everyone who has ever quit and relapsed did it the same way--they took a puff. The vast majority of them took that puff because they just thought they could and "get away with it." Get away meant they were only going to have one or smoke for a limited time or just smoke a controlled amount. These are all the same mistake, they let go of the concept of addiction. I am going to attach two pieces here that I use for my clinics. The first section is a small part of a hand-out I give them the first day, the second piece is the promotional piece for the clinics. You will see from the very start of the clinic, or even from the very first contact I have with people, I want people to recognize what they are dealing with when quitting smoking.

First, here is the excerpt from the introductory session letter:

The purpose of this program is to get you to the point where you have a choice about smoking. By the end of the two weeks one of two options will exist for you. These are:

1. If you decide you like not smoking, you will have the choice of staying off cigarettes for as long as you wish. It may be you will stay off the rest of your life, if this is what you desire.

2. If you decide you hate not smoking, and life is just too miserable without cigarettes, you will have the choice to go back to smoking at your old level, or maybe even higher.

Those are the options. Smoke nothing or smoke everything. But let's make something else perfectly clear.

There is no in-between choice. Smoking is now and always will be an all or nothing proposition. Don't delude yourself into thinking you can have just one cigarette or just one puff. You can have a puff anytime you want, you just have to be willing to take the other 20, 40, 60 or more cigarettes a day that goes with that puff! You must also be willing to accept all the consequences which accompany being a smoker!

This is a one day at a time program. Every day we will ask you if you made it all day without smoking. Answer "yes" if you had no puffs on a cigarette, cigar, pipe, nicotine gum, snuff, chewing tobacco, patches or any other creative ways you have of administering nicotine into your body. Answering "no" means you took some nicotine and you are out of the clinic. There is no difference between one puff or a thousand cigarettes. Once you take the puff feel free to take all the cigarettes that day you wish. We don't need to know specifics and there is no need to call with excuses. In fact, there are only two legitimate reasons for taking a puff:

You decide you want to go back to smoking until it cripples then kills you; or, you enjoy withdrawal so much you never want it to end. Just take one puff every third day, peak withdrawal will last forever.

One final note, if you see somebody smoking a cigarette tomorrow and you are tempted to ask him for one-don't. Rather ask him for his pack. Or, better yet, ask him for his carton, and if he would be kind enough to go out and buy you a case, you would appreciate that, too. Then be prepared to smoke them all. If you still want them under these terms, then take them. Otherwise, be on your way. When we see you at the next session and we ask if you made it all day, you can proudly proclaim-Yes! Good luck in your next day without smoking.

Last edited by Joel on 25 Mar 2009, 14:46, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

10 Dec 2002, 20:29 #2

Thanks Joel!

Just the sort of back-to-basics type of reinforcement I needed to read today Image. I mentioned in another post today that I have been coming to Freedom more often in the last couple of weeks (Xmas stress, seasonal triggers, etc) and it is great to read something that brings to focus the main issue that I might have been losing sight of as time goes by - smoking is an all or nothing proposition and, triggers or no triggers, I realise once again that I love being a non-smoker. No amount of stress is can induce me to jeopardise my quit.

Reading this post also reminded me sharply of my first days and weeks back in August and September - boy, it is so easy to forget what real withdrawal was like and how miserable I was when I smokedImage. Oh, and just to reassure newbies and lurkers - things get better incredibly fast, what Joel says is true - in 2 weeks you can really make an educated decision about smoking that is not influenced by withdrawal symptoms or physical addiction (it happened on day 14 on the dot for me, believe it or not - I just woke up and realised that I was incredibly happy because I did not smoke anymore Image)

Image A very happy non-smoking Irina

16 weeks 11 hours
2,812 cigarettes not smoked

marty (gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

11 Apr 2003, 20:50 #3

How strange that I've read this so many times, yet today for the first time this article "spoke to me".

Just last night, I was babysitting two of my grandchildren. The older one, my six year old granddaughter, had a carton of "Candy Sticks" and I remarked to my wife that when I was a kid these had been called "Sweet Cigarettes" and the white sticks had red paint on one end to resemble a cigarette. I used to love those candies. I commented that it was good to see they had changed the name.

A moment later, my granddaughter came into the room, picked up the carton and offered me a candy stick saying "These are cigarettes, Grandpa, but you can have one even though you don't smoke any more". My mind just froze !!!! You know, I just couldn't bring myself to take a stupid candy stick because my granddaughter said they were cigarettes !!!!! How can you believe that ? I wasn't frightened, I wasn't going crazy, but the mere association meant I couldn't make my hand take a candy stick and put it in my mouth.

