Misery Love Company

Misery Love Company

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

27 Nov 2002, 23:01 #1

Freedom is not the best site for this particular adage. For when it really comes down to it, most people here at Freedom are not that miserable. Yes, many of our members may relate to some miserable moments, or memories from early days of their quits where the first few days may have seemed pretty bad. Those days don't last long though and once a person has overcome them it is more important to share the message of hope, comfort and happiness that they have likely gained by quitting more than feeling the need to share the misery.

It is important for longer-term members to share the message that you may have been bad before but that most of the time that you are not feeling bad anymore. Yes misery loves company, but miserable people can make for some pretty miserable company. While on the board work with sharing the attitude that successful people love to see other successful people. Also, when you are in your real world, recognize that smoke free people love spending time with other smoke free people, where their air and lungs are not being assaulted by smoke.



In the past you likely lived with the feeling misery loves company whenever you were in a smoking room or any smoked filled area of any public place. You likely felt and witnessed lot a misery and yet didn't feel alone in those kind of places. While you may not have felt alone in such company, you likely didn't love the circumstances you were forced to live in at the time. Now you no longer have to face such situations and never will again as long as you always remember the importance of knowing to never take another puff!



Joel
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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

28 Nov 2002, 02:49 #2

Oh no, Joel, not me. The last person I want to encounter when I'm having a not so good day is another person who is more miserable than myself. I need to be near or hear a happy, upbeat individual and then I feel better myself.

As far as my quit went at the beginning, I was just one of those "lucky" people who was NOT miserable. Yes, I was scared. Yes, I was apprehensive and yes, I wondered if I could ever live an hour without a cigarette as I had smoked over 41 years, but miserable? Not at all. I began my quit at a site where misery and relapse was the rule. People used their age, their families, their jobs, their relationships and any reason they could to justify their picking up a cigarette. Looking back at that site, and there are lots and lots like it on the www, I wonder how I could have made it as far as I did and then I think....I made it because I WANTED to make it and I was not looking for an excuse to fail. And so do our most of our Freedom members. They are here because they want to make it and they will.

At Freedom, once Joel started teaching and we began learning what nicotine addiction really entailed and was, I saw more and more of our new members sigh a great sigh of relief. When they learned why they were feeling a certain way and why a particular thing happened, hopes began soaring. When they realized not that everyone felt depressed, that quitting not only became easy, but it could actually be fun, our success rate started to soar.

I get letters from people all the time who are enjoying their quits and their freedom. They say they are afraid to post about how well their quits are going for fear that they may sound like they're bragging. Nothing could be further from the truth. The truth is, those who have an easier time of quitting are those who take the time to read about their addiction and learn just what it is that is happening to them. In fact, most of Freedom's members are having a much easier, successful and relaxing quit than just about any site I visit. Many say that a heavy weight is lifted from their shoulders once they realize how to fight (and I hestitate to use that term) this addiction. We fight cancer...we fight oppression, we fight for our rights, but once we learn about our addiction, we learn how to live with it and to keep it from enveloping us once again.

I don't believe that there is any person here at Freedom living in Shangra-La. Each of us have families, jobs, and a life that includes stress in one way or another. Many of us are not only fighting nicotine addiction, but other health problems as well. Many of us have serious health problems, but that does not make quitting any harder. It's how we view this stress or our quits or our lives that make dealing with them a lot easier for some and extremely difficult, for others. Stress, no matter how extreme, is not a reason for throwing our lives out the door and negativity, no matter how little, makes living our lives that much harder.

Anger, hostility, lives filled with stress and unability to cope requires that we seek professional help. Physical problems require professional help as well. Just learning why it is we feel the way we do or what is wrong with us, is the first step in the healing process.

Never ever feel guilty about getting out here and telling us how easy or smoothly your quit is going. Misery may like company, but success breeds success. That's what people really want to hear and read about. Success.

