making a toolbox

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

making a toolbox

splat bronze
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:39

25 Apr 2003, 22:15 #1

so i was sitting out on a pier last night with two of my closest friends. it was a little chilly, a little late, and the conversation was a little deep. for me it was the perfect time for a cigarette. the crave was in my body and the crazy thoughts were in my head.

and then the strangest thing happened - i used what i've learned in the past 12 days. i watched my girlfriend pull a cigarette out of her pack and i reminded myself that she wasn't smoking because it was a perfect thing to do in a perfect moment, but because she was reaching the end of a nicotine cycle and her body was demanding more. i watched her and i reminded myself that she wasn't smoking because she wanted to, but because she had to. this wasn't an ideal moment that she was getting to fulfill and i wasn't (just one of the crazies in my brain); this was chemical dependency. i didn't smoke, the crave passed, and i can breathe easy today. =)

so i was wondering - what are some of the tools you use when you get triggered? i want my tool box to be full. i want to have the best possible defense against the first puff that i never want to take.

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

25 Apr 2003, 22:29 #2

Hi Stacey, when I first quit I literally used to tell myself that I would not smoke TODAY.

... and if I wanted to keep my quit then I should Never Take Another Puff.

Also, there is a thread somewhere where Joel likens smoking to playing Russian Roulette. So I would threaten myself ... that if I went back to smoking, I may as well just buy a gun and shoot myself in the head. I know this sounds crazy but it worked for me.

And I sang a lot. At the top of my lungs.

It should be interesting to see everyone's responses. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

yqs, Janet :)
One Year Five Months

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

25 Apr 2003, 22:40 #3

Hi Splat,
This is toooo weird. On my way into work this morning I was thinking of posting the same question. I love your breakdown of what was actually happening and I am surely going to use it should the need arise. Thanks.

My self talk or tool when I get a crave or trigger and it sort of irritates me is I think:
OK, to get from that place, - active nic addict to there - comfortable non smoker(!) I have to go through this and it will not last forever! Just be patient.

Actually I am finding it gets better every day!

2 weeks, 4 days and 12 hours of freedom

maia (green)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:24

25 Apr 2003, 22:41 #4

** I'm attaching my response - posted to the wrong spot**

What a great post - thank you - I'm going to be stealing your tools :)

I have been using your same technique a lot lately - really looking at the smoker and reinforcing for myself that "she wasn't smoking because it was a perfect thing to do in a perfect moment" but that it is an endless chain of smoking...

Another nudge that helps me is to think of my age - my family - growing old healthy. I picture myself in 20 years as a smoker - then in 20 years as a nonsmoker. Nonsmoking maia is way more desirable.

thanks again - best, maia - 25 days, 13 hours, 19 minutes and 25 seconds smoke free.

Parker GOLD
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

25 Apr 2003, 23:08 #5

Splat, you did great last night! Recognizing smoking for what it is -- a drug addiction -- instead of romanticizing it is a huge step. Good for you!

This is a great topic. Here are some of the items in my tool kit that has developed over time.

- The Joel Mantra: Never Take Another Puff

- Reading Freedom posts. I would sometimes say over and over to myself: "They promised it will get better. They promised it will get easier." (By the way, "they" were telling the truth!)

- Reading my reasons to quit list which detailed the physical and emotional toll my addiction had exacted over the years.

- Reviewing my gratitude list which is an ever-growing document of all the good things not smoking is bringing to my life. Actually just added to this the other day. Was listening to my smoking husband's breathing and realizing that mine never sounds wheezy anymore.

- I'm fortunate to be involved in the Al-anon program so those 12 steps are an integral part of my recovery.

- Thinking about how Kim signs her posts: way too educated to ever take another puff!

Keep up the good work!
Parker - 10.5 months

Dwayne Gold
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:24

25 Apr 2003, 23:29 #6

Good Post.

One of the thing I did after reading some of the articles on fanticizing about just one was to calculate how many I smoked in a year. I made a sign that says 1 Puff = 9,125 cigs/yr and posted it at eye level in my office. Every time I start to get that Just One thinking I keep reminding myself that just one will really mean I want the other 9,124 I used to smoke annually.

Another thing I do on a daily basis is update my calendar, which is visible as I sit at my desk, with the money saved and the cigs not smoked. Now showing $ 530 and cigs not smoked at 1,325. I think the latter stat is the one that has the most impact now.

These are a couple of the tools I use along with the regular reading at the site.

Dwayne - into day 54

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

25 Apr 2003, 23:30 #7

Hi Splat,

I like your post, and the way that you recognised that your friend wasn't having 'the perfect smoke in the perfect moment'. That was a huge myth that had to be crushed in my addict psyche. I always glamorised smoking. There were many "perfect" moments which I used to believe entailed "perfect" smokes. Yeah, whatever.

