Need a boost? Reach for your dreams!

Need a boost? Reach for your dreams!

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 6th, 2003, 11:00 pm #1

Dreams Born of Reality are the Fuel Home
Welcome to Freedom! What is the inner source that will allow you to stop smoking nicotine, skip those once mandatory feedings, and resume full control of your life? Strength, willpower, desire?

It would be natural to think that it's a combination of the three but none of us are stronger than our addiction, as is clearly evidenced by our inability to live the drug addict's first wish of being able to control the uncontrollable. You cannot beat your dependency into submission, stand toe to toe with it, or handle one puff of nicotine and prevail. Nicotine's chemical bond with the brain's reward pathways is beyond the reach of strength.

Willpower? Yes, we can each temporarily muster mountains of willpower but can willpower make any of us of us endure a challenge that we lack the motivation to complete? Can you inhale, chew or **** nicotine into your body and then "will it" to not travel to the brain's addiction circuitry or create the chemical need for more? Have you ever been able to order or command the challenges of chemical withdrawal or psychological recovery to cease? If we are incapable of using strength to control our addiction and we cannot "will" our chemical dependency into hibernation or submission, then what remains?

As simple as it may sound, dreams and desires born of honest recognition of tobacco's impact upon our life have the amazing ability to fuel change, but it takes keeping those original honest motivations in the forefront and driver's seat of our mind so that they can both consciously and subconsciously guide us home.

The successful quitter finds ways to protect and safeguard their primary motivations so that they remain robust, alive and available at a moment's notice to fuel the patience needed to transition this temporary period of adjustment called "quitting." The intelligent quitter's strategy combines an understanding of the law of addiction - one puff of nicotine equals relapse - with well-protected core motivations.

The successful quitter does not try to forget what their health was like while smoking, what it felt like to be controlled, the growing sense of becoming a social outcast, or that feeling as we stood at the tobacco counter and paid our hard earned money to purchase the more than 4,000 chemicals contained in each cigarette that would slowly destroy our body and mind. The successful quitter keeps such memories - and others - in the forefront of their mind as honest reminders and motivations to fuel their dreams and desires.

The intelligent quitter realizes that if they allow their motivations to die that it is highly likely that their freedom and healing may die along with them. The intelligent quitter finds ways to fuel their motivations, just one day at a time, through study, understanding, education, skills development, critical observation and honesty. They know that they are 100% guaranteed to continue free today if they'll only maintain and protect their original day #1 genuine desires to ... Never Take Another Puff!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long. John : )
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Lena (SILVER)
Lena (SILVER)

March 6th, 2003, 11:36 pm #2

Thanks for your great post John, You have a lot of insight. I have come to realize everyday the impact that smoking has had on my life so far. I am looking forward to my new life and am also aware of how my past has shaped me. I know everyday that I am free for the simple fact that I know that I am not in control. Which ultimately gave me control. Life is sure good when lessons are learned and we can all help each other. Thank you John for being here. yqf Lena 3 months 2 days
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 9th, 2003, 12:34 am #3

Preserving Motivations
How much would you be willing to pay for an insurance policy that would guarantee that you'd never relapse and that you'd remain nicotine free for the remainder of your life? Sorry, there is no way on earth to 100% guarantee that a former nicotine addict will not take that "one little puff" of new nicotine that leads to full blown relapse. But there are ways to substantially enhance our chances of never taking another puff of nicotine. How?

"Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it." In no situation is this often quoted phrase more applicable than with drug relapse. Personal relapse insurance is nothing more than a present gift of future memory. Some day down the road temptation will come your way. Imagine having to rely upon your memories of how to do high school algebra or complex math in order to prevail over the temptation to relapse. Would you be successful in resisting or would all your hard work and healing get flushed like a toilet?

Thank God we don't have to remember algebra in order to remain nicotine free. But, in that our brains are conditioned to suppress the bad and negative in life, your once potent memories of the daily nightmare of chemical dependency, your core motivations for wanting to break free, and your willingness to endure the challenges of chemical withdrawal, may someday be akin to trying remember high school algebra.

