Have you noticed some of these "lost" long-term quits?

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Nov 2000, 21:31 #26

Hello Everyone:

Due to numerous circumstances I have been very limited on the amount of time I have at Freedom this week. I noticed a few people have relapsed and it may seem to some that they are dominating the board. This shifts the mood to the appearance that most people who are regulars here don't make it. Well the fact is that this has been a particularly bad few days here. Most days and even weeks we don't see any one relapsing let alone two or three people at once. We also have people jumping in saying they understand the relapse. I understand the relapse too, all too well in fact. Should the person feel better that now it is understood why they relapsed. That depends I guess. If the person is here to feel better about smoking, sure they should be quite relieved. If the person is here because they are trying to save their lives I don't think they should be getting much comfort in these well wishes.

I guess it is like someone standing on a ledge of a building. Do you want people standing on the ground giving them reasons not to jump or people hearing all the woes in the individual's life and saying, "Gosh, I understand what you are saying. I feel that way too. I guess if I were in your shoes I would jump too. Don't feel guilty though, we understand."

I don't want this statement to be read as a mockery of the people trying to help. I am trying to make an illustration here. It is obvious that the difference is if they jump they will die. But please understand, that if a person relapses and doesn't quit, they are likely to face the same fate, just time delayed. Yes if you saw a person on a ledge, you would try to use empathy. But the empathy would be in for form of explaining that you understand their plight but you disapprove of their current tactic to deal with it. There are better ways to resolve their problems than killing themselves. The same concepts hold true for taking a puff. You may understand the feelings the person had, you may have even felt them at some point. But you don't give into the feeling because the implication is smoking and that can lead to death.

I saw some responses here that there are other boards that are more accepting of relapse, in fact they see it as a normal and acceptable process. This is a very accurate statement and I do think that if anyone here feels we are too tough they should look at the other sites. I do believe the majority people who are here came to us because they are looking for a niche group, a kind of understanding and support that is not available elsewhere. If you are dead serious about quitting smoking I think you have found the right place to be and I hope you stay. But if our philosophy is too restricting, why try to change us. Trying to alter our premise is as unfair as our members going to other sites and trying to change them. We don't do it, we are very tolerant of the other sites and understand that some people will be happier there. But deep down we are not very hopeful that they will be more successful there.

I do know for a fact that we have a few members who actively participate at other sites. I also know that they got quite burned when they tried to espouse our logic at these other sites and I have personally advised them to limit their commentaries endorsing our logic at the other boards. They may want to reply here about how to coexist at more than one place at a time. But I feel everyone here should extend the same courtesy to our members that I asked them to give the other boards members.

Don't tie up the boards in how to quit controversies. Every entry level to out site says we are a cold turkey site, no nicotine replacement. With this statement as ubiquitous as it is, there is no reason to be debating it here. People are here now because of this disclaimer.

I am going to bring up a number of posts this morning addressing many of these issues. Again, please don't take these articles as personal slams, I am trying to make sure everyone understands are principles here. To be honest I almost don't want to bring up a lot of these situations at the moment because I don't have the ability to be posting follow-up discussions to issues raised. Please don't take my lack of response today as some kind of admission that I can't defend these stands. Other demands are taking time that I just can't dismiss at the moment. But our other managers and staff have a pretty good insight to our ways.

I did start a group last night, we had 30 people come. One was Bradley from Freedom. I always enjoy meeting people live who I met here first. Bradley is off for I think 4 months now and just came in for reinforcement. He currently has no computer access but said he would try to get here as soon as he is up and going again. He looked and sounded great. Also one man stopped by from a clinic 18 years ago who was off and jsut wanted to say hello. That is always great to see. Numerous people had quit for a year or longer and had relapsed, one lady was off for 20 years when she relapsed. That was 8 years ago and is still smoking up to yesterday.

