I Want "Something"

Retraining the conscious mind
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:15

04 Jun 2006, 22:50 #61

Thanks for bringing these posts up again. I hadn't read them before and they certainly hit the nail on the head for me. They express so articulately what I have been feeling in the last few days of a 14 day quit. A lightbulb when off when I read them. Each day I learn more and more at this site and because of this education I know this quit is different from others I have had. Brenda

Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 23:21

05 Jun 2006, 09:19 #62

I SOOO needed to see this tonight! I have been feeling this for the last several days and finally recognize it. Having also recovered from drug and alcohol abuse, I've been here before but it's been many years since those first days of getting straight and I've forgotten how that felt.

I have been quit for 1 Week, 6 Days, 4 hours, 19 minutes and 51 seconds (13 days). I have saved $69.19 by not smoking 395 cigarettes. I have saved 1 Day, 8 hours and 55 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 5/22/2006 4:00 PM

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Jun 2006, 05:40 #63

I agree. This weekend I had that 'I want something' feel and after some analysis, realized it was 'boredom'. I wasn't fighting the craving. I wasn't hungry. I was bored. I came to the realization that quitting doesn't solve all our problems and it probably masked many of our problems and now it's time to face them without the 'smoke screen' (pardon the pun).

I think perhaps it's time to think outside the box - the box of a smoker - and realize that the world has opened up almost 80% more than it was before we quit. There are now that many more people we can become intimate and friendly with because we don't smoke. There are that many more places we can go to because we don't smoke. And we can do things that take more than an hour because we don't need to think about getting a fix all the time. I think I'm just starting to peek out from my bunker - after 17 days of quitting - and finally realizing that I'm never going back - that I have changed now. That I am a non smoker.

I think that there are a zillion things that we will need to re-cover which were taken by nicotine but it is a journey of discovery - an adventure - and a blessing.

One day at a time, and never take another puff - that's the way to go.

Day 17 of freedom after 42 years of addiction.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

03 Aug 2006, 03:39 #64

I have not seen this post before but it describes my feelings exactly. I want something. But what?

14 days free

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:29

21 Mar 2007, 22:18 #65

Wow am I glad I found this string. I have only been nicotine free for 21 days, 4 hours now but, I have been really feeling all out of sorts, or needing something for about a week now.
For the last 34 or so years I have had cig.'s to fill my time, they were always there for me. When I was bored, lonely, sad, happy, needing a break, whatever I was, they were with me. My life totally revolved around being able to smoke. So there were many things that I never did because I may not be able to smoke at my regulated time! Now that I am smoke free, I feel as tho there is something missing in my life. I don't feel the need to smoke, I just have a somewhat empty feeling.

This statement from Dave really helped. I think that I'm one of those people that need to make that concerted effort to find new interests.
'I think for many of us, this may be the biggest challenge of our quits, how to fill the void left by smoking. Obviously it can be done, look at John, Joanne, Marty, Grumps, et al, they did it. For some it may be an unconsious process where they naturally gravitate to new and different interests to fill the time. For others , we may have to make a concerted effort to re-mold our lives into something different. Maybe all we need is a hobby!!'

I have been reading thru this whole string I would strongly suggest it to anyone that is feeling kind of lost.
A girl I work with has tried quitting many times over the last few years. She always says that the first couple of weeks are easy, it is the 3rd and 4th that always kill her. She usually starts back smoking after about a month because she is so miserable. I sent her a link to this string. I wonder if what she has always been feeling is the 'I need something' and assumed it was a smoke that she needed? She says that she wants to give it another shot. I hope that she will take my advice and do some 'Lurking' in here before she tries again. I think that by eduacating myself prior to quitting made all the difference in the world for me. I was amazed how much easier it was this time. I know that I haven't been smoke free for months or years, I'm not even Green yet but I still love the new me. I'm so proud of myself for doing this.

I'm still taking it one day at a time and will Never Take Another Puff!

