The Journey Home

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

8:14 PM - Jun 01, 2002 #1

Like the world's most aggressive cancer, junkie thinking can be a powerful force for personal betrayal. Instead of remaining patient and riding out the bumps during this temporary period called quitting, you'll see posts from members where relapse thinking is beginning to taking hold and seriously infect their judgement.
Hundreds of times in Freedom's over 100,000 posts, we've seen members share honest facts associated with utterly terrible and emotionally brutal life situations. We then watch as they stand back and almost dare the group to tell them that they don't have sufficient justification to again put nicotine into their body. Well guess what, we don't buy it and neither do you! There is no justification for living life as an addict!
Five pounds, ten pounds, twenty pounds, thirty pounds - the health risks don't begin to compare. You lost your job or face devastating financial crisis and your very last penny is gone - yet you'll find money to feed an expensive addiction - forget it! You held your mother in your arms as she passed from this life and the depression that has followed has had you sitting in an arm chair for weeks on end - you need medical help, not nicotine. Flushing your hard work, dreams and healing down the toilet as you add active drug addiction to your list of problems defies all logic and reason.
To use the circumstances of life as our mind's excuse for putting nicotine into these healing bodies is wrong. Quitting isn't a problem, it's a solution. Nicotine use does not relax stress, it only relaxes its own absence. No sooner did we use it than the amount remaining in our blood began to once again decline until the anxiety for the next fix caused the cycle to be repeated, again and again, until death would we have parted.
Please don't think us heartless when we put your recovery, health, and life above serious concerns about your weight, finances, loved ones, your job, friends, your relationship, a smoking friend, relative or spouse, or even the death of the person that you hold dearest in your heart. All we ask is that you be honest with yourself. Honesty would make you see that pounding your thumb with a hammer in response to your problems (with the risk that injury would be so great that amputation becomes necessary) makes far more sense than assuming the 50/50 risk of a very early grave that comes with being unable to remain free from nicotine.
Quitting is our temporary stepping stone back to that deep deep sense of calmness and comfort that our minds' enjoyed immediately before nicotine took control of our lives. Our endless lifetime cycle of nicotine feedings has been an extremely draining experience both physically and emotionally - for some quicker than others. Do you remember the deep and rich sense of almost constant calmness that filled your mind immediately prior to smoking nicotine for the very first time? Emotionally your resided somewhere between that nicotine/dopamine "aahhhh" sensation that arrived within 8 to 10 seconds of a single powerful puff of new nicotine, and the profound anxiety and depressed state of badly needing another fix ("Where are my cigarettes!!!!).
Prior to our first encounter with nicotine, there was no perpetual cycle of dopamine high and lows. It was just us enjoying the normal healthy dopamine flow that arrives with a big hug, a deep breath, a cold glass of water, great tasting food or during sexual relations. Quitting is nothing more than once again adjusting to who we were before nicotine took our mind's dopamine circuits permanent hostage.
If you're still having triggered craves or find your mind flooded in a sea of smoking related thoughts, keep in mind that this isn't how it feels to be the real "you" or to be an ex-smoker. This is how it feels during that temporary period of adjustment called "quitting" that transports each of us home!
Please give yourself a chance to meet the real you again! You won't be disappointed! Like a healing broken bone, quitting is a process, not an event. It requires that we each develop a bit of patience when it comes to dealing with our dependency. It requires that we stay focused on victory here and now - hour by hour, just one day at a time!
Life's challenges have nothing whatsoever to do with once again becoming an active drug addict. See such thoughts and links for just how ridiculous they really are! We're each addicts too! The only difference is that we LEARNED to be patient with our healing so that we could once again meet the person we once were. We're going home! Patience!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long!
John - Freedom's Gold Club
Last edited by John (Gold) on 3:48 AM - Apr 02, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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misledfairy
misledfairy

8:57 PM - Jun 01, 2002 #2

To anyone who doubts Johns words, I swear I am living proof that you can even lose loved ones and still keep your quit, you have to keep your head and really ask what you have to gain by lighting up again, dont lie to yourself in looking for an excuse to relapse, someone said to me " you would be throwing away that what ***** cant hold on to no matter how hard he tries," please heed those words they are so true.
God bless.
Naymor xxxx
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Tootie
Tootie

9:41 PM - Jun 01, 2002 #3

very powerful words. thanks John. i know this is going to be a long journey but i realize it will only be as difficult as I make it. thanks for helping us to really think and understand our addictions.