Our minds are conditioned to remember and replay the good times, not the bad. We have to be able to suppress the bad, otherwise we'd each grow so depressed that facing a new day would be an overwhelming task indeed. A vivid picture of all the pain and hurt of all our yesterdays is a heavy burden to bear. Why would an ex-smoker's mind want to vividly recall the frustrations, anxieties, worries, feelings of bondage, the stink, expense, trips to the store, or sense of worthlessness associated with continuing smoking and being unable to quit? Pack after pack, ashtray after ashtray, carton after carton, cough after cough, year upon year, we lived as slaves to a heartless drug that destroyed a bit more of our health with each new puff. As a father who twice witnessed what the word "labor" really means, I can't help but believe that most women would only have one child if they were forced to vividly recall the true pain of childbirth.

If you haven't already done so, please take the time to make a DETAILED list of all of the reasons that helped motivate you to quit smoking. Sure, you remember them today, but you are not likely to recall them in nearly as much detail in a year or two from now, when you just may need them most.

We remember good times, not bad. Pain, hurt, misery, craves, bad health, worry, wheezing, the true pain of childbirth, coughs, fights with loved ones, ash, oil, stress, or even foul odors are not things that our mind wants to try and remember. We relish and replay our good memories, while suppressing and forgetting the bad. Relapse occurs because ex-smokers forget the motivational reasons that compelled them to quit in the first place. Relapse occurs because ex-smokers forget the true challenges posed during early withdrawal! The mind forgets while ink on paper does not.

Every now and then we see a post on Freedom's message boards in which a member who has quit for more than a month tells us that they've had a terrible day and have been experiencing craves. In the very next paragraph they will say that things are much better now and that they rarely have any craves. Which is it? Are they having craves or aren't they? Is it still bad or are things getting better? The truth is that most simply are not sure exactly what they are feeling. The truth is that by the second month most of us have forgotten the true intensity of "Day 3" or "Day 4," and have no point of reference to describe or catalog what our minds are now experiencing.

Often the quitter in their second month isn't experiencing craves at all. What they are experiencing are smoking related "thoughts." Memory generated thoughts and trigger generated crave anxiety attacks are two different animals. "In my mind I thought about having a cigarette today and the thought was so vivid that I could almost taste it" - versus - "I encountered another powerful crave trigger today that caused my body to shudder, and generated such unbearable anxiety that my mind grew cloudy, I craved to the point of hurting, I began sweating, became irritable, restless, frustrated, and briefly wanted to climb every wall in sight!"

Just like the thought of buttered lobster or a hot apple pie that is so vivid that you can almost taste it, a "thought" doesn't harm us and if we want, we can be push it out of our minds almost as quickly as it arrived. It may sound like semantics but in smoking cessation a passing "thought" really isn't a "crave" any more than a stiff breeze can be considered a hurricane. But, if our mind no longer recalls what the hurricane was like, it can very easily get lost or confused.

The way to stay free isn't by forgetting all our memories of having smoked. Just the opposite! It's in avoiding relapse by accurately documenting why we smoked, why we were willing to endure withdrawal, and what withdrawal was actually like.

Picture yourself sitting in front of a plant for weeks on end and watching it grow. It isn't uncommon for a quitter to forget much of the detail associated with their first week of quitting within just a couple of weeks. In the mind it can all run together. You may still be having craves but by comparison they'll be fewer, further between and weaker in intensity. If you have no means of comparing - like not having any medical records during a hospital stay - you won't be able to develop an accurate picture of your true progress to date.

Your mind may falsely begin to believe that things are simply not improving. You may begin growing impatient. Small doubts may begin infecting your mind. Soon you may hear that doubting voice inside your mind saying "It isn't worth it," "this will never end," "it's not getting easier," "I can't go on." The next step is fatal. It's where the junkie mind rewrites the law of addiction to state that, "They're wrong! I can handle one little itty bitty nico-fix!"

If we treasure our new life and this wonderful gift that we've worked so hard to give to ourselves, it makes sense to take the time now to protect it. Write a loving letter to yourself that will serve as a solid motivator and reminder of why you must endure the next few minutes. Keep this present give of future memory and motivation within easy reach. Make more than one copy.

Last but not least, promise yourself that you'll read each and every word that you've written before picking up any nicotine delivery device and putting nicotine into your clean and healing body. Don't allow yourself to get so far into the forest that the trees all look the same and discouragement begins filling your mind, as you falsely start believing that your recovery has grinded to a halt.