Learning how to quit, enjoying our quit and having a great outlook and attitude, require nothing more than reading, practicing and remembering why we should never take another puff. It's as simple as that.
Image
Linda
after 41 years of active addiction, almost 3 years free
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freefromit GOLD
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

28 Nov 2002, 03:23 #3

Hear, hear, Joel and Linda!Thank you! I think it's important that we all feel safe posting about how we are feeling, the bad times AND the good. My good days by far outweigh my bad ones, even though I'm only at 2 months. I think that if I knew how much worse my expectations of quitting were( I was TERRIFIED to try!) than the reality of how SIMPLE it really is, I would have quit years ago. I hope all the lurkers and newbies will take heart from this~~~Marie 2 months 1 week 5 days
Last edited by freefromit GOLD on 26 Nov 2009, 00:15, edited 1 time in total.
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janetd (GOLD)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

28 Nov 2002, 03:35 #4

Like Marie, I wish I hadn't waited so long to quit. My first few weeks were pretty uncomfortable but that's not necessarily the norm. There doesn't seem to be a norm -- initial quits differ from one person to the next.

So if we want to present a balanced picture for our Newbies, it is important to see posts from Newbies who are not struggling, who are not miserable. And if an Oldbie writes about being miserable when they first quit, as Joel says, it's imperative to highlight how great we feel now.

And truth be told, even though I had a lot of withdrawal symptoms during the first month of my quit, I was not miserable. The symptoms demonstrated to me the power nicotine had over my body, and that was a good lesson to learn.

Thanks for the post, Joel.

Janet
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Free4ever (Silver)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:24

28 Nov 2002, 04:03 #5

I have to say that I wasn't terrified of quitting.... no - I was desperate to quit. I was desperately searching for a way out of the addiction. I was terrified of failing at my next quit.... I was afraid of going it alone - but then, having read ALOT, and started the educational process... it was as if I had found the answer I was looking for.

I don't want to be a miserable quitter (I'm not saying that I'm not going to have my bad days - cos I know that I will, and when I do, I know that I can work my way through it, read and post). It doesn't all have to be bad... one of the lessons that has stuck in my mind is 'don't expect your quit to be hard'.... usually, my family like to joke that I'm a nightmare to live with when I quit as I've been so snappish in the past. I don't feel snappish or negative this time, I don't feel as if I am missing out on something. I feel as if I am gaining so much.

What is so wrong with being positive about quitting ? The last quit group I was in had awards for getting through '**** week'. I got to day 3 with no probs. whatsoever, then on day 4, because I had preconceptions that quitting was going to be torture, I started having major cravings. I think alot of what we go through is in our heads... is a glass half full, or half empty. Am I going to be a miserable ex-smoker, or am I going to embrace this new found freedom from nicotine? I much prefer Freedom's term 'Glory week'.

Basically - what I wanted to say was - I'm thrilled that I have made the decision to never take another puff. Knowledge to me, is the tool that I need to get me through.... and Freedom is just bursting with Knowledge.
Free4ever
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OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

28 Nov 2002, 04:13 #6

The fact that I used to smoke has virtually no negative impact on my life anymore. Oh, every week or so, I'll encounter a small trigger, but other than that 5 or 10 seconds, with regard to nicotine, my life is unhindered. As Linda says, life goes on... my mother-in-law's here for the next 9 weeks after all.... and life's certainly not paradise, but it's no longer blighted by nicotine addiction and the affects of feeding that addiction on a constant schedule.

Yes, it was tough in the beginning. Withdrawal was somewhat prolonged for me, and it definitely wasn't fun. But, the assurance that it was temporary, and the knowledge of how to cope with it for its limited duration.... helped me get through that, and the mental reconditioning beyond.

For what it's worth, I DO know some people who have lived in Shagri-La! My Dad and his shipmates lived aboard the USS Shangri-La for several 6 month stretches back in his navy days.Image

ImageBob (glad to be free for 10 months, 3 weeks and a day)
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Joanne Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

28 Nov 2002, 10:47 #7

Thanks for raising such good points everyone. It is very true that most people are not as miserable upon cessation as assumed. Semantics and preconceived ideas sure can be misleading and send unnecessary messages if not dealt with properly.

It is interesting to watch the formation of the quitting process. Each night of his clinic, Joel starts out by asking everyone how they are feeling and if they had any problems from the day before. It is amazing to see negative comments turned around simply by turning to logic and focusing on the positives. For the most part people are so happy to be making it and excited to keep on going. It is mostly positive and lively dialogue.