Six days, 12 hours, 45 minutes and 19 seconds. 97 cigarettes not smoked, saving $21.55. Life saved: 8 hours, 5 minutes.
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improud (golder)
improud (golder)

11:13 PM - Jun 03, 2002 #4

Thanks John for keeping this in perspective. Nothing NOTHING changes by taking that puff, except of course you will feed the addiction that you are trying to take control of. This is easy if you let it be.
Last edited by improud (golder) on 3:49 AM - Apr 02, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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Patsy (Gold2)
Patsy (Gold2)

10:36 PM - Jun 12, 2002 #5

Facing life's stresses without even thinking about smoking 
(except to be thankful that you don't) 
is part of the freedom you will experience if you 
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
I am a "different person" than I was as a smoker. 
It's great to be "home" & to be the real ME!
Patsy
One year, three weeks, three days
21416 cigarettes not smoked.
Last edited by Patsy (Gold2) on 3:07 PM - Jan 02, 2013, edited 1 time in total.
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clactwicegold
clactwicegold

11:02 PM - Jul 14, 2002 #6

Thank you John,

As always, you post just what I needed to read...

I'm feeling ready for my journey home and my Journey Home if you know what I mean...

I know you'll insist the glory is all mine but I'm afraid a little of it belongs to you...
[font='TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]Clac [/font]
[font='TIMES NEW ROMAN', TIMES, SERIF]xxx[/font]Big love
2 months, 1 week, 5 days, 7 minutes, 35 seconds tick tick tick
Last edited by clactwicegold on 3:08 PM - Jan 02, 2013, edited 2 times in total.
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DubiouslyDos
DubiouslyDos

12:15 AM - Jul 15, 2002 #7

Enjoyed re-reading this one today too John....Learning what the "real" you is like after 28 years of junkie thinking and staying preoccupied feeding your body nicotine is quite an experience. Thanks to friends here, and articles like this one, I am better able to separate my personal situations from my stressors. Even if I am a bit befuddled once in a while...I'm okay as long as I never take another puff.

I particularly was glad to see the weight gain comments in the beginning of this article. That had been the hardest to accept and had destroyed my past quits. This time...my medications added extra pounds too....and my self esteem has taken a beating. I'm always glad to read and re-read....that no matter what the gain may be, it will be temporary, can be worked back off later....but it is not as life threatening as continuing to feed my nicotine addiction. Baby steps, right???

Dos (Dubious)
6 Weeks, 5 Days, 1 Hour, 15 Minutes
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

8:56 PM - Jul 28, 2002 #8

When you see a smoker whose all alone puffing away in the car beside you while stopped at a traffic light, they are not doing so to tease you. They're doing so because they must!
Try picturing what they're each doing as more akin to injecting heroin into their arm. Don't think in terms of the false marketing images that conveyed messages of choice, freedom, and good health. Instead think in terms of nicotine delivery, involuntary chemical dependency and an endless need to elevate a falling blood serum nicotine level in order to avoid the onset of chemical withdrawal.
There is nothing romantic about watching a drug addict feed their addiction as they take yet another step toward damaging or destroying a bit more of their body's life giving attributes. It's highly likely that many new and sometimes struggling quitters watched you smoke nicotine in public over the years. In all honesty, how should they have interrupted what they saw? Why should you interrupt what you see any differently? For those enslaved, nicotine is nicotine and dependency is dependency! The lies are simply an addicts way of coping with today's defeat.
Quitting is a temporary journey of adjustment during which we each trade places with our dependency. It's now under arrest and we hold the key. As long as we never put nicotine into these bodies freedom is ours!
Last edited by John (Gold) on 3:51 AM - Apr 02, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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Lilac (Bronze)
Lilac (Bronze)