I will try to get back later although I can't guarantee it. I hope everyone has a good day. It will be a much better day if everyone here walks away with the understanding that no matter what happens in your life, either issues of great happiness or sadness, importance or mediocrity, exhilaration of shear dullness, no matter what the circumstances the only way to sustain your quit is to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

24 Dec 2000, 14:57 #27

Just quickly:

It's just this kind of discussion that keeps me terrified of myself, or more accurately of my addiction. And I have to admit, I really am still addicted!!!

I don't ever want to go back. I sometimes dream that I do. I am afraid that I will.

I know this: I own myself. I decide what I do. I know what my weaknesses are. I know where I have been. I don't like where I have been!!!

I like who I am since I got rid of smoking. I don't want to lose that. I want to know what I can be when I lose all of the other **** in my life that does me no good!!!

In the meantime: I don't smoke.

And I really like it!!

nomad
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Dec 2000, 22:04 #28

I am really happy to bring this one up today since it doesn't really apply to anything here today, actually hasn't for a while. But I thought with so many new members coming in it would be good to share this string, not just the original post, but the whole string with our new membership and our regular members alike for prophylatic purposes. Post 28 of this string I think was particulary important since I do think we have a number of new members coming in with past experieces at other sites and we do have certain unique features here at Freedom that I want everyone to understand. The other reason for bringing up this string at this time is we are approaching the new year holiday, one of the biggest days of the year for people quitting or relapsing. So having your guard and ammunition up no matter what side you are on, your first day quitting or your thousandh day off is crucial at this time of year. Actually it is crucial all year long, these next few days are just more obvious than most. Keep focused everyone. Never take another puff!

Joel
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Deb
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:03

01 Jan 2001, 13:20 #29

Joel,
If I remember correctly I was one of the ones that posted about relapsing after a long quit and listed the reasons why I felt I lost my quit. At at this point I see that it was due to being stubborn and most of all not quitting for myself. I relapsed after 10years and smoked for another I guess 15 years before making through to this quit. I had attemped a number of times due to the doctors telling me I needed to quit for my health. After all the attempts I made it waste untill I came to Freedom and decided that my quit had to be for myself. Which was a difficult decesion because I didn't like myself very well. But I did it, I made the decesion to quit.
I also know it was important for me to make a clean cut from the nicotin. If I was to quit it had to be cold turkey. If I would of used any other method I would of been only fooling myself. As long as the nicotin was there I was hooked. It's been and up hill fight for me. But I must say that the bravier I felt was awsome. The determination I had was outstanding. Yes there were little step backs but when they would happen I would be back on top determined for victory, and Freedom. This quit isn't going to be a long quit or a short quit for a relapse. I have found Freedom and I refuse to let it go. I breath easier, move easier, don't have to stop to take care of my nicotin addiction (fix). Saving more money ,even though I don't see it. But most important my lungs and other body parts are healing from the damage that was caused by the nicotin. Remember at the beginning of this I said I didn't like myself, well since quitting my self esteem
has soared like the eagles. I actually feel good about myself.,. This is even making me feel good. It hasn't been very long since I quit but I can already tell how and what I've benefited from quiting. What a blessing to see where I was and to see where I am now. Thank-you for helping me to realize the importance fo my quit. But also for showing me how easy it can become in our quits that we ease up and become vulnerable and loose what we fought so hard for. I have diffenently learned something about all of this. Your sword is used for fighting and it's important for and fighter to keep his eye on his enemy and keep his sword sharpen. For we don't know when the enemy will try to attack again. Please everyone keep your sword ready at all times.

Deb

I have been Quit for: 7M 1W 4D 22h 49m 49s. I have NOT smoked 9038, for a savings of $1,256.29. Life Saved: 1M 9h 10m.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:51

04 Jan 2001, 23:53 #30

Joel...thank you so much for posting this one...I am one of those that have went through long term quits..and then relapsed....I have quit 3 times before this one...each quit lasting from 9 months to a year (each one for a pregnancy)...somehow I thought this one would be different because it was for me...not a baby inside of me...thought I wouldn't have the urge after so long...this post reminds me, a relapse can happen at any time...and it's harder and harder to quit with each and every relapse...believe me I know.....