Free and Healing for Twenty One Days, 4 Hours and 14 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 1 Day and 6 Hours,
1 more day for my Grandkids!!!! (when I get them)

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

27 Mar 2008, 23:46 #66

Wow, that is exactly what I've been experiencing. Great read!

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:11

20 Apr 2008, 11:06 #67

I'm glad I found this string of posts. This afternoon and tonight I have felt like I am missing something and it would be great to have a smoke right now, and I get my mind off it and then a little later its the same thought. Just really glad I found all these posts, there so good and helpful.
Days quit, 33.


Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 23:21

20 Apr 2008, 19:46 #68

I am so glad to see this bumped up. I have also been having the "I want somethings" off and on for several days. The weather is starting to get nice here so maybe some sunshine will do the trick.

It also helps to see that others are having these thoughts around the same point in their quits and I am not alone or crazy :)


I have been quit for 3 Weeks, 6 Days, 1 hour, 41 minutes and 13 seconds (27 days). I have saved $85.26 by not smoking 406 cigarettes. I have saved 1 Day, 9 hours and 50 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 3/24/2008 6:05 AM

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

21 Apr 2008, 06:07 #69


This string speaks to me a lot. As a young child I apparently went around saying "I want something" while seeming to fret and wring my hands. (Sounds pathetic I know). Well, as it turns out, my mother smoked throughout all of her pregnancies. I happened to be born late, well into the 10 month. Imagine how much noctine I ingested before birth! I was born "wanting something". Imagine how many of us smokers are probably born addicts due to our mothers' smoking habit. (I was born in the 60s; it was still hip for mothers' to smoke while you were expecting a child). When I found cigarettes it was like "ahhh.. I think I've found what I was looking for". It makes me really mad to think that my whole life, since birth, I have been a nicotine addict. I have often wondered how many quitters out there are also dealing with a life-long want for something....


Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

10 Jun 2008, 10:05 #70

Some early 'navel gazing' by Dave.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

11 Jun 2008, 05:12 #71

thanks for bringing this thread to the top. I am nearly 6 weeks into my final quit and I can't say its been difficult, its been illuminating and satisfying and has made me feel proud.... but all day today I've had the most annoying 'I need something' time that has lasted all day and all evening. Grrrr... I'm so mad!
Anyway the positive side is that although I felt strongly that I needed a cigarette/nicotine I knew I didn't want to smoke because..its horrible..it wouldn't solve anything etc etc so I didn't and that makes me proud. I think the worst of today is over now and tomorrow is another day.
I am proud to announce that I have been totally nicotine free for 1 Month, 1 Week, 1 Day and 11 minutes (39 days). I have saved £187.23 by not smoking 780 cigarettes. I have saved 2 Days and 17 hours of my life. My Quit Date: 02/05/2008 22:00

Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 23:21

11 Jun 2008, 07:04 #72

I'm also really glad this thread has been brought forward... I'm a week quit (today!), and I've had two types of cravings- the conscious, "I want one" type, and they unconscious "I need something!" kind. This thread is definitely helpful.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 Jun 2008, 02:12 #73

This describes exactly what I have been going through.
I want "something"
Two things offer me satisfaction so far
a) This website satisfies my need for the elusive"something"
that I need.
b) a long walk gets rid of the feeling for a while.
But they are not the same. The effects are not the same.
This website satisfies.
The walk does not satisfy the need - only removes it for a while.

Anyway, Thanks Dave for this beautiful insight
And thank you JoeJ for bringing this post to the top

I have been quit for 3W 2D 6h 11m (23 days). I have saved $122.09 by not smoking 325 cigarettes. I have saved 1D 3h 5m of my life. My Quit Date: 5/23/2008 8:01 AM

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 Jun 2008, 21:55 #74

I am sometimes conscious enough to recognize how similarly cravings of all kinds show up. There's a sensation of some undefinable thing missing. Maybe it's food; maybe it's something advertised on TV. In the past I would just light up a cigarette and for 20-30 minutes that hole would be filled.

