If you fall down just pick yourself up and dust yourself off

Joel
Joel

9:04 PM - Jan 12, 2002 #1




For some problems the advice really needs to be DON'T FALL DOWN! Problems like forgetting to put on your parachute or bungee cord, driving along icy cliff with your eyes closed, major lung, heart and brain surgery being done by your local mechanic, repairing your plugged in television while taking a bath, and of course, the most realistic and pertinent risk of all--not relapsing on nicotine. To avoid falling down simply entails knowing to never take another puff!



Joel


New video tying well into this string:


Last edited by Joel on 12:28 AM - Aug 10, 2012, edited 1 time in total.
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mirigirl (silver)
mirigirl (silver)

4:20 AM - Jan 13, 2002 #2

No more falling down for me Joel. Those days are over.

I finally accept that I'm a nicotine addict. That means that I have lost any "right" to have another puff. It's finally dawned on me that I can never take another puff -one day at a time. ie just for today I am willing not to have a cigarette (or any other form of nicotine)

I feel like such a slow learner, but today it really feels like it's shifted from admitting to accepting I'm a nicotine addict. That's a big difference for me.

For thirteen years of my sobriety I have thought that smoking was just a litle habit that helped me stay away from alcohol - the lesser of two evils! Even though vaguely in my mind somewhere I thought it had something to do with addiction - I never really thought it applied to me!

Now that I'm finally coming out of the fog of denial in relation to my nicotine addiction I feel like there are many parallels with my recovery from alcoholism:
** I could admit I was an alcoholic but it took me 7 months of not drinking and listening to a lot of other alcoholics and reading about alcoholism, to finally accept it.
** Looking back now I realise I didn't want to accept it because that would mean I couldn't drink! (if I accept I'm a nicotine addict -that means I can Never Take Another Puff)
** The way I never take another puff is one day a time!

I feel like I've been saying all these things - and now it's finally dawning on me that it's true!??!!! Sorry If I'm repeating myself - but I feel like the lights have been turned on and finally there's somebody home!!

Thank You Joel
for your persistence in speaking the truth
yqs mirigirl
another nicotine addict
1 week 5 days Free
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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

4:46 AM - Jan 13, 2002 #3

the following is a post I wrote about two and a half months into my quit. seeing the same people relapse over and over and just one after another and another, drove me up a wall. I knew how to relapse and wanted so hard to succeed. I knew deep down that I could offer no excuses for relapse nor could I take just one puff ever again. I read and read and read joel's material and all of a sudden, it just all came together for me. I just hope and pray that it wasn't too late.
From: GrumpyOMrsS (Gold) (Original Message) Sent: 3/16/2000 12:26 AM
This week I saw a few in the group run into trouble. It hurts me very much because I know how hard they tried to hang on to the quit. Perhaps that is the way I would have reacted to stress too, in years past. Heck, I did react by smoking. Just said, "what the heck", and continued smoking.

I also wondered over the years why people who have quit for any legnth of time, could want to return to smoking because I felt that anyone that could quit would automatically stay that way. I did not realize, until just this past month, what it was that made them return to a former habit that they worked so hard to break away from in the first place. Now I know.....it was that ONE PUFF. The other very stark and candid realization was that smokers are ADDICTS. An addict cannot handle just one sip or just one puff. An addict must always say NO.

Right now I feel that I'm on parole. When I was sixteen, I decided to take my first puff, and I did not have to hide then, all I had to do was ask Mom if I could have one of hers. " Sure", she said, because she did not want me sneaking behind her back. Thus my addiction began. Smoking helped me lose 30 pounds. The new me emerged. Went off to college and started smoking more. Heck, I even sold one of my textbooks (it was a nutrition one), to buy a carton of cigarettes. A carton cost $2.00 back then. Met my husband my first year at school, and he too, smoked a little. The rest is history......spent the next 41 year in prison, so to speak, smoking away.

Finally on January 3rd of this year, a voice said to me, Linda, you're on parole. You've been in prison for 41 years so I'm going to make it fairly easy for you to try to quit. This is your last chance to attain your Freedom from smoking.

