Need a boost? Reach for your dreams!

Need a boost? Reach for your dreams!

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Mar 2003, 23:00 #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 : )

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

06 Mar 2003, 23:36 #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

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Mar 2003, 00:34 #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

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

10 Mar 2003, 22:38 #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!

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

14 Mar 2003, 20:29 #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

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:40

15 Mar 2003, 02:05 #6

Way to go! How refreshing and what great ways to restore my faith. Just turned green today(& had a rough a.m.Image), 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 meatImage - 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 09 Feb 2009, 18:36, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

15 Mar 2003, 02:30 #7

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

nadette bronze
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

15 Mar 2003, 02:47 #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.
1w, 4d
$67.95 jingling

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

17 Mar 2003, 11:40 #9

Let your dreams carry the load !
Last edited by John (Gold) on 09 Feb 2009, 18:52, edited 1 time in total.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

25 Mar 2003, 09:21 #10

From an Endless Cycle of Bondage ...

To an Endless Cycle of Comfort ...
Keep Your Dreams Alive!
Last edited by John (Gold) on 09 Feb 2009, 19:01, edited 2 times in total.