Unfortunately the product ultimately doesn't live up to it's promise and we addicts often discover too late how our desires and fulfillments have been perverted as our lung function disappears.

Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 23:21

10 Jul 2008, 02:29 #75

That "wanting something" feeling really hits home with me. I've had that feeling several times since I quit. I didn't really connect it with being a craving. It was more of a disquieting feeling like the feeling you get when you know you've forgotten to do something and can't remember what it is. Good post Dave.

I quit smoking 2 Weeks, 2 Days, 22 hours, 28 minutes and 51 seconds (16 days) ago.
I have saved $80.44 by not smoking 338 cigarettes.
I have saved 1 Day, 15 hours and 26 minutes of my life.
My Quit Date: 6/22/2008 3:00 PM

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

02 Jan 2009, 22:23 #76

Recognizing needs

Appendix to "Recognizing Needs"
Last edited by johnnynonic on 15 Nov 2009, 14:36, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Oct 2009, 08:31

15 Nov 2009, 08:44 #77

SweetLorraine (Gold) wrote:
One of the things that I liked about smoking was the instant reward (sick reward - but none the less) instant gratification of desire. Long after falling nicotine levels were over with memories of the "aaah" feeling would surface (triggers).

Everyone's quit is different my choices wouldn't necessarily work for anyone else. I will say that not smoking is a lot more effort in the beginning, part of that work is figuring out what you are feeling, what you want and what you need/want to do about it.

Now rather than smoking when I'm tired I rest, when I'm upset I take deep slow breaths and try to put things in perspective, if I'm angry I may yell or scrub something or go for a walk, when I'm hungry I eat. When I want a little reward for work well done I might read a chapter in a good book or play a game. Everything I ever did as a smoker I now do and do better. But all of these responses had to be learned because each of those situations used to be automatic signals to smoke.

Maybe this is way more than you had in mind. For me smoking had invaded every aspect of my life and once exorcised life is simpler and much more real.

Yesterday I spent the day with the family at large which involved all the stresses of negotiating family politics.
I never actually craved a cigarette when I was there but went I got home, something was missing. It wasn't a desire for a cigarette - just something to end the family day once I got home.
I didn't find that something, I came here instead.
However, I only found this thread today, explaining this feeling of wanting something. When I used to come home after family events, I'd sit on the balcony and of course have a few cigarettes to "help" make the adjustment of being back in the sanity & quiet of my home.
So this was the" something" I felt yesterday - it meant learning new ways of being, new ways of settling back home after a hectic day with the family..
While I have quoted Lorraines post, this whole thread helped in understaning this "wanting Something" issue.
Free & Healing
Stopped Smoking for One Month, Five Days, 16 Hours and 42 Minutes, by avoiding the use of 1211 nicotine delivery devices. Quit Day : 09/10/2009.

Joined: 08 Dec 2009, 12:01

13 Dec 2009, 21:23 #78

Hi all!
I am new to this site.....been nicotine free for 13 days. This thread explains exactly how I feel constantly....like I just want "something" and don't know exactly what so I find myself eating non-stop to try and find the "something" I am wanting!!! Eating, onbviously is not the "something" my body wants or I would feel satisfied at some point! It was so great to realize that many others are going through this same feeling and I am not losing it. Thanks!

Joined: 13 Feb 2010, 12:15

17 Feb 2010, 22:44 #79

Sarah52 directed me here  -- a post I had not yet seen (and I've read hundreds, maybe more).  And, this was IT -- this was the feeling I've been experiencing the past few days -- the one that was starting to gnaw at my brain and really test my resolve and I didn't understand why.  I know that if I hadn't done all the reading here that I have, I would have succumbed to the I-want-something -- and would just have assumed that of course it was nicotine that I wanted.  

