Reading and Growth

Reading and Growth

Roger (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

02 Feb 2004, 08:50 #1

"Education Is The Key To Unlock The Golden Door To Freedom"
~George Washington Carver~
I have come to Freedom many times to read new posts and perhaps offer advice and encouragement to someone in the midst of a temporary struggle. Perhaps it's with a new quitter with just a few days or weeks experience behind them. Possibly it's one of our more seasoned members. Although their time quit is never a consideration if they are to be offered advice or not, we automatically dive in and offer a helping hand or encouraging word. That is what Freedom is all about. Many times I see within that post a very common occurrence. The person asking for help may state, " I don't come here that often anymore" or "I haven't been reading much lately or not at all." While visiting Freedom and reading is not a requirement for membership, I believe the lack of reading or education is a factor directly related to how strong and independent our quits are to become along with how fast mentally and emotionally we adjust to our new life.
From the very first puff or chew that led us down that long road of our addiction, to our final puff when we made the decision to take our lives back, our mental and physical self was in a constant state of change or modification process. Setting aside the physiological changes taking place within our bodies I want to focus on the psychological alterations that took place touch briefly on the physical traits or characteristics we develop along the way.
For most of us that dark path we traveled called addiction began as children longing for acceptance and maturity or just being plain defiant. We slowly developed character traits, patterns and habits reflective of our addiction to nicotine. For instance, how we held that cigarette in our hands or between our lips. How a person, whose delivery device was a can of chew, tapped the top of the container three times prior to opening and delivering it. How others would take a cigarette out of the pack and tap it multiple times on the pack or a hard surface to pack it tighter. The way we took that first puff and rolled our eyes or lifted our heads to expel the smoke, expressing our delight and relief as the effects of withdrawal was temporarily quenched. Side by side with the physical changes we instigated came the psychological ones as well. We began to alter our personality to accompany our newly acquired persona. We began to view ourselves differently. We come to believe our whole being revolved around our addiction. Rather seeing our self as we truly were, addicts addicted to a highly addictive substance, we view ourselves as a new person. A person, mature in our own way, sporting a new and dynamic personality. The method of delivery we chose quickly became an integral part of physical and psychological being. It was who we were, not what we had become. We accepted the physical act of introducing nicotine to our system just as we accepted puberty, our eye or hair color or outward appearance. We planned our lives around our need to feed. We entertained a belief our social skills would be nonexistent without our cigarette. After all we spent many years molding our personality around it. We believed life could not be enjoyed without nicotine or the man made device we used to deliver it to our system. Side by side with the commercial advertisements, we glamorized our addiction. We became addicts with distinction, taste and culture.
This false image we spent years creating come to be possibly the hardest aspect of our addiction we may struggle to control upon making that decision to quit. The struggle within to shed that identity become a daily process along our journey. Unlike the physical withdrawal from nicotine that has a relative shorter life span or the physiological healing taking place naturally within our framework, our psychological healing may be for many the biggest and most difficult challenge to master.
Is there a set answer or method to overcoming this? I don't know that for sure but I will offer my view point based on my own observations and discoveries of my journey. First of all, take a moment to think how a champion figure skater or athlete of any kind makes their way to the top of their game. It is accomplished on a day to day basis practicing what ever they do, as well as mental visualizations of what they wish to become.
They don't sit around and expect to achieve without any effort. They understand to be come successful at what they desire, they have to work for it. There are no shortcuts to success! Our quits are much the same. To achieve the comfort we desire, an honest effort must take place.
We now have our fragile dream of becoming a comfortable x-smoker in control of our addiction. One who is able to live their life to the fullest, each and every day, without the daily feedings along with the false sense of security created within their own mind. How does that get accomplished? Answer is, we do it by living our lives one day at a time and following some basic principles. For sake of space I am just going to touch on one broad and basic concept. This is probably the most given advice at Freedom aside from Joel's concept and truth of "Never Take Another Puff." From the moment you become aware of Freedom or Why Quit you are advised to do the following.
There is a reason for that. Aside from the truth will set you free or knowledge is power, it works! Our psychological addiction needs to grow well beyond the subsiding demand of our physiological addiction to nicotine, as well as the physical characteristics and habits we developed and honed need to be forgotten. Our physical withdrawal symptoms subside rather quickly and our physical mannerisms more or less disperse on their own. Our physiological healing naturally continues on its own. What this leaves is the balance of growth. To balance out our journey of healing we need to make the effort to heal our own psychological damage. We need to change our way of thinking to mirror our new way of life. This aspect of healing may need a more direct effort by you to help initiate this change and then follow through with needed reinforcement. All you need to do is begin the process of reconditioning your way of thinking. This is done by living your life on a day to day basis along with continued education through reading. Develop the belief you will achieve the comfort you desire by visually seeing yourself as a comfortable x-smoker. If you don't believe or want to become comfortable it may take a long time of struggle and anguish to get there. How long should you spend reading? I have read where 20 minutes a day is sufficient. My suggestion is to do whatever is necessary. Who knows you better than anyone? How important is this quit to you? I am a firm believer in the following truth.
No Matter What Endeavor A Person Takes On, The Success Achieved Is In Direct Proportions To the Effort Spent!
To become a successful x-smoker do you have to do all I suggested? By no means, but would you wash your car and just wax one side?
It is important to remember there are not any requirements at Freedom to read or post. The only rule is no nicotine. No matter how your journey progresses all you have to practice to remain quit is never take another puff.
One Day At A Time, You Can If You Think You Can!
Last edited by Roger (Gold) on 11 Mar 2014, 19:54, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:16

