Hermit quitting vs. Happy quitting

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

Hermit quitting vs. Happy quitting

MsArmstrongKIS
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

10 May 2003, 22:39 #1

It's weird about triggers lately. They are so much more specific and so much more widely spaced. When I first quit, EVERYTHING was a trigger. Every part of life, all of the dumb little things you do every single day, all felt very raw and wrong without a cigarette.

Now I'm completely used to walking to class without smoking, taking classes without smoking, studying without smoking, drinking coffee without smoking, talking to friends outside without smoking, talking on the phone without smoking. . .the list goes on. These are all no big deal anymore.

Recently I heard of a lady who quit smoking with NRTs. She was so afraid of going back to smoking that she moved to live in a different location from her husband (who still smoked) and changed everything about her life. She stopped going to bars and restaurants and dropped all of her smoking friendships. I swear I am not making this up--it was on another quit smoking forum and a lot of people thought it sounded quite sensible.

This illustrates the importance of not running away from triggers. I used to buy all of my cigarettes from the same gas station on the corner and since I quit, I never go to that gas station anymore. I don't have a car, so I don't need to buy gas, but I used to go there to buy snacks, too. This morning I had to get up early to take an exam and the bagel shop wasn't open, so I had to go to the gas station to get some breakfast. It was the first time I've been there since I quit smoking, and it felt completely bizarre to not be buying cigarettes there. I was kind of afraid to even go in--had to take a couple of deep breaths, first. I hardly get that feeling anymore, but that's because most of my triggers are already out of the way. See [font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Monster under the bed[/font].

Can you imagine if I hadn't had any practice in dealing with triggers? Can you imagine if at some point, years from now, I had to continue dealing with these kind of triggers because I kept putting them off when I first quit? What, am I never going to go into a gas station again? Never going to talk to my friends who smoke again? Never going to enjoy life as I previously knew it again? If all of that were what quitting smoking entails, **** with it! That's too much to ask--to save your life while simultaneously quitting living.

I think this woman's story also illustrates the ineffectiveness of NRTs. The woman who hid from all of the triggers she could really did have something to be afraid of. You see, when her brain told her that a cigarette would be a good solution to the trigger, her brain was absolutely correct. She still needed nicotine, and a cigarette would be an effective way to answer that need.

In the gas station this morning, a cigarette would have been an answer to a need I no longer have. Buying a pack would make no logical sense. That makes it relatively easy for me to smile at my trigger, buy coffee and a donut, and head out the door with no looking back.

Alex

2 months 3 weeks 5 days nicotine free
Last edited by MsArmstrongKIS on 07 Oct 2011, 15:03, edited 1 time in total.
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smokefreeJD Gold
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:06

10 May 2003, 23:57 #2

I'm with you on this one. I used to buy my cigs at the same gas station too, got to the point where the employees would see me pull up and automatically get a carton of my brand ready for me before I even walked in the door. I avoided that place for probably 5 months, at least going inside the store. Recently though I was running late and super hungry and they have great subs there so I stopped to get one. A strange sensation but a trigger met and defeated. By the way... the current employees didn't know who I was. Image

Jill Image
Kicking Butt for 7 Months 5 Days.
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Roger (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

11 May 2003, 00:42 #3

Alex,

Welcome to the Life of the Living. Your journey of healing has brought you to the doorstep of comfort. A transitional place in time where triggers are still present and comfort begins to swallow you in a sea of tranquillity.

You have done what it takes, one day at a time to get here. You have proved to yourself the comfort is there and you too can achieve it if you choose to.

Roger
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Golddabler1
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

11 May 2003, 19:37 #4

Hi alex
I totally agree with you,the nrt method always leaves you with that i want to have a cigarette feeling,education is vital to toerase all the false associations and understand nicotine addiction,merely giving up smoking will always sound like a sacrifice,if its a sacrifice can someone tell me why i,m feeling on top of the world.I visited my nicotine dealer on my second day,i would,nt give this as advice but i just felt like blasting down those triggers as soon as i could,so the story of that women is sooo bizarre and too me a totally negative fearful attitude that would ensure a life of misery.
Rickdabler 2 months 2 days 8hrs 40mins happily nicotine free.Image
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 May 2003, 20:38 #5

Hello Alex:

As you know I am not a fan or proponent of NRT's. In fact I don't think you can find many people in the field of smoking cessation who see its many limitations more than I do. But I think the example that is being used here is not really an indictment of an NRT approach as much as it is an issue with people trying to modify the things they do in their life without smoking. There are plenty of people who go cold turkey who feel that they must change the way they do things in order to stay smoke free. Many experts tell people to change the route they go to work, where they sit when they eat, where they read, what they watch on television, where they go to socialize, or basically, change all of the routines that they had when they smoked. If a person smoked one or two cigarettes a day and just had to change what they do in those few minutes of time periods it probably would not pose much of a problem for that person. But for people who smoked 20 or 40 or even 100 times a day, it is impossible to alter their whole existence. Not only is it impossible, it is totally unnecessary.

The bottom line is that in order to really believe that you can live your life and remain smoke free, you must come to the point of realization that everything you had to face and do as a smoker you can still overcome as an ex-smoker. If a person feels that there is some little situation that can cause him or her to lose his or her quit, like going to a specific place or dealing with a specific person or problem, he or she is also going to believe that if some major life event unexpectedly unfolds that he or she can't avoid and is eventually forced to deal with, that he or she is going to have to smoke.