But that would have been a lie, because I actually haven't missed the nicotine (well, at least after the first several awful days of physical withdrawal).  But, there has been a void -- literally --  a sort of hollow feeling inside, right below my lungs, above my diaphragm and in the center of my being.  Nothing has helped it -- not deep, deep breathing; not walking on the beach; not going to the dog park and pretending to like all the owners of poorly trained dogs whose owner; not candle-lit hot baths with a 2005 French bordeaux;  not my third pound of baby carrot sticks; not even the bag of caramel rice cakes that I inhaled earlier today.  That bloody void still exists although I am more exercised, cleaner, more polite, and so-bloody-full.

But, further in the original I-want-something post, Melissa wrote this: "Maybe once we get past the initial high drama of quitting smoking - the physical sensations, the most pressing psychological triggers, etc. - we rediscover a little bit of us that's waited stuck all those years for a chance to say, "Hey, I want ... something." And now, rather than it being about smoking, we get a chance to realize it's really about growing up, learning to know and name and act responsibly upon our desires."

Light bulb.  Glaring illumination.  Scary thought -- but one that makes so much sense that I can now ruminate on that rather than the void.  

So, thanks Sarah52 for showing me the way -- and thanks Dave and Melissa for helping me make sense of the seemingly senseless.

Now at the grand total of 9 days, 20 hours, 51 minutes, 48 seconds -- which means I have foregone 385 nicotine sticks and saved me $154 which is now being saved to go to Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis.

Joined: 11 Feb 2010, 18:39

18 Feb 2010, 15:59 #80

 Thanks, Kiwi, for thanking Dave for addressing this idea.  My big stumbling block in finding "Something" is..that my "Something" has been "Smoking", the "Onlything" for years and years.  Now, before everyone starts "boo-ing", let me say, I knew this going in to NTAP.  Having smoked since I was 12 yrs old, being single for the last 24 years, going through 'thick & thin' ALL BY MYSELF (snif..snif)....guess who was always there?  Yup,  Mr. Cigarette.  While contemplating just what a BIG Something I was going to need, I came up with this analogy:  I had been with Mr. Cigarette for so long that it was like we were married.  So, I'm the battered wife...yeah?  I mean, this (guy) is killing me, literally, and I can't leave him???   Yeah/No!  After trying to quit every few months, I decided I was 'never going to quit trying to quit', using each failure as knowledge and tools for the next quit.  I felt that what I really needed and wanted was some kind of interaction, "buddy system", or something.  I mean, there is meetings for AA and NA, I just couldn't believe that in my community, with 2 hospitals, didn't have any kind of Quit organizations. Then I ran across WhyQuit. It's my kind of quit style, cold turkey!  So, I "girded up my loins" and here I am at
 1 Week, 3 Days, 8 hours, 50 minutes and 46 seconds (10 days). I have saved $108.86 by not smoking 311 cigarettes. I have saved 1 Day, 1 hour and 55 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 2/7/2010 11:13 PM
  This is where I need some help...I got through the first 72 hours (finally!) and now I have all of these emotions: angry, disappointed, sadness, etc, etc. Can anyone guide me to info on that?  My attitude is this:  It may not get easier, but it sure gets better.  I want to really believe that all of the time!

Joined: 11 Nov 2008, 19:22

17 Apr 2010, 00:58 #82

New studies are beginning to shed light on the wanting Dave discussed here many years ago and the wanting nearly all of us felt during recovery.  In fact, the newest studies suggest that drug addiction's very foundation is a disease and illness rooted in want.   Now for some interesting study spin,  imagine the brain badly wanting something that you don't really like.  Is that possible?  Apparently!

While a few of us took to smoking like fish to water, for most, our bodies rebelled again those first cigarettes, at least until scores of toxins numbed mouth, throat and lung tissues to the point that they no longer felt the assaults and ended their rebellion.  But at least three critical events we're happening during those first few smokes.  While the body was growing numb to the toxins, there was not yet any want for nicotine.  It wasn't until nicotine's continued use nicotine saturated dopamine pathway receptors, temporarily desensitizing them, and somehow causing the brain to grow/activate additional receptors (a process known as up-regulation).   Somewhere in this process want was born.

