I Liked My Other Support Group More

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

05 Mar 2006, 19:35 #41

From: Joel Sent: 7/13/2004 8:05 AM
I saw a post from a new member who was also part of a live support group. In her post she mentioned that the group was rather poorly attended, with only three people remaining at the end. I immediately thought of this article.

I actually started running clinics in 1976. This letter was written about a participant in one of the 1976 or early 1977 clinics. This was years before the use of NRT's and well before the time that there were any pharmaceutical company influences on the cessation industry. At that time too expert advise was to never advocate a cold-turkey clinic. That advice was determined on the premise that cold-turkey was just too hard (cutting down was the state of the art at the time) and that you would never be able to get people to sign up for a cold-turkey program.

Of course the first premise was ridiculous as is evident by the fact that well over 90% of the people who successfully quit smoking did so by going cold-turkey. The second premise was also wrong. By the time I was conducting my third or fourth clinic we were packing the room with people wanting to quit.

Actually, by the time I set up a more permanent program based in one location, we were getting anywhere between 40 and 60 people a month signing up for clinics. This was being accomplished with no paid advertising. We were basically a word of mouth program.

I had to laugh to myself every time I encountered other clinic organizers who said there was no way that they would do a cold-turkey program for they just knew they could never get people to come to such a program. Every program that tried to get established in my local area ended up closing their doors within months, or continued limping along with very low attendance until finally giving up. The organizers usually ended up coming to the conclusion that there just was no need for such programs because people just didn't seem to want to quit. If they would have stopped by any of our programs they would have realized just how off base that conclusion was.

It is amazing how little has changed in the past 28 years. The advice out there still seems to be what ever you do don't go cold-turkey because of course it is too hard and if you offer a cold-turkey option no one will show up. Well, all of our members and our readers here are dispelling the second myth and all of the world's millions of long-term successful quitters are dispelling the first one too. The world quitters are showing that quitting is possible and staying free is totally doable by anyone staying committed to never take another puff!

Joel
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Kristie
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Mar 2006, 10:28 #42

Cold Turkey is the only way to go!

Thanks for letting me in on that info!

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Kristie - Free and Healing for Sixteen Days, 23 Hours and 57 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 1 Day and 4 Hours, by avoiding the use of 340 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $55.11.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 May 2006, 21:57 #43

From the string " The Freedom Classroom " 

Our purpose for such measures is to try to insure that all of the information passed along at Freedom is in line with principles we are trying to teach and that all members understand our rules and regulations before they start posting. This is important to us because there a lots of people who are reading and learning at our site--a whole lot more than are actual members at our site.

We actually don't know how many readers we get at Freedom--we have no way of counting. We know that we have had somewhere around 4,000 members over the past six years and that this sounds like a lot of readers. Most of our people come from finding www.whyquit.com. We do suspect that there is a significant percentage of people who find www.whyquit.com and then come over an look at Freedom. While we can't count our readers at Freedom we do get some indications of our readers at www.whyquit.com

Since December of 2002 we have had over 1,056,000 distinct hosts view pages at www.whyquit.com. If only 10% of these people find their way to Freedom it would still be over 100,000 people. The numbers may be higher. While we don't know the exact numbers of people who do read we know it is a lot.

Every person posting at Freedom has an awesome responsibility because every word you are writing is capable of influencing hundreds or even thousands of people. Considering what we are trying to influence them to do, which is to quit smoking and to save their lives, it is easy to see how why we feel that this is indeed an awesome responsibility.

We want people here at Freedom to learn as much as they can in their time here. The test that our members and readers are studying for is to develop the skills understanding needed to quit smoking and to stay free. Failing those kind of tests can cost a person his or her quit, his or her health and eventually, his or her life.

and

In a real sense though our membership requirements are not designed to just protect our members though. It is designed to protect all of our readers. Becoming an active member at Freedom carries some degree of responsibility. From a personal perspective of the member, there is a personal responsibility to himself or herself. Responsibility for posting members doesn't stop at himself or herself though. Posting members also have the ability to affect other members and other readers and basically the whole board by what they write on the board.

