Strange trigger

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

Strange trigger

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:04

05 Sep 2002, 22:30 #1

I was out for my daily walk, when I glanced down and saw a smashed Pall Mall Red pack. This was never my brand, mind you. It was my father's brand. I had a quick, flash vision of him with that smaller than usual cigarette pack pulled from the right front pocket, before he lit a stubby unfiltered cigarette in his work rough fingers.

This box on the ground looked different than the ones my Dad always smoked. It was a box, not the soft pack. I bent down and almost picked it up. I needed to examine this new type of Pall Mall Red. Were they still non-filter? Gosh, I hardly know what they are doing with cigarettes now-a-days Well, maybe I'll just stop in the store right here and buy a pack to see... WHAT?!!? Skreech to a halt! I hardly even recognized it, but there it was, a trigger. My Dad's old brand changed its packaging, and suddenly I'm thinking of buying some. Breathe deep, calm, clean, breaths. There it passed, maybe 10 seconds. I haven't had a trigger for a while, I guess I was out of practice.

Now is a good time to remember where I came from (drug addiction) and what happened to my Dad from smoking Pall Malls (cancer death), and where I do NOT want to be (enslaved to nicotine again). Yes, and a good time to repeat the mantra, too: If you want to stay free, Never Take Another Puff!

Rosemary--I have chosen not to smoke for 6 Months 3 Weeks 4 Days 9 Hours 57 Minutes. Cigarettes not smoked: 4128. Money saved: $1,032.07.
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:04

05 Sep 2002, 22:40 #2

You are GOOD Rosemary!!

My biggest fear is to have some lengthy time under my belt and become overconfident, even blind to a trigger in progress. I love to hear of those silver and gold experiences. THANKS Sincerely, Mike : )

54 days
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

05 Sep 2002, 22:44 #3

Wow....you're right!!! What a connection that got tapped into.....I mean a memory of your dad?? I can see why members with long time quits have repeatedly warned us about remembering our reasons for quitting and against expecting us to "forget" our addiction to nicotine - low maintenance instead of "no" maintenance!!!

Congratulations Rosemary on catching yourself before acting on your minds suggestion to buy a pack of cigarettes....and for sharing with us today. I have not yet had a similar experience, however am alway glad to read up and prepare so that I too can catch myself before I possess any tobacco product. Amazing though how these triggers stem from some of the most innocent stuff!

Dos (Dubious)
14 Weeks plus
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

05 Sep 2002, 23:03 #4

Thank you! What an important message to share. How clearly it reveals the truth that we never become UNaddicted. Bet you are very grateful that you are an educated quitter. You quickly realized that addictive thinking was back in action and stomped on it! Good lesson and an inspiring one. Thank you for sharing it with us.

Parker - coming up on bronze but not feeling at all complacent
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

05 Sep 2002, 23:59 #5

Thanks for that timely post, Rosemary

You described your thoughts so clearly, I could exactly imagine how that sequence would trigger the idea of buying a pack . Wow, our brains can be sneaky, can't they ? It just goes to prove how easy it is to become complacent without realizing it.

Of course, it also proves how well you've learned the lessons from this site, and from your own inbuilt dedication and strength of will . I hear stories of relapse on other sites, and so very many of them say that they lit that fatal cigarette without thinking, without understanding or even considering the consequences, all at a time when they thought they "had the addiction beat". They all became careless, or complacent, or in some cases didn't understand how just one puff would almost instantly destroy their quit. Rosemary, you have shown the power of education and commitment, and you should be truly proud of yourself. You may think you came close to buying that pack and lighting a cigarette, but my money says that you would be just as likely to pick up a black metal object marked "Land Mine" . You know, you either do take another puff or you don't. In many ways, it doesn't matter how close you think you come to puffing, so long as you don't do it, then your quit is secure.

Thanks for sharing that with us, Rosemary, and don't be a stranger

Marty
NOT A PUFF for one year, nine months, four days: 11585 cigarettes not smoked saving $4,054.58: LIFE SAVED 5 weeks, 5 days
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

06 Sep 2002, 00:25 #6

Rosemary, Rosemary,

That was an exceedingly funny post in all of its vivid glory! I was right there beside you the whole way./ WAY TO GO GIRL! No smokes for you, or land mines either (thanks for THAT visual Marty)!

You're my hero! Sammy (2 months, 1 day of reclaiming my life, gracias los dios!)
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Sep 2002, 01:07 #7

Dear Rosemary,

I completely get it!

