New reactions to anger as an ex-smoker

The emotions that flow from nicotine cessation

New reactions to anger as an ex-smoker

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

03 Aug 2000, 22:41 #1

Dealing with emotional loss has similarities to dealing with anger in regards to smoking cessation and its aftermath. When a smoker encounters a person or situation that angers them, they initially feel the frustration of the moment, making them, depending on the severity of the situation, churn in side. This effect in non-smokers or even ex-smokers is annoying to say the least. The only thing that resolves the internal conflict for a person not in the midst of an active addiction is resolution of the situation or, in the case of a situation which doesn't lend itself to a quick resolution, time to assimilate the frustration and in a sense move on. An active smoker though, facing the exact same stress has an additional complication which even though they don't recognize it, it creates real significant implications to their smoking behavior and belief structures regarding the benefit of smoking.

When a person encounters stress, it has a physiological effect causing acidification of urine. In a non-active tobacco user urine acidity has no real perceivable effect. It is something that internally happens and they don't know it, and actually, probably don't care to know. Nicotine users are more complex. When a person maintaining any level of nicotine in their body encounters stress, the urine acidifies and this process causes nicotine to be pulled from the blood stream, not even becoming metabolized, and into the urinary bladder. This then in fact drops the brain supply of nicotine, throwing the smoker into drug withdrawal. Now they are really churning inside, not just from the initial stress, but also from the withdrawal effect itself. Interesting enough, even if the stress is resolved, the smoker generally is still not going to feel good. The withdrawal doesn't ease up by the conflict resolution, only by re-administration of nicotine, or, even better, riding out the withdrawal for 72 hours totally eradicating nicotine via excretion from the body of metabolizing it into bi-products which don't cause withdrawal. Most of the time, the active smoker more often uses the first method to alleviate withdrawal, taking another cigarette. While it calms them down for the moment, its effect is short lived, basically having to be redone ever 20 minutes to half hour for the rest of the smokers life to permanently stave off the symptoms.

Even though this is a false calming effect, since it doesn't really calm the stress, it just replaces the nicotine loss from the stress, the smoker feels it helped them deal with the conflict. It became what they viewed as an effective crutch. But the implications of that crutch are more far reaching than just making initial stress effects more severe. It effects how the person may deal with conflict and sadness in a way not real obvious, but real serious. In a way, it effects their ability to communicate and maybe even in someway, grow from the experience.

Here is simple example of what I mean. Let's say you don't like the way a significant other in your life squeezes toothpaste. If you point out the way it's a problem to you in a calm rational manner, maybe the person will change and do it a way that is not disturbing to you. By communicating your feeling you make a minor annoyance basically disappear. But now lets say you're a smoker who sees the tube of toothpaste, get a little upset, and are about to say something, again, address the problem. But wait, because you are a little annoyed, you lose nicotine, go into withdrawal, and before you are going to deal with the problem, you have to go smoke. You smoke, alleviate the withdrawal, in-fact, you feel better. At the same time, you put a little time between you and the toothpaste situation and on further evaluation, you decide its not that big of a deal, forget it. Sounds like and feels like you resolved the stress. But in fact, you didn't. You suppressed the feeling. It still there, not resolved, not communicated. Next time it happens again, you again get mad. You go into withdrawal. You have to smoke. You repeat the cycle, again not communicating and not resolving the conflict. Over and over again, maybe for years this pattern is repeated.

One day you quit smoking. You may in fact be off for weeks, maybe months. All of a sudden, one day the exact problem presents itself again, they annoying toothpaste. You don't have an automatic withdrawal kicked in pulling you away from the situation. You see it, nothing else effecting you and you blow up. If the person is within earshot, you may explode. When you look back in retrospect, you feel you have blown up inappropriately, the reaction was greatly exaggerated for the situation. You faced it hundreds of times before and nothing like this ever happened. You begin to question what happened to you to turn you into such a horrible or explosive person. Understand what happened. You are not blowing up at what just happened, you are blowing up for what has been bothering you for years and now, because of the build up of frustration, you are blowing up much more severe than you ever would have if you addressed it early on. It is like pulling a cork out of a shaken carbonated bottle, the more shaken the worse the explosion.