11:02 PM - Jul 28, 2002 #9

John,

What a wonderful forum you have here. The articles you provide are often on subjects I have wondered about all my life. It would be difficult or even dishonest to dispute the contents of most of the srticles. I have one complaint and it is strictly from a personal stand point and has to do with my age, I imagine..
Seventy percent of my life I have smoked. I smoked when I fell in love and married, when I bore and raised my two children, during a long and stressful career, when I cared for my 94 yer old mother during the last years of her life, while I cared for my beautiful fifty year old son during his last seige with one of three brain tumors. I helped raise two precious grandsons while still smoking altho' not around them, sat in critical care waiting rooms when my husband had a heart attack, a by pass, and thoracic anyeuism surgery. I was, of course, smoking at that time too. After I learned of second hand smoke I never smoked again around people. It became a solitary pursuit. I have smoked without any time off, except for three months five years ago, for my entire adult life.
Now it is probably true that I could have been a better person, wife, mother, daughter, grandmother, nurse, friend if I had not smoked. But the FACT is that the majority of my life I DID smoke. I will not discount all those years of love, sorrow, joy, pain , fullfillment, humor, tradgedy, blessings because I smoked. Or that I was essentially some other person than who I am now because then I smoked. and now I don't.
I am amazed at the quality of people who attend this important forum. Their kindness, sincerity, and efforts to help each other are a real inspiration. Your articles and messages to members are thoughful, informed and full of knowledge and you are kind in your criticism.
Well, I am going to keep attending your forum because it is enormously helpful, unless it is thought that because of my viewpoint I belong elsewhere.
Jo Anne (Lilac) 3weeks, one day, four hours quit. 55 year smoker
By the way, My mother didn't smoke, (heaven forbid,) neither of my children have ever smoked, none of my grandchildren smoke and my husband quit smoking twenty years ago after his heart attack. He says he quit because I nagged him unmercifully.. After he quit I never smoked in the house or car, winter or summer again.. I figure I must have done SOMETHING right,
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janetd (GOLD)
janetd (GOLD)

12:00 AM - Jul 29, 2002 #10

Hi Lilac, I also did many things as a smoker that are part of me and my history. Married, went on many wonderful trips, worked at several different jobs, went to school, designed gardens, visited family in the hospital, attended funerals, christenings, birthday parties, holiday celebrations, etc. And just because I quit smoking, those events will not be diminished as a part of my life experience or memories. However, I think what many of us find, as we advance into our quits, is that in some ways we are leading fuller lives. A personal example is that I now babysit for my niece and nephew who live close by. In the past, this was not an easy thing to do because their house is smoke-free, and they were young and required constant monitoring. I live in New England, and if it were twenty degrees below zero, well, **** it, those kids were going outside so I could have a smoke.

Why is this significant? For many of us, before we quit smoking, we thought that we would not be able to do many things that we enjoyed without smoking. I was absolutely terrified of quitting, and did not know how I would be able to carry on without my butts. So to instead discover that I can have the best garden I've had in years is a delightful side effect of my quit. Quite frankly, I do have more time on my hands since I gave up smoking. So I get to spend that time doing things that I enjoy. We then find, that we also have the time to engage in new activities. So you see, we do not expect you to look down upon your former life as a smoker. We just want you to relish your life as an ex-smoker.

I hope you see the distinction because it really is quite uplifting.

yqs, Janet 

P.S. -- I don't think too many of us here at Freedom are fanatical reformed smokers. I still have many friends and family members who smoke. I wish they would quit so that they could find the comfort that I have found. But I certainly don't look down on them.
Last edited by janetd (GOLD) on 3:09 PM - Jan 02, 2013, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

8:49 AM - Jul 29, 2002 #11

From: Lilac Sent: 7/28/2002 3:47 PM
I read your article earlier today and it stuck in my mind for some time afterward. I was trying to decide if I am running away from "craves" or hiding or exactly what. Then I got busy after deciding that I don't really know what I do--would have to wait till the next episode developed.
Just now as I lay out linoleum on the den floor to cut for the little bathroom I had to laugh. Last week I would have run in terrror from reflooring a room. My creative juices were always fed and rewarded with cigarettes. when I got involved in relatively complicated activities. And here I am at the end of three weeks, snorting with frustration, concerned about getting my measuremets correct , rolling a heavy roller over the linoleum to straighten it--------and I am not out of breath, I am not tired. My legs are not heavy., and tho' I am thinking of cigarettes as you can tell by my message, I really can't say I want one. I still don't know tho' if I go out to meet my craves and hug them. Maybe time will tell.... Lilac


