Recognizing Needs

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

Recognizing Needs

OBob Gold
OBob Gold

May 27th, 2002, 9:16 am #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.



Cheers,



Bob





Related threads:

Last edited by OBob Gold on July 11th, 2009, 3:07 am, edited 3 times in total.
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

May 27th, 2002, 9:30 am #2

(4 months, 3 weeks... free)
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mirigirl (silver)
mirigirl (silver)

May 27th, 2002, 9:39 am #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!!

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 Bob

your quit sis
mirigirl
another nicotine addict
free and healing
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clactwicegold
clactwicegold

May 27th, 2002, 9:51 am #4

Dear Brother Bob
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. 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?!
Thanks again, love,
Clac xxx
3 weeks, 3 days, 10 hours, 58 minutes, 34 seconds tick tick tick
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knowbutts (Gold)
knowbutts (Gold)

May 27th, 2002, 1:15 pm #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.

knowbutts
6 mos 16 days
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janetd (GOLD)
janetd (GOLD)

May 28th, 2002, 9:11 am #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
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

May 28th, 2002, 9:23 am #7

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

August 18th, 2002, 6:36 am #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!

YQS,
Alyson
53+ days
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Juanjuanjuanjuanjuan200
Juanjuanjuanjuanjuan200

August 19th, 2002, 7:36 am #9

Right on.

I will search for the true reason of my craves.

Juan

Get the translation page.
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Lilycatt
Lilycatt

August 19th, 2002, 9:17 am #10

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

Lilycat
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David Gold
David Gold

August 19th, 2002, 10:53 am #11

Alyson thanks for pulling this up for me. This says it all. This is what happens to me at times. Thanks again.

David
I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 3 Weeks 1 Day 21 Hours 56 Minutes 3 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 1058. Money saved: $207.42.
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JennyBoBenny(Gold)
JennyBoBenny(Gold)

August 20th, 2002, 11:39 pm #12

Dear Bob,

Thank you so much for this post. I came here today because I have been having craves/urges to smoke lately, and reading this really helped me to realize that I am under some stress, and that I always used to smoke when I was stressed. It also reminded me to take care of myself...you know...feed when hungry, drink when thirsty, etc...

Thanks so much.

JennyBoBenny
Bronze
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Alyson GOLD.ffn
Alyson GOLD.ffn

August 21st, 2002, 2:19 am #13

Lynne -

Maybe the experiences related here will speak to where you're at today!

YQS,
Alyson
56+ days
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IrishLotus GOLD
IrishLotus GOLD

November 22nd, 2002, 6:13 am #14

Hmph...can't believe I haven't read this one before. "Recognizing My Needs" has been a bit startling for me lately. I have ignored many of my natural yearnings for so very long. This past weekend I recognized one I had been avoiding for a while...the need to cry. I felt like I was saved from drowning when I started to sob, I hadn't done it like that for so long, right down from the bottom of my toes...used to smoke instead. It was just the deep down release that my body (and mind) had been begging for... and you know what? A stinky ole sickarette would have done nothing to make me feel any better. Turns out I just needed a good cry. Pheww....thanks agian OBob...you are doing so much good here.

Thank you.

Lotus
FEELING the Healing for 1 Month 4 Weeks 15 Hours 11 Minutes 25 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 1758. Money saved: $439.75.
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SOC Silver
SOC Silver

March 30th, 2003, 11:34 am #15

This is so true! And just what I needed to read! (Thank you, Sal for linking it to one of your replies! )
It's strange to realize that as adults, we need to decipher our needs as if we were just starting out in this world!
I am becoming much more in tune to my physical needs that have been quelched all these years by nicotine feedings! And even though I've read the caffeine warning at least a few times, I still make that mistake now and then. (No wonder coffee and sicarettes go together ~ too much of one makes you want too much of the other!)
The continuing education here is so helpful! It makes never taking another puff alot easier!

~ Sandy Celebrating 1 week, 5 days, 19 hrs of Freedom!
217 not smoked, $43.58 not spent. Saving 18 hrs, 5 mins of my life!
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Kath (Green)
Kath (Green)

May 28th, 2003, 1:41 pm #16

Dear Bob,

This one is right on the money!!!!!!!

Just wish this body of mine would stop having so many "hunger" craves and maybe a few more "exercise" craves!(lol).

