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Due to our own prior quitting history or horror stories from others, we may start this temporary journey of adjustment with a humble or even frightened sense of confidence but before long a warm smile floods our mind and face as we truly begin to believe, with every fiber of your being, that this quit is different. This is it! Freedom's dream is unfolding before our eyes!
If every smoker on earth could magically spend just one day again feeling that almost constant sense of calmness that resided inside their mind immediately before climbing aboard that endless nicotine/dopamine roller coaster ride of highs and lows, they'd seize that day as motivation for the journey home to "them." There's no pot of gold at the end of the quit rainbow. Instead, what you'll find, all the gold in the world cannot buy. What awaits you is "you," fully engaging every aspect of life without the need to feed nicotine's two-hour chemical half-life.
Forget a momen about improved breathing, smoking related health concerns, living a full life, the pile of money your save, your loved ones, and all the social pressures, what about starting home - just one hour and challenge at a time - as your loving gift of "you" to "you!" Anything the chemically captive you can do, the free and real you can do even better!
Patience, baby steps, the next few minutes will always be doable and no subconsciously triggered crave episode will last longer than three minutes. Be sure and look at a clock as time distortion during early cessation is very real! Also, remember to put a small amounts of fuel into your tummy every few hours as nicotine will no longer be feeding you by pumping stored fats and sugars into your bloodstream via adrenaline releases. We don't need to add wild avoidable blood-sugar swing symptoms to our journey!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John - The Gold Club
We Are "Real" Drug Addicts
If you removed all nicotine from your brand of cigarettes how long do you think you would have continued smoking them? According to R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company the tobacco industry has known that nicotine was the sine qua non of smoking for over thirty years. How long have you had to come to terms with this critical realization?
It will be very difficult to not become comfortable without nicotine if you'll only use the next few weeks to be honest with you. We each walked through life insulated by a thick blanket of dependency, cost and recovery denial that protected us from truth.
Our inital youthful decision to like or not like the dopmaine spike sensed within 8 to 10 seconds of that first puff of nicotine (that aaahhh sensation) became meaningless once we became chemically hooked. What was our only alternative? Look around at Freedom. This forum reflects the only alternative any of us had - withdrawal and recovery to the "real" us!
Being truthful about the entire spectrum of a nicotine addict's feeding cycle should help allow you to find you again. Yes, there was a dopamine spike but the bottom spike the anxiety, inner turmoil and sense of depression of going far beyond the real you and a crashing type low below. Yes, there was a dopamine spike but the other end of the spike can be easily seen here at Freedom (Help Me - SOS).
But Freedom isn't about artifical chemical highs and lows but about you developing the honesty, insight, recovery philosophy, and basic patience needed to give yourself an opportunity to meet "you" again.
Drug addiction isn't about getting high but about feeling normal. Somewhere between the dopamine high and the anxiety/depressive low resides the "real" you. It's a comfortable place where the sad moments of life are lived and not escaped from by nicotine providing a sudden burst of dopamine. On the other end, home is also a place where the joyous moments in life are not being constantly interrupted by the anxieties associated with badly needing another fix.
This place isn't about quitting you but recovering you! Each and every crave episode that's moved beyond is a true sign restoring the real you. Each and every smoking related thought is a golden opportunity to cast it in honest light and set the record straight. There is no such thing as one (addiction denial), smoking nicotine is self-destructive (cost denial), and you are no different than us and you can again be comfortable as you (recovery deinal).
For most of us this is the most amazing journey in healing that we've ever embarked upon. These are speical days, a time to proud of you. Forget about tomorrow, the next few minutes are all that really matter and there's only one rule - no nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff! John
"For everyone recovering, thoughts of smoking will simply become a form of relief and nothing scary or bothersome. It is sort of like remembering something we did in our youth that wasn't too smart, we shook our heads and wondered what in the world we were thinking.When it comes to making vital decisions in life, it is amazing what a bit of growth and understanding will do for any situation."
|From: John (Gold)||Sent: 7/30/2002 10:10 PM|
| If someone had come up to me during day three of any of my prior quits and told me that if I just hung in there - one day at a time - that it wouldn't be toooo long before I'd begin experiencing a deeper sense of inner calmness than I'd ever know while smoking, I would have thought them I liar! If they'd told me that it was far far easier being an recovered nicotine addict than making sure I was fully prepared for my next required nicotine feeding, I would have thought them a liar! |
If they'd told me that I'd still be the exact same person, that I keep my edge (or maybe better) and that all I'd be giving up was my chemical dependency, I would have thought them a liar. If they'd told me that it really wasn't too late to stop the damage and in many cases reverse it, and that unless the damage was permanent that within just 90 days I should expect an almost one-third increase in overall lung function, I would have thought them a liar.
All I can say now is that the lies were the bars that kept me a prisoner inside my own mind. It isn't necessary that you believe any of us but I do think you've earned the right to see for yourself what it's really like being free! As Papa Jim used to say, if you give it 90 days and you're not totally satisfied with the new you, we'll gladly give you a 100% refund of your misery! Thanks for the comfort thread Jo! John : )
|From: Jeanne-Gold||Sent: 11/10/2004 1:54 PM|
| I'll be happy to tell you when my deep sense of inner quiet and calmness was achieved, but first you have to ask yourself why you want to know. |
Do you want to poll everyone and find out the exact minute that relief was achieved so that you can measure your own quit against other people's numbers? Maybe, just maybe, you'll discover that everyone at Freedom reached complete and total comfort long before we were at the point you are at now. Wouldn't that be wonderful? That would prove that we were wrong about you. You truly ARE different. You truly NEVER will be comfortable. You must not have the ability to quit forever like we do. If that's the case, then you might as well give up and go back to smoking as soon as possible. In case you don't recognize it, that is just a bunch of junkie thinking. Anything you tell yourself to make relapsing sound appealing is junk!