Hey Lilac, just got in and apparently read your posts in the wrong order as when I read one I've reposted immediately above I thought I saw just a wee bit of a glimpse of someone who was beginning to see a bit of a difference between what life as smoker and ex-smoker can be : ))
As Janet indicates, the distinctions could eventually end up being pretty profound. The power of nicotine is real and so was the time that we were each forced to devoted to all of our mandatory feedings. Going home as related to here is in reference to reclaiming our health, time, freedom and the dream of full life expectancy, not to changing history or feeling bad about any portion of our life. We did what we did, we were who we were, but now, we are who we are!
If you like what it feels like at Three Weeks just wait until you see what Three Months has in store! Imagine two lungs being able to process almost one-third more oxygen in just 90 days !!! If there were no other reasons to leave nicotine and tobacco behind than vastly improved breathing, shouldn't that be enough! Not only did my sense of smell return but I had far more room to inhale more of the smells that I liked! It's nice having a place to put them : )
You're doing great Lilac! Enjoy your journey in healing! John : )
Last edited by John (Gold) on 3:53 AM - Apr 02, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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CdnpheonixGold
CdnpheonixGold

8:49 PM - Aug 06, 2002 #12

"Quitting is a temporary journey of adjustment during which we each trade places with our dependency. It's now under arrest and we hold the key. As long as we never put nicotine into these bodies freedom is ours!"

Hi John,
This quote from your article is what I tend to forget, so I've added it to my KTQ Inspiration file. I lack patience. I want to be done with the healing NOW so I can start really living. That isn't going to happen. Every Ex-Smoker has to pay his dues I suppose. Every nicotine addict has to fight their demons and come out the victor. I guess I've never looked at it that way before even though I knew the emotional stuggle would be more difficult than the physical one.

Thank you for re-posting this one. It's given me new inspiration. Maybe I'll be a little more patient with myself when I hit the next speed bump in the road to recovery.

YQS

C (Newbie with a lot left to learn)
NOT A PUFF for 1W 6D 10h 15m 1s and counting.
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Parker GOLD
Parker GOLD

9:47 PM - Aug 06, 2002 #13

"...junkie thinking can be a powerful force for personal betrayal."

John, I don't know how but had missed reading this. That line captures so much for me. Putting down the cigarettes created a sense of personal congruence for me. As though for the first time in years my beliefs and actions were neatly lined up and in sync. In many ways I value that sense far more than any health benefits.

So, I am writing down that line and tacking it up in a conspicuous spot as a reminder of how much I have to be grateful for in my new life as an ex-smoker.

Thank you.
Parker
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

10:57 PM - Aug 06, 2002 #14

C and Parker, a pack-a-day twenty-year smoker replenished their falling blood serum nicotine level and experienced almost immediate relief 146,000 times. How can any new quitter expect to be PATIENT while being forced to daily revisit many of their 146,000 fading memories (that belong to an actively feeding addict and not you) of instantly satisfying their mind's chemical need for another fix?

The concept of one day at a time - or even one hour if need be - is a way of looking at this adjustment period that allows us to focus on the task at hand (the next few minutes) and to develop the patience needed to keep our dependency under arrest.

The hundreds of wonderful and caring graduates who take the time to drop back by and remind the next generation that this journey of adjustment is in fact temporary, do so because they each know that beyond the first few days of chemical withdrawal a new quitters natural lack of patience is probably their greatest adversary.