Thank you for reminding me...

THIS QUIT IS MINE!!!
~touch~
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Jan 2001, 22:09 #31

Again we are having one of those rare moments where a relapse has occurred. Thought I would bring this one up again as a reminder not to get into any pity parties or relapse fests. Not only is the original post in this string important, post 28 had some very important points. Make sure to read this one also.

By the way, I had a clinic going this week. Friday night I had my panel discussion. It was good, very good in fact. One of the people in the current group was a clinic graudate of mine who had quit for 15 years after being in my program and had relapsed last year on a cigar. One of the panelists was a person who was just off for two months, part of the clinic I started in November. She had once been off 20 years before her relapse, which had occurred many years ago. These two people, along with all the others there who had once had years under their belts only to be lost by a lapse of judgement. If a puff will put you back after 2 decades, guess what it will do after 12 days or even one day. It will turn you into an actively addicted smoker again. Then you will either smoke until it kills you or have to "attempt" quitting again. These are both lousy options, but one is a lot worse than the other.

Once you have a quit going, do everything in your power to keep it going. Your very life probably depends on it. To keep your health and your life, always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:17

22 Jan 2001, 07:34 #32

Hello Everyone,

I know I've been MIA for a while. But my quit friends, I'm still quit.

I'm so glad that Joel has brought the issue of relapsing to the core here.

I for one become a little discouraged when I see and read about relapsing on the board.

Please, relapsers, maintian your integrity to yourself. Don't let nicodemon take that from you. Once he has done that, he leaves you to your death, knowing he did his job.
And please, try to visualize the Big Picture (You, Smoke Free For Life). I can see you in that Big Picture. I know you can do this.

Stay with Freedom, it works.

Interruption, my husband just lit up and man does that stinkkkkk!!!!!!!!!

Because of my strong desire to become one of Jehovah's Witnesses have I been blessed with finding Freedom. You see Quit Friends, Jehovah's Witnesses do not smoke.

I've been blessed on account of the EDUCATION backed with the TOUGH LOVE POLICY here at Freedom, and Much Much Prayer and changing of my life in connection with my spiritual beliefs, have I been able to get this far:
Two months, four weeks, two days, 14 hours, 13 minutes and 47 seconds. 2289 cigarettes not smoked, saving $544.08. Life saved: 1 week, 22 hours, 45 minutes.
I would like to just mention that My daughter wanted to post a thank you to the Freedom Staff for helping me because she is truly grateful too. When she discovered she would have to be a member to post, she being aware and appreciative of this site did not do this because she knows that its for people who want to quit smoking. So on behalf of my daughter, Thank you Freedom
Newbies, Long Lost Quits and Quit Friends, Please, Please:
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF
Sorry so long don't post.
I'll keep in touch,
Your Quit Sis,
History
Thank you guys for supporting me in my quit and for remaining quiters.
You know who you are
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

10 Apr 2001, 09:07 #33

It is funny how when I've been thinking of some pertinent issues that after checking the message board, I have all the answers i'm looking for... lately i've been thinking about my relapse (after not smoking for 15 months but not in this particular program) and wondering exactly how it happened and going through the "cheating" of I can have one cigarette a day and I'll be okay way of thinking. It was only through all the reading done here and the absolute logic of addiction that I understand all of the reasons/rationale. Oh yea I'm an addict and the cheating was my methodology to bargaining - the relapse happened because I was lacked the information necessary about this addiction. It is true; knowledge is power. I always deluded myself thinking that I was in control by only having one or two cigarettes a day. Don't know if there's anyone else reading this from Canada or has seen Canadian ads on the television....there is an effective one that shows a brain that's had a stroke caused by smoking.....of late this has been for me a very powerful reinforcement for not smoking.
Thank you for all the information. Keeps me going.
Diana
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