One of my deepest sensory memories and associations with my father was the smell of cigarette smoke on his hands. It is such a deep association that I can't begin to name the emotions the memory of that smell brings up or the place the memory transports me. Lucky for both of us, we have the knowledge gained here at Freedom to override such a strong feeling and balance it out. My father also died a cancer death, and I my addiction is no longer fooling me that I might not. I am so incredibly proud of my quit, and not sure I could muster all the work it's been again. Better just hang on to the life and quit I have now!

Free, Free, Free!!!

Melissa
Gold Club
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:04

06 Sep 2002, 01:38 #8

Thanks all for the lovely responses.

Thanks for saying I'm good, Riverdog. Of course I just felt stupid after I snapped out of it and realized that I was getting all goofy over a manky old Pall Mall package...

Dos, thanks for the salute. (hee hee)

Melissa & Dos, you are right about the memory being a trigger. But smoking his brand or anyone elses isn't going to bring him back now. And much as I love him, I am not ready to join him now.

Parker, you are right about being gratful that I am an educated quitter. Many a past quit was lost for lesser things when I did not know the truth about my addiction.

Marty, Marty, Marty. Your money would be right. I did not move toward the store, I just stood there breathing deep and finding my calm, looking like I was poleaxed or (you guessed it) land mined. An outsider, seeing me, would have thought, "what the heck is her problem? No reason to hyperventelate over one piece of garbage." Thanks for making me feel even better about my victory than I did already!

Sammy, funny, yes, but I was freaked!

Rosemary--add 3 hours and 5 minutes to the freedom listed above
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

06 Sep 2002, 02:27 #9

Dear Rosemary,
My daughter has been my most passionate advocate and rooter for my smoke free life but the other day she told me that she misses the old, familiar "fragrance" of tobacco. She was born into a smoking household and she naturally associates the unforgettable smell of smoking tobacco with many events in her life, most of them happy -----much as you do, Rosemary and Melissa.. I am so happy that my daughter never wanted to emulate her Dad and me in smoking . It makes me a little sad, though, that the memory of the cigarette "fragrance" is sweet to her. I can see how it could be a powerful trigger to daughters who smoked. and have walked away from it.
Lilac
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Sep 2002, 03:58 #10

Just an FYI that is relevant to this discussion:

Our sense of smell is our ONLY sense that is wired directly to the part of the brain that processes/interprets the information, and that part of the brain is in a section of the brain that's considered one of the oldest parts of the brain, leading to a theory that smell is perhaps the most primitive, instinctual of the senses. The other sensual information is routed through different parts of the brain before reaching it's "destination." An aroma can cause associations to nearly instantaneously appear in consciousness, often out of a verbal context. Witness the power of the smell of baking bread on prospective buyers in an open house, the smell of brewing coffee or frying bacon in the morning, the smell of a wood fire on a crisp fall evening, or the familiar scents of people in our lives.

I was born into a smoker's household and have smelled cigarettes all my life. My father's hands always smelled like cigarettes, from even before I could form words or know that a persons hands smelled like that because of cigarettes. Smell is certainly part of our "lizard" brain.

Melissa
Gold Club Lizard
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Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:04

07 Sep 2002, 10:09 #11

Thanks, Strange trigger,


I can relate and it saved me for a day


Eddie





>From: "Freedom From Tobacco - Quit Smoking Now" >Reply-To: "Freedom From Tobacco - Quit Smoking Now" >To: "Freedom From Tobacco - Quit Smoking Now" >Subject: Strange trigger >Date: Thu, 5 Sep 2002 07:30:28 -0700 >
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Dec 2002, 12:45 #12


Whether the next few minutes are the easiest yet or in the end prove to be the most challenging of your entire journey, as Rosemary reminds us, they're entirely doable!
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

26 Feb 2007, 22:17 #13

From Dos's reply above # 3:

I can see why members with long time quits have repeatedly warned us about remembering our reasons for quitting and against expecting us to "forget" our addiction to nicotine - low maintenance instead of "no" maintenance!!!

Adjusted but never cured. We will always be addicts. The difference is that now we are in control because we know we are addicts and that the only control we have over our use of the killer chemical nicotine is our ability to rationally choose to no longer harm ourselves by choosing in the moment to not take a puff.

JoeJ Free Goldx2
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Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Oct 2008, 22:13 #14

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