"Just think about something else."

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

"Just think about something else."

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

August 31st, 2002, 6:12 pm #1

Sometimes you will encounter a person who says they are constantly thinking about smoking or sometimes you yourself feel that you fit into this category of individual. Generally when a person says they are constantly thinking about smoking, people around them tries to share the advice to think about something else. First, there is an inaccuracy about what the ex-smoker is saying. He or she is not constantly thinking about smoking, rather, he or she is fixating on "one cigarette" or "one puff." It's hard to think about something else because one puff seems like such a wonderful concept. They are often reminiscing about one of the best cigarettes, or more accurately, about the sensation around one of the best fixes they ever had. It may be one the smoked 20 years earlier but that is the one they are focused on.

So what about thinking about something else? Well, it's hard to think of something else that can deliver such pleasure as this magic memory. Even if they successfully think of something else and overcome that urge, they walk away from the moment with a sense of longing or sadness with what they have just been deprived of again.



So, what is an ex-smoker to do? Change the tactic. Instead of trying (often unsuccessfully) of something else, acknowledge the desire. Don't tell yourself you don't want one, you do and you know it. But remember there is a catch. To take the one you have to have all the others with it. And with the others, you have to take all the problems that go with "them." The smell, the expense, the embarrassment, social ostracization, the total loss of control, and the health implications. The health effects are the most serious of the implications considering they lead to slowly being crippled then death.



This is what to focus on when the thought of one creeps into consciousness, the package deal of smoking. Think about the hundreds of cigarettes that have to go with that first one weekly. Think about the thousands that go with that first one every year, or the hundreds of thousands that will go with it until it kills you. These are not exaggerated numbers. Do the math yourself; calculate how much you smoked in your lifetime and figure out how many more will be consumed if you didn't quit.



I am not saying to look at cigarettes negatively, just look at them exactly as they really were. If you pull the whole spectrum of smoking into focus, you will be able to walk away from the "urge" with the attitude that you are glad you are not doing that anymore. You won't feel deprived you will feel grateful. The more you remember smoking the less you will think about a cigarette. In a sense forcing yourself to remember will help you forget. Not forget smoking, but the fantasy, the appeal of a nicotine fix. A nicotine fix was not worth smoking for while you were a smoker, you can bet it is not worth it as an ex-smoker with freedom to lose now as well as all the other implications that always went with smoking.

In summing up, I will say that not smoking will never seem as good as the fantasy of smoking. But smoking was never that good either. The fantasy is "one" with no side effects, and no loss of control. The reality though is a dirty, disgusting, and deadly addiction. See them for what they are and you will stop wanting them as much.



Again, it can't be said too often, you are fighting for your health and your life. To win this fight is no more complicated than just keeping your commitment enforced to never take another puff!



Joel
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Last edited by Joel on April 17th, 2013, 8:58 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

September 1st, 2002, 12:16 am #2

Another winner Joel!

I'd say one of the unexpected pleasures of quitting was once I got far enough along that nicotine withdrawal and junkie thinking weren't ruling the day, I began to see more what smoking was really about. There is so much more to know about smoking and cigarettes and addiction than active smoking will allow you to see!

So, it's harder and harder to hold only the thought of only an "Ahhhh" smoking moment clearly anymore. I can't separate that from the cost, the smell, the removing of me from my life, the nagging need, the times the first cigarette of the day would send me to lie down for a few minutes because of the light-headedness and general feeling of unwellness.

Without nicotine running the show, I can hold a greater truth in my mind about what my addiction means in my life - what the consequences of relapse might be. I am not willing to pay that cost, now that I have a better idea what it is!

So, it's not about thinking about something else as a distraction, but rather thinking about smoking for what it really is, from the real chances to develop nasty, deadly smoking related diseases right down to the smelly butts littering our lives.

So very grateful to be FREE!

Melissa
Gold Club
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:00 am

September 1st, 2002, 2:13 am #3

Thanks for this post Joel, I needed to read that today as I have been feeling "sentimental" (for want of a way of putting it) I suddenly realised that were heading into a new season and I became overwhelmed by a sense of loss, realising that there are loved ones I have lost that I will never share this season with again, well it just made me remember the "comfort" I would have thought I was getting from a cigarette, because as a junkie that is the first thing I would turn to in sad times, so I was pleased to read this post , it reminded me once again that, the one comforting cigarette does not exist, it is just the remnants of my junkie thinking rearing it's ugly head.
Thanks again for the post, especially putting it here today, I needed to read those words.
Love Naymor xxxx
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

September 1st, 2002, 3:38 am #4

Amen.