22 May 2001, 00:39 #34

Relapses are rare here, we like to keep it that way. I know bringing up all these articles can seem like overkill but when it comes to relapsing, no amount of prevention can be too much. For the sake of the relapser as well as for the sake of every other person here, the understanding and implication of a relapse must be understood in its entirety. Your very lives depend on accepting nicotine as an addiction and treating it as such. Read post number 26 here. (In some of the earlier strings it is referred to as post 28.) A number of people are new and haven't seen real relaspes here before, it gives some idea how we deal with them. To make sure we never have to deal with it for you, or more important, that you don't have to deal with it for yourself always remember to never take another puff!
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

02 Oct 2001, 21:39 #35

Thanks Joel!
It may seem like a history lesson but I'll never ever forget that I'm just one puff of nicotine away from three packs a day! Your student, John : )
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

23 Dec 2001, 20:33 #36

I think I saw a new member a few days ago write that she once had a 20 year quit that was lost. I thought she would appreciate this one.

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Dec 2001, 03:32 #37

For Maggie's friend.

As far as what you should do Maggie in response to the incident--you should learn from your friend's relapse and maybe one day, your friend will learn from your continued success. The lesson you both can learn from one another is that to get free and then stay smoke free entails always knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:58

24 Dec 2001, 03:43 #38

Thanks Joel, this really helps.
I really do think that one thing she did not do that may have helped was to continue to do work on it.
"That is why continued reinforcement is imperative if an ex-smoker wishes to stay free from cigarettes." -- I will try to help her when she's ready to understand this. I've repeatedly told her about this and another site, and while she seemed secure in her quit, I'm not sure she ever visited either of these. I think her cornerstone must have been her hubby and maybe if there was nothing else holding her up, she caved... who knows? Well, I really appreciate this post and will copy it off for her to read when she is ready. THANKS AGAIN!!!!!!!!
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Joined: 12 Jan 2009, 21:59

24 Dec 2001, 04:32 #39

Hi Joel,

Yep, that new member would be me! After 20 yrs of being smoke-free, I took a puff and kept on taking a puff for the next 3 yrs...I have no idea how long I would have kept taking another puff if I hadn't found this site and changed my "junkie thinking". I had 'tried' to quit smoking and 'cut down' off and on thru those 3 yrs, but always, always, would take another puff and another. I couldn't understand why I was having so much trouble quitting, after all, I quit for 20 yrs with NO cravings, urges or desires when I took that fateful puff. I even reasoned it out that I must really enjoy smoking. Wrong....I am an addict addicted to nicotine! This rule, and there is no way around it, is true and will always be true. You can never take another puff ever again. Thank you for bringing this thread back up. Reading this helps me keep pounding the right thoughts into my mind. I just don't think it can be said enough. A nicotine addict can never take another puff no matter how many yrs has passed. There is no cure, there is no other answer except, NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF! Thanks Joel.

Jan
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Jan 2002, 19:30 #40

The last few weeks we have has a number of past Freedom members return after they had relapsed. Some only had a few days into the last quit, others had significant time periods into quits before losing them. I am glad that they found their ways back to Freedom, but I want to make sure that they understand and that everyone else here understands the seriousness of the past failure.

Most other boards and most other people would take offense at that past line, referring to the last lost quit as a failure. But for all practical purposes that is what it was. Even quits that last for years or decades are failures if a person loses it. We don't want anyone minimizing this fact, for those who do often have the attitude that if they relapse they will simply quit again. The fact is you don't know that the person will quit again, or that they will quit in time to save his or her life.

Many years ago I had a man in my clinic named John. John was a pretty high profile public figure, in his early 40's who had many great accomplishments in his life. He came to my clinic, lasted a few days and lost the quit. He was in the middle of a high profile media situation and just decided he needed his focus and the stakes of what he was involved with at the time were just too high to deal with withdrawal. John explained this to me, and promised he would return again one day when things would be better.