Then this voice keeps telling me......never, ever, take another puff of a cigarette, for if you do, your chances of getting paroled again are mighty slim. The same goes for your husband. You have the rest of your lives ahead of you and it is your choice whether you want to live it in Freedom or not.

And so, both my husband and I say to each other, the best is yet to come. Let's cherish our Freedom and promise each other never to take another puff.

To those of you that are struggling....please, please, please try not to take that one puff. You might not be as lucky as we have been the past 41 years. You may never be paroled.

Linda.....Two months, one week, five days, 12 hours, 24 minutes and 50 seconds. 1450 cigarettes not smoked, saving $248.01. Life saved: 5 days, 50 minutes.




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mirigirl (silver)
mirigirl (silver)

5:02 AM - Jan 13, 2002 #4

Wow - Linda - thanks so much for this. What a realisation!!
At two months clean! - no wonder you are still nicotine-free!
"The other very stark and candid realization was that smokers are ADDICTS. An addict cannot handle just one sip or just one puff. An addict must always say NO.
Right now I feel that I'm on parole"
Yes - I am on parole too. Everyday Free is a bonus. And maybe with deep acceptance of being an addict I can find real joy in being free eh?
I'm so grateful to be travelling this journey with you LInda and all my Freedom friends.
yqs mirigirl
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wcsdancer (Gold)
wcsdancer (Gold)

7:13 AM - Jan 13, 2002 #5

Hey Joel, you forgot one........
How about "not pounding nails in with your head and using a hammer instead". I do have a pretty hard head thinking I could just be a "social" smoker and control nicotine or that one puff doesn't matter!! I learned those other life's lessons pretty well (open eyes while driving, use qualified surgeon, etc). But the most important lesson that will save my life now is: NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF. (I won't fall down, I'm a dancer!!)

*Candy* standing up to nicotine and winning for 2months 3days
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illbe40
illbe40

7:27 AM - Jan 13, 2002 #6

I don't have a chance to visit this too often. I have not fallen however I have found that tonight seems especially hard for me. I do not have the urge or the crave bad enough to want to smoke. However I know that I need to visit all the non smoking communities around. Quitting smoking is definitely not easy however not another puff for me. I know from previous quits and relapse that I have been so hard on myself that at times I have not tried again for months. Thank you so much for the inspiring messages.

Robin
Day 12
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Joel
Joel

7:58 PM - Jan 15, 2002 #7

Hello Robin:

I don't know how I missed this the other day. You wrote that you know that you continued to smoke because you were being so hard on yourself because you relapsed. In fact you continued to smoke because you relapsed, not because you were hard on yourself because you relapsed. Whether you are hard on yourself or not, your cigarettes are going to be hard on you, hard enough to kill you if you if you don't take a firm stand with them. That stand you need to quit and to save your health and your life is drawing a firm line in the sand and not crossing over it--that line is knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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My3Sons (Green)
My3Sons (Green)

10:15 AM - Jun 22, 2002 #8

I can totally appreciate it! Since I was able to quit cold turkey, I've been given another chance to never take that first puff! When we were smokers how many times did we lay in bed and just wish we had never even tried the stuff or taken that first drag? We've been granted that wish a wish that may not come around again!

The other part is I had quit (with NRT) for 6 weeks, 3 other times to be exact but the most recent was about a year ago, I thought it was rather easy and thought, oh I'll just smoke this one and then quit again tomorrow....how hard can it be? I'll just slap the ol patch on! Well tomorrow was more than 12 months later. 12 months of wishing I could quit and literally hating myself with every puff. That's why I liked someone's saying of "I'd rather be an ex-smoker occasionally craving a smoke than a smoker consistently wanting to quit". I probably crave 3-4 times a day now (real short and easy ones), I'd have been down on myself for smoking and calling myself a loser at least 20 times by now if I was still smoking!

Quitting is like child birth...ONLY in the fact that the more time passes the easier you think it was...that is... until you have to do it again!!! YEEEOOOOWWWW!!!!!!!!!!!!

