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

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!


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. Image 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 Image
Newbies, Long Lost Quits and Quit Friends, Please, Please:
Sorry so long don't post.
I'll keep in touch,
Your Quit Sis,
Thank you guys for supporting me in my quit and for remaining quiters.
You know who you are Image

Dida (Gold)
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.

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!

John (Gold)
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 : )

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.


Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Dec 2001, 03:32 #37

Image 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!


happycamper 67
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!!!!!!!!

ldy nblk
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.


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!