Take the time now to create a free map and compass so that you'll always know exactly where you are. The next few minutes will always be doable!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 10th, 2003, 10:38 pm #4

When you reach for your dreams will the
motivation fueling them still be there?
"I have been having pains in my chest, chouging,
wheezing and generally feeling rough" Millie 3/10/03
How long does it normally take for healing to deprive
a new quitter of the ability to hear the coughing and
wheezing and to get over the "rough feeling" of living
life from inside endless packs of smokes?
What happens when our most compelling evidence of
self-destruction is no longer in the forefront of our mind?
Preserve the past and we protect the present!
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 14th, 2003, 8:29 pm #5

Caring for Our Quit
The recovered cocaine addict, the heroin addict, the nicotine addict - each knows the law of addiction. They've heard it over and over and over. Just one, just once, that's all it ever takes and it's back! They've also read or heard about the relapse study data indicating that 95% of recovered addicts who take just one puff, one hit, one snort or one injection, experience full and complete relapse. They know the rule of addiction and they know what happens if they break it. Then why do we?

There are three primary factors associated with relapse: (1) rewriting the law of addiction; (2) an excuse; and, (3) a vague memory. It doesn't matter if it happens within two weeks after quitting, two months, two years, or twenty years, the factors remain the same and apply to all of us. Rewriting the law of addiction is easy and you don't need a pencil, paper or computer to do it.

"Just one puff" and then "do not pass go, do not collect $200, but go directly to the addict's prison and surrender your freedom for good." It isn't that the recovering nicotine addict doesn't know or believe the law of addiction, because we do. It's just that we begin to believe that we're the exception. We convince ourselves that we're stronger than those who wrote the law, and those came before us. We amend the law. We put ourselves above it. "Just one, it'll be ok, I can handle it, I'm stronger than the others, a little reward, it's been a while, I've earned it."

I'm sorry. As soon as those words are spoken, it's over. Instead of saying that you can handle" just one ," a truthful statement would have been "I can handle them all, give them all back to me, my entire addiction, all the ashtrays, the coughs, the smells, I want it all back." It's far easier to create an exception to the "law" than to admit the truth. A one pack a day addiction is 7,300 cigarettes a year. Don't picture smoking just one. Picture smoking 7,300 each and every year. "To thine own self be true." You deserve the truth - you paid the price - you earned it.

The excuse can be anything. Usually the addict waits for that great excuse to come along, but some get tired of waiting and any old excuse will do. Even joy! A reunion with an old smoking buddy, a few drinks with friends, a wedding, a graduation, or even a baby's birth and a free nicotine laden cigar, why not! But joyful relapse is harder to explain to yourself and to those you love.

The smart nicotine addict waits for the great excuse, the one that we know we can sell to ourselves and others. As sick as it may sound, the easiest to sell and the best of all is the death of a loved one. Although everyone we love is destined to die and it will happen sooner or later, for the reformed addict it's the perfect excuse for relapse. I mean, who can blame us for ingesting highly addictive drugs into our bodies upon our mother's death. Anyone who does would have to be extremely insensitive or totally heartless! Right? Losing a job, the end of a relationship, illness, disease or financial problems are all are great excuses too - it's drug time again! The addicts back!

But an excuse doesn't work alone. It needs help. Failing memories of "why" we were willing to put ourselves through pure "****" in order to break free, breathes fatal life into any excuse. Most of us failed to keep a detailed record of why we quit or what it was like. Instead, we're forced to rely upon our memory to accurately and vividly preserve the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. But now, the memory in which we placed all our trust has failed us.

It isn't that your memory is bad, faulty or doing anything wrong. In fact, it's working as it should to preserve in as much detail as possible the joyful events of life, while forgetting, as quickly as possible, all the pain and hurt that we've felt, including all of the wrong we've done. To have our brains do otherwise would make life inside our minds unbearable. If women were forced to remember the true agony and intense pain of childbirth, most would have just one. God blessed us with the gift to forget.

So how does the reformed nicotine addict who failed to keep accurate records of their journey, revive their passion for freedom and recall the price they paid for liberty. If we forget the past, are we destined to repeat it? Not necessarily. It doesn't have to be. But just as any loving relationship needs nourishment to flourish, we can never take our quit for granted or the flame will eventually die and the fire will go out. We have to want to protect it until the day we die. We have to turn that "want" into action. If we do, we win. If not, our fate may be similar to almost all who don't - relapse followed by crippling disease or early death.

