"How in the world did I do it?"

"How in the world did I do it?"

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Jul 2000, 21:43 #1

This is another letter written specifically for my clinic graduates, but the core of the message applies here at Freedom too. While my clinic was a two week group program, with sporadic support between the individuals in the group and me, Freedom has a longer-term intensive support network developed in its framework. We too are trying to help you get to the point where you have a choice but we are then there daily to help you remember the ongoing benefits of the choice of freedom.

Joel

"How in the world did I do it?"

So many successful graduates of our program express shock and disbelief that they actually quit smoking. They often ask what magic we practiced on them to make them give up cigarettes. The fact is we use no magic. We simply, through information, group support and general caring, help people stay off smoking for two weeks. At the end of that time, all ex-smokers have a choice. They can return to their old level of consumption or they can remain ex-smokers.

The true goal of our program is not to make smokers quit forever--just to help them quit for two weeks. Most smokers who enroll in our clinics have lost control over cigarettes. They are true drug addicts, hooked on nicotine. While they claim to smoke because they want to, the real reason is they smoke because they have to. But once off for two weeks, the physical addiction is broken. While they may still have passing thoughts of how nice it would be to have a cigarette, they no longer experience the overwhelming cravings initially experienced during the peak drug withdrawal. The vast majority reaching this drug free state realize they feel healthier, happier and calmer than when they were smoking.

But not all ex-smokers stay off cigarettes. Many actually return to smoking. Is it that they decide that they like being smokers more than non-smokers? In the vast majority of failures, this is not the reason. People who relapse think they have a third choice--becoming social smokers. One cigarette here and there, not too often. They shortly realize, however, that being an occasional smoker is not possible. Once an ex-smoker takes one cigarette, the addiction process is set into motion. It is only a matter of time, in many cases only 24 hours, until they will return to smoking at their old level.

The first questions I ask those who relapse is how much do they enjoy their new addiction? Do they really like smoking 20, 40, 60 or even more cigarettes per day? Which way of life did they like more, being successful non-smokers or the way it currently is? It is amazing, but I almost always get the same answers. They hate smoking. They can't control the amount they smoke. They preferred not smoking anything to smoking the way they smoke now. While these feelings are almost universally expressed in their words, their actions do not coincide with their desires. They don't quit. In many cases they don't even attempt to quit. They hate what they are doing to themselves, they think fondly of not smoking, but they don't try to achieve it.

The reason is they have lost control over the matter. They are once again addicted to nicotine. They are in the exact same condition as when we first encountered them in the clinic. The solution is quite simple. They can quit smoking, again. If they can just get off for two weeks, they will once again break the addiction and gain freedom of choice over cigarettes again. But this time they have one advantage. They now know only two options exist for them. First, they can smoke nothing. Second, they can smoke everything. But there is no inbetween. If they ever desire an occasional cigarette, all they must do is think about what it was like the last time, when they returned to smoking, hating every day of it. Then they can make a choice, return to smoking or to Never Take Another Puff!
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Debi (Gold)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:13

21 Jul 2000, 22:07 #2

Hi Joel, Great post...and soooooooo true.!!!! Its happened to me more times than I care to mention here! See, I also like(liked) an occasional cigar, so when I would quit smoking cigaretts would have a cigar now and then or share one with my husband...ohhhhh they were soooo good!!! And before I Knew it I was buying more cigars to "share" with my husband, then I started thinking (boy these things are so strong...could not help inhaling them), i'd be better off smoking a cigarette. Well, I don't need to explain the rest!!!! SO, I KNOW I CANNOT TAKE ANOTHER PUFF OF ANYTHING!!! I've learned my lesson and hope my junky thinking never lets me fail again. I really want to STAY a SMOKEFREE WINNER!!!! Thanks Joel for always keeping us on our toes!!! Hugs,DEBI
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Stef
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:28

22 Jul 2000, 01:40 #3

Joel, Thank you, another reminder that smoking is truly all or none, I need to constantly be reminded of that , especially when my mind has been saying "it's ok one wont hurt, one a day won't hurt"!!! I like another post that you have shared. The one where someone would want to bum a cigarette,and you say ,no...ask them for the pack, better yet, ask them to buy you a carton...no, no, a truckful!!!! That post is one of my favorites. Is is very true and funny too!!! Sort of a dark smoking humor. I lost my network connection yesterday, it just got reconnected again. All my e mail is gone, I have a new e- mail address. Did you answer my "dream " e mail to you, Joel? Ste
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Sharon
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:29

14 Sep 2000, 23:00 #4

Thanks Joel. I think I'll keep this posting handy for when the thought of just one pops up in my head. REALITY CHECK!!!!!!!!

