Quitting or Stopping?


October 23rd, 2009, 7:46 am #1

A thought that's run across me numerous times over the last couple months (especially the last month!)...are we quitting smoking (nicotine) or just stopping? Before you answer, give this some thought.

A drug or alcohol addict, when they've made up their mind to not be an addict anymore, goes though horrible withdrawel over a few days, up to a week, usually with the help of rehab or detox. 1. there needs to be an in-patient rehab for nicotine addicts, but that's a totally different thread. 2. the ex-herion addict or ex-drinker is now called a recovering addict becuase they are one drink/puff/snort/high/whatever away from becoming an addict/junkie/abuser again. Looking through all of these threads, i've seen these words attributed to smoking/nicotine as well....junkie, addict, puff, inhale, etc. Hi, I'm Katie and I'm a recovering smoker? Hi, I'm Katie and a recovering Nicotine addict? no - sounds stupid

Tim (that's that other half i was talking about before) always said, long before even he put them down - no one ever quits, they just stop doing it. I used to laugh at him and tell him that's dumb. But now I really think about it.

When you quit doing something, you don't do it any more, ever, for any reason. You QUIT going to that place .You QUIT going to this website. You QUIT driving that way. But with addiction, don't you really just stop? No matter what the addiction, you are only 1 whatever away from being an active addict again, and in our case, one puff or chew. If you really can't stand ABC Pizza, you're not going to go there anymore. And even if say someone orders from there while you're at thier house, it's just going to reinforce how much you can't stand them. And tomorrow, that's not going to change. But now you really can't stand smoking/nicotine. You know how much better you're feeling (outside of withdrawl). But if you have just one drag, it'll probably make you want to vomit, you'll cough up a lung, and you'll hate yourself for it. And tomorrow, you'll smoke a whole one. then buy a pack again...and the cycle continues.

So did we really QUIT? Or did we just stop doing it. I prefer stopping. And i'm not trying to be pessimistic, but for the sake of all arguments, i can't tell the future. So i can't say that next week i will or won't pick up a cigarette. I know that the way i think right now, i won't. And i know for today, i haven't.

Just a thought.

Stopped the addiction for 35 days and counting. Not spent almost $275, and not lit almost 1.040 cigarettes. I have saved almost 4 days of my life.



October 23rd, 2009, 11:34 am #2

Last edited by FreedomNicotine on October 23rd, 2009, 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.


October 23rd, 2009, 3:16 pm #3

Being locked up to quit smoking :
I originally wrote this to a member asking if we knew of a program that would lock her up so she would have to quit smoking:
I do think there are some clinics out there that do basically lock up people to quit smoking. But I wouldn't put much stock in the technique. We lock up people all the time in our hospital and don't let people smoke. It's not in our smoking clinic; it's in our intensive care unit. You can lock people up for days and weeks if the condition is serious enough.
Technically, these people are detoxed from nicotine. Heck, some of them were comatose and never even experienced withdrawal. In theory, this sounds appealing to some smokers. But the reality of the situation is often, in fact maybe more often than not; the first thing these patients do upon release from the hospital is grab for a cigarette. You see these people never quit smoking. They were smokers who were just not allowed to smoke.

They don't learn anything about survival in the real world without smoking. They know how to be fed intravenously, they know how to use a remote on a television, but that is about it. The urge for a cigarette upon being released is incredible. It's interesting though, there is a real easy way to stop the urge. Throw them on a gurney, stick an IV in their arm and all of a sudden they don't need a cigarette. They are doing the one thing they learned, being a connected patient.

People need to face the real world as quickly as they can to start to break the associations of day to day rituals. Only then will they prove to themselves that there is life after smoking.

As far as being sad, this is normally experienced when quitting. Unlike the physical symptoms, striking hard and then dissipating within days, psychological symptoms are less predictable. But in some ways, they are also more controllable. I am going to attach to letters here to this post addressing these issues. They have been on the board recently, but so you don't have to scramble looking for them they will be right here.

Hope this helps a little.


P.S. There actually was a hospital in the Chicago area that used to have an inpatient unit for smoking cessation. It went under in less than a year of operation. I had three of their patient's come to my program to quit. Two of them made it. All of them said that they were basically doped up during the hospitalization. I think they were using a drug called clonidine at the time. Powerful antihypertensive that at one time was thought to be helpful. Never met anyone who actually got off smoking using it though. So if you find a program, check out what they do before assuming it's a good plan.

Understanding the emotional loss experienced when quitting smoking. In her 1969 book, On Death and Dying, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified five distinct phases which a dying person encounters. These stages are "denial," "anger," "bargaining," "depression," and finally, "acceptance." These are the exact same stages that are felt by those mourning the loss of a loved one as well.

