Past FAILURES

Joel
Joel

March 3rd, 2002, 8:56 pm #1

At times we get past Freedom members return to quit again after they have relapsed. Some only had a few days into the last quit, others had significant time periods into quits before losing them. I am glad that they found their ways back to Freedom, but I want to make sure that they understand and that everyone else here understands the seriousness of the past failure.




Most other boards and most other people would take offense at that past line, referring to the last lost quit as a failure. But for all practical purposes that is what it was. Even quits that last for years or decades are failures if a person loses it. We don't want anyone minimizing this fact, for those who do often have the attitude that if they relapse they will simply quit again. The fact is you don't know that the person will quit again, or that they will quit in time to save his or her life.




Many years ago I had a man in my clinic named John. John was a pretty high profile public figure, in his early 40's who had many great accomplishments in his life. He came to my clinic, lasted a few days and lost the quit. He was in the middle of a high profile media situation and just decided he needed his focus and the stakes of what he was involved with at the time were just too high to deal with withdrawal. John explained this to me, and promised he would return again one day when things would be better.




Well, I have heard this hundreds of times before, and while occasionally people do return, it is not the majority and probably not even a significantly high percentage. Being that I was having 50 or more people at a time in these clinics, I couldn't spend much time dealing with those who were not quitting.




Three year later John does return to the clinic and does quit smoking. He did great his second time around. Not only did he quit, but he became a regular volunteer for me, coming to many clinics as a panelist to help people first quitting. He also sent in lots of people, probably 15 to 20 over the next couple of years.




About three years after John's quit, he was going in for a physical and to his surprise there was a small spot on his chest x-ray. When it was biopsied they found out John had cancer. He was about 48 at the time, in the peak of his career, still had children of school age and now was facing this terrible diagnosis. It was a horrible shock to many people. As is often the case with lung cancer, it was a fast deterioration. Within a year and a half John had succumbed to the disease.




I went to John's funeral--it was huge. There were hundreds and hundreds of people there. Many I knew, some because of their high public profile, but more because John had sent in so many people to the clinic in the time period that he was off smoking. Even after the diagnosis he was still sending people in.




One of the men there was from one of the recent clinics and had told me how tragic this was that John had lost his life and how his lost quit was probably the reason. To be realistic I told him that it is possible that if John had quit the first time in the clinic it may not have made a difference. He basically found out he had lung cancer three years after he quit, and that lung cancer could be present for 5 years or even 10 years without presenting symptoms or even showing up on the x-ray. Being that the day I met him was about 6 years before the diagnosis, it was not totally improbable that at that time the cancer had already been initiated and was silently growing.




The man then proceeded to tell me that my clinic was not the first clinic John had tried. That in fact, 10 years before joining that first group with me, he and John had gone to another local clinic together to quit and both in a matter of days wrote it off as a bad time to quit--but knew they would both quit again one day.




Well John was right, he did eventually quit again one day. But it turned out to be over 16 years later. Now the odds were quite different--if he had quit that first time around he probably would never had developed the disease that ultimately cost him his life.




The lesson here needs to be once you have a quit going, do everything in your power to make it last. While you are seeing people come back who just seem to be quitting again, if you relapse you just don't know you will ever get the strength or desire to quit again, and that even if you do, you don't know whether something won't go wrong in the interim period before the next quit.




John is not the only person I know who fits this profile--I know lots of them--people who could have had extra years and extra decades who lost them by minimizing the implications of not quitting or of relapsing. Once you have a quit smoking, understand your very life is contingent on understanding the importance of knowing to never take another puff!




Joel




Updated 1-29-2012 to include the below clarification:

***Important Clarification***�




I originally wrote this article before we had our current relapse policy at Freedom. People cannot relapse and simply join back up at Freedom now. All a relapsed person can do is read what we have to offer. This may not be such a bad thing though--there is a pretty good chance that if the relapsed member had spent his or her time reading the first time around he or she would never have relapsed.�




The example in this story is still an important one, hitting home the point the importance of making this quit continue to succeed by simply sticking to the personal commitment you made when you joined up at Freedom to never take another puff.�




Joel




Updated September 28, 2012 to add new video version:




Last edited by Joel on September 28th, 2012, 4:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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lally (bronze)
lally (bronze)

March 4th, 2002, 3:48 am #2

I appreciate this article for a few reasons:

I periodically need to have my fear of dying from smoking related diseases reinforced and brought out into the open. It helps me re-dedicate myself to being a non-smoker for the rest of my life. It reminds me that underneath all the joy of being a nonsmoker lurks sneaky messages about someday having another one. This article helps me root out those thoughts and expunge them from my brain.
Failures and success are always going to be in the fabric of my life ie. success at work vs. failure to mend fences with family or something like that-but failure to maintain my status as a nonsmoker will eventually kill me and remove all opportunity for failure and success in anything else because I will be DEAD. Smoking removes all choice in one's life and replaces it with illness and probably an early death.
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
YQS,
Lally (Free for 12 weeks, 18 hours, 47 minutes, 10 seconds)
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z greyfox (BRONZE)
z greyfox (BRONZE)

March 4th, 2002, 7:22 am #3

keep going
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Joanne Gold
Joanne Gold

March 6th, 2002, 11:51 pm #4

I see in another thread where a relapse was referred to as a Minor Setback - This thread explains why we don't consider relapse as such.

