Revived cravings

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

Revived cravings

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:54

08 Oct 2008, 23:35 #1

I should start by saying, this is crazy. Never did I think i could reach four months; but as of yesterday i officially have.
That being said, i find myself amidst an ongoing crisis. I spent my first month or so studying and reading up on nicotine addiction; and it seemed, after about month two, that I wasn't thinking about smoking that much. Now, in recent weeks, it seems my cravings have been revived and my resolve weaker. I find myself jealous (rediculous I know) of other smokers around me.
This is alarming to me, and I am beginning to once again feel vulnerable to relapse.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Oct 2008, 23:47 #2

Related video to smoking thoughts:
Video Title
Dial-Up
HS/BB
Audio
Length
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"Will I ever stop thinking of cigarettes?"
10:47
11/20/06
Who wants to go back to smoking?
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09/28/06
Dreams of smoking
06:28
11/10/06
"I want one!"
05:33
10/18/06
The only time I think of smoking is when I get one of your stupid letters
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11/27/06
Avoiding situations where you used to smoke
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11/29/06
"I have to smoke when I talk on the phone"
2.77mb
27.6mb
3.43mb
07:30
09/27/06
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Oct 2008, 23:47 #3

Regarding urges or more accurately smoking thoughts that can come up over time:

Why am I still having "urges?"

Thoughts that seem worse than the first days urges

"You said it would get better. It's just as bad as the day I quit smoking!"

"Just think about something else."

The Terrible 3's

Smoking Triggers

Avoiding Triggers

I want one ...

Thoughts - fixating on wanting a cigarette

Just one or two

Be prepared for holiday triggers

Also, consider the general state of stress arising throughout the world today with reality of current economic issues. Posts relating to this include:

I have to smoke because of all my stress

Life goes on without smoking

How would you deal with the following situations?
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:01

08 Oct 2008, 23:47 #4

Nick,
I get cravings too.........especially if I'm at home and watching someone enjoy a drag on TV. But if i time it, it doesn't last long at all...........

I've been off cigs a little over 4 mos. myself.

I try to keep positive about not smoking. Reminding myself about how much better I feel, how much more energy I have, and how much money I've saved.

I like to turn to WhyQuit.com's Relapse Prevention section also. Reinforcement is key.........

Good Luck, we can do it by NTAP!

Rich


---
4m 2w 1d 12:06 smoke-free, 3,044 cigs not smoked, $875.15 saved, 1w 3d 13:40 life saved
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

08 Oct 2008, 23:57 #5

Hello Nick,

Congratulations on four months of recovery from active addiction dependency servicing. Imaging, willfully inhaling poisonous smoke 200 or more times a day. Why would anyone do such a thing? Why did we don that for years upon years? Because we had to sustain our dependence upon the brain chemical altering substance nicotine. Nicotine does not help us live better....in any way shape of form. Thinking that nicotine would beneift your life in any way is what I've called Empty Promises.

Maybe you desire the familiarity. Maybe you are buying into The Fallacy of "Good Cigarettes". Perhaps you are Fixating on a cigarette or believing yourself that I want one.... Well we both know that one is not an option for addicts like us. Our choice is now and has always been None or All. Why I choose none Parade.

Applying our Knowledge of our dependency is the key to our continued freedom. Like any tool we have to keep our knowldge in top condition. How do you do that? Keep the saw sharp, keep reading and learninghow to adjust to living free. A good strategy is to Reach for your dreams along with a little regular Reading and growth .

Joe J free of nicotine for 1367 days..... cause it is the best way to truly live life.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Oct 2008, 00:08 #6

As for the idea (you're absolutely right it IS ridiculous) of being jealous watching others smoke. That thought falsely presumes that they are enjoying themselves choking down one dose after another. They're not. They haven't yet decided they want to be free or are not willing to pay the freight to get themselves off the nicotine dependency carousel. Here are a couple of articles that I found very helpful when I first won back my freedom and decided I want to find and live as the real me. Hope they help you too:

Being tempted watching others smoke
"Boy, do I miss smoking!"
Walking among the addicted
The joy of smoking
Are there "social smokers?"
Ashtray butt digging
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Joined: 16 Jan 2003, 08:00

09 Oct 2008, 00:16 #7

Caring for your quit

Congratulations on 4 months of healing, hold on to it. The quality of the rest of your life may depend on it. Smoking maims, tortures and kills so many of us.

The truth is that there is nothing in a cigarette to be envious of if you look at it in the bright light of truth.

Read, read, read!

You're worth the time it will take to read all of the links that have been recommended for you.

No nicotine today. Never take another puff.