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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:59 pm

September 1st, 2002, 4:15 am #5

I like this letter a lot too. The quote I like best is: :" Not smoking will never seem as good as the phantasy of smoking. But smoking was never that good either." I love that. It isn't sugar coated. It doesn't make promises it can't keep. It lays it out fair and square.. For some reason in the starkness of it's honesty it moves me and makes me want to cry. Lilac
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

September 1st, 2002, 5:36 am #6

A perfect post. This is the key element I have learned here at Freedom. I CAN'T HAVE JUST ONE! I have to have the 25 a day, the 175 a week, the 700 a month, the 8,400 a year. Those numbers are what keep me from reaching for a cigarette.

You are so right, Joel, it doesn't do any good at all to tell myself I don't want one. At times, I do! But, I do not want the rest of them. I do not want to go back to anxiety and self-loathing and shortness of breath. I keep in mind the image used in another thread of the handful of cigarettes. If I reach for one what I will end up with is that whole big handful. So, I acknowledge the desire and remind myself that wanting a cigarette won't kill me. Smoking it will.

Parker - beginning to notice a little bronzing happening around the edges.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:44 pm

September 1st, 2002, 9:44 am #7

Joel,
Thank you so much. I really needed that letter right now. Perfect timing!!
Parker you nailed it right on ther head, 'anxiety, self-loathing, and shortness of breath.' That describes how i used to feel too. Ariella
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:59 pm

September 1st, 2002, 9:46 am #8

Joel, you have summarized the essence of what I have learned at Freedom. One is All. Thank you,

Janet
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:29 am

September 1st, 2002, 10:39 am #9

Thanks for an excellent post Joel. This may be a cliche, but it has a huge element of truth in it that..
" What we resist - persists."
My strongest challenge in my quit came yesterday, and
I second Parker in her comments that...
'Those numbers are what keep me from reaching for a cigarette. '
Thank goodness for the education, sharing of experience and support available to us here at Freedom.
YQS Kiwi
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:02 am

October 3rd, 2002, 11:28 pm #10

Allow me to add my thanks to you Joel for pulling up this thread....really clarifies a lot for me. In the 6 short years of my smoking addiction I inhaled approximately 1,971,000 cigarettes...that's almost TWO MILLION.....I don't want those 2 million back. No way.

Mary Kate
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:02 am

October 3rd, 2002, 11:31 pm #11

Wheww...not meant to be overly dramatic...just really BAD at math (must be this lack of concentration thing)...the number scared me though!!!! Actually, in the last 6 years I had smoked approximately:
Sixy Five Thousand Seven Hundred Cigarettes
My apologies for miscalculation:
MK
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:08 am

November 5th, 2002, 7:52 pm #12

Thanks Joel - very timely post for me. I need to be reminded that the fantasty will always be better. I don't want to smoke all those other cigarettes attached to that "perfect" smoke either. I think I am far enough into my quit that I tend to let my guard down to junkie thinking and not be 100% committed like I was, say a week into my quit. Thanks to Freedom I'm learning everyday

Tulip 1 month, 3 weeks, 4 days
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

January 8th, 2003, 8:15 pm #13

Can truth help set us free?
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:29 am

February 7th, 2003, 1:57 am #14

Joel, this is the perfect Rx for us "over thinkers". If I was inclined to ruminate (and I was a lot) following through with the whole picture was very healing. Bringing this up was a nice partner piece to the article Melissa shared today. Thanks!
*Candy*
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Joined: January 7th, 2009, 7:45 pm

February 26th, 2003, 3:10 am #15

Thank you for this post, I thought I was fixated with not smoking but where it said that I did want one, I guess I finally admitted it and when I did, I cried and cried.
I am in denial, I tell myself all day that I don't want one and in reality I am fixated on the fantasy one. Thanks for the dose of reality.
Cindy
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

July 28th, 2003, 6:41 pm #16

If you could forget what bondage & life as a feeding addict was like,
what thoughts would serve as fuel in this quest for freedom?
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

August 31st, 2003, 1:53 am #17

I am not saying to look at cigarettes negatively, just look at them exactly as they really were. If you pull the whole spectrum of smoking into focus, you will be able to walk away from the "urge" with the attitude that you are glad you are not doing that anymore. You won't feel deprived you will feel grateful. The more you remember smoking the less you will think about a cigarette. In a sense forcing yourself to remember will help you forget. Not forget smoking, but the fantasy, the appeal of a nicotine fix. A nicotine fix was not worth smoking for while you were a smoker, you can bet it is not worth it as an ex-smoker with freedom to lose now as well as all the other implications that always went with smoking.

In summing up, I will say that not smoking will never seem as good as the fantasy of smoking. But smoking was never that good either. The fantasy is "one" with no side effects, and no loss of control. The reality though is a dirty, disgusting, and deadly addiction. See them for what they are and you will stop wanting them as much.

