Last Line of Defense (or Trump Card)

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

Last Line of Defense (or Trump Card)

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

19 Jan 2002, 03:43 #1

Been out of town for a couple of days. The last half of yesterday contained a steady stream of craves. I think it started when I was in the lab all day, and hadn't had any water the entire day. I'd started with a cup of coffee in the morning, and that and a donut was all I'd had to eat or drink until like 3:30 pm. I was dehydrated and hungry, and I got this familiar taste in my mouth as I got in my car for the drive home. Not a good taste, and one that was DEFINITELY associated with smoking. My guess is that because I would often get into that work groove in the past where food and drink took a back seat, that when my body ran low on supplies, I turned to cigarettes (associating all biological craves with the cigarette crave).

Anyhow, from that point until bedtime, I didn't feel like an ex-smoker creeping up on 2 weeks, but like a smoker who was denying his craves. I tried most of my crave/urges defenses I've learned here, but it was like there was 2 of me. The talkative, educated side of me speaking a long monologue of defenses, and the junky, who just really wasn't in the mood to hear. In fact, I felt like I was the junky, and the voice of the reasonable side sounded distant and far away.

At this point I realized that yesterday at least, the defenses and the celebrations of being nicotine free and all the joys that entails just weren't going to offer any comfort. And, I think that's what I was looking for. I wanted to feel better. I wanted to feel like the positive empowered person I've generally been since about day 6. But, it just wasn't going to happen. I heard the reasons, but they didn't sink past the outer levels of my reasoning.

SO, I resigned myself to the fact that yesterday wasn't going to be fun. Reached in the pocket, and pulled out the trump card -- "I ain't gonna smoke today," I said. Simple, effective. It doesn't matter that my junky mind is (for the moment) winning the debate over how good or bad cigarettes taste, and over how good or bad the experience of smoking is, my reasonable ex-smoker side has veto power. Since quitting, that side took custody of my wallet, hands and mouth. Without those 3 assets, the junky side has only the power to make me feel rotten; but not to relapse.

The reasonable side knew that "I ain't gonna smoke today" was the final word, and spoke it. End of debate. Like a parent to an unreasonable child throwing a tantrum, "BECAUSE I SAID SO!". So, the junky sulked for the rest of the night, screaming, and stomping and generally annoying me, but had no power to touch my quit.

Today (day 14) is better so far. Another wonderfully clear (if a bit cold for Santa Cruz) day. The bold child seems to have forgotten last night's tantrum, and has resumed playing by the rules. I celebrate "half-green" tonight.

Best to all,

Bob
Reply

improud (golder)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

19 Jan 2002, 03:53 #2

Whew pretty powerful huh O'BOB? ImageYour statement "didn't feel like an ex-smoker creeping up on 2 weeks but like a smoker who was denying his craves" That is exactly what you are a smoker who is denying his craves!! Image There is really only ONE of you and that is the addicted nicotine junky but the education you are receiving is trying to take over. LET IT.Image You have no nicotine in your system. These are junky thoughts.  You will not SMOKE TODAY. Tomorrow will take care of itself. You sounded better at the end of your post and I hope you keep that resolve to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF. You're doing great. Keep it up.Cathy - GOLD CLUB
Last edited by improud (golder) on 01 Mar 2014, 20:23, edited 1 time in total.
Reply

Jinksy (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

19 Jan 2002, 04:00 #3

So, I pulled out the "Ain't gonna smoke today" trump card. 


Way to Go Bob. You had a plan to stay nicotine free and it worked. Isn't it amazing what a difference an educated quit makes. 
Congratulations on your half green status too. Be proud of yourself. You done good. 

Proud to be your quit sister, Julia
@ 10 months, 3 weeks, and 2 days

PS Glad you're feeling better today:)
Last edited by Jinksy (Gold) on 01 Mar 2014, 20:24, edited 1 time in total.
Reply

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Jan 2002, 04:16 #4

Hello Bob,
Get yourself a bigger pocket and print out all of these letters and read each one if it happens again. I suspect by the time you get down to the fifth article, you will be fine. If not, by the time you finish the sixth article. You probably will end up finishing up the first one and then be merrily on your way. Hang in there Bob, tomorrow will always be a cleaner fresher day as long as you remember for today to never take another puff!
Joel


Bad days
The Urge Hits!
Thoughts that seem worse than the first days urges
Smoking Triggers
"Boy, do I miss smoking!"
The Smoker's Vow
Last edited by Joel on 22 Nov 2009, 15:29, edited 2 times in total.
Reply

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

19 Jan 2002, 04:39 #5

#4 is a big BINGO for yesterday. I occassionally do contract work running lab tests out in the central valley (California) which is about 3 hours from home. Always in the past, I'd be at the end of about 4 hours in the lab, and it was always, into the car, start down the road, and light up (to ease the withdrawals brought on by 4 hours of being in the lab). Yesterday, this was it (much like the lady in the ice cream aisle). The crave was probably made even worse by the guy that came into the lab with a just-smoked cigarette on his breath.

