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

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

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Jun 2000, 21:22 #1

Yesterday I saw a number of posts from people who had quit for long time periods in the past before relapsing. I think one was a 20 year quit, others were ten plus years. While this is scary to witness in so many people, it serves a purpose of teaching a very valuable lesson. It shows the addiction to nicotine. What I always thought was the greatest indicator of the addictive nature of nicotine is not how hard it is to quit. I think what better illustrates it is how easy it is to go back. That after being off for months, years, or even decades does not render a person "cured."

Many years ago a man who had once been off smoking for 25 years joined one of my clinics. After that great period of time his daughter developed a case of mononucleosis, and in trying to keep her occupied, he and his wife played pinochle with her for many days straight. He was sitting between the two of them who were constantly smoking. By the third day the tedium of the situation and the constant exposure to their smoke tempted him. He decided he would have a cigarette. After all, he figured he had been off smoking for a quarter of a century--what harm could there be in having one or two cigarettes?

That was 8 years and approximately 117,000 cigarettes smoked before he joined my program. Without understanding the concept of addiction, he allowed himself a cigarette. That resulted in an eight-year and two packs per day addiction. While 25 years would logically seem to be a safe period of time to have permanently broken free from a habit, addiction is a totally different matter. In drug addiction, no period of time makes a person capable of controlled limited use of a substance. Whether it be alcohol, heroin, cocaine, or tobacco, "once an addict always an addict" is an adage which must be understood and lived by. The day it is forgotten the addict will become complacent, and that complacency may cost the addict his continued abstinence, health, and, eventually, his life. It is a high price to pay for a poorly calculated gamble.

While this man may have been off longer than most ex-smokers, his story is in no way unique. In almost every clinic I ever did, at least a quarter of the group had quit for a year or longer. In fact, in the majority of programs we had at least one 5-year-plus ex-smoker enrolled to quit again and even ten-year relapsers were not at all uncommon. These people demonstrated over and over again the danger of taking even one puff, and its ability to cause a full-fledged relapse. The more this phenomenon is witnessed, the more undeniable the concept of one puff being capable of causing a full-fledged relapse becomes.

That is why continued reinforcement is imperative if an ex-smoker wishes to stay free from cigarettes. That is why continuing to occasionally participate at here at Freedom even after quitting for significant time periods is probably a good tool to keep everyone reinforced. Long-term quitters may disassociate themselves from their past, forgetting the level of control once exerted by cigarettes. "Maybe I am different" are famous last thoughts that pass through the ex-smoker's mind before relapsing.

Come witness the shock and disbelief of once successful quitters who are once again desperately trying to quit because they thought they could have just one. The anger, frustration, despair and pain are apparent in them as well as in the first time quitters too. While you may be having occasional passing thoughts for a cigarette as an ex-smoker, these people are experiencing a constant all-consuming obsession toward smoking.

Spending a few minutes reading or even participating in these stories, in all probability will prevent you from becoming the next victim of the complacency that caused their relapse. To avoid ever going through a difficult and possibly insurmountable quitting process yourself, keep up at Freedom and, most importantly, NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
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DebFish
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 00:31

07 Jun 2000, 00:20 #2

......and never let your guard down........



debi :)



been there, done that...............................
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Jun 2000, 23:14 #3

Since there was only one reply to this post yesterday, I am not sure if many people caught this post, and I personally think it is really one of the more important letters I have put here in a while.

Complacency is a real threat to continued success. If one puff can cause a relapse after 25 years, guess what it can do after 25 days, 5 days or one day. It can start the whole process over again, and you don't know that the next time may be too much to overcome. Make this one stick. Never Take Another Puff!

Joel

P.S. I actually had one person who was once off for closer to 35 years before relapsing. Unfortunately I didn't remember the story of how or when the relapse occurred so I stuck with this man's story since I had that specific information.
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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

07 Jun 2000, 23:25 #4

When I think of how many years it took me to get to this point....I think of what the next puff of a cigarette could do to me and then say to myself........I sure am glad I quit! After all the articles I read, all the posts I seen and all the warnings I've had on not taking "just one puff" ....I would be crazy to do it....

thanks for all the reminders....us addicts sometimes forget where we've been and need to be told how easy it is to get back there.