About a week and a half ago my husband took a call for me from the mother of a young man who was looking to quit smoking. I called this boy the next day to get the details, he is twenty-four and taking medication for high blood pressure. He was on a relapse roller coaster and chewing nicotine gum in hopes to break free. I wasn't sure how to handle him as he felt his life was too stressful and that he just felt too miserable to live without smoking. We talked at great length, mainly keeping focused on his biggest reasons for quitting, his health being the obvious one. I asked Mark how he felt about quitting for just twenty-four hours and strongly advised him to start reading Joel's library and Freedom's message board. He mentioned still having a half of a carton of cigarettes on hand and the expensive nicotine gum. Again, it wasn't a problem, he was instructed to run thecigarettes under water and to flush them along with the gum. I am not sure if he thought I had some magic cure but he agreed to go along with me and I promised to pay him for the cigarettes and gum should he not make the twenty-four hours. : ) The next day Mark called ME, he said he felt pretty miserable but was surprised that he really felt okay and that he'd try twenty-four more hours. We discussed his concerns and focused on the positives. Lucky for Mark, Joel had a one day seminar the next night. He was very enlightened, as you might imagine. : ) Eventually he got through the initial seventy-two hour detox and surprised himself even more. He thought he could never get past three days.

Each day since, he takes one day at a time. It is interesting, the first thing he says when I ask him how he is doing is, "this is so hard and I feel so out of it" from there we elaborate on his words. It always turns out so positive, with excitement and eagerness to keep on going. Chris is out there doing everything he normally does, even out with his smoking buddies, etc. He tells me that his friends can't believe he is sitting there and not smoking, he can't believe he is not smoking.

If we had to recover from a life saving medical procedure we'd expect a recovery period with a certain amount of discomfort. Not necessarily just physical pain but the psychological ramifications in dealing with change, even fear of the unknown. The same with quitting smoking, no matter how uncomfortable the temporary challenges can be, for every miserable moment, we gain ten good ones. Now that is the truth!

As Linda said, we get letters from people who feel so good they feel embarrassed to say so in thinking they may be the minority. It just isn't true. Just last weekend I picked up a long distance phone call from a Freedom member who lost computer access months ago and wanted me to know that she was going to turn Gold next month. She went on and on about how great she felt and that she was so grateful to be free. Early in her quit we had made some phone contact while she was working through some initial problems. Shortly after joining Freedom she stopped posting so I didn't know what to think.

The truth is, no matter how challenging those early days can be, we really are so darn grateful for making our way through such a powerful and scary addiction. The positives of having back the control, by far outweighs any temporary discomfort.

Quitting smoking isn't miserable, our addiction is miserable. The positive side, all we have to do is NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF

Joanne : )
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OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

28 Nov 2002, 10:54 #8

This thread seemed like a better place for my earlier post...Image


To anybody interpreting Freedom to be about donning rose-colored glasses, it's not.

Freedom is all about HONESTY. Honesty about addiction, about recovery, about ourselves... honesty to each other. None of us will shrink from the reality that at times quitting is hard.

Having said that, there is a strong tendency for a recovering addict to focus on the difficulties associated with quitting. It's common for the junky mind to take 20 minutes of misery, and parlay that into the characterization of an entire week as terrible. It is common for the junky mind of a long term quitter to find despair in the fact that every once in a while there are still craves... while ignoring the fact that the vast majority of time is spent not thinking about cigarettes. It is common for the junky mind to take the normal difficulties that all people (smokers, ex-smokers, never-smokers) face in a normal life, and portray them as being either caused or made worse by the absence of nicotine.

These tendencies are functions of the way an addict's mind works. They arise from the junky that remains buried inside each recovering addict. They are NOT HONEST portrayals of what life is like as an ex-smoker, but distorted portrayals... distorted by the addict's perpetually dishonest voice. These distorted portraits also have a way of becoming self-fulfilling prophecies; if the recovering addict believes the voice, the addict will find a way to make what the voice is saying come true.