When you reach your comfort zone is an entirely individual thing, like when you were able to walk and talk, like when you reached puberty. Can you imagine asking other people to estimate when you would reach puberty. You would get a wide range of answers indeed, and you would not be any closer to knowing when you would get there.
Try not to look at reaching your comfort zone as a sprint with a finish line that you can see. It is more akin to watching a flower grow. As soon as you stop watching for the result and get busy doing something else, you turn around and realize that it sure has grown a lot. This is something you won't see before you get there. Only looking backwards will you notice how far you've come.
I'm sorry that I cannot tell you when your comfort zone will be reached, but I can very accuately predict how you will feel the day that you relapse because you let yourself think you'd never be completely and totally comfortable. You will feel like a miserable failure and then you'll be back to experiencing the nicotine slavery once again, just like you remember from your old smoking days. You'll be regretting giving up the "edgy and drifty" for the hopelessness that accompanies slow motion suicide. You're way too educated to ever enjoy smoking again, so if you relapse, you'll hate yourself on a daily basis for knowing you had the game won, but you forfeited it all.
Here's a thought that I remember entertaining back in my "edgy and drifty" days: What if I concede that I'm truly different, that I cannot stop forever because I'm not reaching comfort like everyone else. What if I go back to smoking today, and tomorrow was going to be the day that comfort arrived?
2 years, 4 weeks and totally in love with my quit!
I promised I would tell you when my comfort arrived, so I'll kick up the Success Stories thread. Look through it and find my story. Read my old posts. It's all there in black and white, and green, and bronze, and silver, and gold.
Maybe I am different? Maybe I can take a cigarette and not get hooked? Maybe the cigarette will make me so sick I will never want to take a cigarette again? Maybe I was never addicted anyway? Maybe I will just smoke for a little while and quit again when things are better? Maybe, maybe, maybe . . .?
Do you ever find that you are asking yourself these questions? If so, and the suspense of the answer is just killing you, I thought I would suggest two ways of finally putting these unresolved questions to rest. First, take a cigarette. This is a really effective way of realizing the potential for relapse by reinforcement of the nicotine addiction. And the cost for this valuable lesson is simply returning to the deadly, expensive, socially unacceptable habit and addiction to cigarettes. You can then either smoke until it cripples and kills you, or "just" quit again. Remember the last time? Smoke or quit, fun choice isn't it?
Of course there is another way of answering those perplexing questions of "maybe". Find a smoker who once quit smoking for a substantial period of time, say one year or longer, and then relapsed. Ask him how he liked not smoking. Ask him how he now likes smoking. Then ask the most important question, how did he return to smoking?
Let me venture a guess as to the answers to these three questions. "Not smoking was great. I hardly thought of cigarettes any more. I felt healthier, happier, even calmer. Cigarettes smelled repulsive. The thought of smoking at my old level was disgusting." To the second question, how do you now like smoking, the response will typically be, "I hate it, I smoke as much or even more than I did before. I feel more nervous, don't have as much energy, and generally feel like a fool when smoking in public. I sure wish I could quit again." The answer to the third and most important question of how did he return to smoking is almost always the same, "I took a cigarette."
It may have happened under stress, at a party, or at home alone with nothing special going on. Whatever the cause, the end result was the same--addiction to nicotine. Prior to taking the cigarette, he probably asked himself the same questions of "maybe". He found his answer. Your answer is the same. Learn from others' mistakes and not your own. Your smoking friend is stuck in the grips of a powerful and deadly addiction. Maybe he will get the chance and strength again to quit smoking, maybe he will smoke until it kills him.
You have successfully broken free of the nicotine addiction. While your smoking may have been a potential threat to your life in the past, now your risks are dropping down to that of a person who never smoked. As long as you stay off of cigarettes, you never will have to worry about the physical, psychological, social and economical risks of smoking again as long as you follow one simple practice...NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
|From: Joanne - Gold||Sent: 7/31/2002 1:16 AM|
| Hi T John, I was just processing some of Freedom's new applications (hey, where are all these new guys coming from?) and took one last look at the board before bed when I discovered your post, thanks for the input. I hear ya loud and clear with the uncertainty of it all. |
During my early days I remember really zeroing in on the ONE DAY AT A TIME concept. Just get through the moment and don't worry about the next one until it comes. It really is the key here. Joel tells us, for some, we are led to think it gets harder as more time goes by. What may be really going on here - those first few days every minute is a constant thought about quitting...no matter what we seem to do, we are reminded that we no longer are reaching for nicotine. Then, it really doesn't take long to get used to the fact that we no longer need a fix, our body is not in a constant roller coaster of withdrawal. As we gain this comfort and a situation does occur, a trigger to smoke, it about startles us since every moment is no longer focused on smoking. Boy, did I just confuse you or what. lol I'll attach Joel's article* he explains this much better than I can.
We can tell you in thousands of posts that things get better but you will see for yourself, soon enough, everything falls into place. As I said in my post, I thought myself to be different and didn't truly believe things would be back to normal. Normal? Heck, some of us had been smoking for so long we had no recollection as to what it felt like not to be controlled by a drug.
Hold on tight T John, focus on your reasons for quitting, look upon each day as a true victory for not taking that first one. As our other John says...it's doable!
Anyway, it is getting late here but I wanted you to know that we are listening and understanding your present concerns. Great work, and congratulations for taking your life back! What a wonderful gift you have given to yourself, hold it close.
A big thanks to everyone else who responded, I appreciate your support and valued input.
Never take another puff...
Your friend - Joanne
Thoughts that seem worse than the first days urges
You said it would get better but it's just as bad!
Why am I still having "urges?"
Emotional loss experienced when quitting