Recognizing Needs

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

Recognizing Needs

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

27 May 2002, 09:16 #1

I still have to remind myself of things.

One of the most insidious things about the drug nicotine, and it's most common vehicle of entry, the cigarette, is that, over time, the crave they generate hijacks the natural, healthy craves we, as human beings, go through on a regular basis.... daily... hourly.

Things like hunger, thirst, the need to sleep, the need to exercise, sex-drive, the need for companionship, the need to be creative, the need for escape, the need to take deep breaths and count to 10....... over time, the crave for nicotine becomes entwined with the natural, healthy, instinctive craves that are associated with healthy living. The nicotine crave feels similar to the others. They become confused. We take nicotine instead of food. Use instead of quenching our thirst. No time for a nap, I'll inhale nicotine instead. I've got a long drive.... I don't want to pull over, I'll use nicotine.... I'm restless, I'll take nicotine (instead of going for a walk).

Eventually, the nicotine crave takes over. We use as either a replacement for or as a constant companion to the fulfillment of our normal physical and mental needs. Like a cuckoo bird's egg is laid in the healthy nest of another bird, the nicotine crave is planted amongst our need-to-live craves, and eventually, like a parasite, takes over.

This is important, because, when we quit, we face the challenge of learning to recognize the natural craves of our bodies and minds for what they are. As work 6 or 8 hours without a bite to eat, and we start to feel edgy, we assume it's the call of nicotine, without recognizing that we'd substituted cigarette breaks for lunch breaks so often as smokers that we never understood the call of hunger for what it was. As 3am rolls around, cramming for a final, and the body's need to sleep starts making demands, we mistake it for the call of nicotine, because we'd always used that instead of sleep in the past.

One I still encounter results from not drinking enough water. I'll get wrapped up in some project, and forget to have a glass of water or any kind of liquid for hours on end. The pack was always right in the pocket, and an easy reach when I was a smoker working at home. I'd smoke instead of hydrating then. So, now, when I get thirsty, I still occasionally recognize it as a nicotine crave.

I've learned -- and this is the point -- when I get what I think is a crave to examine it. To ask myself, okay, I'm craving something... is it really nicotine? Have I eaten? Have I had enough water? Am I run down? Have I exercised in the past couple of days? As often as not, I find that I'm craving something I actually NEED, and not nicotine at all. I find this especially when I get any kind of physical type of crave. I know I'm WAY past withdrawal. But I feel this physical call... my body is demanding something, but it's not nicotine.

Learn to investigate your body's craves. You feel something... DON'T assume it's a nicotine crave. Sure, they come now and then, but our body uses similar feelings to get us to fill the daily needs of life. Go through the list. Are you hungry, tired, thirsty, angry, restless, run down? Do you need to eat, sleep, drink, vent, exercise, rest? Your body and mind have real needs, and it has ways of asking for them. Learn to listen, and you'll find that they might not be asking for nicotine as often as you thought. Learn to answer the needs by fulfilling them, instead of replacing them with nicotine, and you'll find health benefits you might not have expected.


Image Bob

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Last edited by OBob Gold on 11 Jul 2009, 03:07, edited 3 times in total.

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

27 May 2002, 09:30 #2

(4 months, 3 weeks... free)

mirigirl (silver)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

27 May 2002, 09:39 #3

Oh - Bob I almost hate to say this - but this is so profound!! There have been so many times in my quit when it occured to me that I want something... I need something.... which can so easily be translated into I want a cigarette, I need some nicotine...

Yes nicotine was so intricately interwoven into every activity of my life that every need just became the need for a cigarette - hungry, angry, lonely, tired - happy, mad, sad, glad - what the heck - have a cigarette!

As not smoking has become more of a natural activity for me - I find I am able to recognise my real needs more - the need to cry, to laugh, to walk, to have fun, to talk with friends and family, and best of all... the need to breathe!!Image

Today when I feel I want something...and start to think now what is it I want??? I know pretty well straight away its not actually a cigarette - 'cause I don't smoke any more!, and I can move onto what it is I really need.

I'm finding life is full of different ways to experience its beauty and difficulties, when I no longer have to experience it through a smoke-screen!

Thanks so much for sharing BobImage

your quit sis
another nicotine addict
free and healing

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

27 May 2002, 09:51 #4

ImageDear Brother BobImage
Thank you for that post. It made me think. I've never been very 'in touch' with my own body and I've aways envied for instance, those girls who say they know when they're ovulating even. I don't have a clue and sometimes I have to wake up to realise I must have been tired if you know what I mean. Image I'll try to be more aware from now on. I'll try to remember that a sleep might be a better idea than some chocoalate. Hmm, or maybe some chocolate and a sleep! It's all better than nasty smoking, isn't it?!
ImageThanks again, love,Image
Clac xxx
3 weeks, 3 days, 10 hours, 58 minutes, 34 seconds tick tick tick

knowbutts (Gold)
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:25

27 May 2002, 13:15 #5

O Bob,

You are so right, as usual.
I went through this in the last couple of days. You're fighting the deadlines and murphys law is in full effect
Your body sends your brain a signal: I need food, water, sleep, laughter, a hug ... whatever and then it's like charades, your brain holds up signs to your conciousness."Food? um she's not eating so it can't be food. Let's see, water? Nope. she's not stopping for that either. Oh I've got it, sleep! Hold up the comfy pillow. ****! What can it be? Nothings working. Hey I'll try this one. It hasn't worked in a while but it used to be the holy grail. A cigarette! Hah! Now that got her attention! But what the **** is she laughing at? Now we're taking a snack break? Go figure."

If we use a fraction of the energy caring for ourselves and our quit that we used caring for our habit we'd probably never get a crave again.

6 mos 16 days

janetd (GOLD)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

28 May 2002, 09:11 #6

Remember when smoking made you feel different? You'd get that nic-buzz, and feel a little high! Well, nic hadn't given me that feeling in a long, long time. So, it has actually been quite refreshing to become an ex-smoker. So many things seem new to me.

My first cup of coffee in the morning

As a smoker, first thing in the morning, drag coffee to one of the designated smoking areas half asleep, smoke cig and drain cup of coffee so I can get ready for work

As an ex-smoker, first thing in the morning, make coffee, open shades, drink more coffee, log on to the computer while drinking coffee, bring coffee to the bathroom, start to get cleaned up, bring coffee back to office, and check out Freedom Message Board. Drink more coffee. Finish getting ready. Finish coffee. Go to work.

So many of us think we won't be able to enjoy our coffee without a butt. Well, go figure, I enjoy my coffee much more than I ever did when I was smoking.

Thanks for the post, Bob! It really is amazing, isn't it?

yqs, Janet Image

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

28 May 2002, 09:23 #7

Sure is Janet! Like losing a big ball and chain that I dragged around for too long.Image

Alyson GOLD.ffn
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

18 Aug 2002, 06:36 #8

BINGO! O'Bob strikes again!

This is how my second month feels. Relearning to recognize and respond to the natural needs my body and mind are trying to communicate now that my unnatural fix is gone. Nicotine really just "shut up" everything I truly needed from sleep to meditation. Now that my natural needs, both physical and mental, finally get a hearing, they're clamoring for attention!

David, I'm wondering if you feel like you're undergoing this adjustment to a normal way of being too!

53+ days

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

19 Aug 2002, 07:36 #9

Right on.

I will search for the true reason of my craves.


Get the translation page.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

19 Aug 2002, 09:17 #10

Great post - hit the nail on head for me! Thanks.