Minimizing relapse is a detriment to every resolve to stay off smoking - Relapse is a failure! The laws of addiction are precise, no loopholes exist. The only way to get past it - is knowing to never take another puff...no matter what.

Is relapse a natural part of the addiction process? - another good article

Relapse Prevention- series of relapse prevention articles
Last edited by Joanne Gold on August 10th, 2011, 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

March 7th, 2002, 12:52 am #5

I buried Joanne's post here with weight issues. While the weight issue has some importance, it should not in anyway be allowed to overshadow the concept here of relapse prevention. The most important change people are making here at Freedom to improve their health and likely save their lives is by stay nicotine free--and the way to insure to stay nicotine free is by still staying 100% committed to your goal to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

May 13th, 2002, 9:30 pm #6

I saw the word "slip" used in a post today. I thought it would be a good idea to explain how we don't use euphemisms here much at Freedom. We call it as we see it. A "slip" is a relapse and a relapse is a failure at sticking to a goal that was basically a fight for your life. See cigarettes for what they are and you will not mince words or concepts with yourself--you will stay totally committed to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

May 16th, 2002, 7:39 pm #7

It was pretty interesting that in last night group, one man had once quit for 6 months, one woman for five days , one girl who was 17 had once tried to quit for two days, and one man who has smoked for 40 years had never tried to quit before. Normally in groups they get to witness more lost long-term quits to learn from--that did not happen here. So in the event that the four people read here, I am bringing up some post specific to this issue--that no matter how long a person is off they will lose their quit if they don't understand the bottom line law of addiction that to stay smoke free you must never take another puff!

Joel
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Chuck444
Chuck444

June 11th, 2002, 12:23 am #8

This is very helpful for me...thank you. In fact, the junkie thoughts in me more often then not try and convince me that since I'm still under 30 I have time to start up again and then quit later on down the road. I first start thinking, well, I quit cold turkey for four days...so now that I know I can do it I'll just go and have a couple smokes to celebrate. To celebrate?....what a truly powerful substance nicotine is in that it can so severely twist our way of thinking.

Anyhow, I need constantly to remember that this is the most success I've had over the past several attempts and hey, you're right...all I have to do is to Never Take Another Puff. Besides, who really wants to go through a perpetual cycle of withdrawal anyway?
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blondie (green )
blondie (green )

June 11th, 2002, 3:20 am #9

Hi Joel,
I have read this article/post many times. I guess because it hits home so hard. This is the biggest reason I quit. I don't want smoking to give me cancer. I keep hoping that I quit in time. Hoping that I didn't take that one puff too many.

It is so distressing to know that I may already have the underlying cause for it (cancer) percolating or growing. I cannot and will not ever have another puff. It's just too important to stay healthy and just too scary to think about it.

I never tried to quit before. I think because I didn't think I could do it. Well, I've done it and am not sure I could do it again. It's hard, but it's so worth hanging on to.

Quit and stay quit.

Ruth
30 days today
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misha (Gold )
misha (Gold )

June 21st, 2002, 2:09 pm #10

I always think about the times I have tried to quit before and how painful those attempts were. The big difference this time is that I am informed about why I was having the feelings I was, knowledge really is power, and that is what has strengthened my quit this time. Knowledge and support. No more games, no more, just one....that is over!


misha your quit sister
1 month 1 week 4 days
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My3Sons (Green)
My3Sons (Green)

June 22nd, 2002, 10:50 am #11

Thanks for thinking of me Joel but I'm not exactly sure how this one makes me feel. I'm now feeling terrified that I didn't make it in time! I understand what your intent here is but now that I've quit.....

I guess it would have been fine if I hadn't known it was three years (or 5-10 before detection!). I've been to the Dr. and had the x-rays, lung tests, blood tests, etc.. and all is well. I guess one of my strengths in my quit was that I was feeling like "phew...I made it"! "my kids aren't going to watch ME die of Lung Cancer!" "I'm NEVER taking that risk again" I was able to quit for reasons other than just fear this time...fear just makes me panic and we all know what that does, especially when it's a fear over something that I NOW have no control over. I feel almost hopeless now, like I'm doing this for nothing simply because I relapsed while using NRT. I guess I'm trying to say that Fear may have brought me to the quit but it's not what's going to keep me here. Fear leads me to panic and if I have no control over it it leads to hoplessness thus leading do depression so why bother!

