I smoke because I am self-destructive

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Aug 2003, 01:52 #21

I saw where one member was talking about how subliminal ads for tobacco are trying to play on the idea that smokers smoke because they are self-destructive. I thought this article addresses the concept well. Again, in the thousands of people I have dealt with in live programs I still have never had one call me after being diagnosed with a terminal cancer to express their joy and happiness at the prospects of dying now. When they do call it is to find out when the next clinic is with the hope that it may not be too late now. Sadly, waiting to be diagnosed with a terminal condition as a wake up call is a mistake that costs many smoker's their lives. Another article addressing this tactic is Waiting to bottom out.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Dec 2003, 14:13 #22

Joel's Reinforcement Library

What A Relief, I Think I Have Cancer!

"Last night I was getting a burning sensation in my lungs. I actually thought I had lung cancer. I wasn't scared, surprised, or even upset. I was actually happy. I can't remember ever looking so forward to being diagnosed of having a terminal illness." This unusual statement was made to me by a clinic participant on her fourth day without smoking. While it sounds like the ravings of a severely depressed or mentally ill individual, in fact she was nothing of the sort. To the contrary, she was smiling and laughing when she said it.

What was the humor she saw in the statement? As soon as she said it to herself the night before, she realized the pain she was experiencing was the same complaints she heard three other people describe earlier that day at her clinic. It was a normal part of the healing process from quitting smoking. She also recognized the fact that she was not looking forward to a debilitating illness and a early demise. She was looking forward to taking a cigarette. When the pain started she rationalized that as long as she had lung cancer already, she might as well smoke. Then she realized she was looking forward to cancer. At that point she recognized just how morbid her thought processes had become. Not because she was quitting smoking, but because she was an addict was she capable of thinking in such depraved terms. Upon recognizing the absurdity of the situation, she laughed off the urge and went to bed.

It is important to remember just how irrational your thoughts were when you too were a smoker. As a smoker you were constantly warned of the dangers through the media, physicians, family, friends who quit, and most importantly, your own body. Not a week goes by when you were not being bombarded by the constant annoying message that smoking was impairing and killing you. But being the obedient addict you were, you disregarded these pestering outside influences to obey your true master--your cigarette. As Vic, the participant in my first clinic once stated, "Everywhere I turned I was being warned about cigarettes. Newspapers reports and magazines articles constantly reinforced that cigarettes were deadly. Even bill boards advertising cigarettes carried the Surgeon General's warning signal. Every time I'd reach for my pack, a warning label stared me in the face. It was only a matter of time before I reached the only logical conclusion. I quit reading!"

The control cigarettes exert on you when you are in the grip of the addiction is complete. It makes you say and do things that when observed by outside observers makes you look weak, stupid or crazed. At the same time it robs you of your money, health and eventually life. Once free of cigarettes you can recognize all these symptoms of your past addiction. To avoid ever living such a miserable existence - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 Aug 2006, 20:03 #23

While some people may feel like they are losing their minds while quitting, they in most cases are getting a little more sane and a lot more rational by taking control of their smoking. In a real sense the irrational thoughts and behaviors that dominated their lives can simply fade away and the real person can begin to fully come into being. It is awkward uncovering the new you, or more accurately, the old you with aging thrown in. Some people here have never been adults as a non-smoker, smoking was just part of who you were as an adult, part of the persona you projected to others as well as believed yourself.

But in all probability, you will come out the other side more stable on many levels. Not only will you regain your physical health and minimize risks of major catastrophic diseases down the road, but you can really boost your mental health and self esteem. The payoff for quitting smoking is immeasurable. It is longer health, life, self-esteem, both respect of others and your own self-respect, and a realization of your ability to change when change is needed, no matter how ingrained a behavior or even an addiction has been.

You are now a more together person than you have been for years, even in those moments where you feel like you are losing your mind, you are still more in control than when chain smoking to deal with feelings. Don't lose sight of this. Awkward moments will pass and overall life will be more manageable, more under your control than the control of a uncaring drug that was destroying you with every drag you ever took. To keep that control, always remember to never take another puff!


Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 May 2007, 03:26 #24

For people looking for rational reasons to relapse. There are lots of excuses you can come up to relapse, but the bottom line is they are all foolish rationalizations. There are only two legitimate reasons to relapse. They are:

You want to go back to smoking until it cripples then kills you


You enjoy withdrawal so much you never want it to end. If this is the case just take one puff every third day, withdrawal will last forever.

Any other reason you take it is not legitimate, and thinking that it is will only undercut your ability to ever quit and stay off for over life other things will happen. If one tragedy is a good reason, so will the next one be. To have to explain this to each and every members specific past life tragedy would tie the board up. It would in fact become a diversion to what everyone is here for. To focus on not smoking today.

We must remember the past, and hopefully learn from it. But the lesson had better be the real understanding that a past relapse was a mistake, a big mistake, one that if not undone now in itself will be a tragedy. If the lesson is anything else, that relapse was the biggest mistake you ever made in your life, one that in fact one day will cost you your life. Don't get caught up in the mind games of a legitimate relapse. Instead, learn from the past and prepare yourself to face the future, no matter what it holds with your full commitment and resolve to never take another puff!


Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:35

13 Jun 2007, 09:32 #25

For Me, I know I smoked because I was self-destructive.

Only I realized it -after- I quit smoking. I realized alot about why I smoked. Most people focus on why they quit, I really took a look at why I smoked.

I was a Crystal Meth addict when I was 22. (happy to say Im clean for over 4 years now). I remember why I started, it was because I wanted to escape a life I hated. I wanted to hurt myself, and go out in a blaze of drug addicted glory. I had a moment of clairity Christmas Day 2002 when I was putting that dollar bill to my nose. I realized that I had really overdone it, and seriously hurt myself this time. I spent a week detoxing in my apartment, with an uncaring methhead roommate.

Mind you... I was one of those casual smokers back then. The "lucky ones" who could go out on a weekend and have a few. I did it for years. Sometimes Id go months without smoking and no problems.. But somehow 3 months after I quit being a Meth Addict.. I realized that now I was a pack a day smoker!

How'd that happen? I didnt care.. I felt like my cigarettes were my sanity to get me through the meth addiction.

So here I am almost 5 years later. Ive done lots of work on myself. I love myself, I want to do good things. I dont want to hurt myself... but... for some reason.... I was smoking until 3 weeks ago. It hit me like a ton of bricks that here I was still hurting myself after all these years. I didnt need these cigarettes. I didnt want to hurt myself...So I put them out forever.

I can tell you, I smoked because I was self-destructive. When I put the cigarettes down forever, I put down a part of me that I was afraid to look at. Im almost embarsed to say that I hated part of myself enough to do meth and smoke cigarettes.. I was trying to escape a life I didnt like.. but I love my life now! Im much happier, and Ive worked really hard to make it that way.. Those cigarettes had to go!

Maybe this isnt the case for everyone... but in this day and age. If you take up smoking when you are 22, chances are you are a bit self-destructive.

Quickly approching my 28th birthday (Aug 9th).. glad im going to be smoke-free for that.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Jun 2007, 14:47 #26

"But somehow 3 months after I quit being a Meth Addict.. I realized that now I was a pack a day smoker!

How'd that happen? I didnt care.. I felt like my cigarettes were my sanity to get me through the meth addiction"
The reaction experienced here of sudden out of control use of cigarettes after getting off another drug is the rule not the exception. Many if not most people in recovery from other addictions increase their level of smoking and in fact, I have encountered plenty of people over the years who first took up smoking when in drug treatment programs for other dependencies. Here is a comment from the string Alcohol - can people quit smoking and still drink alcohol? that discusses why this often happens, as well as a couple of video links that discuss this issue:

Many if not most alcohol recovery programs will inadvertently or very purposely push a new ex-smoker entering the program to smoke. Over the years I have in fact had actively drinking alcoholics in smoking clinics--people who made it abundantly clear that they knew they had drinking problems and smoking problems but wanted to treat the smoking first.

I really do try to get them into alcohol treatment concurrently but cannot force them to do it. On more than one occasion I have seen the person successfully quit smoking, stay off for months and sometime longer, and finally get into AA, only to be assigned a smoking sponsor who tells the person that he or she can't "get off smoking and drinking at once," and who actually encourages the person to smoke again.

Note the sequence here--the ex-smoker has been off of nicotine for an extended time period but the smoking sponsor says that the person can't quit both at once. It is unfortunate that most alcohol and drug treatment programs just don't recognize smoking as another drug addiction.

You will not often see an AA sponsor say that you can't give up drinking and heroin at once, so if you have been off heroin for six months and now want to quit drinking, you should probably take heroin for a while until you get alcohol out of your system.

The bottom line is that there are other things that ex-smokers may need to address but not in order to sustain their quits, but to sustain their health or control other problems. To successfully overcome smoking and arrest a dependency upon nicotine requires only that a smoker make and stick to a personal commitment to Never Take Another Puff.

Related videos:
People in recovery from other addictions Dial up
Date added
"What bad habit should I replace it with?" 1.86mb 18.4mb 0.75mb 05:04 10/02/06

Repaired broken link
Last edited by Joel on 17 Oct 2009, 03:16, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Jun 2007, 14:57 #27

I found the following comment in the string Crutches to Quit Smoking that also addresses this issue of people taking up smoking when in recovery from other substances:
From: Joel. Sent: 3/16/2002 6:05 PM
As in the post above, comments are coming to me via email that many of our posts have a heavy drinking influence about them. It appears that some people may get the impression that drinking is condoned as an alternative behavior to smoking. It used to be where you would go to AA meetings and it would appear that everyone was smoking. I personally encountered numerous people who went into alcohol treatment programs as never smokers and who came out of treatment heavy addicted smokers. It was obvious that their encouraged behavior was a direct crutch replacement. We don't want anyone to get the same impression about drinking as a replacement to smoking. I want this statement to be perfectly clear...DO NOT INCREASE DRINKING OF ALCOHOL IN ANY WAY, SHAPE OR FORM NOW THAT YOU HAVE QUIT SMOKING.


Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 Jan 2008, 22:56 #28

I saw where a member wrote that they smoked because they were choosing to commit slow motion suicide. Made me think of this one.