Again, it can't be said too often, you are fighting for your health and your life. To win this fight is no more complicated than just keeping your commitment enforced to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: January 7th, 2009, 7:45 pm

October 31st, 2003, 8:28 pm #18

First of all I am proud to say that I am nicotine free for over 4 days and 2 hours. Last night was a test for me. I choose to describe the situation as a test rather than a challenge. A challenge implies some level of luck. A test implies the ability to apply your knowledge to the situation and succeed.

I want to thank everyone that has something to do with the creation of this site. It has given me the education that I need to understand and rationalize what my body and mind is doing to me. Let me elaborate on the test I experienced last night.

I am a single father of a two year old son. Last night was Begger's night. Of course there was the natural stress of coming home, making supper, and heading out. I spent the evening with my parents, and went out begging in their neighborhood. Both of which are very heavy smokers. In the past I went back to my habit when I was around them. Last night was different.

Last night the thought of smoking crossed my mind and this is what I told my self. It came very natural, because it is what I beleive.
1) One puff is all that it will take to start the withdrawl sequence over. I do not ever want to live that again.
2) I noticed how the cigs controlled them. They had to stop certain activities to light up.

I handled all of this well. Then my mind stepped up the game. I just angry over something pretty small and silly. The desire to smoke became very strong. Then I realized that my mind was trying to convince me that smoking would make me less angry. After realizing this I relaxed-over time. I went to bed proud that I made it another day and looked forward to today.

I will remain smoke free for the rest of my life. I am doing this for me for the first time. I know that I am an addict. I have the knowledge that I need to keep from ever touching a cig again.

Thanks to everyone that helped put this site together.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

November 1st, 2003, 2:22 am #19

Well done! I like your change in terminology to "test". I think I'll start using that word as well. Your explanation makes perfect sense.

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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

November 11th, 2003, 9:19 am #20

I am not saying to look at cigarettes negatively, just look at them exactly as they really were. If you pull the whole spectrum of smoking into focus, you will be able to walk away from the "urge" with the attitude that you are glad you are not doing that anymore. You won't feel deprived you will feel grateful. The more you remember smoking the less you will think about a cigarette. In a sense forcing yourself to remember will help you forget. Not forget smoking, but the fantasy, the appeal of a nicotine fix. A nicotine fix was not worth smoking for while you were a smoker, you can bet it is not worth it as an ex-smoker with freedom to lose now as well as all the other implications that always went with smoking.

In summing up, I will say that not smoking will never seem as good as the fantasy of smoking. But smoking was never that good either. The fantasy is "one" with no side effects, and no loss of control. The reality though is a dirty, disgusting, and deadly addiction. See them for what they are and you will stop wanting them as much.

Again, it can't be said too often, you are fighting for your health and your life. To win this fight is no more complicated than just keeping your commitment enforced to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

January 29th, 2004, 9:39 pm #21

Over 4 million deaths in 2003 and a 50% adult kill rate.
Can truth help set us free?
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:33 am

February 14th, 2004, 11:25 pm #22

Great Post!
I have not read this one before. "Just think of something else" Geez... I thought how lame. Please dont give me such rubbish to read ... if it was that simple no one would have a problem.
Glad I read this! I will not judge a post by it's title anymore!

In summing up, I will say that not smoking will never seem as good as the fantasy of smoking. But smoking was never that good either. The fantasy is "one" with no side effects, and no loss of control. The reality though is a dirty, disgusting, and deadly addiction. See them for what they are and you will stop wanting them as much.
Laurie
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

February 14th, 2004, 11:31 pm #23

Hello Laurie, Generally if you see a title in one of my posts surrounded in "quotation marks", it usually means that there is more to the title than meets they eye. It is often a title that is a tongue in cheek comment or it is a quote that would be said by another person and the post I am putting up is addressing the topic that the person has raised.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

February 14th, 2004, 11:39 pm #24

Other examples of "quotation mark" titled threads:

"Boy, do I miss smoking!"

"I think I have decided to go back to smoking"

"I made a conscious decision to smoke."

"Maybe I am different?"

"I'm mad that I can't smoke anymore!"

"Why Did I Start Smoking?" "Why Did I Quit?"

"I went back to smoking when I was in the hospital with pneumonia."

"Things were just so bad at work that I took a cigarette!"

"Your Stupid Letters"

"If they ever cure lung cancer, I would go back to smoking."

"I guess I am doing OK, I just smoked one yesterday"

"I've relapsed." A cry for help or a cry for attention?

"Dying for a cigarette!"

"I'm safe from smoking related problems by my genetic makeup."

"I have smoked for so long and so much, what is the use in quitting now?"

"How did we survive back then?"

One post I should have done it on and didn't is the I'M DYING! thread. I may have to repost that one day with the quotes in place.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

April 26th, 2004, 6:36 pm #25

Of all of the posts I popped up last night for a specific individual I feel as if this one is the most important and applicable to the person's situation.
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