Sal
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Oct 2008, 01:27 #8

Nick,

The reading that's been suggested by others helped me too at four months. However I found myself with the same feelings and urges you're expressing now. The only thing I'd like to add and I know it appears somewhere in the reading that has been suggested already but the ONE thing that helped me the most was the thought "I have a CHOICE about smoking a cigarette, those smokers do not have a choice unless they want to go through the detox process I already have". We have only one simple rule to follow, we nver take another puff. You can do it. Know that soon you'll be feeling the comfort that I am. It gets easier and sooner than you can imagine.

YQB,
Pat
(FREE NOW Nine months, one week, 11 hours, 25 minutes.
8444 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,688.60.
Life saved: 4 weeks, 1 day, 7 hours, 40 minutes, absolutely PRICELESS)
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

09 Oct 2008, 01:51 #9

Wow, Nick...four months! Aren't you lucky?

You are here with us, asking for advice and support but YOU ARE HERE!
You wanted to quit, remember? And you did it! What an awesome achievement! You gave your health and your life quality such a great chance!
You are nicotine free. You have been quit for 4 months and this is all that matters.
Take it one day, one hour at a time.

You will keep being successful.

You proved you can do it and we are so proud of you

yqs. Patricia
4 months on Monday
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:44

09 Oct 2008, 02:14 #10

Nick,

Whilst we all travel to the same destination and all arrive there by our own path we all pass the same landmarks.

Im sure you hve seen some that I have yet to reach.

Although I have been quit for less time than you, I recognise your current location.

This is thought fixation.

You are remembering the really good smokes. You know, the one that really left an inpression, that used adrenaline to imprint itself deeply in your mind.

Yet that, is indeed a rare smoke. Very few you ever had were like that. Hundreds were very far from it I assure you of that! I am certain that any smoke you take will not be that fantasy memory. It would not satisfy you. You no longer have the physical equipment to process it. Your body would rebel.

How can you feel jealous? WATCH THE SMOKERS AROUND YOU! Watch them HAVE to smoke! You are free. The 30 minute constant nagging of chemical addiction is driven from your body. Rejoice in that. Feel the comfort of not HAVING TO smoke!

Besides, Jealousy implies that you feel deprived. Yet for all this time you have chosen not to smoke! :0)

And you have succeeded in defeating this most insidious of addictions!

Take heart! For you have walked such a great distance on your path. And you will overcome this and you will continue to heal. And all you have to do is never take another puff! (c) Joel ;0)

Jedi
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

09 Oct 2008, 05:10 #11

Hi Nick,

Wow! 4 months is so awesome Nick. I remember your first post. It really moved me. Have you reread it lately? Nick's first post
Please don't give in to those junkie thoughts. That's all they are. You do not truly crave a cigarette, there is no nicotine in your system.
You've already been provided with plenty of great links to reinforce your education. Also, please read what you wrote 3 months ago. I hope you can get back to that place. Please read up and reinforce your wonderful quit! You will be so proud you Chose to Never Take Another Puff.
Because YOU CAN!! Active junkies CAN'T- thay HAVE to smoke or suffer. You are FREE!

xoxo I am proud to say I am Lisa J (GOLD!!) and for One Year and Twenty Two Days I have not been slowly killing myself. I chose not to inhale 7744 poison sticks and choose to enjoy the $2,557.18, instead of giving it to the tobacco companies! NTAP totally rocks!! Peace. Out.
From: Nick_Egerton (Original Message) Sent: 7/3/2008 11:35 AM
Just thought I'd share a part of my story, since I just quit last week and its fresh in my mind.

During my addiction, i made numerous lazy attempts to quit that i now know failed due to lack of understanding and education. On my last couple of relapses (before my true quit) I became angry. Furious. Red in the face, ready to punch a hole in the wall. I would pick up my cigarettes and SLAM them against the wall. Put them on my bed and punch them. Step on them. Rip them up into tiny shreds and yell at them....and then, the next morning, purchase a whole new pack and start again.

But I feel like this may have taught me a fundamental lesson. Its not cigarettes that got me addicted to cigarettes, it is I who got myself addicted to cigarettes. Getting mad at my cigarettes, while instantly gratifying, feels now almost like a transference of blame. Each time I did this I would be "sure" that i would never smoke again. After all, if i was this angry and passionate, I was sure to succeed. But being angry at inanimate objects is a waste of time, and that is what cigarettes are; lifeless and empty objects. They don't have the power to cure my anxiety, solve all problems in life. They aren't divine entities. Just things.

When I beat my cigarettes up, I wasn't really angry at them. I was angry at myself. Anger leads to impatience and haste; and these things lead to failure. Today, 9 days after quitting, I am not angry or upset. I have decided to learn and understand; and take cessation for the experience that it is; day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute. I don't know what will happen tomorrow, but I know what I want and I am confident that I can stay clean. And I have a whole 9 days behind me to propel me into the unknown
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Joined: 17 Jun 2006, 07:00

09 Oct 2008, 12:08 #12


Seems to be a common occurrence... Usually, somewhere between say 4 weeks and 4 months, sometimes a tad earlier, occasionally a bit later, we reach a hurdle. We've been through withdrawal. We've gotten ourselves really good at reconditioning triggers. But, something's still lingering. I've seen it described as a sense of doubt, a dread, a dark cloud. It's threatening. It's frightening.