Whether it's daily, weekly or monthly, our quit needs care. If you don't have a detailed log to regularly review upon each anniversary of your quit or at each birthday, do your best to create one now. Talk to those still smoking and ask for help in revitalizing your memories. Encourage them to be as truthful as possible. Although they may look like they're enjoying smoking, the primary joy they get is in keeping their body's nicotine level with the comfort zone, so as to avoid the agony of early withdrawal. Show them your pen and paper, let them help you make your list. You may even cause a spark in them. Be kind and sincere. It wasn't long ago that those were our shoes.

Think about that first week. What was it like? Can you still feel the powerful craves as your body begged and cried to be fed? Can you still feel the pain? Do you see yourself not being able to concentrate, having difficulty sleeping, feeling depressed, angry, irritable, frustrated, restless, with tremendous anxiety, a foggy mind, sweating palms, rapidly cycling emotions, irrational thinking, emotional outbursts or even the shakes? Do you remember these things? Do you remember the price you paid for freedom?

If you have access to a computer, you wont' need a smoker's help. You can go on-line to scores of smoking cessation support groups and find thousands of battles being fought, hear tons of cries and watch hundreds who won't make it through "**** Week" to the hope that lies beyond. Visit as often as possible. Make a few posts to those in need. Share your valuable quit wisdom and give the gift of hope. Most don't know what it's like to be free. Most have few remaining memories of the days before their addiction. Fear of the unknown is frightening. Help them and in doing so help yourself.

If you find yourself attempting to rewrite the law of addiction, stop, think, remember, read, revisit, revive and give to others, but most important, be honest with you. Terrible and emotional events will happen in each of our lives - such is life. Relapse won't fix, correct or undo any of them. In your mind, plan for disaster today. How will you cope? What will do? Remember, your addiction is real. Today it sleeps. Will it sleep tomorrow?
Freedom only has one rule - no nicotine - Never Take Another Puff !
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John
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MegBunny(Bronzed)
MegBunny(Bronzed)

March 15th, 2003, 2:05 am #6

GREAT POSTS!
Way to go! How refreshing and what great ways to restore my faith. Just turned green today(& had a rough a.m.), so I really appreciate all the info! I especially like the stuff about rewarding oneself....kindof reminds me of that zombie movie where the scientist trains the zombie not to eat humans by rewarding him with human meat - i know its a strange analogy - but similar, ya know? lol - thanks again & staying tuff!
Meg Bunny
1 month, 15 hours
Last edited by MegBunny(Bronzed) on February 9th, 2009, 6:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Rickgoldx5
Rickgoldx5

March 15th, 2003, 2:30 am #7

For anyone who has made or will make a Journal about smoking or quitting, this string should be your Introduction page!
Thanks John
Rick
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nadette bronze
nadette bronze

March 15th, 2003, 2:47 am #8

thank you for your eloquence and wisdom. i will write that letter to myself when i get home tonight.
i need and want to read these articles. very important for me. i'm doing okay.
nadette
1w, 4d
453cns
$67.95 jingling
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 17th, 2003, 11:40 am #9

Let your dreams carry the load !
Last edited by John (Gold) on February 9th, 2009, 6:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 25th, 2003, 9:21 am #10

From an Endless Cycle of Bondage ...

To an Endless Cycle of Comfort ...
Keep Your Dreams Alive!
Last edited by John (Gold) on February 9th, 2009, 7:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Christine06516
Christine06516

March 25th, 2003, 10:01 am #11

Wow John, very powerful. I had a tiring day fighting "urges" caused by too much stress, luckily I am so new into my quit I can remember what that first day was like, and I NEVER want to repeat it (even though it is "doable"). But I guess I will document what that day was like in detail in my journal so that I can remind myself if need be, when that memories aren't as fresh. All becaus I have CHOSEN to Never Take Another Puff!!