It was just after leaving the lab, and on my way to the car, that that "taste" hit. And it was the entire 3 hour drive home during which the crave(s) just kept coming. In fact, I remember gearing up for that drive several days ago, when I knew I was going out. But, for some reason, yesterday, the gearing up had faded, and it caught me off-guard. In retrospect, that had to be as big a trigger or worse than the trip to the pub. Smoking on the drive home from work (after hours without) was a huge part of my addiction. Since, I generally work at home now, I haven't faced that drive prior to yesterday.

So, it really wasn't different to any other triggers I've faced, it's just that I forgot it was coming. And, it (they) should be mostly, if not completely, reconditioned now (??). It's just the same old story of trigger reconditioning, in a different venue.

Thanks Joel. Very appropriate letters!
Reply

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

19 Jan 2002, 04:55 #6

Improud, Jinksy,

Thanks for the gold and silver encouragement and advice. It helps!

Cheers,

Bob
Reply

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

19 Jan 2002, 06:02 #7

Hi O'Bob, almost half green ... Wow, that's great. Image I had a similar thing happen to me on 12/21/01, the day we broke for the Christmas Holiday. I always leave the office at 11:50 on this one day of the year. Everyone who has kids brings them into work to see Mr. and Mrs. Claus. Many of us bring in food. I bring in a cheese ball. I have done the above for one morning out of every year for the last three years. I had been quit for a little over a month at that point. Had mastered the trigger of leaving the office at the end of the day and not lighting up.

One day a year. I'm leaving the office at 11:50, and Huge Trigger. I never even thought about it, and it hit me hard. I survived, and so did you. That's the most important thing. Never take another puff. You're doing great!

yqs, janet
8 weeks, 6 days, 11 hours, 59 minutes, 13 seconds
Last edited by janetd (GOLD) on 01 Mar 2014, 20:25, edited 1 time in total.
Reply

marty (gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

19 Jan 2002, 06:49 #8

Hiya Bob

I was going to say "nice story", but that's wrong --- it's a good story. We maybe overemphasise here the need to argue with your junkie thinking, defeat it with cold, hard, irrefutable logic. What you did was act "Like a parent to an unreasonable child throwing a tantrum, "BECAUSE I SAID SO!", and you got it right. That's not because there were no logical arguments against your craves, but because going thru the arguing process was too mentally draining. That may not be a nice way to behave, but it's good if it works.

If I read your personality right from your posts (careful, Marty, you're taking a chance here Image ) I think you will feel some guilt about taking this shortcut. While you feel huge satisfaction from winning the day yesterday, your intellect will not allow you to do it that way too often. That's fine, you won't need to. The single and absolute priority for the first few weeks is just to protect your quit at any cost, any way you can. After that, you have to allow a new, natural, smoke-free life develop, and that's the bit that will need the education, the intellectual satisfaction, the continual justification.

That's the phase that is to come, Bob. It truly is wonderful, and I know you're going to love it. Yesterday was a day that enabled you to look forward to the future. Tomorrow is the day you will start to nurture and build that future.

Marty
NOT A PUFF for one year, one month, two weeks, five days
Reply

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

19 Jan 2002, 07:27 #9

Marty,

You're one perceptive person. Yes. I would much rather defeat my triggers with logic and reason. I don't know if I'd describe it as guilt, but it definitely makes me feel more secure when I'm able to embrace it, stare it down, reason with it, and leave it wimpering off into the distance. I've had a good few experiences like that, and they're incredibly satisfying. They leave me feeling very confident.

Yesterday, I had to remind myself that I'm still early in my quit. A "W" is a "W" (win is a win) as sports fans tend to say in the States. Nicotine doesn't fight fair, and if I've got to pull out the ace up my sleeve, well then so be it. I woke up this morning nicotine free. And while I might be tempted to grade my victories in terms of how impressive or comfortable they are, I know that defeat for the addict is all the same: absolutely terrible.

It is important to know that it will get easier -- I thank you for your constant reminders. There's a piece around here somewhere on the site about how if the rest of your life as an ex-smoker were like the first 2 weeks, most people would go back to smoking. Knowing that the rest of my life as an ex-smoker will NOT be like yesterday makes it easier to fight the fight however I have to in the mean time, in order to get to that point.

Thanks again for an another insightful post. (Don't know if you're into soccer/football, but I can think of all sorts of analogies involving nil-all away draws, while not equally satisfying, being just as important as 3-0 home victories in the World Cup qualifiers.)
Reply

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

19 Jan 2002, 07:34 #10

Here Bob:
This may be the one you were referring to.
"Quitting Smoking": A Fate Worse than Death?
Last edited by Joel on 22 Nov 2009, 15:31, edited 1 time in total.
Reply