THIS is the easy part...just never take another puff! Simple!

I wish there was a better word than "puff" though, it sounds so soft, harmless and even inviting for something soooo detrimental!

Thanks!
Colleen
One month, two weeks, four days, 21 hours, 14 minutes and 7 seconds. 1496 cigarettes not smoked, saving $224.48. Life saved: 5 days, 4 hours, 40 minutes.
One is too many and a million is not enough!!
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Joel
Joel

6:45 PM - Aug 12, 2002 #9

I saw this message somewhere on the board of "just dust yourself off" to a person who said they had a cigarette. It was not the first time this person had relapsed since finding Freedom either, it seemed that he or she had numerous quits since first finding us.

We do have lots and lots of members who have had multiple quits in their past. But the truth be known, we don't have lots and lots of members who have multiple quits since first joining Freedom. We have a handful but the majority of our membership really works at getting learning as much as they can when having first joined and have really committed to giving a 100 percent commitment to making this quit stick--treating their quits as if their lives depend on it. For in fact the health and life of all of our members do depend on.

We are different from other boards that welcome chronic relapsers. We don't feel a person who chronically relapses after joining is right for this site and is not going to be happy with us here on two fronts.

First, they just are not going to feel that we are supportive and understanding enough and that we are too strict and serious. For when they come in and post that they are once again off for 72 hours, that a lot of our regular members are going to hold them accountable for their relapse and spell out in no uncertain terms that the person is playing a dangerous and deadly game. Instead of greeting them with hugs, sympathy and unconditional support--they are likely going to come off critical of their recent flirtation with death.

The second reason that the chronic relapser is going to be ticked with us is they are likely going to permanently lose their membership on posting about one of those relapses. By their very nature of quitting, relapsing and "just" starting over again, they are not ready for what we do here. We are not doing them any great favor by just taking them back in over and over again to post how they lost it recently once again. They start to feel that we are not serious about the importance of relapse prevention and if we are not they don't have to be either.

Worse than this though, they make others feel that relapsing is no big deal--and that hurts everyone here--especially our newest members and lurkers who may not really recognize yet that quitting smoking truly requires a one hundred percent commitment to never take another puff no matter what.

Again, we do have some members who have lost their quits a few times since first joining Freedom. But I am going to clarify this, the number is low--probably under 10% and possibly under 5%. I can only think of two or three by name. Some of them are truly wonderful and valuable people to us and who I personally consider very close friends. They are people who I did quite a bit of one on one emailing with, as well as some of our other managers to help start up their quits again and we were very happy when they got back on track. But they understood very clearly that the board was only to be used once they really were back on track and had proven to us that they were really ready to use Freedom again.

So everyone be careful here--don't work with the very false perception that if you relapse that you will simply come back and quit again. There is no guarantee that you will in fact be able to come back and worse than that, there is no guarantee that you will even muster up the strength or desire to come back to quit again or quit again even without us. You may be sentencing yourself back to smoking. To keep your membership--and more important to keep your health and your life always remember your promise and commitment that you made to yourself when first joining up here to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

6:57 AM - Sep 28, 2002 #10

This is an important string for people getting advice from other professional sources. If you get brochures from almost any professional organization on smoking cessation, there is likely going to be a line somewhere in the body of the piece that in essence says, "Don't let a puff put you back to smoking." This line all but negates whatever quality information may be in that piece. It is like telling an alcoholic not to let a drink put them back to drinking or a heroin addict not to let a little injection put them back to using. The message must be the same with smoking as with any other drug addiction--if you want to stay free you must not administer the substance--no matter how long you have been off. In simpler terms then when talking about cigarettes the message needs to be that if you want to stay smoke free you must never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

12:40 AM - Jul 25, 2003 #11

There was some discussion about a book on the market about smoking cessation. Even though the specific book mentioned doesn't endorse this philosophy (at least I don't think it does) there are plenty of books and pamphlets out there that do. I thought the post and the comment below is an important concept to reinforce here.