If you're amidst a quit now, there HAS to come a point when you stop dwelling and kicking yourself for a lost quit. By relapsing I took a serious risk, can I do anything about it now? No. I have no choice now but to move on and stay positive about THIA quit and remember what I've learned from the previous one. I actually DID learn from the last quit that I can't take another puff, even though I had been told. That IS something people eventually have to learn for themselves, even though it's the hard way. How many times did your kids have to do something before they realized you were right?

Just for curiousity, how many people really do quit the first time they try?

Colleen
One month, two weeks, four days, 21 hours, 49 minutes and 47 seconds. 1497 cigarettes not smoked, saving $224.59. Life saved: 5 days, 4 hours, 45 minutes.
One is too many and a million is not enough!!
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Joel
Joel

June 27th, 2002, 6:45 am #12

For those fearing success in quitting just know there is something to be more afraid of--the fear of failure at quitting smoking. Failing to quit will cost a person his or her Freedom, his or her health, and over time, his or her life. To keep the fear of failure from becoming a reality always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Lilac (Bronze)
Lilac (Bronze)

September 1st, 2002, 10:42 pm #13

My husband quit smoking 20 years ago. In truth it was after a heart attack and his "quit" was instigated, he says, by my incessant nagging at him to quit which ,he says, was worse than not smoking. Whatever caused him to quit, he never complained , not once, was never grouchy or ,in fact, showed any emotional or physical withdrawal symptoms at all.. He, several times, through the years threatened to start smoking again unless I "cut down". He never asked me to quit altho' he worried about the consequences you have described in this message.. I asked him many times through the years if he ever wanted a cigarette. He always said, "Sure, I could smoke a cigarette anytime and probably enjoy it but I don't want one and so what would be the point?" He has been very supportive of my effort to quit. Only once did he express what I know must be his true feelings. He said, " You 've quit smoking , I don't see what all the fuss is about." He had a 48 year smoking history and quit smoking when he was 60. I hope he has beat the odds.lung wise. It is too late to reverse the heart damage but stopping smoking seems to have given him an extra 20 years plus and he is still going strong.. Lilac
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Joel
Joel

October 9th, 2002, 8:15 am #14

There is only one thing more dangerous now that a past failure and that is a future one. Future ones are totally avoidable now as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

December 21st, 2002, 1:07 am #15

One of our newer members, a person who had just about three weeks off smoking just posted that he or she had relapsed and would be back when he or she had achieved 72 hours without smoking. It is apparant that the person did very little reading here at Freedom, for he or she did not even read that the relapse policy had changed. Pretty amazing considering it had changed over a month before the person ever joined Freedom.

Reading here is important to avoid any confusion about our policies. Reading here is even more important though to avoid any confusion about nicotine addiction. What you don't learn about nicotine addiction can kill you. It is pretty obvious that this person has not learned that the only way to keep a quit alive and himself or herself along with it is to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

January 6th, 2003, 11:08 pm #16

I saw where a new member wrote about how she had numerous past quits that were blown between one and six months and was wondering why. There is no mystery here, a person loses a quit between one and six months for the same reason other people lose quits at ten years or at ten minutes after quitting--they take a puff on a cigarette. To stay free is as simple as always knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

April 26th, 2003, 11:48 pm #17

For anyone thinking about going back to smoking for a short time period.
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MsArmstrongKIS
MsArmstrongKIS

April 26th, 2003, 11:58 pm #18

Thanks Joel! I have been doing less reading at Freedom than I used to and this morning I knew it was time to go for another dunk in the truth tank and not lose focus on what it really means to go back to smoking. Finals may only last a month but maintaining an active addiction could last for many, many years and eventually cause a premature death while I was still working hard at whatever those finals lead to for a career.

It would be too big a loss and too big a risk to make it worthwhile. Amazing how quickly I can forget. . .I like to think I'm too educated to ever take another puff, but the lessons do lose their edge after time if you don't come in for some reinforcement. And I think my quit is younger than I like to give it credit for.

John's story in this post really hits home. . .

Alex
I have chosen not to smoke for 2 Months 1 Week 5 Days 18 Hours 29 Minutes 26 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 1148. Money saved: $287.08.
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Joel
Joel

April 27th, 2003, 12:03 am #19

I'm glad you read this Alex. I was looking for another post on a similar topic to bring up. Then I saw it had John's story in that post too, titled I know I will quit again. Give it a read anyway.