Well, I have heard this hundreds of times before, and while occasionally people do return, it is not the majority and probably not even a significantly high percentage. Being that I was having 50 or more people at a time in these clinics, I couldn't spend much time dealing with those who were not quitting.

Three year later John does return to the clinic and does quit smoking. He did great his second time around. Not only did he quit, but he became a regular volunteer for me, coming to many clinics as a panelist to help people first quitting. He also sent in lots of people, probably 15 to 20 over the next couple of years.

About three years after John's quit, he was going in for a physical and to his surprise there was a small spot on his chest x-ray. When it was biopsied they found out John had cancer. He was about 48 at the time, in the peak of his career, still had children of school age and now was facing this terrible diagnosis. It was a horrible shock to many people. As is often the case with lung cancer, it was a fast deterioration. Within a year and a half John had succumbed to the disease.

I went to John's funeral--it was huge. There were hundreds and hundreds of people there. Many I knew, some because of their high public profile, but more because John had sent in so many people to the clinic in the time period that he was off smoking. Even after the diagnosis he was still sending people in.

One of the men there was from one of the recent clinics and had told me how tragic this was that John had lost his life and how his lost quit was probably the reason. To be realistic I told him that it is possible that if John had quit the first time in the clinic it may not have made a difference. He basically found out he had lung cancer three years after he quit, and that lung cancer could be present for 5 years or even 10 years without presenting symptoms or even showing up on the x-ray. Being that the day I met him was about 6 years before the diagnosis, it was not totally improbable that at that time the cancer had already been initiated and was silently growing.

The man then proceeded to tell me that my clinic was not the first clinic John had tried. That in fact, 10 years before joining that first group with me, he and John had gone to another local clinic together to quit and both in a matter of days wrote it off as a bad time to quit--but knew they would both quit again one day.

Well John was right, he did eventually quit again one day. But it turned out to be over 16 years later. Now the odds were quite different--if he had quit that first time around he probably would never had developed the disease that ultimately cost him his life.

The lesson here needs to be once you have a quit going, do everything in your power to make it last. While you are seeing people come back who just seem to be quitting again, if you relapse you just don't know you will ever get the strength or desire to quit again, and that even if you do, you don't know whether something won't go wrong in the interim period before the next quit.

John is not the only person I know who fits this profile--I know lots of them--people who could have had extra years and extra decades who lost them by minimizing the implications of not quitting or of relapsing. Once you have a quit smoking, understand your very life is contingent on understanding the importance of knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:55

15 Jan 2002, 23:44 #41

Thank you, Joel.

How fitting that you should post this today. At 2:00 pm today there is a memorial service for a good friend's husband. He was 47, passed away at 2:30 Sunday morning. He was admitted to the hospital on 12/14 in severe pain. He only was able to come home for a couple of days after that. He spent from Friday till Sunday morning in hospice. He apparently had cancer of the liver, pancreas, and some spots showed on his lungs. He was gone so fast, I don't think they ever determined where the cancer started. As best as I know, he quit smoking 10 years ago. But, it sounds like it wasn't soon enough. I don't know if he relapsed, and don't want to ask. I can't make it to the service because I have an appointment with my pulmonary specialist. Kind of ironic. But you can know my thoughts and prayers will be with that family even though I can not be there for his service.

I hope I never get too comfortable with my quit to let my gaurd down. On my 6 month anniversary, I reread my first post and diary. Thank you so much for having us record this trying time, because your mind can still play tricks on you, even after 6 months. Last night I had the worst nicotine demon dream yet. It was like someone was whispering in my ear all night long "too bad you've been sneaking a smoke once a day. You haven't really quit. You just haven't made it back to a pack a day yet".
So, we addicts can never, ever let our gaurd down. Hard to imagine a dream being so hard to shake, but it really shook me up.