Joel

This is an important string for people getting advice from other professional sources. If you get brochures from almost any professional organization on smoking cessation, there is likely going to be a line somewhere in the body of the piece that in essence says, "Don't let a puff put you back to smoking." This line all but negates whatever quality information may be in that piece. It is like telling an alcoholic not to let a drink put them back to drinking or a heroin addict not to let a little injection put them back to using. The message must be the same with smoking as with any other drug addiction--if you want to stay free you must not administer the substance--no matter how long you have been off. In simpler terms then when talking about cigarettes the message needs to be that if you want to stay smoke free you must never take another puff!

Joel
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Lyverbyrd
Lyverbyrd

2:49 AM - Jul 25, 2003 #12

There is a site I have visited in the past (very much now in the past!) to aid with my goal in quitting smoking, which lives by the words of the old chinese proverb,
"fall down seven times, get up eight."

Admirable thoughts in most of life's trials; but not this one.

Nicotine free for::
Twenty Three Days, 21 Hours and 48 Minutes, by avoiding the use of 598 death sticks that would have cost me £138.21.
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Joel
Joel

9:06 PM - Aug 17, 2003 #13

I brought up this string and the above post (37) because it shows how we have many different views than other sites. The original post and the comment above was written before our November 2002 policy change. Just for clarity I am going to attach what that change was.

Joel

I saw where a member wrote tonight that because of a tragic situation she was thinking she should just smoke and quit again once she got through the bad time period. We have designed Freedom to take care of such logic. You cannot relapse with the intention that you will just come back and quit again. Relapsing is a commitment to smoke and forever forgo participating at Freedom again. Harsh you may say. Well yes it is, but it is because you have to be harsh with yourself if you are going to keep on top of this addiction. Give cigarettes and inch and they will take your life. If you want to stay smoke free always remember why you first committed and are still committed to never take another puff!

Joel
Freedom's New
No Relapse Policy
(Implemented November 2002)
Freedom's relapse policy is about to undergo additional evolution. Athough every visitor to the site will have 100% access to Freedom's over 130,000 archived posts, to Joel's entire library and to all of our resources at WhyQuit, any future relapse will disqualify that member from again participating in the group. The rule applies across the board, to me as well as you. Not only will this destroy any junkie thinking that my mind might have been able to muster in time of crisis about being able to return, the new policy will not permit me to return if I should relapse.
Not only is there no legitimate excuse for relapse at Freedom, there is no relapse at Freedom. This isn't a matter of asking members to value their group participation and use that as justification for not relapsing. That's akin to a quit crutch. It's a matter of asking each of us to value this forum as a serious site, to honor the principles upon which its built, and to respect the right of others to find sanctuary in one little corner of the earth where nicotine has no voice.
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Joel
Joel

6:36 PM - Feb 09, 2004 #14

Relapsing is a commitment to smoke and forever forgo participating at Freedom again. Harsh you may say. Well yes it is, but it is because you have to be harsh with yourself if you are going to keep on top of this addiction. Give cigarettes and inch and they will take your life. If you want to stay smoke free always remember why you first committed and are still committed to never take another puff!
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wackylaurie
wackylaurie

9:41 PM - Feb 09, 2004 #15

Hi Joel,
Your Relapse Policy is one of the things that attracted me to this site.

So everyone be careful here--don't work with the very false perception that if you relapse that you will simply come back and quit again. There is no guarantee that you will in fact be able to come back and worse than that, there is no guarantee that you will even muster up the strength or desire to come back to quit again or quit again even without us. You may be sentencing yourself back to smoking. To keep your membership--and more important to keep your health and your life always remember your promise and commitment that you made to yourself when first joining up here to never take another puff!

It does take a lot of strength and energy to quit. It is not easy to quit!
Worse than this though, they make others feel that relapsing is no big deal--and that hurts everyone here--especially our newest members and lurkers who may not really recognize yet that quitting smoking truly requires a one hundred percent commitment to never take another puff no matter what.

I am someone who is very glad you don't allow the posting of relapses. Misery loves misery. Failure loves failure. I want positive vibes coming my way!

Thanks for a great site!