What smoking had done over the years was stopped you from dealing early on with feelings, making them fester and grow to a point where when the came out, it was more severe than when initially encountered. Understand something though, if you had not quit smoking, the feelings sooner or later would manifest. Either by a similar reaction as the blow up or by physical manifestations which ongoing unresolved stress has the full potential of causing. Many a relationships end because of claming up early on effectively shutting down conflict resolution by communication between partners.

Hope this helps explain why it hurts so much but also helps you to understand why it is still so important not to smoke.

Will talk to you again soon.

Joel
Reply

Darcy
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:35

04 Aug 2000, 02:02 #2

Joel,

Thank you. You always know how to help. :)

Darcy




Just adding a new video related to this string:

Last edited by Darcy on 13 Aug 2012, 19:46, edited 1 time in total.
Reply

Pumpkineater
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 20:32

04 Aug 2000, 03:53 #3

Wow. This makes so much sence to me. It is me. I am it. Thank you Joel. This site is such an inspiration. People helping people for the joy of it all. Ya gotta love it.

Peter
Reply

Laila
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:05

08 Aug 2000, 21:28 #4

thanks,

how did I miss this one?
Reply

Mojo
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 20:32

17 Sep 2000, 01:00 #5

Wow didn't see this one before. Makes me really glad I don't smoke. I use to suppress so much with nicotine. I have my life back. Thanks everyone for all the help. Mojo
Reply

GrumpyGuy1
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:13

17 Sep 2000, 02:41 #6

Joel,

Great article, too bad I missed this until know but it is really helpful! Thanks for sharing it!

GrumpyGuy

One week, one day, 12 hours, 26 minutes and 21 seconds. 255 cigarettes not smoked, saving $42.59. Life saved: 21 hours, 15 minutes.
Reply

Jitterbug
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:00

20 Sep 2000, 02:13 #7

Joel, Thanks muches. I feel better than this morning, and I read your article. It seems to help as well. I've always said, you know exactly what to say!

Jitterbug
Reply

delandersen (bronze)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 20:32

25 Sep 2000, 00:55 #8

Thanks Joel,

I've fallen a bit behind on my reading- I just saw your depression article today, and it really helped me understand some things about my anger. I'm trying to learn to really resolve issues instead of avoiding them.

Thanks again!

debbie
Reply

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 Oct 2000, 09:39 #9

Hello Jitterbug:

Time isn't the real determinant factor for these kind of triggers, experience is. The odds are next time your friends pull a similar weekend incident with you (if they ever do it again), you will handle it better. But lets say they didn't do it this past weekend, but instead did it six months from now. Even though you would have had well over half a year under your belt, the reaction could have been the same for it would still have been the first time with that specific stress without a cigarette. In essense, you did what you had to, you lived through it without taking a cigarette. Again, because of your actions you are still smokefree. For this you should be proud and happy.

Hang in there Jitterbug.
Reply

aprill
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:13

10 Nov 2000, 15:03 #10

Thank you Joel. I think I understand what you are saying here. Basically it's going to take some time to relearn how to deal with stress and conflict. As a smoker, I didn't deal with conflict, but instead just lit up a cigarette. This really helps to explain the psychological aspect of the addiction. The act of smoking is woven into the fabric of my thought processes, emotional responses and entire being to such an extent that even after getting the nicotine completely out of my system 3 weeks ago today, I still associate conflict and stress with cigarettes (even without consciously making that connection). One thing I know, that I have learned here at freedom is that I can go through some unpleasant, embarrasing, uncomfortable and even painful moments, but I don't have to smoke to get through them and as long as I never take another puff, I have this beaten.
April
Reply