Yesterday may be history and tomorrow beyond our control, but today is entirely doable! John : )
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

7:16 AM - Aug 22, 2002 #15

FREE RELAPSE INSURANCE
How much would you be willing to pay for an insurance policy that would guarantee that you'd never relapse and that you'd remain nicotine free for the remainder of your life? Sorry, it can't be done. There is no way on earth to 100% guarantee that a former smoker will not take a puff and experience full blown relapse. Although there are no guarantees in life (except for death and taxes), there is a way to substantially enhance our chances of NEVER TAKING ANOTHER PUFF! But how?
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Kiwi (Gone GOLD )
Kiwi (Gone GOLD )

5:42 PM - Sep 02, 2002 #16

'We're going home! Patience!'
I felt so good reading these words . I have read them before, but tonight they just fit, expressing for me just what this journey is about. A re-discovery of who I am when nicotine no longer fogs my experience. A self not always easy to be with, but at least it is real, and some parts are so lovely, I am very happy to own them.
Kiwi
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

8:36 AM - Sep 18, 2002 #17

Limbo-Land - Let's face it, it can at times be challenging being patient and allowing our healing to continue when WANT fills your mind and our recovery seems to have slowed to a snails pace. A couple of weeks either side of six weeks can sometimes be like no-man's-land, half way between being a smoker and being totally free. You realize that there is nothing to go back to, yet still you can't see the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow that Oldbies call "comfort." Although a far different form of challenge than those first few week, it's not uncommon.

In my mind it's sort of like sitting in front of a flower that has formed a bud and watching it day by day, hour by hour and sometimes minute by minute as you wait for the bloom. It's very normal to grow a bit discouraged. It doesn't hurt but then it doesn't feel good either.

In this no-man's-land we can still at times find ourselves thinking about the perfect cigarette but then we've also learned that after 10 days to two weeks that it's an illusion. Our body has chemically adjusted to living without nicotine and we quickly realize that we don't need nicotine any more than someone who has never smoked a day in their life. We know that if we did smoke our junky mind's "perfect cigarette" that our immediate reaction would be no different than someone who had never smoked at all. We'd taste hot nasty smoke with 4,000+ chemicals entering our mouth and lungs, we would probably cough and we might get dizzy. But that sense of relief that we were expecting would not come as their was nothing to relieve. We were clean and physically adjusted.

We still have tons of memories of what it felt like to have our falling nicotine level replenished but those are just memories of the way things used to be and they were created by an active addict fullfilling a need. They are the illusion that grows a bit more distant with each passing day, but not fast enough for a mind used to receiving the "ahhhhhh" feeling within 8 to 10 seconds of that next puff. Be patient with your healing! Your first day of total comfort is just around the corner!

Have you physically pushed your healing body to its endurance limits lately. If not, take five minutes and accept a new challenge. You'll feel the healing within! The flower continues to grow, the broken bone mends, the earth is turning at a tremendous rate, and nothing can stop the powerful healing inside your body and mind except one puff! Go the distance! You won't be disappointed! Breathe deep, hug hard, live long, John
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

3:52 AM - Sep 23, 2002 #18


There may be bumps in Freedom's Road and even a few big ones but whichever bump turns out to have been the largest will also eventually be looked back upon as one of your truly shinning moments. It was then that you really put your foot down, stood taller than ever, and bit through the bullet while taking recovery's best shot. It can be hard seeing the light while in the heat of battle but the next few minutes will alway be doable and delay is your friend. Don't blame what you're feeling on your recovery, blame it on where you've been! We're here if you need us.
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John
Last edited by John (Gold) on 3:56 AM - Apr 02, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

8:18 AM - Nov 15, 2002 #19

The Prisoner of a Powerful Puff
A post of Joel's reminded me of the power of my first puff ever. I'd just turned 15. Frankly, I'd never stopped to consider the power of that very first before now. Just one puff! It looked so simple but geeeeeesh did I get a wake-up call. It was overpowering and as my body rebelled and grew dizzy while coughing harder than it had ever coughed in my entire life, I recall thinking to myself, "what have I done!" What bothers me is why I took the second puff. I just can't seem to put my finger on it.