02 Feb 2004, 08:59 #2

How true. Thanks for posting this Roger. I had a tough weekend because I had to go though situations that I normally enjoyed going through as a smoker. Sitting around the hotel pool, having a nice drink and a smoke.

You wrote, "take a moment to think how a champion figure skater or athlete of any kind makes their way to the top of their game. It is accomplished on a day to day basis practicing what ever they do, as well as mental visualizations of what they wish to become. "

I did exactly that. I practiced and I did my mental visualiztions of continuing my life long path as a non smoker.

If you helped no one else but me, you have done a lot of good. I have a feeling your post really struck home with a lot of people.

Two months, two weeks, three days, 13 hours, 59 minutes and 45 seconds. 785 cigarettes not smoked, saving $137.52. Life saved: 2 days, 17 hours, 25 minutes.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

02 Feb 2004, 09:04 #3

An excellent post Roger! Thanks for sharing it with us!

The eerie thing is that I just shared in another thread how we have to really work for the goals that are the most important to us so I feel re-affirmed in my thinking!

Thanks for also reminding us of why we are here and what this board is really all about. If it weren't for people posting here periodically we would soon run out of things to read. Even though there is no requirement to read or post at all, just to never take another puff and to follow the posting rules, I enjoy reading and posting and believe that my quit would not have been as easy as it has if you guys had not been here and I want to make certain that others have the same or better chance than I had when I first came here!

Thanks again! Never take another puff one day at a time!

yqb, David - Free and Healing for Two Months, Twenty Five Days, 11 Hours and 4 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 5 Days and 9 Hours, by avoiding the use of 1556 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $117.14.

Ms MonaGolden1
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

02 Feb 2004, 09:54 #4


Thank you, this post really hit home with me...

I have been nicotine-free for an entire year and I still feel "surprised" that I am not smoking anymore. So, when you talked about psychological healing that was an "aha moment" for me. Maybe this is why I continue to hang around the boards even if I'm not posting. I realize that the education I have received at Freedom serves as the foundation for the success of my quit. This is my first quit (31-year smoker) and if I did not know that one=all, I would probably be smoking again. I would've celebrated my success after a few months with just one cigarette. I have also learned that smoking is always an option; so, I strive to make a good choice one day at a time. And, I look forward to becoming a comfortable, ex-smoker.

I wish you all the best as you move onward and upward on your Quit Journey.

Last edited by Ms MonaGolden1 on 05 Jun 2013, 19:05, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

02 Feb 2004, 10:32 #5

 Read, Read, Read, and Read Some More

Thank you, Roger, for those Words of Wisdom. As my daughter was making fun of me sitting here with my laptop and my Freedom Board, I quickly told here that if it wasn't for this place I would probably be smoking again.