That is why we want people who are members to read and learn all that they can before they start exerting any influence on others. We know from our past experience that people coming in who have done very little reading or worse yet, people who come in who have done extensive reading at other sites have very little idea of all they need to know to quit smoking and to sustain their quits. Often, people pick up lots of ideas elsewhere that fall under the category of conventional wisdom or even pick up ideas that fit into what is currently considered the state of the art in professional cessation circles. The problem is conventional wisdom and state of the art philosophies usually result in very low cessation rates.
Last edited by Joel on 19 Dec 2011, 21:03, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Jul 2006, 00:52 #44

I saw where a member who has been off for a couple of months felt as if a group hug would help secure her quit. To be honest, there are a whole lot of bigger Internet support groups out there who will be able to give their members much bigger group hugs.

Just yesterday I sent a promotional piece to a major medical association who is condisering referring physicians to our site to help their patients. Here is how I described Freedom in that piece:

Freedom is an interactive bulletin board that offers more than the cheerleading approach of similar sites. The Freedom board offers professional advice from the moderator of many Stop Smoking Clinics and support from ex-smokers who quit through the Freedom site. The smoker is guided to an understanding of nicotine addiction. Freedom prepares participants to face problems experienced during the early quitting period. New quitters are taught how to deal with situations likely to be encountered over the long term. Major emphasis is placed on relapse prevention techniques.
-----------------------
What really helps our members and readers strengthen their ability to quit is not the hugs we give but the insights and information that all of our members can share. Our strength is in geting all of our reader to recognize that they can face all future obstacles in life with their quits intact if they simply make and stick to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

04 Oct 2006, 05:04 #45

From the string The Freedom Classroom

Our purpose for such measures is to try to insure that all of the information passed along at Freedom is in line with principles we are trying to teach and that all members understand our rules and regulations before they start posting. This is important to us because there a lots of people who are reading and learning at our site--a whole lot more than are actual members at our site.

We actually don't know how many readers we get at Freedom--we have no way of counting. We know that we have had somewhere around 4,000 members over the past six years and that this sounds like a lot of readers. Most of our people come from finding www.whyquit.com. We do suspect that there is a significant percentage of people who find www.whyquit.com and then come over an look at Freedom. While we can't count our readers at Freedom we do get some indications of our readers at www.whyquit.com

Since December of 2002 we have had over 1,056,000 distinct hosts view pages at www.whyquit.com. If only 10% of these people find their way to Freedom it would still be over 100,000 people. The numbers may be higher. While we don't know the exact numbers of people who do read we know it is a lot.

Every person posting at Freedom has an awesome responsibility because every word you are writing is capable of influencing hundreds or even thousands of people. Considering what we are trying to influence them to do, which is to quit smoking and to save their lives, it is easy to see how why we feel that this is indeed an awesome responsibility.

We want people here at Freedom to learn as much as they can in their time here. The test that our members and readers are studying for is to develop the skills understanding needed to quit smoking and to stay free. Failing those kind of tests can cost a person his or her quit, his or her health and eventually, his or her life.

Also from above:

I saw where a member who has been off for a couple of months felt as if a group hug would help secure her quit. To be honest, there are a whole lot of bigger Internet support groups out there who will be able to give their members much bigger group hugs.

Just yesterday I sent a promotional piece to a major medical association who is condisering referring physicians to our site to help their patients. Here is how I described Freedom in that piece:

Freedom is an interactive bulletin board that offers more than the cheerleading approach of similar sites. The Freedom board offers professional advice from the moderator of many Stop Smoking Clinics and support from ex-smokers who quit through the Freedom site. The smoker is guided to an understanding of nicotine addiction. Freedom prepares participants to face problems experienced during the early quitting period. New quitters are taught how to deal with situations likely to be encountered over the long term. Major emphasis is placed on relapse prevention techniques.
What really helps our members and readers strengthen their ability to quit is not the hugs we give but the insights and information that all of our members can share. Our strength is in geting all of our reader to recognize that they can face all future obstacles in life with their quits intact if they simply make and stick to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
Last edited by Joel on 19 Dec 2011, 21:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Dec 2006, 08:03 #46

From above:

I saw where a member who has been off for a couple of months felt as if a group hug would help secure her quit. To be honest, there are a whole lot of bigger Internet support groups out there who will be able to give their members much bigger group hugs.