Because Freedom is founded on honesty, it is vital to achieving our mission that we expose dishonest portraits of recovery. Assertion: "NON STOP CRAVINGS!"... Response: "How many cravings have you had since yesterday? How long has each of them lasted? What, exactly did each feel like? How did you handle it? Did you face it down? Did you run from it? How did they compare to your worst day as a smoker?" Assertion: "IT'S NOT GETTING ANY BETTER!" Response: "How is it not getting better? What is it, specifically about not smoking that is making it hard? What were your expectations? How is reality differing from expectations? What is the alternative? How would you feel if you were smoking"

An honest portrayal of recovery gives both the positives and the negatives the weight they deserve. It means looking objectively at the real situation, and fairly assessing how good or bad things really are.

There is a bit more. There is the fact that a lot of what is perceived as positive or negative is heavily influenced by perspective. We each have the capability to find diamonds in the ruff, but also to turn a lovely day into a sunburn. Truthfully, there really are rough patches in recovery. It is imperative to maintaining your resolve that you pressure yourself to find the diamonds, and to honestly look at the alternatives. "Today is hard, but what would I feel like a week from now if I lost my quit? What would I feel like 10 years from now, after smoking 80,000 cigarettes as a result of not getting through this day? What would I feel like on my deathbed, barely able to breathe, saying a premature good-bye to my children?"

Honesty cuts both ways. Positivity about life after smoking IS honesty. Straightforward negativity about smoking is also honest. A healthy dose of each may save a life. Maybe yours.

ImageBob (free through honesty for 10 months, 3 weeks, 1 day)
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Dec 2002, 00:39 #9

There are times when a member is having a bad day or more accurately a bad moment who come over to read and participate at Freedom. We would hope that the reason a person stops by when encountering difficulty is so that he or she can read to refocus and reinforce his or her thoughts on how much he or she wanted to quit, how important it is for him or her to stay off, and to seek out motivational and inspirational posts to help him or her secure the quit that he or she has worked so hard at attaining.

But sometimes it is quite evident that this is not what a person is doing when he or she arrives. In fact, the person often goes to look for the strings with the most negative titles and brings them up to the top, or goes to look up the strings from a person who is also in the midst of a rough time period. So what is a person having smoking thoughts hoping to get out of finding others who are having rough thoughts?

Well, he or she is either looking to establish some sort of camaraderie with the person, working on the basis of misery loves company or, maybe he or she is looking to see if the person relapsed, which would help justify his or her own reason for relapsing. Well Freedom is not the best place to be for either of these two goals. Our general membership is not here because they are working on the theory that misery loves company, and as far as one person relapsing justifying another person's relapse, they can pretty much forget about using the board for this effect too.

You are responsible for your own success or your own failure. The fact is if every one of our Managers relapsed, if I took up smoking and if every other member relapsed too, it would not justify your going back to smoking. It would not give you a legitimate reason to take a cigarette.

I have written this often but when it comes down to it there are only two legitimate reasons to take a cigarette.

One, you want to go back to smoking until it cripples and kills you,

or

two, you enjoyed the physical withdrawals you never want them to end. If this is the case take one drag every three days--withdrawals will last forever.

Every member should start to think out what his or her motivation is for participating at Freedom. If you are coming in to support your decision to quit, to strengthen your resolve and thus secure your quit, then you should either read every single post on the board no matter how negative or positive it sounds so you can see a balanced message, or, just focus on the positive posts and work on tapping into the positive attitude that the vast majority of our members have about quitting.

If you are coming primarily to help others, which is fine if you are personally feeling relatively strong and secure and totally committed to staying free, then you may spend a little more time reading the posts of people in distress so that you may help write posts to reinforce them. Although if you do this enough, it wouldn't hurt for you to spend some time on the positive posts too so that you do not get sucked into a dismal abyss by spending so much time in negative territory.

But if you are looking to rationalize smoking you are going to find more success elsewhere. Go talk to your smoking friends, they will often help you in your quest to rationalize failure. If you believe all of the lies that people tell themselves and will often be glad to share with you as to why they keep on smoking, you likely won't feel to bad about relapsing. Unfortunately whether you feel bad about it or not, your cigarettes are still going to control you and slowly cripple and kill you. Your mind may believe the lies but your body knows the truth, and the truth is that if you are going to stay free saving your health and your life is by you knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Apr 2003, 21:39 #10

"You are responsible for your own success or your own failure. The fact is if every one of our Managers relapsed, if I took up smoking and if every other member relapsed too, it would not justify your going back to smoking. It would not give you a legitimate reason to take a cigarette."
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