Thanks, this was just when I needed it.

Kath

I have been quit for 1 Month, 2 Weeks, 5 Days, 5 hours and 40 minutes (49 days). I have saved $620.37 by not smoking 1,723 cigarettes. I have saved 5 Days, 23 hours and 35 minutes of my life.
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GEMINI (GREEN)
GEMINI (GREEN)

May 29th, 2003, 6:38 am #17

Very insightful post. Imagine how our bodies have been asking for all these things and we have just giving it nicotine instead. I have the same problem with drinking enough water, so now I have posted signs around the house. I am really trying to get in touch with my body. Now that I am out of the fog of nicotine and I realize how abusive I have been to it, I feel like I need to make up for it with vitamins and a little TLC.
Gemini
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Dre bronze
Dre bronze

May 31st, 2003, 1:18 pm #18

Bob-Great info on the basic needs we forget we have as smokers, like nicotine was actually filling any need at all except our need to feel comfort for the next 30 minutes if we were lucky....
I didn't even realize how much of my discomfort was from my own lack of attention to my body and mind. I will be paying much closer attention in the future.. It's a light bulb moment for me, thanks so much!!!
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

June 14th, 2003, 4:38 am #19

From Kere: "would you believe that I forgot that it was ok to cry?"


Would you believe that that's very common for the addict? It is...
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ChangingDeidre
ChangingDeidre

July 10th, 2003, 12:49 pm #20

Thank you so much for this post. I really relate to this, yes I have answered every want with a puff. Do I really want to answer all my needs with a peice of candy? No, but it is not easy distinguishing what it is I need, want or feel.

I have been running in a panic for sometime now. Thankyou for this share!!!

Dee
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MissC GOLD
MissC GOLD

October 6th, 2003, 12:56 am #21

I really needed this today.....for some reason, I feel like "something's missing".... this puts it into perspective.

Miss C.

(Silver in less than 30 days)
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WPPegooGreenBuckeye
WPPegooGreenBuckeye

October 28th, 2003, 5:05 am #22

I know I'm responding to an old post, but this is soooo true. Sometimes I blame things on quitting smokng ... it's a craving, it's the nicotine trying to fool me. Well, after 20 years of fooling myself that nicotine was the solution to my problems, I'm not going to blame it for everything that goes wrong. I am responsible for my actions and my deeds. No more nicotene to blame.
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CandidCandiSilver
CandidCandiSilver

October 28th, 2003, 10:33 am #23

Bob ~ what a great post. Thanks for linking it in one of your posts today. I haven't answered my everyday "needs" like a normal, drug-free person for most of my life. Gosh, it's tough learning to be a "grownup" when you're 57!! Ahhhh, the Journey of Freedom from Addiction! Love it, Love this site and all the great folks who hang out here!!

Candi - Free and Healing for Four Days, 22 Hours and 52 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 8 Hours, by avoiding the use of 99 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $12.88.
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clarityGOLDENtree
clarityGOLDENtree

January 21st, 2004, 2:51 pm #24

Bob,

I know it's months later, but I'm still a newbie and I was looking at other newbie's posts and this one was recommended and I became curious and whaddyaknow...

I really needed to read this now!

Not only for your beautifully written and accurate words.

But, because I'VE FORGOTTEN HOW TO CRY TOO.

And I see someone wrote that to you.

So important to realize what it IS we're craving in place of nicotine.

Nice to get another perspective here.

Thankx.

Blessings!

Clarity who is two weeks free of nico-drug and happy to be!
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wackylaurie
wackylaurie

January 22nd, 2004, 4:16 am #25

Hi OBob,
I know this is an old post,but it still works today!Thanks! All that you said is so true. As long as I had my cigarettes I didn't really need anything else.
Or anything else just wasn't as good without a cigarette. Learning how to "be" without a smoke is quite interesting. I have been very tired ever since I quit which will be 3 weeks tomorrow. I thought I might be depressed, but emotionaly I'm doing okay. I think my body is just adjusting. Maybe I'm just learning how to live without a cigarette and it is taking a lot of energy.
Laurie
I have chosen not to smoke for 2 Weeks 6 Days 9 Hours 3 Minutes 43 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 652. Money saved: $81.51.
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