Just yesterday I sent a promotional piece to a major medical association who is condisering referring physicians to our site to help their patients. Here is how I described Freedom in that piece:

Freedom is an interactive bulletin board that offers more than the cheerleading approach of similar sites. The Freedom board offers professional advice from the moderator of many Stop Smoking Clinics and support from ex-smokers who quit through the Freedom site. The smoker is guided to an understanding of nicotine addiction. Freedom prepares participants to face problems experienced during the early quitting period. New quitters are taught how to deal with situations likely to be encountered over the long term. Major emphasis is placed on relapse prevention techniques.
-----------------------
What really helps our members and readers strengthen their ability to quit is not the hugs we give but the insights and information that all of our members can share. Our strength is in geting all of our reader to recognize that they can face all future obstacles in life with their quits intact if they simply make and stick to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel


From above:

I saw where a member made a comment to another member that she should not beat herself up for her past smoking. In the past when I was at other sites I would see this comment written often--not only about past smoking but about current relapses. The fact is that if people read and learn all of the damages and disruptions smoking likely caused them during their smoking lifetime, they are probably going to have a hard time dismissing the fact that they smoked. One common sentiment you hear from ex-smokers and some current smokers that if they knew then (before they started to smoke) what they know now they would never have taken up smoking.

While no one can change the fact that they used to smoke, they still need to recognize just what kind of grip cigarettes had on them in the past and what kind of grip they can have again if ever given the opportunity to get back into the smoker's system. It is not that we want people to dwell on the past now but we want them to be aware of their past and to learn from it. For those who had past quits that were lost, they need to recognize exactly what did in that prior quit. They took a puff on a cigarette and it turned into smoking again. Never let that cigarette off the hook for what it caused that time. Minimizing it now can set you up to repeat the incident again.

For those of you who this is your first quit, learn from the mistake of others. Always remember cigarettes as they really were and what they were doing to you and what they would likely have went on to do to you if you had not quit. Again, don't let them off the hook--they were taking your health and if given the opportunity could very well have gone on to take your life. While you can't change the past you can alter the present and future in regards to facing any further damage caused by smoking by simply remembering now that to stay free you must always remember why committed to never take another puff!

Joel

Also from above:

We are designed to accomplish one of two goals for our members. We are either going to share with you the understanding you need to stay smoke free for the rest of your life or we are going to give you enough background understanding about the dangers of smoking and the full implications of being a nicotine addict to **** up your smoking for the rest of your life. Which path you choose is totally up to you. Just know that there is little chance of going back to smoking and experience any form of ignorant bliss. If you choose to stay smoke free just always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Feb 2007, 20:18 #47

I had an email from a member who I think will appreciate this:

From above:

I saw a post from a new member who was also part of a live support group. In her post she mentioned that the group was rather poorly attended, with only three people remaining at the end. I immediately thought of this article.

I actually started running clinics in 1976. This letter was written about a participant in one of the 1976 or early 1977 clinics. This was years before the use of NRT's and well before the time that there were any pharmaceutical company influences on the cessation industry. At that time too expert advise was to never advocate a cold-turkey clinic. That advice was determined on the premise that cold-turkey was just too hard (cutting down was the state of the art at the time) and that you would never be able to get people to sign up for a cold-turkey program.

Of course the first premise was ridiculous as is evident by the fact that well over 90% of the people who successfully quit smoking did so by going cold-turkey. The second premise was also wrong. By the time I was conducting my third or fourth clinic we were packing the room with people wanting to quit.

Actually, by the time I set up a more permanent program based in one location, we were getting anywhere between 40 and 60 people a month signing up for clinics. This was being accomplished with no paid advertising. We were basically a word of mouth program.

I had to laugh to myself every time I encountered other clinic organizers who said there was no way that they would do a cold-turkey program for they just knew they could never get people to come to such a program. Every program that tried to get established in my local area ended up closing their doors within months, or continued limping along with very low attendance until finally giving up. The organizers usually ended up coming to the conclusion that there just was no need for such programs because people just didn't seem to want to quit. If they would have stopped by any of our programs they would have realized just how off base that conclusion was.