Sharon

1 month, 1 week, 1 day, 23 hours, 32 minutes
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Jan 2001, 20:39 #5

[font=ARIAL, GEORGIA, 'TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]With so many people now getting over the one week mark and the reality starts setting in, some people find themselves in amazement that after numerous quit attempts in their life they finally pulled it off. Also, some people who have quit before for significant periods of time only to have relapses start to get apprehensive as to will this one stick or follow the course of the past quits.

There is something different this time that gives you all the advantage of being able to succeed over the long haul. The difference is the understanding of drug addiction. If you know and equally important continue to believe that you were and are still a recovering nicotine addict and that one puff is going to undo everything you have accomplished, this quit will last. If you ever allow yourself to fall back to the mindset that you are off so long, like not smoking so much, or alternatively hate smoking so much, feel so good, and it seems so easy that you start to think you have it totally under control, you are no longer an addict and so if you have just one or two cigarettes or even puffs, this quit will go the route of the others. But if you keep remembering you are a recovering addict, even though there is no visible sign and for the most part the addiction is asymptomatic, as long as you keep recognizing it is there and has the potential of taking you down with any little infraction, well as long as you continue to understand that premise this will be the last quit you will ever have to do.

Stay focused on what you have accomplished here. I know I saw from some posts how family members are still making a big deal out of your quit, but that is going to subside soon. Family and friends are going to start to take it for granted that you just don't smoke anymore and that it is no longer a big deal. But your not smoking is still a big deal and should remain so for the rest of your life. Not to others though but you each and every one of you. To keep it a big deal, wake up every day and say you are not going to smoke that day and congratulate yourself at the end of each day for accomplishing that designated goal.

Day by day, stick to the goal. Every day is another victory worth celebration that over time will become weeks, months, years and decades worth celebrating. All these landmark times will become a reality for each of you as long as you never take another puff!

Joel


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Last edited by Joel on 02 Dec 2013, 22:47, edited 1 time in total.
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wexmer
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 23:21

09 Jan 2001, 20:51 #6

I'm gonna do it this time! Because now I know what I didn't know before. And it's because of being educated. It's learning about my addiction. It's remembering my past quits which were not successful and now I know why. I sat in a bar yesterday with co-workers for one hour (between real estate clients) I squirmed, yes I did as everybody started throwing their packs of cigs on the bar and lighting up and I squirmed and I silently repeated to myself "NEVER take another puff". When I left I literally felt like I had just fleed a very very dangerous situation. Thank you Joel. Your dedication to this incredible health problem is such a wonderful thing. Thanks. Alice
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Jan 2001, 21:11 #7

You are welcome Alice. Really watch those people smoking. The first one may look tempting. But in a few minutes they will light another, then a few minutes later another and soon after that another. Pretty soon you will recognize that they are smoking in a way that you don't want to. They are also smoking in a way that they don't want to. They don't have a choice, you do. You could smoke just like them if you want. You can smoke them under the table if you want. You could smoke nothing if you want. They just have to smoke. That concept will get you through.

When you get home at night, you can take a sigh of relief not to be stuck in that life again. But as you take your sigh, you will probably smell the stench of their smoke permeating your clothing and your hair and your general being, and better take a shower and get the clothes ready for the laundry. You don't want to smell like that again tomorrow. You see, with a little soap and fresh clothes you have the choice of smelling better the next day, your smoking friends and colleagues don't have that choice either.

Hang in there Alice. Never take another puff!

Joel
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PetiteSusan
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 23:37

10 Jan 2001, 03:58 #8

Thanks so much. That is exactly the reason my other quits did not take. This one will, I understand alot more thanks to you.
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GBB
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 23:37

10 Jan 2001, 04:27 #9

I have said this to myself everyday so far! Today when I was in the grocery store line, there was a man buying 2 cartons of cigarettes and I thought I don't need to spend that much money on something that goes up in smoke anyway. I was also thinking about not wanting ever to go through this again. I believe quitting has been the most difficult thing I have had to do in my entire life. Your right too about friends and family making a big deal out of my quitting but I am glad they have because it has gotten me through some really rough spots.
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R b rt
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

07 Nov 2001, 21:24 #10

wow! ... good to see that post again ...

i know i still wonder "how in the world i did it !?!?" because after being unsuccessful in so many attempts to stop smoking, i didn't think it was possible for me! now i look back and smile at myself and like JOEL says - don't think you can become a "social smoker" ... there IS no such smoker ... you can do it . . .

the thing to remember is:

NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF ... EVER


@ 15months/6days
-robert-
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