I Want "Something"

Retraining the conscious mind
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.