It is amazing how little has changed in the past 28 years. The advice out there still seems to be what ever you do don't go cold-turkey because of course it is too hard and if you offer a cold-turkey option no one will show up. Well, all of our members and our readers here are dispelling the second myth and all of the world's millions of long-term successful quitters are dispelling the first one too. The world quitters are showing that quitting is possible and staying free is totally doable by anyone staying committed to never take another puff!

Joel
Reply

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Jul 2007, 20:12 #48

From above:

I saw where a member who has been off for a couple of months felt as if a group hug would help secure her quit. To be honest, there are a whole lot of bigger Internet support groups out there who will be able to give their members much bigger group hugs.

Just yesterday I sent a promotional piece to a major medical association who is condisering referring physicians to our site to help their patients. Here is how I described Freedom in that piece:

Freedom is an interactive bulletin board that offers more than the cheerleading approach of similar sites. The Freedom board offers professional advice from the moderator of many Stop Smoking Clinics and support from ex-smokers who quit through the Freedom site. The smoker is guided to an understanding of nicotine addiction. Freedom prepares participants to face problems experienced during the early quitting period. New quitters are taught how to deal with situations likely to be encountered over the long term. Major emphasis is placed on relapse prevention techniques.
-----------------------
What really helps our members and readers strengthen their ability to quit is not the hugs we give but the insights and information that all of our members can share. Our strength is in geting all of our reader to recognize that they can face all future obstacles in life with their quits intact if they simply make and stick to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
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Inky15880
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:06

19 Sep 2007, 15:16 #49

I'd like to bring up these words from John as well, from early in the string. I was part in another support group too. But I was not participating in the group hugging to death routine. I tried to pick out some people who were likely to be open to Freedom's approach and tried to lead them to the right direction. Another member chastisized me for that, called me an anti NRT nazi. This is all I would have to say to them.
From: John (Gold) Sent: 4/4/2001 7:56 PM
Even when you can't see your arteries being clogged, smoking is causing them even more abuse than you sense occurring within your lungs. But unlike your lungs in which you can hear the decay and feel them slowly die, you can't hear or see the clogging going on within your arteries until the blockage is almost complete. Carbon monoxide is silently destroying the teflon like layer of cells that line the inside of every blood vessel in your body. Smoking destroys your good cholesterol (HDL) while helping gum up and permanently clog all your blood's plumbing.

Far more smokers are killed each year by those things that they can't sense happening inside their body (heart disease) than from those they can (lung decay and eventually cancer). We don't know that your very next cigarette will be the one that triggers your death, but we promise to always treat it like it will. The estimated 1,500,000 MIDDLE AGED smokers who'll die this year doesn't need to include you! If you want to get angry at Freedom for taking nicotine addiction and smoking far too seriously then do so but ..... if you like yourself at all ..... even a little bit .... or you like anything else about life ....... NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF !
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Sep 2007, 20:23 #50

As it says in our string Reading at other quit smoking sites:
From: Joel Sent: 11/12/2004 7:08 AM
We are not the only Internet site on smoking cessation. There are plenty of others. We know that some of our members belong to other sites. We do try to make it clear that we want people who belong to more than one site to be careful how they share materials and information between sites.

We have a strictly enforced policy about posting links to other site at Freedom. We won't let people do it. We also say that any materials that a person may pick up at other sites or in the media or even in professional journals need to be cleared through our management before being allowed on the board. Our string The Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom discusses why we have these controls in place.

Other sites do not necessarily have these controls. Our feelings though are that even though the site may not have strict guidelines in place on posting materials from our site, we want our members to be cautious how they use our materials elsewhere.

Much of what we use here and at www.whyquit.com can have a great value being used elsewhere. Our why to quit materials and most of our relapse prevention materials can be of great value. But our how to quit materials can often cause great debate and controversy at others sites that advocate multiple methods of smoking cessation. I am attaching a rather lenghty discussion below that we have used numerous times in this string addressing the use of our materials at other sites.

We have a long standing policy on requesting that our members do not do anything to disrupt the operation of other boards. I hope all of our members and even just people who read here honor that request.