Coming here to read and post is like a 12 Step meeting for me. After 9 years of sobriety, I still attend meetings regularly. I have a disease that tells me I don't have a disease. I also have the junkie mind of a nicotine addict that needs the same reinforcement on a daily basis (for now) or else I will just say "Oh, well, it's my body . . . . . . . .blah, blah, blah" and find myself back in the grips of active nicotine addiction again.
I've lost significant quits just because I didn't care ~ I wanted to smoke. Plain and simple. The spoiled brat junkie has gotten his way for the last time!! I come here to be reminded how sick it is to feed my nicotine addiction ~ I wince every time I see the graphic of the cigarette that looks like a syringe injecting our drug of choice straight into a vein. I have to think this way or I will fall prey to the junkie that will always live inside of me. I have to realize that my addiction to nicotine is every bit as serious as my disease of alcoholism. I must tell myself this every time that junkie gets going in my head.

Until I started reading here at Freedom, I never realized that quitting smoking (like sobriety) would be a journey not an event. It had always been an event before. Quit smoking ~ life goes on without cigarettes. Crisis comes ~ Start smoking again. It was like quitting drinking without making any other changes in my behavior. These are the things that take time and make this a journey . . . . . one day at a time.

There is only one way to do this thing right and that is to READ, READ, READ . . . . . . . . to become educated enough about our addiction to nicotine and all that goes with it that we will never go back there!! If it takes stories about Bryan and Noni and our own members who are still suffering with cancer or have someone very close to them suffering from smoking related diseases then that's what I need to read about. There are so many aspects to this quitting process ~ physical, psychological, emotional. I need to read about Emotional Loss and Patience and Junkie Thinking. And I need to read wonderful threads like this one ~ "For most of us that dark path we traveled called addiction began as children longing for acceptance and maturity or just being plain defiant. We slowly developed character traits, patterns and habits reflective of our addiction to nicotine." That really resonated with me.

So, at 57 and a 3-month quit under my belt, I still have lots of growing up to do and lots more to learn . . . . . . may we always be humble enough to remain teachable. Thank you, Roger, for hanging around to share with us what you've learned.


Candi ~ 3M 1W 2D 22h 41m (101 days)
Last edited by CandidCandiSilver on 05 Jun 2013, 19:05, edited 1 time in total.

GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

02 Feb 2004, 11:36 #6


Thanks for another great post! You are right on target when you say that reading is our key to recovery. Even at 4 years, I am continually learning new things about this addiction and the more I learn the more I know I will never take another puff.

thanks again,


Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:33

02 Feb 2004, 11:49 #7

Hi Roger,
Your post reminded me of this GIF. Freedom from nicotine addiction is not free. We do have to do our part. Thanks for a great post. I always enjoy what you have to say. These are the things that I have learned here. These are the things I pass along.
Hang in there, It gets better!
Take baby steps!
Read, read and read some more!
Listen to the oldtimers/ They have "been there/done that!"
Post when you need help!
Never take another PUFF!
Enjoy the Journey to Freedom!
Its the people like you that make this site what it is. I tell everyone who shows an interest about Whyquit and Freedom. I turned green today. It is my quit and I am very happy and proud. I know that this has been the easiest quit that I have ever had because of the education I have recieved by reading from Joels Library and Freedoms Board everyday. I dont feel as panicky as I had in previous quits. I never understood about triggers and always thought that I was going to go nuts and that I was never going to feel normal. I have learned to take the baby steps, relax and enjoy this marvelous journey, listen to the oldtimers ,read, read and read some more and no matter what, NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF! And Guess What? I hung in there and it has gotten easier!!!
I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 16 Hours 55 Minutes 48 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 1014. Money saved: $126.82. 

Last edited by wackylaurie on 05 Jun 2013, 19:06, edited 1 time in total.

GeorgieGirl GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:03

03 Feb 2004, 06:48 #8

Ahh Dear Roger ...... what an insightful read! Unless one spreads their wings ... they can never know how high they can fly. Thank you for this post :o)
"I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship" (Louisa M. Alcott). Freedom's education has greatly helped me in this endeavour :o)

Last edited by GeorgieGirl GOLD on 05 Jun 2013, 19:06, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:14

03 Feb 2004, 07:24 #9

Roger, thanks for an excellent post. Even after more than a year of not smoking, I still get cravings sometimes. I know that I can never take another puff and I still come here often to read which always enforces my resolve. Sheila

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

09 Feb 2004, 04:18 #10

For all the new folks and also for those who may have missed this wonderful post . . . . . . .
Last edited by CandidCandiSilver on 05 Jun 2013, 19:07, edited 1 time in total.