One proud quitter.....Linda
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Deb
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:03

07 Jun 2000, 23:54 #5

I relapsed after 10 years of being smoke free. At the time it was a silly thing to do. But at the time I didn't have the know that cigerettes were an addiction. This hit me really hard when I started reading the info you were posting Joel. I knew it was a drug but I was in denial and just didn't know it. I didn't have anyone present it to me like that. Looking at it from an addiction lets me know that this is something i must be aware of the rest of my life. And make the changes that are needed to stay free. Like a non- smoking invironment at home. I've been wondering, how much would second hand smoke effect and influence a child to become addicted to nicotine? I don't think I've heard much along this line but would like to if anyone has any info. Joel, I agree, as long as this site is here I must stay active. To relapse again would mean sure death. To stay free is life, peace and joy to have another precious day to say Thank-you God for another chance at staying alive and healthy. After relapsing and finding freedom again I know I must stay close. I feel like I'm repeating my self but it has been so ingrained that I preach it to myself and others.
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kitten
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 20:52

08 Jun 2000, 01:18 #6

I know that I am a new non-smoker and I don't have a lot of background to draw from but I do know one thing --If I didn't come here every day and read the postings and the links, I don't think I would have made it this far. This is my sanctuary - a place I can go with my own thoughts and feelings. Here, I can express the feelings and thoughts without the fear of being ridiculed or put down. Many times in the past I have wanted to quit and even tried but my co-workers and even family would laugh and say "You'll never do it, Karen" and offer me a cig. Naturally, my self esteem was so low how could I believe in myself when no one else believed in me.

This time is different. There are a lot of people that believed in me and tell me so everyday. That makes a difference and makes it easier. As for the others, all I can say to them now is "I told you so." or "You ought to try it, it works."

I will come to this site every day for the rest of my life. I may not post every day but I will be here reading. It is the fine people, great inspiration and delightful gifs (LOL) that have helped me kick a habit I have had for close to 40 years. Linda, you and I look a lot alike in a leotard - at least from the rear. HaHaHa!!!

I am not ready to call myself an ex-smoker yet. I am an ex-smoker right this minute and hopefully a lot of minutes to come. Minutes turn into hours, hours into days, days into weeks, weeks into months, months into years. By then I should be comfortable enough to call myself an ex-smoker until then IT IS ONE MINUTE AT A TIME!!!!

I start posting and don't know enough to quit. I just wish you all could know how much this means to me. The quitting and the people. Oh Goodness, here they come - the tears, again. Talk to you all later.

Love to all

Kitten (Karen)

One week, five days, 12 hours, 51 minutes and 23 seconds. 376 cigarettes not smoked, saving $53.59. Life saved: 1 day, 7 hours, 20 minutes.
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Deb
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:03

08 Jun 2000, 02:23 #7

KITTEN, One week and 5 days, and you thought you couldn't do it. I'm so glad you didn't give up on your self, espeacially with people trying to be obstacles in your way. With the will power I see coming through with the nico demon you will be able to conqueror any thing you sit your mind to. But remembering that with smoking your an addict will same you the dangers of relapse. When I quit 20 some odd years ago they didn't have PC's. And something that surprizes me is that there arn't more support group for ex-smokers. The hospital I go to when needed just started a support group for people who want to quit and for those who have but need support. You hear of groups for drugs, alcohol, emotions,etc. Nicotine is one of the largest and support is hard to find. I two am thankful for this site. And I also learned a long hard lesson. Never go back, not one puff. And stay in contact with ex-smokers
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The Manager 1
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:29

13 Jul 2000, 02:24 #8

Joel I just now caught this post. Missed it the first time. I was setting here thinking about my husbands late father. He had lung cancer from smoking and had one of his lungs removed. He stopped for17 years and then when he found out he had brain cancer he gave up and said he wanted to smoke because he had missed it for 17 years and it did he no good to stop. Bert said his dad smoked almost until the day he passed away. This is one battle that I intend to win. There is not a moment that goes by in the last 2 1/2 months that I think I can have only one puff. I have seen it here at Freedom and around me it doesnt work. Its hard for me to comprend how someone could quit that long (20 plus) and go back. I was reading your and Zep's post and I have heard that the chances of me or any smoker lasting smoke free isnt good. I am one person who is here to prove those stupid studies wrong. Kathy

2 months 2 weeks and 3 days 1 hour and 56 mins havent smoked 3,514 saving me $342.62
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Stef
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:28

13 Jul 2000, 03:26 #9

Just wanted to to know that I read this and a big AMEN!!!!! Stef 3 weeks 21 min
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Stef
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:28

08 Aug 2000, 01:58 #10

Yes, One puff did in my 35 day quit ! I guess I just didn't get it ! Got it now ! Stef 1 week 2 hours
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