The sooner a person faces his or her fears and challenges, the sooner he or she realizes that he or she can overcome any situation and remain smoke free. Again, NRT's are not the culprit here. If a person slaps on a patch or chews the gum and goes on with his or her life exactly as it was before, he or she will know that he or she can get through any day or any challenge without smoking. The problem is he or she is still likely to believe that he or she needs nicotine to survive through life, and the person is still facing a life of a moderate form or chronic withdrawal and is likely suffering a whole lot more than if he or she would just have stopped delivering nicotine and maintaining an active nicotine addiction.

The bottom line is still that everything a person did as a smoker; he or she can do as an ex-smoker. Also, almost everything that a person did with nicotine in his or her system, he or she can still do with nicotine out of his or her system. I had to preface that last comment with the word "almost." There is one thing that a person can't do as an ex-user. An ex-smoker who no longer uses nicotine in any form cannot suffer physiological nicotine withdrawal symptoms once he or she gets over the initial quitting process. An ex-smoker will never be able to experience nicotine withdrawal again as long as he or she sticks to his or her commitment to never administer nicotine again via any NRT route and as long as he or she sticks to his or her commitment to never take another puff!

Joel
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MsArmstrongKIS
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

12 May 2003, 11:24 #6

NRT's or no, these kinds of examples really floor me. Sometimes it seems like smoking cessation is centuries behind its time. . .that most educators and the conventional wisdom is just about on a level with doctors bleeding patients to make them well.

I mean, COME ON. . .moving into a separate apartment from your husband just so you wouldn't be tempted to smoke? It's important to take your quit seriously, but that is just ludicrous.

Thanks for clarifying and I hope the clinic is doing well. . .I really hope to visit your clinic someday when I have a car.

Alex
2 months 3 weeks 7 days
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GeorgieGirl GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

12 May 2003, 12:59 #7

Great post Alex ..... you really are moving on into a more comfortable level with your Quit - and that is so wonderful to hear. You must be feeling so good about yourself. Dive right on in to your sea of tranquility as Roger so eloquently put it. You really are going places girl Image.

Georgia
Image
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JoeJFree Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 May 2006, 21:38 #8

I'd brought this post back as part of a "Flashback" last year. Definitely some good points to consider about facing triggers and overcoming fears from Alex and others.

Joel's reply comment I've inserted below is akin to his "[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Life goes on without smoking[/font]" and [font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]"Do whatever it takes to quit smoking"[/font] articles.

We all learn here that we are able to face the future and live nicotine free because it is the natural state for the human body. We learn that anything we did as a tobacco smoker we can do as an ex-smoker. We eventually develop a comfort and confidence that helps us live better and easier knowing the only thing that can make us smoke tobacco to deliver non-essential nicotine to our now clean blood and brain is any of us deciding to do so. Education gained by reading here about living free of nicotine gives us the ablity to evaluate a situation and know that the presence of nicotine never helped us cope or adjust with a situation. Living life as it was meant to be, nicotine free, is simply the natural choice to be 'Just Me'.

as Joel said above in post # 5:
The bottom line is that in order to really believe that you can live your life and remain smoke free, you must come to the point of realization that everything you had to face and do as a smoker you can still overcome as an ex-smoker. If a person feels that there is some little situation that can cause him or her to lose his or her quit, like going to a specific place or dealing with a specific person or problem, he or she is also going to believe that if some major life event unexpectedly unfolds that he or she can't avoid and is eventually forced to deal with, that he or she is going to have to smoke.
The sooner a person faces his or her fears and challenges, the sooner he or she realizes that he or she can overcome any situation and remain smoke free. Again, NRT's are not the culprit here. If a person slaps on a patch or chews the gum and goes on with his or her life exactly as it was before, he or she will know that he or she can get through any day or any challenge without smoking. The problem is he or she is still likely to believe that he or she needs nicotine to survive through life, and the person is still facing a life of a moderate form or chronic withdrawal and is likely suffering a whole lot more than if he or she would just have stopped delivering nicotine and maintaining an active nicotine addiction.

The bottom line is still that everything a person did as a smoker; he or she can do as an ex-smoker.

JoeJFree - from tobacco & nicotine for One Year, Three Months, Twenty Seven Days, 23 Hours and 22 Minutes, (481 days)
Not consumed 12049, and saved $2,439.80.
Reclaimed 41 days, 20 hours and 6 minutes to use as I Choose!
NTAP!
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 07 Oct 2011, 15:05, edited 1 time in total.
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KatieDidIt1999
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 May 2006, 23:13 #9

ImageJust what I needed this morning JoeJ. I have a particular trigger I hid from yesterday but think I'll get rid of today. Thanks.
Kat
124 Free Days
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forza d animo
Joined: 04 Apr 2005, 07:00

08 May 2006, 09:40 #10

What makes Freedom From Tobacco so much different than other support forums is one simple idea. The idea that although tobacco is the delivery method for our drug, it is the nicotine contained therein that we must learn to live without. No matter why we began smoking or chewing tobacco, in the end we did so for one reason only, using tobacco prevented nicotine withdrawl. You have come to recogize and accept that.

When I first joined the forum, Linda (GrumpyOMrsS) would be quick to point out to anyone who suggested that you do whatever it takes to quit smoking, that instead, you do what it takes, Never Take Another Puff. We have all tried every form of snake oil out there. It is acceptance of this idea that has set us free from our addiction. We don't need to run and hide, we need to face our addiction. Your story demonstrates that point very well. What once would have caused you much anxiety, you were able to handle with a few deep breaths. Freedom is the ability to walk into the store where you bought your daily supply of drugs and to walk out with just coffee and a doughnut. It is the ability to walk into a party where people are smoking and walk out hours later with only secondhand smoke clinging to your hair and clothing. Freedom is the ability to choose between smoking or not without the threat of nicotine withdrawl swaying your decision.

Life goes on. I enjoyed reading your post.

Joseph
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