My wife was killing herself laughing, but my granddaughter thought I was playing a game. Incidentally, if I'm confident of anything in the future, it is that my granddaughter will never smoke !

Afterwards, I pondered what had happened. I concluded that it wasn't that I had been brainwashed, or hypnotised if you like. But for the last two years I have done what Joel talks about in his article. I had stayed vigilant every day for two years, however self-confident I became. I never allowed myself to become complacent about my quit. I never allowed myself to forget why I had quit, or the benefits I had obtained which are now just a part of my life. I came here to Freedom again and again, to remind myself how lucky I had been to find this site, and to find so many wonderful people here who were sharing my journey.

And last night I discovered for the first time the absolute truth of something I've said many times before. The condition of not smoking has become an instinctive part of my life. I don't have to work consciously at being vigilant, any more than I have to make myself remember to look both ways before I cross the road. I really am being vigilant every instant of my waking life, but I just don't have to work at it. It just happens.

Isn't that wonderful ?

IrishLotus GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

11 Apr 2003, 21:17 #4

I agree Marty...being aware and making conscious choices (my everyday "vigilance") is wonderful. Good to see you posting today. Happy Friday!
Aware for 6 Months 2 Weeks 4 Days 7 Hours 16 Minutes 36 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 5979. Money saved: $1,494.77.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

12 Apr 2003, 03:43 #5

Hi joel Great post and it explains why i lost a years quit and believe or not i was educated about nicotine addiction but i broke the laws of addiction.It was old junkie feeling that got me so now i,m staying vigilant with freedoms more thorough education.Hey marty we used to have edible tobacco candy wrapped up like tobacco used for roll ups and i got chocolate cigarettes one xmas,that was in the late 60,s and i,m surprised anything like that is still around.
Rickdabler 1 month 2 days 16hrsImage

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

12 Apr 2003, 04:09 #6

marty.. i remember those candy cigaretts with the red ends.aaaagggghhh what where they thinkingImage. or was it training?Two months, four weeks, one day, 3 hours, 2 minutes and 21 seconds. 2643 cigarettes not smoked, saving $528.76. Life saved: 1 week, 2 days, 4 hours, 15 minutes.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Apr 2003, 22:37 #7

What does Melissa call it, Marty, the vigilence of the conscious unconscious? As I recall, Jo, the candy cigs I smoked as a kid came in little boxes that were almost exact duplicates of the boxes that U.S. cigarette brands came in. Pretty sad.

What's almost impossible for newer members to appreciate is why so many Silver and Gold Freedomites are still here actively participating if we're not still encountering serious challenges with the all or nothing proposition that one puff represents. What they cannot be expected to understand is that a new love of the real us draws us here to "remember" the past, not to "forget" it. This has to be one of the most amazing journeys on planet earth!


SOC Silver
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:10

13 Apr 2003, 05:35 #8

John, I just wanted to share with you that some of us newbies do get it! Image
I see you older timers as being so passionate about something you believe in
that you want to spread the word so that other people can benefit their lives
the way you have! Your passion is contagious, your experiences helpful, your
knowledge and support priceless! If being here reinforces your quit, it is a
wonderful by-product of giving your time, love, and energies to people who
truly do appreciate your insight. I thank you all.

ImageImageImage ~ Sandy Celebrating 3 weeks, 5 days, 13 hrs of Freedom!

Ms MonaGolden1
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

13 Apr 2003, 06:00 #9


Thank you for those expressions (stated so eloquently) of gratitude to the older timers. I am sure that you have voiced the sentiments of all of us who are trying to follow in the footsteps of those wonderful trail blazers.
YQS (3M,1W),
Last edited by Ms MonaGolden1 on 25 Mar 2009, 14:49, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Jun 2003, 19:12 #10

Quitting smoking is taking control back over an addiction. This is no simple task--thousands of people die every day because they never personally mustered up the strength or resolve to fight to take over the control that cigarettes exerted on them. People must see quitting smoking as a "do or die" issue. Nowhere is this term more applicable than in quitting smoking. Every person quitting must see this is a fight for his or her health and very life--one the person must win if he or she wishes to save his or her health and your life. Smoking is an all or nothing proposition. To make sure you keep the ability to make it nothing--always remember to never take another puff!