Motivating Others

Motivating Others

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

25 Mar 2001, 23:48 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library

Individual Approaches Used to
Motivate Smokers to Quit

Every now and then, someone informs me of an original technique they devised or heard of to help motivate family and friends to quit smoking or to at least consider getting outside assistance to break free from this deadly addiction. I feel that since the majority of people who have given up smoking have done so on their own without any professional intervention, these approaches are often viable alternatives for smokers who wish to quit or for you as ex-smokers to use to help significant others stop smoking.

Most recently, a clinic participant told us of a friend who wanted to convince her husband to give up smoking. She considered his habit not only to be deadly but also wasteful and expensive. To illustrate her point to the husband, every time he purchased a new carton of cigarettes she promptly went to the nearest sewer and deposited an equivalent amount of money. This was making the poor husband sick. He usually retorted, "Why don't you at least donate it to a worthy cause?" She would reply, "At least my way of wasting money isn't hurting anyone." This activity went on for a little over a month, at which time the husband, realizing the real waste of his habit, decided it was time to stop. He made it. Not only was he saving money, but, more important, he was saving his life. I give the wife a lot of credit for having the guts and perseverance to continue this unconventional practice to motivate her husband to help himself.

At all my clinics, I always tell the story of the lady who eight years ago had a circulatory condition, Buerger's disease, and had to have her right leg amputated. As you may recall, she quit smoking and had no further circulatory complications for three years.

Then one night at a party, a friend offered her a cigarette. She figured that since she had been off cigarettes for so long, she now had control over her habit. If she liked the cigarette, she would smoke one or two a day. If she didn't like the cigarette, she just wouldn't smoke anymore.

Well, she took the cigarette. She didn't particularly like the cigarette, but the next day she was up to her old level of consumption. Four days later she lost circulation in her other leg. She knew the reason. After three years with no problem and only four days after going back to smoking her circulation was affected. Her doctor told her that if she did not quit immediately, she would probably lose her other leg.

She enrolled in a smoking clinic that week and quit smoking. Almost immediately her circulation improved. The doctor took her off anti-coagulant drugs. She no longer needed them. Soon, things were back to normal.

Nine months later, I called to ask her to serve on a panel. At that time, she replied, "I can't come. I have been in the hospital the last two months." When I asked what had happened, she replied, "I had my toes amputated." She had gone back to smoking. She tried one because she just couldn't believe she would get hooked again. She was wrong. She lost circulation, had her toes removed and eventually had her leg amputated.

I have had other clinic participants with similar experiences. The reason I talk about this story is I again ran into her about 3 years ago, at which time she told me she had finally quit smoking. I told her I was surprised, I thought she had permanently lost control. After all, she had her leg removed, the toes from her other foot, and eventually her second leg. When I confronted her with that information she replied, "The doctor finally convinced me. He said, 'You might as well keep on smoking, I'll just take your arms off next." That scared her into quitting smoking. Her next comment to me was unbelievable. She looked me straight in the face, dead seriously, and said "I didn't need a house to fall on me to tell me to quit smoking!"

I still have periodic contact with her, and whenever I bring up that conversation, we both find ourselves amazed that she could ever have made such an irrational statement. She happens to be a very rational, bright and inspirational individual. She gets around on wooden legs, socializes, and even occasionally sings and dances on stage. Once she had broken free of the drug's effects and the smoker's psyche, she knew she could do anything.

Frequently, I encounter people who quit smoking on their own. When I ask how they did it, they tell me of this marvelous lady they met who told of how she used to be hooked on smoking. Hooked so bad, in fact, that she had her legs amputated from a smoking related illness. It usually turns out to be the same person. By spreading her story, she offers inspiration and hope to countless smokers to break the habit before the habit breaks them.

You, too, probably have stories you can share with your smoking friends of your past experiences smoking, or of people you met in your clinic. Maybe you know of ways to help motivate family and friends to quit. Try to help those people most important to you. If they try to stop but can't on their own, remember, we are always out here to help them. You can really make a difference in their lives. Share your knowledge. For friends who have already quit, as well as for yourself, don't forget to reinforce the one principle - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!


Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

25 Mar 2001, 23:50 #2

From: Penny Sent: 6/1/2000 6:45 AM 1 of 7
Hi Joel! We are here at the same time. This letter always reminds me of my friend who has very poor circulation and still smokes. Invited her to join here but she said no..................... :( Have a great day Joel!


