I smoke because I am self-destructive

I smoke because I am self-destructive

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

01 Oct 2000, 19:43 #1


Joel's Reinforcement Library

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I Smoke Because I'm Self-Destructive!




Many Smokers believe they continue to smoke because of their self-destructive attitude. They actually want to get sick. Some say they are afraid of reaching old age. Others arrogantly vow to continue smoking until it kills them.

While some people do have emotional problems which lead to self-destructive behavior, I believe the majority of smokers with this attitude are not in this category. Most make these statements to hide their fears of not being able to give up cigarette smoking.

Over the past years, I have had many people ravaged by smoking related illnesses come into smoking clinics. They often explain that they had made such excuses yet were shocked when they actually did become ill. Clinic participants who fail occasionally state that they just didn't care enough about themselves to give up cigarettes. Unfortunately, some were later diagnosed of having cancer. Others have had heart attacks, strokes or other circulatory conditions. Many were discovered to have major breathing impairments from emphysema. None of them ever called me enthusiastically proclaiming, "It worked, it's killing me!" On the contrary, they were normally upset, scared and depressed. Not only did they have a potentially deadly condition, but they knew that, to a major degree, they were responsible for its occurrence.

An equally tragic situation is experienced by the survivors of people who die of smoking related illnesses. Many ex-smokers go back to smoking through the encouragement of family and friends. This usually happens to someone who is disease free and quits to stay healthy. Initially they are nervous and crabby (remember those days?). Soon the spouse, kids and others are saying, "If this is what you are like as a nonsmoker, for heaven's sake, smoke!" While it may seem to be a good idea at the time, consider how the relative feels when the smoker gets cancer or has a heart attack and dies. The guilt is tremendous.

Some beliefs or statements made by smokers sound irrational, as if they have a real death wish. Often, there is really nothing wrong with the person - it is a drug effect. Fear of withdrawal or of being unable to cope with life without cigarettes results in a defense mechanism to justify dependency. Once off smoking these excuses simply disappear, leaving a physically and psychologically healthier individuals who will have a good chance of remaining this way by following one simple procedure - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!


Joel


© Joel Spitzer 1982, 2000
Page last updated by Joel Spitzer on August 24, 2003
Replaced missing graphic and original article text from Joel's Library at www.WhyQuit.com -JJ
Last edited by Joel on 17 Oct 2009, 03:06, edited 1 time in total.
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Christiana
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:13

02 Oct 2000, 01:32 #2

Hello, This article sums up my many years of not quitting smoking. My fear of not being able to quit was strongly Believed by me. I could not quit smoking. I had 14y of failure to convience me. Since 1986, i had tried. I doubt there were many days within that time, i didn't think i have to stop, i need to quit. For 14y, i failed and each failure convienced me more i couldn't do it. I do not exgerate when i say it was a torment. Knowing i was hurting myself, what else could i think cept i,m **** bent on killing myself. Yet something, one small thing, what ever it was, keep me searching, and not giving up. After reading the article, i realize the one small thing, was myself. No i didn't want to die. As the article says , no one reports happily hey, it worked it's killing me.

A few years ago, i read a book on addiction where it gave addiction a separate identity, as if it took on a life of it own. I remember having some of my greatest success using the philosophy of the book. I think it scared me. After reading more from this site, i am becoming convienced addiction lives through us, using us almost as a host would, with no regard for us or our lives. I think we have found one of the biggest lie of addiction out, and that is, no we do not want to do things that harm us,

This article, also seems to separate one's continued use, as not being a death wish, but a true and realize fear of believing one can't quit which is again not the same thing as a death wish. Learning is everything for someone like me, and i am grateful there are people who are figuring this stuff out. Christiana,
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

02 Oct 2000, 01:57 #3

Hello Christiana:

The more you learn and the more you understand, the more likely your desire to stay smoke free will be and the more obvious the way to do it will be to never take another puff!

Joel

Updated to add link to new video version of thread: "I smoke because I'm self-destructive"

Last edited by Joel on 01 Jul 2014, 18:01, edited 1 time in total.
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Christiana
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:13

26 Nov 2000, 22:34 #4

It's True, and now i got Two months, five days, 29 minutes and 55 seconds. 1980 cigarettes not smoked, saving $297.09. Life saved: 6 days, 21 hours, 0 minutes. To Prove it!!! i started to cry, with gratitude when i re read my own words. Thank you , Christiana
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 Feb 2001, 23:08 #5

Crista's post "A related thought or vent, not sure which" made me think of this one. It is amazing how people are horrified and "shocked" when getting a smoking induced disease diagnosis. Not that smoking is responsible for all diseases, but many of them, and in the case of this particular disease, lung cancer, a very high percentage. So many times in the person's past they likely dismissed the risk or rationalized that they just didn't care, but the fact is they did care but were just protecting their addiction. Lets not lose sight of the issue that everyone here is in a fight for their life. While not smoking has its moments, I don't think a single person here would want to trade places with the person in Christa's post. Your risks of smoking diseases will go time over time, but stay vigilant on check-ups and symptoms for many people do have long past histories of smoking.