Be very cautious on using our cold turkey materials elsewhere. Also, as I said above most of our relapse prevention materials can be beneficial to other sites but there are some that will be problematic. The ones that are not appropriate to post elsewhere are the ones that make the clear distinction that there is absolutely no difference between slips and relapses. That is not a view shared by most other sites and it is clearly not our mission nor our intent to thrust our views on any other site.

Our Mission is to help people who find their way to our site to understand that to quit smoking and to stay permanently free is as simple as just knowing to never take another puff!

Joel

Lifted from above:
From: Joel. Sent: 11/2/2002 5:58 AM
I saw in a discussion that was going last night in the string A Note to "Newbies" that some people have come in here after having participated at other sites. I suspect that this is pretty common now a days. We get a little nervous when people come in from other sites, because they often have preconceived notions of how boards should be run and come in ready to share all of the conventional wisdoms they have picked up elsewhere. The string The Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom really tries to address these issues head on.

What we do here is quite unconventional. We treat cigarette smoking as an actual drug addiction. Imagine that. Most other sites and most other programs call nicotine an addiction but somehow treat it different than other addictions. What other addiction is treated by administering the exact same drug just via a different route? What other program such as AA, or nicotine anonymous or cocain anonymous delivers the message at every meeting of don't let a little slip discourage you--it is not like you are drinking or using again?

At the same time though, we don't want people who have come from other sites to feel that we don't want them here now. We do want them because we suspect that they are here now because they realized the limitations of the other site at helping them sustain their quits. They often have a deeper appreciation of what we are really doing here.

But again, we are not the site for everyone. The other sites serve as resources for people who don't want to accept the things that are members do accept. The fact is there are more of those people than there are of people who believe what our members believe. But our mission is to help that minority, the people who want our help. Our mission is not to make other groups adopt our beliefs.

Here is a post addressing this very issue from late last year. The message is as important today as it was back then.
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From: Joel. Sent: 12/30/2001 3:38 PM
Today we were notified that a member of our site, who is also a member at another site, put up a direct link at the other site directly to the Freedom board. While we understand the good intentions of the person who did it, we feel that we must point out that such actions can cause problems. One other time I put up a post addressing this issue, but from the opposite side, where one of our members put up a post on our board about another site. I am going to attach that post below. This statement along with our mission statement really explains the potential problems of such practices and why we try not to divert the focus of other sites at the same time as protecting our focus here at Freedom.



The letter from the past:

A new member put up a link to another board, one that has been around for a long time, one that in fact our two founders originally came from. While there was nothing inherently wrong with the exact post that it led to, it did divert people to a site that has many different views, most notably on NRT issues. Since we basically have always had policies in place asking people not to do this, I removed the post and emailed the person letting him know that we don't put links up here. As a side note I also mentioned it was a pretty good idea not to put our link up at other sites too, for they also have different points of view and are often not thrilled seeing our agenda.
Well I didn't know at the time I sent that email that letters from my libraries were already posted by this person at a totally different site. And not just any letters, the NRT letters. Talk about making a lot of enemies real fast. There were 10 replies and none of them favorable. Luckily my name wasn't attached, but I think many knew who I was.

Before I came to Freedom, I was posting at other sites. I was very cautious about not letting my NRT views known, I knew they were not going to believed or appreciated. I always focused on the relapse prevention articles which I felt applied to anyone, no matter how they quit. Even these letters stirred controversy and I ended up leaving these other areas, usually by mutual agreement.

Even when I came to Freedom, I was here almost 5 months before I made my opinions on the matter known, and that was only because I was asked point blank and had no recourse but to answer. I had informed the management prior to this of my view but knew it was not shared and always felt that it was not my place to alter the site.

Anyway, what happened here is history now and our site did become transformed over time. But we must all recognize that the rest of the online world is in a different frame of mind and it is not our right to go change their opinions any more than it is their right to change ours. So please, if you are at other sites stay low key about our views here. You will likely stir up debate that will not convert anyone and just get yourself kicked out.

Convincing the rest of the world is beyond our means. What is important that every one here convinces him or herself. The only thing you have to convince yourself of is that you want to stay smoke free and the way to accomplish this goal is to never take another puff!

Joel


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