I remember my first moment of "want" like it was yesterday.  I'd smoked five cigarettes over a three day period and was then alone in my room without a 15 year-old girl to try and impress (my excuse for smoking) when my brain commanded me to find and smoke another.   My first cue was likely related to nicotine's 2 hour half-life as I'd never smoked in my room or any building before.  But there I was, suddenly wanting something that I didn't think I liked.   She smoked and I just wanted her to like me.

The following study abstract is followed by a link to a full text copy.  It's about how they conditioned rats to seek and taste something that  they didn't like, a taste of salt that was three times saltier than sea water.  My point is this.   Recovery is a temporary journey of readjustment where we each move beyond thousands of the most powerful wanting memories the mind appears capable of generating, those created in responding to cues flowing from brain dopamine pathways.  It appears that the greater our sense of nicotine deprivation when smoking the more enduring the resulting memory.

The beauty of coming home is that natural, normal and healthy wanting gradually buries and hides the lie we once lived, that that next nicotine was as important as eating.  Without food and water we die.  Without nicotine we thrive!  It just takes a bit of patience to allow ourselves to arrive here on Easy Street, where entire days without wanting gradually become our new sense of normal.  Or should I say, again become our old or pre-nicotine sense of normal.   There was always only one rule to having years of addiction chatter at last come to an end ... no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day a time!  Be proud of yourself.   Yes you can!!!!!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,

John (Gold x10)

  Dynamic computation of incentive salience:
"wanting" what was never "liked"
Journal:  The Journal of Neuroscience, September 30, 2009, Volume 29(39): Pages 12220-12228.

Authors:   Tindell AJ, Smith KS, Berridge KC, Aldridge JW.

Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1043, USA.

Abstract Pavlovian cues for rewards become endowed with incentive salience, guiding "wanting" to their learned reward. Usually, cues are "wanted" only if their rewards have ever been "liked," but here we show that mesocorticolimbic systems can recompute "wanting" de novo by integrating novel physiological signals with a cue's preexisting associations to an outcome that lacked hedonic value. That is, a cue's incentive salience can be recomputed adaptively. We demonstrate that this recomputation is encoded in neural signals coursing through the ventral pallidum.

Ventral pallidum neurons do not ordinarily fire vigorously to a cue that predicts the previously "disliked" taste of intense salt, although they do fire to a cue that predicts the taste of previously "liked" sucrose. Yet we show that neural firing rises dramatically to the salt cue immediately and selectively when that cue is encountered in a never-before-experienced state of physiological salt depletion. Crucially, robust neural firing to the salt cue occurred the first time it was encountered in the new depletion state (in cue-only extinction trials), even before its associated intense saltiness has ever been tasted as positively "liked" (salt taste had always been "disliked" before).

The amplification of incentive salience did not require additional learning about the cue or the newly positive salt taste. Thus dynamic recomputation of cue-triggered "wanting" signals can occur in real time at the moment of cue re-encounter by combining previously learned Pavlovian associations with novel physiological information about a current state of specific appetite.

PMID: 19793980 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Joined: 19 Dec 2011, 22:32

01 Jan 2012, 23:52 #83

I came across this thread today and man does it hit home for me. I have been looking for that "something" all day and never really found it. Found ice cream and popcorn only to discover they weren't "it".  I like the idea of a glass of ice water, go out on my deck, take several deep breaths of   fresh air and enjoy nature (except it's 20 degrees out with a 50mph wind today). I plan to do more of that just to maintain some AAHH moments pleasures and keep myself more on top of the crazy wanting somethings. Even just knowing that many experience the wanting something but not knowing what it is helps. I look forward to growing and continueing to learn how to regain my life without cigarettes.