Here's my take. And, it's based in part on the grieving process associated with giving up nicotine described in this post (Emotional Loss Experienced from Quitting Smoking), but not entirely. I believe the hurdle we reach has to do with the bridge from depression (the 4th phase of the grieving process) to acceptance (the 5th and final phase). Crossing that bridge is the final major hurdle, and many of us find ourselves with our feet stuck in the muck of depression as we struggle with what appears to be a daunting crossing.

During our pre-quit, our withdrawal, and our early trigger reconditioning, we deal with heavy doses of the first 3 stages (denial, anger, bargaining). It's not always pleasant, but it IS something we can sink our teeth into. There's something to push against. As long as we've got a tangible enemy to fight, things tend to be, if not pleasant, exciting and clear-cut. Meet your enemy head on.... defeat it with truth, and sometimes sheer stubbornness.

Then.... gradually, the struggle lessens. Comfort begins to kick in. We discover, "hey! this is doable!"

BUT...

as we sit there, face to face with the prospect of our own success:

--The tangible struggle fades. Triggers happen, but they're fewer and farther between. We know how to deal with them now, and we recognize that they're temporary. Physical withdrawal seems a distant memory. The excitement is over. It's just me and my life, and it's time to get on with it. And, nicotine isn't a part of it. Neither is "quitting" -- I DID quit. In some ways it's like the aftermath of hosting a big party. The madness of preparation, the fun of the festivities... then, everyone's gone home, and there's just clean-up to do, and work the next day.

--We ponder our success. We ponder our identity. We're on the verge of making a transition. We've been a "smoker who's quitting" for weeks, maybe months. But, now we're feeling the comfort. We know it's doable in terms of winning the battles. We've won so many.... but, now we're at the point where something is suddenly becoming very real.... our identity as an ex-smoker... Success.

This is acceptance... and for many of us, it's terrifying! In some respects, it's simply another form of junky reasoning. But, in this case, it hits where we're still most vulnerable... our identity... our self-confidence.

"I've smoked through everything. Every celebration. Every crisis. Every monotonous moment of boredom, every study session, after meals, during the drive, after shopping, after making love, at the bar, in the bathroom, at my desk, on my porch, with Jim Bob, with Sue, with my lawyer, with my doctor, after work, during breaks, at football games, at weddings. Smoking was part of my life through every difficulty, no matter how horrific, or inconsequential. I wanted to quit badly, but deep down inside, I wonder, "can I really do this forever? Can I really manage to forge a new life for myself where I do all of the things that make up my day-to-day living without that constant security blanket?"

We question a future where celebrations and defeats, excitement and boredom are experienced without the presence of the powerful drug to which we were actively addicted for years. We question our mettle. We've made it this far, and we've proven to ourselves that it's doable. But, now we're playing for keeps. This is for good. This is permanent. Can we imagine the rest of our life as an ex-smoker?

It feels particularly difficult when we're going through it for a couple of reasons.

1) we haven't had to struggle that hard lately, and it catches us unprepared.

2) the very nature of the transition -- acceptance of yourself as an ex-smoker -- is rooted in permanence. Where before, the struggles were day-to-day, this is suddenly about me vs. eternity.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Oct 2008, 12:29 #13

'This is alarming to me, and I am beginning to once again feel vulnerable to relapse.'

It is good that you came back to post Nick. I am also very near your quit date. I come back and read and watch nearly every day. I need to. It helps to remind me why I quit. I do feel comfortable in my quit but I think these visits here have helped me keep on the right track.

Here are a few threads I think you should re-visit.
Triggers - reminders from your executive assistant
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Oct 2008, 13:23 #14

Nick:

In addition to the excellent links already provided in this thread, I think it would be a good idea to reflect on the years (or decades) it took you to get to the point of quitting and on the effort you have put in during your four months to reach the point where you now have the choice to remain an ex-smoker or go back to being a full-fledged smoker with all that goes with that.

I'll reach my eighth month anniversary this weekend. I think about smoking very seldom, except when I participate in quit-smoking forums (which I find helps me solidify my own quit). I have a very occasionaly thought about smoking, not even to the point of actually thinking about going out to buy a pack -- just the oaccasional flashback memory to a "good" (yeah, right) cigarette. I nip those thoughts in the bud very quickly. The image I want is of the 7500 cigarettes I would smoke in the first year after a relapse. And, the 7500 more the year after that.