I have been Quit for: 6M 1D 8h 27m 15s. I have NOT smoked 6452, for a savings of $1,287.88. Life Saved: 3W 1D 9h 40m.
From: UnknownWizard Sent: 9/28/2000 6:48 AM 2 of 7
Thanks Joel all your readings/writings are great this one reminds me that no matter what I will always be recovering from smoking and be recovered and that the nicodemon is smart, patient, sly and very sneaky to my thinking and how it can be presented and I must be "on guard" at all times

From: Jitterbug (Staff2) Sent: 9/28/2000 7:01 AM 3 of 7
Joel - Another great one. My friend, a woman 69 years old and smoking probably longer than I am old, saw how well I was doing since my quit, and once I had quit for about 2 weeks, she decided to quit with me, so I've been holding her hand. Of course, she has a heart condition, diabetic, takes an anti-coagulant, etc. Now she's complaining that she feels really terrible and can hardly breathe. I told her that if she's a closet smoker (I have known her to do this in the past), that that's probably what is causing her to not breathe very well, But I also pointed out that once you quit smoking your body goes through various changes and advised her to go to the doctor, get a good check-up, but to let him know that she recently quit smoking. I said then he may know what else to check into that could be medical with her. I guess I told her right. She's going to the doctor today, so we'll see.


Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Jun 2001, 21:53 #3

Image One more for Mandie. Now I am off for the day. Have a good weekend everyone.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:27

30 Jun 2001, 21:59 #4

Thanks Joel! :o) Have a great weekend!!

Teeisfree GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

30 Jun 2001, 23:49 #5

I don't have any motivational stories that even touch that one.
Most of the stories I know about people smoking and staying in denial about illness have led to death- smokers don't like to hear those, I always tuned them out myself.
I give my friends this website.Many have visited and liked it. None have quit yet-I am hopeful the more they visit the closer they will come to deciding to quit .

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

03 Sep 2002, 00:39 #6

How 'bout that. One I hadn't read before.

Joel, I suggest you repost this on the Addiction or Relapse Prevention board with a different title. Something like:

I took a puff, and now I don't have my legs.

Reason I say this is that I've skipped over this one in the past, (as I'm sure others have), thinking it only specifically to how I might motivate another to quit.

Were I ever to be considering taking a puff, this post would be an incredibly powerful message.


Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

31 Jan 2003, 22:50 #7

Another wonderful piece of literature! I love this:"Once she had broken free of the drugs effects and the smoker's psyche, she knew she could do anything". That is so true. The power of a successful quit empowers the soul and mind. You feel like you can do anything.Birky 2mths+

TGirl1965 (BRONZE)
Joined: 10 Jan 2009, 01:22

02 Mar 2003, 09:38 #8

Wow. I needed this one. It's too easy to be fooled with self-assurance. We must never forget what we are - addicts.
Thanks Joel.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

05 Aug 2003, 08:43 #9

Hi joel
My father had two amputations and it probably was down to this disease but at the time here is how he would have seen it,he had a below the knee amputation on one leg in 1970,he was told smoking was a contibrutary factor and if it he quit it might help,he probably thought this is my only pleasure and i,ve lost aleg so i will continue to smoke,in 1978 he lost his other leg from above the knee,when my father lost his first leg nurses used to introduce him to people that had lost a foot just to demonstrate that if he could live with a leg missing then their fate was less,my father smoked untill he died in 1985 from an annurism having lost two limbs,m,y mother is still alive and well at 74yrs of age as a smoker,is life fair,i am sooo glad that she is still on this earth but i wish my father had the benefit of freedom.i,m sire this disease was his problem but in the 70,s we did,nt know about nicotine addiction.
Rickdabler 4 monthd 3 weeks 5 days 21hrs happily nicotine free.Image

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

05 Aug 2003, 21:11 #10

Hello Rickdabbler:

I am not sure that Buerger's Disease is the exact disease that your father experienced. There are a number of peripheral vascular diseases that smoking is a major contributing factor to. The relationship between smoking and Bueger's Disease is pretty unique though. It is more than a contributing factor, it is the major cause of the disease.

Even back in 1970, a doctor making the specific diagnosis would likely not have used the phrase "contributing factor" when referring to smoking, he or she would have used the phrase that smoking was the cause of the problem and to save the limb your father would have to quit smoking. As this story shows, that even if a person is given the absolute ultimatum to quit smoking or lose a limb, there is no guarantee what choice an addicted smoker will make.

Always remember this and it can be a very powerful incentive for you to stay free from nicotine--the simple realization that the grip nicotine can take on you if given the opportunity to get back into your system can be so powerful that it could end up costing you a leg, and arm, your lungs and eventually your life. To guarantee that you never have to face such a level of loss of control again is as simple as now sticking to your commitment to never take another puff!