My toolbox is getting fortified all the time thanks to Freedom & the wisdom from my fellow Freedomites.

As it just so happens though, and very unfortunately, one of the main tools that I've used came from a friend of mine. His name was Eddie and for the last few months I have been walking his dog because he was unable to walk him any more due to emphysema. He was very sick and it was painful to watch him struggle for air. Eddie was on oxygen, 24/7 at the end. He also had heart disease, and as he explained to me last week, the heart disease was what was going to do him in, even though the inability to breath was most obvious.

Well, Eddie died on Wednesday night. His heart finally just stopped. He was right, he knew that was how he'd go. And though I knew that he would die soon, I didn't really think it would happen just yet.

Anyway, he told me many times in the last couple of months that my quitting was a great source of joy for him. He liked to say that maybe his suffering was not all in vain. Every day I would walk over in the morning to get the dog and Eddie would ask if I was still off of "them". I'd say yeah, and he'd just nod in satisfaction. He quit smoking last year, because of being on the oxygen. He knew he already had heart disease when he found out about the emphysema, but he had never been able to quit.

He asked me how I quit, and I told him about Freedom and WhyQuit. I told him about going to Joel's workshop and how pretty much all he'd said had stuck with me. I told him about the Palmolive bottle demonstration (he thought that was an acurate depiction, by the way). I told him how when I knew I was really going to do it cold turkey this time, I called Joel and how he called me right back & how he e-mailed the info about this site. I told him about the "72 hours"... He listened eagerly, and then wisfully said, "I would've liked to have known about something like that when I was your age."

Eddie was a good friend. It was very difficult to watch him struggle for his air and for his dignity.

That, in combination with all that I have been learning at Freedom, has been one of my strongest tools. Now, I suppose his memory will be one of the tools that I will carry, along with the memory of my stepfather who also died of smoking-related heart disease. And then of course, there's my mother who was just in the hospital a few months ago with respiratory failure due to acute asthma, who has resumed smoking and is not doing too well...

The list could go on and on. There are some really good posts & threads from here that are in my toolbox too. Ultimately, it's an intrinsic thing. An internal shift in consciousness, if you will. For me I had to "become" a non-smoker as an identity of sorts. So much of my own sense of identity had been wrapped up in being a smoker, that I needed to go through a pretty radical internal shift in order to see myself as a non-smoker. And the only way that I could accomplish that initially was by way of a cold turkey quit backed up by a ton of tangible support and equally as much education. In other words... Freedom and WhyQuit.

Keep up the great quit you've got going!

your quit friend,


Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:40

26 Apr 2003, 00:53 #8

Probably the best motivation I had was in one of Joels articles - can't remember which one, though Image, but I remembered the content and thats more important, right? Anyways it was about emphysema(sp?) and it basically was saying to Take a really deep breath and hold it...take another really deep breath WITHOUT letting the first one go, then try to sip in another deep breath WITHOUT letting the other breaths go....This is was emphysema feels like...Image. This really was a helpful tool for me. I totally don't wanna breathe like that, so when I have a crave, I do this breathing exercise - kinda helps put it in perspective for me.
Last edited by MegBunny(Bronzed) on 14 Apr 2009, 12:56, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:14

26 Apr 2003, 01:57 #9

Hi Splat. One of my tools was knowing that no matter how hard it got I wanted to be a non-smoker more than I wanted to give in to the urges. You are doing great. You defeated a big trigger and next time it will be easier. Sheila
Five months, three days, 5 hours, 57 minutes and 0 seconds. 2159 cigarettes not smoked, saving $377.81. Life saved: 1 week, 11 hours, 55 minutes.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

26 Apr 2003, 12:23 #10

Hi there Splat! I do not believe I welcomed you into Freedom so, most hearty welcome to you! Wow, all these awesome people have brought up some great ideas for a "toolbox"! I would like to add:

Never, ever forget what smoking was TRULY like in the last days of your active addiction because that is EXACTLY how it will be if you go back.

There are no "ahhhhhhh" cigarettes for us anymore. All newbies note- if you haven't done so already, write down all the reasons you have chosen to not allow nicotine into your body NOW- note that Parker has refered to this already, and she is almost GOLD....she has been there, done that....gotta love Parker! This is soooo important because at stressful or celebratory or just plain old regular trigger times we may distort in our junky thinking how wonderful smoking was- its never was...its dirty, health and soul robbing. Its important not to forget the truth. Write it down!Image

3 Months, 3 Weeks, 3 Days.....and I took the time to write my history with nicotine addiction down...and very glad I did!