Is cold turkey the only way to quit?

Is cold turkey the only way to quit?

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Dec 2003, 05:51 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library

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Is cold turkey the only way to quit?




I have seen it written that we have said that the ONLY way to quit smoking is to quit cold turkey. This is not a totally accurate statement. It is not that cold turkey is the only way to quit,; it is just that cold turkey is the method which gives people the best chance of success. It is the method that all but a small percentage of long-term ex-smokers in the world used to successfully quit smoking.

There are people who have quit using alternative approaches. There are some who cut down gradually and actually succeeded at quitting. For every person who did it like this and succeeded, there are many many many many others who tried it and failed. The individual who used the method will think it is great because it worked for him or her, but since it works for so few people it will generally be recognized as a pretty ineffective technique by most people who do "real world" research into how to quit.

By "real world" research I mean by going to long-term ex-nicotine users who you know personally and finding out how they all got off nicotine. Again, you will very rarely find any who did it by gradual withdrawal. If you find a person like this who is now off years, you should never minimize the person's success. He or she quit smoking, likely doing it in a way that made it much more difficult than it needed to be, but still he or she did pull off the quit. The only advice that I would encourage that you share with the person is that now to stay off he or she must understand the bottom line method of sustaining his or her quit. That message is staying cognizant of the addiction and that the only true guaranteed method to stay off now is knowing never to administer nicotine again.

The same principle here applies to people who use NRT products. There are people who have quit this way. Again, it is a small percentage of the long-term ex-users out there, but they do exist. An individual who pulled it off this way will also feel that it is a great method for quitting. But again, this method works for a small percentage of people who try it and if you look into real world long-term quits you will have a very hard time finding many people who actually successfully got off nicotine this way.

I feel it necessary to use that phrase, "got off nicotine," as opposed to saying, "got off smoking." There are some major experts coming out and advocating that people should be given nicotine supplements forever to stay off of smoking. Can this work? Of course it can. If you can give people enough nicotine via supplements it will satisfy their need for nicotine. After all, this is the primary reason they were smoking at the end--to feed a nicotine addiction. If the smoker can just get nicotine for the rest of his or her life via another route, he or she will avoid going through the three days of nicotine withdrawal.

The question needs to be, why should anyone have to pay what is likely to be tens of thousands of dollars to avoid a few days of withdrawal.? On top of this, these people will never be totally free of the moderate withdrawals that such usage is likely to keep going. These people will in fact tout the use of the product as a great aid, but when compared to what people who are totally nicotine free are experiencing, this victory over cigarettes is just a bit hollow.

There are a few people though whom you may encounter over your lifetime that did quit using NRT's as intended, weaning down for week after week and eventually quitting. If the person is now off for years, he or she is pretty much in the same state as a person who had quit cold turkey. He or she is nicotine free, and he or she should be thrilled by that fact. In some ways I look at people like this with a bit of awe, for they in all likelihood stuck with a process that was pretty much a gradual and prolonged withdrawal and yet they succeeded.

Again, debating the merits of their method with them is pretty much a moot point. It worked for them and you are going to have a pretty hard time convincing them that it is an ineffective method. But you do have a message that you can share with them that they do need to know. That message is that even though they are off nicotine for years, they still need to recognize that they are not cured of nicotine addiction and never will be. No matter how they had stopped, they must still understand the bottom line message, that the only way to stay free now is staying totally committed to never administer nicotine again via any nicotine replacement source and to never administer nicotine again from the original source that likely started the whole process by knowing to never take another puff!
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

22 Jan 2004, 23:14 #2

Last edited by Joel on 14 Apr 2016, 01:03, edited 4 times in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Jan 2004, 18:48 #3

New video added August 13, 2012







Last edited by Joel on 13 Aug 2012, 13:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

05 Feb 2004, 07:19 #4

"I feel it necessary to use that phrase, "got off nicotine," as opposed to saying, "got off smoking." There are some major experts coming out and advocating that people should be given nicotine supplements forever to stay off of smoking. Can this work? Of course it can. If you can give people enough nicotine via supplements it will satisfy their need for nicotine. After all, this is the primary reason they were smoking at the end--to feed a nicotine addiction. If the smoker can just get nicotine for the rest of his or her life via another route, he or she will avoid going through the three days of nicotine withdrawal.

The question needs to be, why should anyone have to pay what is likely to be tens of thousands of dollars to avoid a few days of withdrawal.? On top of this, these people will never be totally free of the moderate withdrawals that such usage is likely to keep going. These people will in fact tout the use of the product as a great aid, but when compared to what people who are totally nicotine free are experiencing, this victory over cigarettes is just a bit hollow."