Denial can be recognized as the state of disbelief: "This isn't really happening to me," or "The doctor doesn't know what he is talking about." The same feelings are often expressed by family members and friends.

Once denial ceases and the realization of impending death is acknowledged anger develops. "Why me?" or "Why them?" in the case of the significant others. Anger may be felt toward the doctors, toward God, toward family and friends. Anger, though, doesn't change the person's fate. They are still in the process of dying. So next comes bargaining.

In bargaining, the person may become religious, trying to repent for all the sins that may be bringing about their early demise. "If you let me live, I will be a better person, I will help mankind. Please let me live, and I will make it worth your while." This stage, too, will come to an end.

Now the patient, becoming aware he is helpless to prevent his impending fate, enters depression. The patient begins to isolate himself from his surroundings. He relinquishes his responsibilities and begins a period of self mourning. He becomes preoccupied with the fact that his life is coming to an end. Symptoms of depression are obvious to anyone having contact with the patient in this stage. When the patient finally overcomes this depression he will enter the last stage, acceptance.

The patient now reaches what can be seen as an emotionally neutral stage. He almost seems devoid of feelings. Instead of death being viewed as a terrifying or horrible experience, he now peacefully accepts his fate.

As stated above, these stages are not only seen in the dying person but likewise in the family members mourning the loss of a loved one. However, on careful observation we can see these same stages in people who lose anything. It doesn't have to be the loss of a loved one. It could be the loss of a pet, the loss of a job, and even the loss of an inanimate object. Yes, even when a person loses her keys, she may go through the five stages of dying.

First, she denies the loss of the keys. "Oh, I know they are around here somewhere." She patiently looks in her pockets and through her dressers knowing any minute she will find the keys. But soon, she begins to realize she has searched out all of the logical locations. Now you begin to see anger. Slamming the drawers, throwing the pillow of the couch, swearing at those darned keys for disappearing. Then comes bargaining: "If I ever find those keys I will never misplace them again. I will put them in a nice safe place." It is almost like she is asking the keys to come out and assuring them she will never abuse them again. Soon, she realizes the keys are gone. She is depressed. How will she ever again survive in this world without her keys? Then, she finally accepts the fact the keys are gone. She goes out and has a new set made. Life goes on. A week later the lost keys are forgotten.

What does all this have to do with why people don't quit smoking? People who attempt to give up smoking go through these five stages. They must successfully overcome each specific phase to deal with the next. Some people have particular difficulty conquering a specific phase, causing them to relapse back to smoking. Let's analyze these specific phases as encountered by the abstaining smoker.

The first question asked of the group during the smoking clinic was, "How many of you feel that you will never smoke again?" Do you remember the underwhelming response to that question? It is remarkable for even one or two people to raise their hands. For the most part the entire group is in a state of denial-they will not quit smoking. Other prevalent manifestations of denial are: "I don't want to quit smoking," or "I am perfectly healthy while smoking, so why should I stop," or "I am different, I can control my smoking at one or two a day." These people, through their denial, set up obstacles to even attempt quitting and hence have very little chance of success.

Those who successfully overcome denial progress to anger. We hear so many stories of how difficult it is to live with a recovering smoker. Your friends avoid you, your employer sends you home, sometimes permanently, and you are generally no fun to be with. Most smokers do successfully beat this stage.

Bargaining is probably the most dangerous stage in the effort to stop smoking. "Oh boy, I could sneak this one and nobody will ever know it." "Things are really tough today, I will just have one to help me over this problem, no more after that." "Maybe I'll just smoke today, and quit again tomorrow." It may be months before these people even attempt to quit again.

Depression usually follows once you successfully overcome bargaining without taking that first drag. For the first time you start to believe you may actually quit smoking. But instead of being overjoyed, you start to feel like you are giving up your best friend. You remember the good times with cigarettes and disregard the detrimental effects of this dangerous and dirty habit and addiction. At this point more than ever "one day at a time" becomes a life saver. Because tomorrow may bring acceptance.

Once you reach the stage of acceptance, you get a true perspective of what smoking was doing to you and what not smoking can do for you. Within two weeks the addiction is broken and, hopefully, the stages are successfully overcome and, finally, life goes on.

Life becomes much simpler, happier and more manageable as an ex-smoker. Your self esteem is greatly boosted. Your physical state is much better than it would ever have been if you continued to smoke. It is a marvelous state of freedom. Anyone can break the addiction and beat the stages. Then all you must do to maintain this freedom is simply remember, NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!