Joel
Last edited by Joel on August 10th, 2011, 1:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

July 14th, 2003, 8:40 pm #20

Freedom's Relapse Policy
Freedom's relapse policy is simple. Once we understand the law of addiction it deprives us of any legitimate excuse for relapse. Any member who intentionally relapses shall permanently lose posting privileges.
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF
Last edited by Joel on June 15th, 2010, 11:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

October 16th, 2003, 6:49 pm #21

Quitting is truly a fight for your health and your life. As long as you never lose sight of this and you will always stay motivated to stick to your commitment to never take another puff! Joel
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Joel
Joel

November 13th, 2003, 7:42 pm #22

The Law of Addiction
Administration of a drug to an addict will cause reestablishment of chemical dependence upon the addictive substance.

Freedom's Relapse Policy
Freedom's relapse policy is simple. Once we understand the Law of Addiction it deprives us of any legitimate excuse for relapse. Any member who relapses shall permanently lose posting privileges.
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF


Quitting is truly a fight for your health and your life. As long as you never lose sight of this and you will always stay motivated to stick to your commitment to never take another puff!



Joel
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Joel
Joel

December 15th, 2003, 9:06 pm #23

I've noticed a number of new members mentioning that they have had numerous quits in the past that didn't stick. I thought this is an important article for these people to read highlighting the fact that quitting is not a process that you want to repeat over and over again. This quit will stick as long as you stay totally committed this time to never take another puff!
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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

January 18th, 2004, 5:41 am #24

From: Joel Sent: 12/15/2003 8:06 AM
I've noticed a number of new members mentioning that they have had numerous quits in the past that didn't stick. I thought this is an important article for these people to read highlighting the fact that quitting is not a process that you want to repeat over and over again. This quit will stick as long as you stay totally committed this time to never take another puff!
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Joel
Joel

November 8th, 2005, 6:23 am #25

A member just put up a post in which she mentioned that she was a little skeptical of a friends motivation to quit because he was putting off the date. This letter expresses how I too have felt that same skepticism, although there are time when people will surprise you. Unfortunately, as this story illustrates, delaying tactics sometimes results tragic results:

John explained this to me, and promised he would return again one day when things would be better.
Well, I have heard this hundreds of times before, and while occasionally people do return, it is not the majority and probably not even a significantly high percentage. Being that I was having 50 or more people at a time in these clinics, I couldn't spend much time dealing with those who were not quitting.

Three year later John does return to the clinic and does quit smoking. He did great his second time around. Not only did he quit, but he became a regular volunteer for me, coming to many clinics as a panelist to help people first quitting. He also sent in lots of people, probably 15 to 20 over the next couple of years.

About three years after John's quit, he was going in for a physical and to his surprise there was a small spot on his chest x-ray. When it was biopsied they found out John had cancer. He was about 48 at the time, in the peak of his career, still had children of school age and now was facing this terrible diagnosis. It was a horrible shock to many people. As is often the case with lung cancer, it was a fast deterioration. Within a year and a half John had succumbed to the disease.

I went to John's funeral--it was huge. There were hundreds and hundreds of people there. Many I knew, some because of their high public profile, but more because John had sent in so many people to the clinic in the time period that he was off smoking. Even after the diagnosis he was still sending people in.

One of the men there was from one of the recent clinics and had told me how tragic this was that John had lost his life and how his lost quit was probably the reason. To be realistic I told him that it is possible that if John had quit the first time in the clinic it may not have made a difference. He basically found out he had lung cancer three years after he quit, and that lung cancer could be present for 5 years or even 10 years without presenting symptoms or even showing up on the x-ray. Being that the day I met him was about 6 years before the diagnosis, it was not totally improbable that at that time the cancer had already been initiated and was silently growing.

The man then proceeded to tell me that my clinic was not the first clinic John had tried. That in fact, 10 years before joining that first group with me, he and John had gone to another local clinic together to quit and both in a matter of days wrote it off as a bad time to quit--but knew they would both quit again one day.

Well John was right, he did eventually quit again one day. But it turned out to be over 16 years later. Now the odds were quite different--if he had quit that first time around he probably would never had developed the disease that ultimately cost him his life.

The lesson here needs to be once you have a quit going, do everything in your power to make it last. While you are seeing people come back who just seem to be quitting again, if you relapse you just don't know you will ever get the strength or desire to quit again, and that even if you do, you don't know whether something won't go wrong in the interim period before the next quit.

John is not the only person I know who fits this profile--I know lots of them--people who could have had extra years and extra decades who lost them by minimizing the implications of not quitting or of relapsing. Once you have a quit smoking, understand your very life is contingent on understanding the importance of knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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