New video added September 22, 2012 related to this issue:


Last edited by Joel on 24 Sep 2012, 12:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Golddabler1
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

18 Feb 2004, 19:48 #5

Hi joel
I personally know that cold turkey is best,i have witnessed people using nrt but not quite in what i would call an educated matter,i see people use it as a way to withdraw from nicotine and a rather long beating about the bush way if you ask me,a lot of these people use the nrt to gradually withdraw nicotine from their system to make withdrawal easier at the final stage,the trouble is that they still don,t admit addiction,they still think that they chose to smoke and they still think that they have given up something and the nrt is a way of a magic pill that will remove desire,i spoke to a girl last week who was on patches but still lit up and boasted that she only had two,this is where nrt fails for me,feeding an addiction will still leave the desire to feed the addiction,she said that the problem was that even although she was receiving nicotine through a patch it was the habit of holding the cigarette that was the problem,obviously this is a smokers lie because the cigarette is just another way of administering nicotine,if i was an alcoholic i would,nt discuss something so bizarre as saying i can quit the alcohol but it is the lifting of the glass that is giving me the problem.
Rickdabler 11 months 1 week 2 days 8hrs happily nicotine free.Image
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DlunyGOLD
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

18 Feb 2004, 20:36 #6

Hi Rick!

Junkie thinking is a funny thing! If we were alcoholics instead of nicotine addicts who knows WHAT sort of LIES we would tell ourselves to keep drinking. I think I used just about every "smoker's lie" in the book to allow me to keep smoking!

The bottom line today for me is that I have the junkie locked up today. As long as he doesn't have access to my keys, wallet, or mind he will not be able to control my life like he did before I found Freedom! And as long as I remember the simple rules I have learned here today will be a GREAT smoke-free day--never take another puff one day at a time!

yqb, David Three months, one week, three days, 22 hours, 36 minutes and 11 seconds. 1852 cigarettes not smoked, saving $138.97. Life saved: 6 days, 10 hours, 20 minutes.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Mar 2004, 20:35 #7

From Above:
There are a few people though whom you may encounter over your lifetime that did quit using NRT's as intended, weaning down for week after week and eventually quitting. If the person is now off for years, he or she is pretty much in the same state as a person who had quit cold turkey. He or she is nicotine free, and he or she should be thrilled by that fact. In some ways I look at people like this with a bit of awe, for they in all likelihood stuck with a process that was pretty much a gradual and prolonged withdrawal and yet they succeeded.

Again, debating the merits of their method with them is pretty much a moot point. It worked for them and you are going to have a pretty hard time convincing them that it is an ineffective method. But you do have a message that you can share with them that they do need to know. That message is that even though they are off nicotine for years, they still need to recognize that they are not cured of nicotine addiction and never will be. No matter how they had stopped, they must still understand the bottom line message, that the only way to stay free now is staying totally committed to never administer nicotine again via any nicotine replacement source and to never administer nicotine again from the original source that likely started the whole process by knowing to never take another puff!
I actually met a person who quit by using NRT yesterday. She was off over a year now. She approached me because she was still feeling that it was hard not to smoke at times or at times she still wanted a cigarette. I started to address the importance of recognizing the addiction involved and to understand that while she may still want a cigarette at times, it is highly unlikely that she really wants to be a full-fledged smoker again. She concurred with that. I am trying to get her to come to the first session of my next clinic to help her to cement her resolve.

The reason I am bringing this up it to clarify the point that there are some people out there who do quit by other approaches than cold turkey and are then able to sustain their quits over the long-term. There are just so few of them that it makes an encounter with them a noteworthy event. I talk to people about quitting smoking daily. When promoting a clinic I will be talking to dozens of people a day--many successful ex-smokers. I can't remember the last time I encountered a successful long-term ex-smoker who used NRT as recommended and got off the NRT and stayed off of cigarettes. It had to be months ago that I had my last such encounter.