Maybe it was because Kimberly was laughing at me because of the strange facial colors passing before her eyes (greens, purples and whites), or maybe it was because I'd never seen Mom cough, or maybe it was because I thought I'd done it wrong. I wish I'd listened to my inner self. I knew some of the health risks. What I didn't know was the captivating power of the drug inside. I do now. Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me
Last edited by John (Gold) on 3:57 AM - Apr 02, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

9:19 PM - Dec 03, 2002 #20

Just Imagine ...
  • Imagine for just a second that never again in your life will you ever reach for a cigarette,
  • Imagine that you'll never reach for or create a fire with the other hand.
  • Imagine that you'll never again light that fire and then drawback and inhale relapse, decay and slow death into the only lungs that you'll ever have.
  • Imagine that you've done it, that you made it, that lasting victory is yours!
  • Imagine that instead of the aaaahhh feeling of a new puff or the anxiety of badly needing one that instead you live the remainder of your life somewhere between the up and the down. Would that be good enough for you?
  • Imagine all your natural dopamine aaahhhh sensations produced by deep breaths, big hugs, cool water, great food, accomplishment or achievement, or even romance having a bit more of their own significance by coming out from under the shadow of a perpetual need to feed upon nicotine.
  • Imagine a deep internal calmness where the pond in your mind notices the ripples generated by insects hoovering too close.
  • Imagine the aaahhh accomplishment thought of being just normal ole comfortable you!
  • Imagine being the real you! Would you be good enough for you?
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

9:42 PM - Jan 01, 2003 #21

New Year's Quit Smoking Tips for 2003
Have you tried all the quit smoking magic cures? Still hooked? Is it possible that you skipped the most important step of all? When did you take the time to read the instructions that came with your addiction?
Will the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve 2002-2003 really be the exact moment in time when you quit smoking forever and permanently break nicotine's powerful grip upon your life? Does it really need to be?

In truth, quitting on December 31, January 2, January 8, in the middle of any day, tomorrow, or even before that next puff are all perfect times to begin the up to 72 hours needed to purge your body of all nicotine so that chemical withdrawal can peak in intensity and then begin to gradually decline. In truth, any moment that you choose to reclaim your life is a glorious moment indeed.

Contrary to what you'll read, it doesn't take massive planning, truckloads of motivation, costly magic cures, a certain number of attempts, or you making major changes in your life, in order to quit. It requires only desire and you taking the time -- at long last -- to read the instructions that came with your addiction.

More than 90% of all successful quitters alive today - an estimated 1.2 billion - quit smoking cold turkey. Most of them discovered the power of nicotine - just one puff - through repeated failures and the school of hard-quit-knocks. Could education have served as a shortcut?

Tobacco users who continue to treat their chemical addiction to nicotine like a nasty little habit are likely to continue to experience defeat. Cocaine creates true chemical dependency in 15% of all regular users, alcohol about 10%, and nicotine between 70 - 90% depending upon how dependency is defined. The experts tell us that intoxication has nothing to do with addiction. Yes, we nicotine addicts are "real" live honest-to-goodness drug addicts.

The law of addiction is simple and its understanding crucial. If a former nicotine addict uses any nicotine, even one puff, they are all but assured of full and complete relapse back to their old level of nicotine intake or higher.

Nicotine permanently enslaves the same brain reward pathways as other addictive drugs, except far more efficiently and in a far greater percentage of humans. Whether you quit for a day, a month, a year or a decade, just one puff of new nicotine and your period of healing and freedom are over.

Nicotine's half-life in the human body is two hours. Within 72 hours the quitter's body is nicotine free and chemical withdrawal peaks in intensity as the brain begins sensing the arrival of, and adjusting to, nicotine free blood serum. But, just one puff and the early quitter must again endure the anxieties associated with another 72 hours of nicotine cleansing. Few of us are strong enough to go toe-to-toe with nicotine but then we don't need to be as nicotine's I.Q. is zero. Don't try to out-muscle your addiction, outsmart it.

When it comes to true chemical addiction, there is no such thing as having "just one." It's a destructive illusion that kills. Instead of picturing that one "perfect" smoke, picture all the others that come with it. Instead of trying to cheat or reward yourself by bumming just one cigarette, grab the entire pack and run because you're going to need every single one of them, and the thousands more that follow. There is only one rule to staying free - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

Quitting smoking is a temporary period of adjustment during which a nicotine dependent person develops the patience needed to allow themselves to once again become 100% comfortable functioning with natural levels of dopamine and adrenaline. Peak chemical withdrawal occurs within 72 hours and within 10 days to two weeks the brain has chemically adjusted to functioning without nicotine.