Christine I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Week 2 Days 20 Hours 17 Minutes 36 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 196. Money saved: $39.38.
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Golddabler1
Golddabler1

March 25th, 2003, 10:32 am #12

Brilliant posting john i agree you must keep your motivation alive,I lost a years quit by not realising this but this time i,m staying motivated.this has been an easy quit as the years quit i had was but i had several hard quits after my relapse.So my formulae now is never take another puff=100% success and taking another puff=100% relapse.Rickdabler 2 weeks 22hrs 25 mins nicotine free.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 25th, 2003, 10:50 am #13

Nine days & fifteen days, Wowsers! You're both doing fantastic and absolutely nothing can stop your healing so long as you both continue living by that one simple rule - no nicotine, never take another puff. Unlike all the quick fix magic cures, Freedom is just a learning and support tool that can not take credit for being used nor is it responsible for being ignored. The glory is all yours Christine & Rickdabler! Be proud of how far you've each come!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long. John
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 28th, 2003, 11:30 am #14



Don't try to forget about what it was like living life from the inside of pack after pack after pack after pack but keep those memories honest, vivid and alive as they are the fuel the motivated you to begin this journey, and they are also the fuel that will see you through challenging times. Just one day at a time Never Take Another Puff!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long, John
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

April 19th, 2003, 9:11 am #15

Whether you're flying high ...
... or just beginning this amazing journey home ...
... your core motivations, reasons for quitting and dreams
are the wind beneath your educated wings. Keep them
vibrant and fresh and they'll keep you healing, free and soaring!
Last edited by John (Gold) on February 9th, 2009, 7:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

May 5th, 2003, 7:04 pm #16

A 50% chance of killing ourself 5,000 days early?
What chemical is worth 5,000 sunrises?
Last edited by John (Gold) on February 9th, 2009, 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

June 9th, 2003, 12:11 am #17

The junkie mind is "us" and if allowed can be an amazing force for personal betrayal and renewal of our own senseless self-destruction. If we keep our day #1 core motivations alive, honest, fresh, vibrant and in the forefront of our minds, although junkie thoughts may come and go, they will find no ground to take root. The key to freedom isn't forgetting what it was like living a chemically captive life but in remembering as much honest detail as possible.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

June 27th, 2003, 4:20 am #18

Choices
A few moments of challenge or a lifetime of captivity?
Feeding the cells of your body oxygen or carbon monoxide?
Paying money to stay enslaved or spending it on you?
Revolving life around chemical feedings or around you?
Remaining prisioner to your dependency or arresting it?
No nicotine today or one puff and relapse?
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

July 7th, 2003, 10:17 pm #19

Your dreams born of honest dependency realities
will make the next brief challenge doable


Look at a clock as cessation time distortion is very real and
that next crave episode will not last longer than 3 minutes.
Last edited by John (Gold) on February 9th, 2009, 7:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

August 7th, 2003, 10:49 am #20

NTAP vs. Nicotine Normal
You can embrace recovery or fight it. You can keep yourself on pins and needles or totally relax for just a moment and test the real waters. You can listen to conditioned junkie thinking fostered by years of "nicotine normal" and the powerful emotions that may flow from the inner mind, or cozy-up to the simple truths that the emerging "NTAP you" cannot deny - you're free, in control and the next few minutes are entirely doable!

Addiction isn't about getting high but about feeling "nicotine normal" again. It's a place we've each been thousands upon thousands of times after sucking deeply to replace missing nicotine that forever was leaving our bodies at the rate of one-half every two hours. The nicotine induced dopamine and adrenaline releases took us back to "nicotine normal" where we sensed a relaxing big hug aaahhh sensation while at the exact same time having our heart pound faster while every vessel in our body constricted.

Recovery isn't about strength or willpower but about allowing your dreams to flood your inner mind as you allow yourself time to adjust to embracing the real you again. It's letting those honest dreams occupy center stage while laughing at the lies that once kept you in denial. You're headed home to see what it's like being the real you, engaging every aspect of life while having the expectation of going each and every day without wanting for nicotine.

It wasn't that you liked being chemically married to what may be earth's most captivating substance, but that once true dependency was established you lost all choice in the matter. Yes, believing you liked being addicted made defeat a bit more palatable.

You don't miss the foul and nasty taste of "nicotine normal" and the 4,000+ chemicals that filled your mouth and lungs. Again, it's that once enslaved you had absolutely no choice but to play the denial game and find a few reasons to justify each defeat. Think about the alternative, how could we have lived in these minds if each and every day, all day long, we were forced to **** down chemical soot that we told ourselves we hated?

Relax, go the distance, embrace the real you! There's absolutely nothing to fear by continuing to heal that amazing body of yours, by stopping your own senseless self- destruction, by keeping more of your money, by taking back control and restoring stolen self-esteem and by having great odds of adding thousands of extra sunrises to your life.