Loving my freedom.
Thank you all for such a wonderful website, you are saving lives daily.
I'll never, ever, take another puff!
Nancy
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 20:20

16 Jan 2002, 02:15 #42

This is such a timely post for me. About six years ago, I quit smoking for two years Went out with a few friends, had a beer, thought one wouldn't hurt. It has taken me six years to gather together the motivation to quit again. That's why I am grateful for Freedom. Everything I read here hones in on the addiction and the realization that I can never take another puff.

This is the fifth day of my quit and I hope that I hope I have the good sense to reinforce the message every day that I can never take another puff.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

23 Jan 2002, 18:33 #43

For Richit

As you will see, a lot of people lost long-term quits and all the relapses shared two things in common. First, while they all may have had different strories--none of the reasons were legitimate reasons to relapse to full-fledged smoking. Secondly, they all went back the same way, they took a puff on a cigarette. Even after 23 years it did in your quit. This should tell you something. It should tell you what it tells everyone else here...that if you want to stay smoke free you must understand the importance of knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Mar 2002, 20:35 #44

For Betsybe:

Losing a 13 day quit is nothing--people can lose a 13 year quit or a 35 year quit if they ever think in terms of "a slip." A quit is only going to be successful over the long-term if over the long-term you always stay focused that to save your quit, your health and likely your life is as simple as always remembering to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 18:58

09 Apr 2002, 20:01 #45

Wow Joel! #46 is really powerful stuff. Just what I needed! Thanks!
yqs,
maggie
day 425 CT
Never Question Your Decision To Quit
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 May 2002, 19:10 #46

As noted in a number of posts in this string, relapses are very rare here and we like to keep it that way. I know bringing up all these articles can seem like overkill when no one is talking about relapsing but when it comes to relapsing--no amount of prevention can be too much. For the sake of a person who relapses as well as for the sake of every other person here, the understanding and implication of a relapse must be understood in its entirety by everyone. Your very lives depend on accepting nicotine as an addiction and treating it as such. That treatment comes down to constantly reminding yourself that you never want to be a full-fledges smoker again and the way to avoid the life an actively using nicotine addict is to always remember that to stay free you must never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 May 2002, 19:40 #47

It was pretty interesting that in last night group, one man had once quit for 6 months, one woman for five days , one girl who was 17 had once tried to quit for two days, and one man who has smoked for 40 years had never tried to quit before. Normally in groups they get to witness more lost long-term quits to learn from--that did not happen here. So in the event that the four people read here, I am bringing up some post specific to this issue--that no matter how long a person is off they will lose their quit if they don't understand the bottom line law of addiction that to stay smoke free you must never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Jun 2002, 15:37 #48

This clinic has been really interesting. We had one woman who once had a 20 year quit who lost it. Unfortunately she didn't make it this time around. We had one woman who had a thirteen year quit, and one woman who had two ten year quits lost. Off 10 years, on 5 years, off 10, on 5. We also had one man who had a few year quit going and relapsed on a cigar. He has been smoking and inhaling cigars ever since. The relapse happened in the mid 1970's.

The only way to insure you don't face a similar fate is to always remember to make this quit stick requires always staying reinforced and committed to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

13 Aug 2002, 09:37 #49

'bout time this resurfaced...
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Sep 2002, 06:31 #50

As noted in a number of posts in this string, relapses are very rare here and we like to keep it that way. I know bringing up all these articles can seem like overkill when no one is talking about relapsing but when it comes to relapsing--no amount of prevention can be too much. For the sake of a person who relapses as well as for the sake of every other person here, the understanding and implication of a relapse must be understood in its entirety by everyone. Your very lives depend on accepting nicotine as an addiction and treating it as such. That treatment comes down to constantly reminding yourself that you never want to be a full-fledges smoker again and the way to avoid the life an actively using nicotine addict is to always remember that to stay free you must never take another puff! Joel
Last edited by Joel on 31 Jan 2011, 05:24, edited 2 times in total.
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