"Just think about something else."

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

"Just think about something else."

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 Aug 2002, 18:12 #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!

Video version of string:

Last edited by Joel on 17 Apr 2013, 20:58, edited 3 times in total.

Toast (GOLD )
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

01 Sep 2002, 00:16 #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!

Image Melissa
Gold Club

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

01 Sep 2002, 02:13 #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

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

01 Sep 2002, 03:38 #4



Lilac (Bronze)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

01 Sep 2002, 04:15 #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

Parker GOLD
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

01 Sep 2002, 05:36 #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.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:44

01 Sep 2002, 09:44 #7

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

janetd (GOLD)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

01 Sep 2002, 09:46 #8

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


Kiwi (Gone GOLD )
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:29

01 Sep 2002, 10:39 #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

IrishLotus GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

03 Oct 2002, 23:28 #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.

ImageMary Kate