Do you remember that first puff ever when your taste buds were healthy? Remember how your lungs rebelled before becoming used to living in soot? After that first puff it was simply a matter or getting used to your new master. Freedom is your birthright and it's time to go home! The next few minutes are all that matter and are entirely doable! Baby steps, just one day at a time and there's only one rule - no nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff! John (Gold)

Last edited by John (Gold) on February 11th, 2014, 12:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

September 5th, 2003, 8:07 am #21



> Listen to your rational well reasoned dreams while laughing at those deep inner emotions that are were so conditioned by years of chemical dependency that they are now afraid of "you" returning to the real "you!" Embrace recovery as it's nothing more again becoming comfortable engaging life as "you!"

Only one rule - no nicotine today! John
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

October 30th, 2003, 6:09 pm #22



Denial vs. Dreams
Denial is the unconscious defensive filtering system of the addict's conscious mind. It's characterized by refusal to acknowledge the painful realities of true chemical dependency, gradual self-destruction and the process needed for recovery. It's objective is simple - protect the addict's chemical world of "nicotine normal" while preserving as much human dignity as possible. Over time it can grow into a thick insulating wall that is almost impenetrable by the world around us.

Our wall was built of dependency ignorance, fabrications, distortions, rationalizations, half-truths, minimizations, intellectualizations, blame transference and avoidance. Protective during active dependency, years of denial can quickly become the primary adversary following the early challenges of chemical withdrawal and trigger reconditioning, as it conflicts with and chips away at our dreams fueling cessation.

When quitting, it is normal to picture leaving our smoking history behind us as we step into that fresh clean world of ex-smoker-hood but in reality the wall is deeply embedded in our consciousness and comes with us. It can easily result in anxiety filled smoking-fixation tug-o-wars between dreams and denial that, if allowed, have the potential to gradually **** the juice from freedom's dreams.

Addressing denial is a matter of using intelligence, new understanding, insights and honesty to take the wall apart piece by piece. Although the dreams and motivations of many are powerful enough to permit them to reach acceptance and begin tasting the fruits of full recovery, not addressing denial is like intentionally holding on to the seeds of relapse.

Be careful not to allow a conscious understanding of denial to become yet another brick in your wall of denial. Use it as a tool to contrast concepts such as "like" and "love" with addiction. What's love got to do with it? Addicted to love? No, you were addicted to nicotine!

Is it a love of having life constantly interrupted to feed sagging blood-serum nicotine levels as the real clock in your life is nicotine's two-hour chemical half-life? Is it that you love having your brain's dopamine, serotonin and adrenaline pathways, and roughly 200 other neurochemicals, controlled by nicotine?

Reflect upon the smell and taste of over 4,000 hot burning chemicals. "Like"? "Love"? How did the smell strike you before becoming addicted and how does it smell now? Again, does it really matter how they smell or taste if the autonomy and freedom to not have them touch your senses no longer exists?

Impose honesty upon the concept of just one puff. A basic premise of law of addiction is that "one is too many and a thousand isn't enough."

Can we really take a big puff of nicotine and not immediately revive thousands upon thousands of smoking memories, re-establish at least one feeding cue that will likely be met again, and somehow will or command the nicotine that just entered our bloodstream to not travel up to our brain and release dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin?

When it comes to statistics it was easy for the addict to turn them into yet another brick. For example, take the 50/50 chance of smoking costing you roughly 5,000 days of life. The addict plucks salvation from the jaws of death by declaring that there is a 50% chance that smoking won't kill them while ignoring the equally as great odds that it will. They also ignore the fact that it isn't just death they need to be concerned about as for each smoker robbed of life each year twenty others are battling to recover from or survive with tobacco related strokes, heart attacks, cancers, or COPD.

As normal thoughts and yearnings to smoke nicotine enter your mind they will often be followed by denial thoughts that attempt to justify relapse. Although the yearnings are normal and become less frequent with the passing of time, the denial justifications that often accompany them are a golden opportunity to set the record straight. An open recovering mind that's willing to tear down its wall can accelerate the arrival of acceptance.

Turn the tide. Allow full acceptance of a permanent chemical dependency that can be arrested but never killed, to minimize the nonsense employed to justify continuining captivity. Allow acceptance that each and every puff destroyed a bit more of your body's capacity to receive and transport life giving oxygen to intellectualize the importance of preserving and improving the performance of all capacities that remain. Allow acceptance that recovery leads to new expectations that don't include nicotine - by simply not allowing any nicotine back into your bloodstream just one day at a time - to bring a smile to your face each time a thought or urge crosses your mind.