Keep focused on the fact that you want to minimize your risk of starting a process that is irreversible. The best way to minimize the risk of all future smoking related diseases is to never take another puff!

Joel
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Cyndie
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:13

12 Feb 2001, 03:33 #6

Joel,

I sure saw myself in this one. I remember little conversations with myself protecting my addiction. I would tell myself that life wasn't all that great anyway so what the heck...if I die I won't care very much. The odd part is that I am mostly an upbeat kind of person (glass half full)...I was only saying these things to myself because I thought I was so far gone that I COULDN'T QUIT. COULD NOT beat my addiction.

Well, 2 w 21h 17m ..............Image I have been free. Not for 35 years have I felt this kind of FREEDOM.

Thanks for all the help
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

22 Mar 2001, 19:54 #7

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!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Apr 2001, 20:41 #8

Image I saw where one new member was recognizing that the act of smoking was suicidal. I thought this would add some insight to that idea.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Apr 2001, 20:44 #9

Joel's Reinforcement Library
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"It's only cigarette smoking - it's not
like a crime punishable by death"


"So I failed in quitting smoking, big deal. I'm not going to feel guilty or be hard on myself. I mean, it is only cigarette smoking--it is not like a crime punishable by death." I had to refrain from laughing at this statement. It was seriously quoted to me by a clinic participant who failed to abstain from smoking for even two days. She had the same old excuses of new job, family pressures, too many other changes going on.

But to say that cigarette smoking isn't a crime punishable by death--that was news to me. Last year, over 400,000 Americans were killed by cigarettes. While we know that these people were killed by smoking, it is hard to classify these deaths. Were they murders, suicides or accidents?

When examining the influence of the tobacco industry, one is tempted to call all tobacco related deaths murder. The tobacco industry uses manipulative advertising trying to make smoking appear harmless, sexy, sophisticated, and adult. These tactics help manipulate adults and kids into experimenting with this highly addictive substance. The tobacco industry knows that if they can just get people started, they can hook them on cigarettes and milk them for thousands of dollars over the smoker's lifetime.

The tobacco institute always contradicts the research of all credible medical institutions who have unanimously stated that cigarettes are lethal. The tobacco institute tries to make people believe that all these attacks on cigarettes are lies. If the medical profession were going to mislead the public about cigarettes, it would be by minimizing the dangers, not exaggerating them. The medical profession has a vested interest in people continuing to smoke. After all, the more people smoke, the more work there is in treating serious and deadly diseases. But the medical profession recognizes its professional and moral obligation to help people be healthier. On the other hand, the tobacco industry's only goal is to get people to smoke, no matter what the cost.

It could be argued that a smoking death is suicide. While the tobacco industry may dismiss the dangers, any smoker with even average intelligence knows that cigarettes are bad for health but continues to smoke anyway. But I do not believe in classifying most of the smoking deaths as suicidal. Although a smoker knows the risk and still doesn't stop, it is not that he is trying to kill himself. He smokes because he doesn't know how to stop.

A smoking related death is more accidental than suicidal. For while the smoker may die today, his death was in great part due to his first puffs twenty or more years ago. When he started smoking the dangers were unknown. Society made smoking acceptable, if not mandatory in certain groups. Not only did he not know the danger, but also he was unaware of the addictive nature of nicotine. So by the time the dangers were known, he was hooked into what he believed was a permanent way of life. Any smoker can quit, but unfortunately many don't know how.

Whatever the classification--murder, suicide or accident--the end result is the same. You still have a chance, you are alive, and you know how to quit. Take advantage of this knowledge. Don't become a smoking statistic - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!



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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Aug 2001, 20:13 #10

I saw where a member wrote today that one of the reason people lose their quit is that they just don't care anymore. I am not sure that is true in most cases where it is said. If person is planning on relapsing because they are saying to themselves they just don't care to live anymore, they had better get rid of any guns, knives, or poisons in their possession and should not allow themselves near any freeway or high places.

If you ever feel that you are taking a cigarette because you don't want to live--don't bother wasting your time looking for a cigarette, rather immediately call your doctor or mental health professional and tell them you are contemplating suicide. The odds are most of the people who use the kind of rationalization for contemplating a cigarette won't place that call because they will realize that it is not true in their current situation--that they are not in fact really feeling suicidal. They want a cigarette at the moment--they don't want to die at the moment. The ones who do feel it is true should in fact be placing the call. For if the person is truly feeling suicidal, a cigarette will not treat the condition and serious intervention is really needed.

The sentence above, "they want a cigarette at the moment--they don't want to die at the moment," really sums it up for most ex-smokers. At times they want a cigarette, but not at the cost of dying from smoking. That is the price an ex-smoker must actually pay for a cigarette though--relapsing to an addiction that will eventually cripple then kill them. If your choice is for health and life always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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