It took me 38 years to quit the first time. I don't honestly know if I would ever quit a second time. The smoking could very well kill me first.
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Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:54

09 Oct 2008, 22:44 #15

I thank you all for your support and relevant links. I have some reading to do. It is good to come here and see that others are at this point to. I think it is helpful to think of it as a new stage in the quitting/grieving process.
In light of these posts, I have come to realize that I have been scrutinizing myself for my cravings. After having gone a few weeks without a craving, the return of my desires has shot up a red flag; thereby internally convincing me that something is wrong. Until I came here, I believe I have been treading a dangerous path for the last week or so. The disasterous and hopeless nature of my thought process in light of new hurdles could very well have hurled me into a miserable relapse.
Time without cigarette desires led to lack of quitting effort. Now it has become clear to me that I need to return to active pursuance of my quit in order to maintain it. I have been reminded (by my first post) that the maintenance of my quit is a matter of pride, avoidance of misery, and most importantly, Life or Death.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

09 Oct 2008, 23:36 #16

Hello again Nick:

You wrote, "Time without cigarette desires led to lack of quitting effort. Now it has become clear to me that I need to return to active pursuance of my quit in order to maintain it."

Once again, be sure to watch or listen to the following video or audio file. The last three minutes of the material covers this issue.
Video Title
Dial-Up
HS/BB
Audio
Length
Added
"Will I ever stop thinking of cigarettes?"
10:47
11/20/06
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

10 Oct 2008, 01:39 #17

Nick:

I have found that it's really important for me to get involved in some "active pursuance of my quit" on a fairly routine basis. I do it by checking in and participating in this forum, encouraging (or giving some tough love) to new quitters. I do it by reading a few threads or re-watching a Joel video or two -- like a favorite old movie. I don't do this because I feel any imminent danger of relapsing, but just as a way of not taking my new life as an ex-smoker for granted. I don't want to be one of those people who gets to eight months (tomorrow, yippee!) and then says, "oh, I can have just one...."

I was listening to the audio presentations of this year's 2008 UK cessation conference presentation. This is an annual gathering of grand pooh-bahs in the British stop smoking establishment presenting the latest research. It's funny because they are so married to NRT that they can't see the forest for the trees, but there is also some interesting stuff. For example, a new study of those who relapse after the 4 month mark (of course, they don't consider that their horrible 4 month relapse rate even after 7 week group support programs might be because that's when people are stopping their NRT, still addicted to nicotine!)

One of the characteristics of those who don't relapse is that they view themselves as "non-smokers" or "ex-smokers". Those who relapse tend to view themselves as "smokers" who are not allowing themselves to smoke, i.e. using self-control. That caught my attention. From the moment I decided to permanently quit (on Day 3 of my quit), I thought of myself as an "ex-smoker". I remember that my most common mental response to a trigger was, "Oh, it's time to go for a smoke....wait, no it isn't, I'm an ex-smoker. I don't do that anymore." It wasn't using self-control, it was a conscious, emphatic change in identity from smoker to ex-smoker. I knew by the time I was able to join the whyquit.com forums that I had smoked my last cigarette and wouldn't relapse. I had mentally thrown a switch and become an ex-smoker.

That has now been conditioned in my mind for eight months, which might explain why I haven't really had any great temptations to smoke. That's not to say I don't have occasional memory flashbacks to smoking. I smoked for 38 years, so of course my whole life is wrapped up memories of smoking. But, I do think strongly embracing a new identity as a "ex-smoker" rather than a "trying to quit'er" is something that can be beneficial. It has helped me.

It has also helped to participate in forums with a people desperately trying to quit smoking for the umpteenth time and caught in a viscious quit/relapse/quit/relapse cycle. It tends to give you steely resolve to not go there. I worked too hard to get to the one week mark, the one month mark, the two month mark, the four month mark, to even think about letting that happen.
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

10 Oct 2008, 08:27 #18

Hi Nick! 1st. of all Congrats on 4 months. That's fantastic!
2nd. : As I wander around now and see people lighting up (outside the grocery store- office buildings, as they drive with the arms out the window, etc.. ) I want to stop each one and ask- would you quit if you could ? I think most would say yes- this is a horrible habit and I wish I could quit. Now- We know from Freedom that We Can quit and it's not a habit- it's an addiction but don't you remember when each time you lit up you thought I wish I could quit? I do and that's what keeps me from lighting up. I do not want to start this again in the future.
As hwc5 said: -- just the oaccasional flashback memory to a "good" (yeah, right) cigarette. I nip those thoughts in the bud very quickly. The image I want is of the 7500 cigarettes I would smoke in the first year after a relapse. And, the 7500 more the year after that.
Keep doing what you came here in the 1st. place to do- Take Care of your quit!! and of you!
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