When it comes to denial's blame game don't blame what you're feeling on where you're going but if you must cast blame, blame it on where you've been. We blamed life's stresses for not being able to quit, blamed zealots and fanatics for not tolerating our smoke, blamed our family and loves ones for not knowing what we were going through, what it was like to endure recovery and not supporting us during it, and even blamed smokers around us for our relapse - "I wish you hadn't of given me that one cigarette as I ended up buying an entire pack."

The intelligent and educated quitter leaves little room for competition between their current dreams and former denial. Some competition is probably inevitable but keeping the memories fueling our dreams robust and alive (our years of endless feedings, our chemical bondage, a 30% diminished lung capacity, escalating circulatory damage, increasing costs, generally declining health, a diminished life expectancy, increasing social stigma, and the mountains of ash, ashtrays, butts, the smoke, stink and the yellow film that covered our world) while directly confronting denial vastly increases the odds of continuing to choose freedom over feed-em.

To continue healing and keep the risks headed in the other direction is a matter of not allowing nicotine into our body today. The next few minutes are all that really matter and each is entirely doable. Just one day at a time Never Take Another Puff!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long, Freedom! John


Last edited by John (Gold) on February 9th, 2009, 8:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Liuchka
Liuchka

November 19th, 2003, 10:01 am #23

To John:
Last edited by Liuchka on February 9th, 2009, 8:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

November 22nd, 2003, 11:55 am #24

Reach for Being You Again!
Nicotine is the tobacco plant's natural protection from being eaten by insects. Drop for drop it's more lethal than strychnine and three times deadlier than arsenic. Yet, amazingly, by chance, this natural insecticide's chemical structure is so similar to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that once inside the brain it fits a host of chemical locks permitting it direct and indirect control over the flow of more than 200 neurochemicals.

Within eight seconds of that first-ever inhaled puff, nicotine arrived at the brain's reward pathways where it generated a flood of dopamine resulting in an immediate "aaahhh" satisfaction sensation. Sensing it would cause most first-time inhalers to soon return for more. Nicotine also fit the adrenaline locks releasing a host of fight or flight neurochemicals and select serotonin locks impacting mood.

A toxic poison, the brain's defenses fought back but in doing so they had no choice but to also turn down the mind's sensitivity to acetylcholine, the body's conductor of an entire orchestra of neurochemicals.

In some neuro-circuits the brain diminished the number of receptors available to receive nicotine, in others it diminished the number of available transporters and in still other regions it grew millions and millions of extra neurons, almost as if trying to protect itself by more widely disbursing the arriving pesticide.

There was only one problem. All the physical changes engineered a new tailored neurochemical sense of normal built entirely upon the presence of nicotine. Now, any attempt to stop using it would come with a risk of intermittent temporary hurtful anxieties and powerful mood shifts. A true chemical addiction was born. Returning home to the "real you" now had a price. Gradually the calmness and comfort associated with being the "real you" faded into distant or even forgotten memory.
The brain's protective adjustments insured that any attempt to stop would leave you temporarily desensitized. Your dopamine reward system would briefly offer-up few rewards, your nervous system would see altering the status quo as danger and sound an emotional anxiety alarm throughout your body, and mood circuitry might briefly find it difficult to climb beyond depression.

Successful nicotine dependency recovery is developing the patience to allow the mind the time needed to readjust to functioning normally, and the recovering nicotine addict time to both readjust to their brain's adjustments and to become 100% comfortable engaging life without wanting for nicotine.

The body's nicotine reserves decline by about half every two hours. It's not only the basic chemical half-life clock which determines mandatory nicotine feeding times, when quitting, it's also the clock that determines how long it takes before the brain begins bathing in nicotine free blood-serum, the moment that real healing begins.
It can take up to 72 hours for the blood-serum to become nicotine-free and 90% of nicotine's metabolites to exit the body via your urine. It's then that the anxieties associated with readjustment normally peak in intensity and begin to gradually decline.