It was interesting because she had actually quit cold turkey three days before she started NRT, but decided that she should get a little extra help. Her pharmacist told her not to do it, that she was already free and would now be reintroducing nicotine into her body. She disregarded the advice. Again, it worked for her so to some degree debating with her about quit methodology is pretty much a moot point. Although, being that she works in health care I felt the need to help her to understand that while her method worked for her, she may want to think hard about how she would advise others to quit. I asked her how many other long-term ex-smokers she knew who had quit by the same method and she realized that she could not come up with any person that she knew. I strongly encouraged her to go out and verify how her all of her long-term successful ex-smoking family and friends had actually stopped. I suspect she will quickly see the trend and over time when offering advice to any new person wanting to quit that the advice will be to simply quit smoking and to stay free to simply remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 May 2004, 02:33 #8

Since I am often misquoted as to saying that cold turkey is the only way to quit, I thought it would be a good idea to get this one up near the top. I think many of you will recognize how Jeanne's story fits well into this article, where it says:

The question needs to be, why should anyone have to pay what is likely to be tens of thousands of dollars to avoid a few days of withdrawal.? On top of this, these people will never be totally free of the moderate withdrawals that such usage is likely to keep going. These people will in fact tout the use of the product as a great aid, but when compared to what people who are totally nicotine free are experiencing, this victory over cigarettes is just a bit hollow.

There are a few people though whom you may encounter over your lifetime that did quit using NRT's as intended, weaning down for week after week and eventually quitting. If the person is now off for years, he or she is pretty much in the same state as a person who had quit cold turkey. He or she is nicotine free, and he or she should be thrilled by that fact. In some ways I look at people like this with a bit of awe, for they in all likelihood stuck with a process that was pretty much a gradual and prolonged withdrawal and yet they succeeded.

Again, debating the merits of their method with them is pretty much a moot point. It worked for them and you are going to have a pretty hard time convincing them that it is an ineffective method. But you do have a message that you can share with them that they do need to know. That message is that even though they are off nicotine for years, they still need to recognize that they are not cured of nicotine addiction and never will be. No matter how they had stopped, they must still understand the bottom line message, that the only way to stay free now is staying totally committed to never administer nicotine again via any nicotine replacement source and to never administer nicotine again from the original source that likely started the whole process by knowing to never take another puff!
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Sep 2004, 08:51 #9

We have a post on the board today titled One in a Billion! The content of the post actually has nothing to do with why I am attaching it to this string but a few events today made me think about that post and this one together.

I actually had three contacts with people who had successful quit experiences with patches or gum. Actually, the first one was in a phone conversation with a woman who basically knew people who had quit by using NRT so it wasn't actually a first hand experience. The second and third contact though happened at a meeting where I was letting people know about my next clinic. I talked to about 50 people one on one at this gathering.

One woman had quit back in 2001 using NRT and following the directions. I spent the bulk of my time with her explaining relapse prevention issues. There was also a man who had quit cold turkey for a few days, then introduced NRT using it sporadically for a few months, but has now been off years.

Talking with three people in one day who had positive experiences with NRT really surprised me. I was kind of looking around for a hidden camera and waiting for a person to jump out and say, "smile, your on candid camera." (A television show from the 60's where people are put into practical joke situations for entertainment value.)

If you look at post 9 in this string I had another encounter with a person who quit by using NRT. If I am not mistaken it was the last time I encountered a person in one of these kind of setting who had quit this way. I truly rarely encounter people in real world settings who are long term success story. That is why three in one day after a six month dry-spell was so shocking.

This post addresses their existence though. As it says in the original post, "debating the merits of their method with them is pretty much a moot point. It worked for them and you are going to have a pretty hard time convincing them that it is an ineffective method. But you do have a message that you can share with them that they do need to know. That message is that even though they are off nicotine for years, they still need to recognize that they are not cured of nicotine addiction and never will be. No matter how they had stopped, they must still understand the bottom line message, that the only way to stay free now is staying totally committed to never administer nicotine again via any nicotine replacement source and to never administer nicotine again from the original source that likely started the whole process by knowing to never take another puff!"
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

12 Nov 2004, 20:38 #10

Being that I am bringing up lots of materials on cold turkey quitting, I think it is important that I keep this article also up near the top. We have never said that cold turkey is the only way to quit smoking, although we are quoted as saying it often.

Even the article I was in a few weeks ago from my local area quoted me as making that comment. The comment that we often make is that contrary to popular belief, cold turkey is the method employed by most successful quitters and that it is the method that gives people the best chance of succeess.

The first part of that comment is likely to be accepted by most people, but the second half is likely to be dismissed by many experts in the field. Our mission here at Freedom is not to try to convince the rest of the world to adopt our views though--it is to help every person who finds their way to us to see that quitting smoking is possible and staying free is totally doable for any person who simply quits smoking and then sticks to a personal commitment to never take another puff.

Joel
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