Laurie


One month, one week, one day, 8 hours, 40 minutes and 22 seconds. 1180 cigarettes not smoked, saving $162.36. Life saved: 4 days, 2 hours, 20 minutes.
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Joel
Joel

9:52 PM - Feb 09, 2004 #16

Hello Laurie:

Actually the passage you quoted above was written before we etched in stone that if a person relapsed they were going to permanently lose their posting privileges. I wrote the above quote in August of 2002 and then in November of 2002 we took out any doubt in the matter. A relapse would permanently cause a person to lose membership posting privileges.

Below is a quote I use in the string Good news, our members don't relapse anymore... that further clarifies the benefit of this policy:
The primary benefactor of this policy is each and every member himself or herself. We have made it very easy for each and every member to have a clearly defined spelled out battle line. No longer does a person have the luxury of thinking, "Well if I relapse, I'll go to Freedom and quit again." We have in effect destroyed what to some people can be a very persuasive argument supporting a kind of junkie thinking.

For the majority of people here this policy poses no threat and makes the each and every members mission here that much more clearly defined. It was what their intent was the day they first signed up to Freedom. To stay a member of Freedom, and more important, to keep the health and life saving benefits of staying a successful ex-smoker is as simple now as just remembering to stay totally committed to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joanne Gold
Joanne Gold

12:09 AM - Oct 15, 2004 #17

For Ann, because of a comment she had to deal with.....
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Ann
Ann

1:16 AM - Oct 15, 2004 #18

Thanks--this was a perfect thread to read. I really do appreciate it.

Ann
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JoeJFree Gold
JoeJFree Gold

8:11 PM - Mar 20, 2006 #19

"We do have lots and lots of members who have had multiple quits in their past. But the truth be known, we don't have lots and lots of members who have multiple quits since first joining Freedom. We have a handful but the majority of our membership really works at getting learning as much as they can when having first joined and have really committed to giving a 100 percent commitment to making this quit stick--treating their quits as if their lives depend on it. For in fact the health and life of all of our members do depend on."

"Relapsing is a commitment to smoke and forever forgo participating at Freedom again. Harsh you may say. Well yes it is, but it is because you have to be harsh with yourself if you are going to keep on top of this addiction. Give cigarettes and inch and they will take your life. If you want to stay smoke free always remember why you first committed and are still committed to never take another puff!"
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nand814
nand814

10:01 PM - Jul 13, 2006 #20

I think that the policy is a good thing. It helps us to really look at our quits, from the educated perspective, and realize just how important it is to NTAP. As I said in my first post, the material available on this stie is empowering, affirming, and an education. I thank you for this site, AND all of your policies. Here, I have learned that Knowledge really IS Power.
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Joel
Joel

7:45 PM - Aug 14, 2006 #21

"We do have lots and lots of members who have had multiple quits in their past. But the truth be known, we don't have lots and lots of members who have multiple quits since first joining Freedom. We have a handful but the majority of our membership really works at getting learning as much as they can when having first joined and have really committed to giving a 100 percent commitment to making this quit stick--treating their quits as if their lives depend on it. For in fact the health and life of all of our members do depend on."

"Relapsing is a commitment to smoke and forever forgo participating at Freedom again. Harsh you may say. Well yes it is, but it is because you have to be harsh with yourself if you are going to keep on top of this addiction. Give cigarettes and inch and they will take your life. If you want to stay smoke free always remember why you first committed and are still committed to never take another puff!"
---------
I realize we need a clarification here. The handful of members referred to are ones who had joined up and relapsed before we had our relapse policy in place, but have managed to stay quit since the policy was introduced. There are not many of these people still around but there are probably a few.
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Scarecrow 9 17
Scarecrow 9 17

1:00 AM - Oct 23, 2007 #22

Exactly!! Thank you Joel, you really are an amazing person!! Thank you for all of your hard work and dedication. Please know you have a lot of soldiers out here, carrying on your messages and education!!
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Joined: 2:04 PM - Nov 13, 2008

10:19 PM - Aug 09, 2012 #23

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