But just one powerful puff of nicotine and you'll again face another 72 hours of detox anxieties. It's why the one puff survival rate is almost zero. None of us are stronger than nicotine but then we don't need to be as it is just a chemical with an I.Q. of zero. It does not plot nor conspire and is not some demon within you. It's a chemical.
The key to nicotine dependency recovery isn't dragging out 72 hours of detox by toying for months with gradual weaning or creative means for delivering nicotine. You need to know that the over-the-counter patch and gum generated an average 93% six-month smoking relapse rate in the seven studies conducted to date (Tobacco Control, March 2003). The key is education and understanding.
The next few minutes are entirely doable and there's only one rule - no nicotine today!
John
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

November 23rd, 2003, 3:37 pm #25

Pain or Fear as a Primary Motivation
Yesterday we had a member post a distress thread entitled ....
Why is it getting worse?
" I have no trouble visualising lung cancer and other horrific examples, but my smoke cravings are intolerable. I have been quit for 10 days, and I almost feel like the life is not worth living if I can't smoke. Please tell me that I can have fun eventually, without cigarettes. No scary lung cancer examples, please, this just insults my intelligence lately."
"Also my throat biopsy came back all clear - the removed "thing" turned out to be completely non-malignant ulceration. This was my main reason for quitting smoking as I was afraid that I was getting some throat cancer and I am only 32, well, 33 tomorrow. I am no longer excited that "I did it" like I was after the first 72 hours. Help"
In response Joel posted as follows ...
From: Joel As you have illustrated pain as well as fear are often powerful motivators for a person to start a quit. The problem is both pain and fear have a tendency of wearing off when the problem or problems that are causing them are identified and treated. If pain and fear are the only reason that you quit and now the only reason that you stopped is gone then there is no reason for you to really stay quit anymore. That is why it is crucial that you work on developing a variety of reasons why you quit.

Lets face it, smoking hits most people with negative consequences on many fronts. I suspect it has hit you the same way as it has to most others. Smoking has the ability to negatively impact people economically, socially, professionally, general quality of life, health wise, and has the ultimate potential of killing the smoker. Even if you do not want to admit or acknowledge that being a smoker is causing problems on all of these fronts cigarettes are likely still causing problems in many if not all of these areas.

If you want to stay free keep seeing cigarettes for what they are. Build up an arsenal of multiple reasons of why you want to stay quit. If one area does not seem to go the way you initially wanted, make sure that you realize that those other areas still exist and are still good reasons to stay smoke free. If you decide you don't want to stay smoke free, we have taught you all you need to know to go back to smoking. Just make sure that you are going back with the intent of smoking until it kills you. Oh sure, maybe you will be lucky enough to be able to get through another full withdrawal cycle sometime in the future and have done it in time to be able to save your life. But there is also the chance that you won't have the strength, desire or opportunity to quit again in time.

While fear or pain may have given you the impetus to quit this time, make sure that that you are fully aware that you may not get such a warning or opportunity next time. The first symptom some people experience for certain diseases is sudden death. On this matter I would not use an example of a scary lung cancer picture. Almost no one dies suddenly from lung cancer without prior knowledge. They get to suffer for at least a few weeks or months or sometimes even years if they are diagnosed with a metastasized and untreatable cancer which a high percentage of lung cancer are. I wouldn't use scary stories of emphysema or other COPD kind of diseases either. These people have years of pain and suffering which are giving them constant reasons to quit yet many continue smoking to the very end. For sudden death issues it is heart disease and strokes that may strike suddenly and without prior warning. I need to point out that these condition are not rare and areas that should not really be of much concern. Smoking kills a whole lot more people from cardiovascular kinds of problems than it does from cancer or lung diseases.

So make sure to consider your options here. If you want to work diligently at getting sick and dying prematurely it is within your ability to do it now. Although you should probably consider something. You don't want to get cancer and you are not looking forward to dying. How do I know this? Because when you thought you had something wrong and were at risk of death you were sufficiently motivated to quit smoking. Lucky for you the problem you thought you had didn't exist. Unluckily for you there are real risks that still exist for you as well as for all people who smoke that you just don't want to recognize or be told about.

As I said above, we have taught you all you need to know to relapse. All you need to do is go through every article in my library, get to the last sentence and dismiss the article and break the one rule at the end that could have kept your quit going and minimized your risk of developing such truly life threatening conditions. All you need to do is break the law of addiction once of disregarding the one fact that to stay smoke free you must be totally committed to never take another puff!
Joel
Last edited by John (Gold) on February 28th, 2009, 3:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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