Psychological recovery also normally peaks at about day three, when an "average" of six crave episodes occur. A crave episode is triggered by encountering a time, place, location, emotion, event, or activity that acted as a conditioned cue for your subconscious mind to begin to expect the arrival of new nicotine. It's the ingrained nicotine feeding patterns that you selected to fulfill your chemical addiction's endless need for more.

The good news is that most triggers are reconditioned and discarded by the mind with a single encounter. The good news is that no crave episode will last longer than three minutes but be sure and look at a clock as your mind may try and convince you that the minutes are hours. The good news is that the "average" quitter experiences just eighteen minutes of craves on the most challenging day - day three. The good news is that by day ten the "average" quitter is experiencing just 1.4 craves per day.

You may have established more feeding cues than the "average" quitter but even if you are compelled to meet, greet and defeat ten triggers on your most challenging day, that's still no more than thirty minutes of crave episode anxiety on the worst day of all. Can you handle 30 minutes of substantial anxiety? Sure you can, we all can.

Within a few weeks you'll begin experiencing entire days without encountering an un-reconditioned crave trigger, but remain alert. After going a few days without a crave episode it's normal to let your guard down, and when a trigger is eventually encountered it is likely to feel like you've been caught off-guard and sucker-punched. The crave was no more intense than others. It's just that you were no longer in battle mode, awaiting its arrival.

As the number of craves continue to dwindle, your focus will turn to a phase where you'll find yourself sorting through and dealing with thousands or even millions of independent memories associated with years of lighting, puffing, tasting, smelling, inhaling, sensing, ashing, butting, needing, craving, feeding, buying and sharing your addiction.

At times, a sea of thoughts can seem to flood your mind. Unlike crave episodes, thoughts can linger on as long as you allow them. The good news is that to a great extent we can control our thoughts. The good news is that with each passing day you'll experience fewer and fewer thoughts of wanting to smoke. The good news is that within just a few months you'll begin to experience entire days where you never once think about wanting to smoke.

An important expectations tip is to abandon all thought of quitting forever - a mighty big bite to chew upon - and instead view each day of freedom as the full and complete victory that it truly is. If you insist upon measuring success in terms of quitting forever, when will you be entitled to celebrate? What good is celebrating once you're dead?

Below are a dozen solid quitting tips to help take the "cold" out of cold turkey quitting. For additional information, motivation enhancement, group support, free counseling, and hundreds of additional pointers visit www.WhyQuit.com, a free online forum staffed by volunteers.

1) Drink plenty of fruit juices the first three days to help avoid symptoms associated with wild blood sugar swings - headaches, an inability to concentrate, dizziness, time perception distortions and the ubiquitous sweet tooth. Cranberry juice is excellent.

Nicotine fed you by indirectly pumping stored fats and sugars into your blood via adrenaline releases. It allowed us to skip meals and yet not feel hungry because nicotine was feeding us. Normal people must eat. It isn't a matter of consuming more calories but of learning to spread our daily intake out more evenly over the entire day.

2) Blood studies have shown that nicotine accelerates the rate at which caffeine is metabolized by 203%. This means that nicotine smokers may need twice the caffeine as non-smokers in order to feel the same effects from caffeine.

If you are a heavy caffeine drinker (over 750 mg) and you failed to reduce your caffeine intake by roughly half during prior quitting attempts then it's likely that you found yourself climbing every wall in sight. Don't give up your caffeine but do understand why you may need less.

3) Quit for yourself not others. If you quit for others, what will happen the first time they disappoint you? We call it "junkie thinking" and it is a "quit" killer. Don't entrust your cessation motivation to anyone but you. It may be fun to have a quitting buddy along but do not lean upon them as a primary source of motivation. Also don't expect your family to appreciate what it's like for a drug addict during withdrawal and recovery unless they've ever been chemically dependent themselves. It just isn't fair.

4) Although you may need to reduce your caffeine intake or take great care in using alcohol during the first week, don't give up anything in your life when quitting except for nicotine. Also, don't pick-up any new crutches either, good or bad. Food can be a crutch but so can any abrupt or major lifestyle change, even exercise programs. A crutch is any new activity that you are relying and depending upon to help you quit. You don't need any crutches.

5) Write down all of your reasons for quitting, keep them close at hand, and use them as a powerful crave coping tool during challenging moments. Also, take a few notes or keep a diary during the first few days so that you can document what withdrawal was like. The mind quickly suppresses life's negative memories. Preserve them as both a yardstick to measure your healing and a tool to renew and invigorate your motivation to stay quit.

6) What will you do to get though a craving that lasts up to three minutes? Have both a primary plan and at least one back-up and use them all if need be. Three approaches during crave episodes are to briefly distract your mind, to relax it, or to confront the crave head-on.

Distraction can be any activity that works for you including walking away from the relapse threat, a brief period of exercise, or even screaming into a pillow. Try reciting your ABCs while associating each letter with a food (A is for Grandma's hot apple pie).

Relaxation can range form of a five minute shower to a few slow deep breaths while clearing your mind of all chatter and focusing on your favorite color, object, person or place.

Crave confrontation can be empowering. In your mind relax while reaching out and embracing your crave. It can not hurt you, cut you or make you bleed. Wrap your arms around it. Sense its power peak in intensity and then slowly begin to subside. Victory is yours!

In that a crave episode is always less than three minutes, delay is your friend. Get rid of all your cigarettes and build-in a bit of delay. With tobacco having a 50% kill rate - each dying an average of more than 5,000 days early - chemical withdrawal is not a time for mind games. You have nothing to prove.

7) On September 11, 2002, a new California study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which concluded that "NRT appears no longer effective in increasing long-term successful cessation in California smokers." Here is a link to the JAMA study - http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v288n10 ... 11973.html

NRT is the nicotine patch, gum, spray, inhaler and lozenge. Nicotine is nicotine, as it all comes from the same plant. In the "real-world" those using NRT are not part of some highly structured medical study whose education program focused exclusively on successful nicotine delivery device transfer (from tobacco to NRT device), while ignoring the abrupt nicotine cessation education needs of those in the control or placebo group - like "Tips" one and two above.

Not only does NRT needlessly prolong nicotine withdrawal, the fact that it does so is being used in many studies in order to claim success. For example, in the new nicotine lozenge studies the authors declare successful "cessation" at three months while study participants continue using the nicotine lozenge for six months.

The slight of hand is in defining "quitting" as quitting smoking and not in breaking nicotine's powerful grip upon the brain's dopamine reward pathways. Under definitions used in most medical studies a nicotine smoker who gets hooked on nicotine gum or chewing tobacco has successfully quit. Keep your eye on the nicotine!

8) Your body's healing is likely to trigger one of the most vivid dreams in your entire life. Don't be afraid as it's perfectly normal. You'll awake convinced that you have actually smoked, when what your improved senses of smell and taste have sampled are the odors being given off during the breakdown of tars inside horizontal healing lungs.

9) Although metabolism changes can account for a pound or two of weight gain, within just ninety days of quitting you can expect an almost one-third increase in overall lung function. The ability to build cardiovascular endurance is a powerful tool for change. Quitting smoking does not cause major weight gain - eating does.

Two quick points. Smoking was your old cue that a meal had ended and you may need to find a healthy new cue (walk, dishes, tooth-pic, brushing your teeth). Also, with nicotine feeding us, many smokers are not used to encountering and dealing with true hunger. Whether you eat with a shovel or a teaspoon it still takes roughly 25 minutes for your body to digest those first few bites so that the brain's hunger switch can be turned off. When hunger arrives eat as slowly as possible.

10) In dealing with symptoms it's pretty safe to blame quitting for almost everything you feel during the first three days, but after that you need to listen more closely to your body and contact your doctor should you have any lingering concerns.

Each puff of smoke introduced over 500 gases and 3,500 chemical particles into your body. Some of those chemicals could have been hiding or masking a serious underlying condition (for example asthma or thyroid conditions) or even interacting with medications that you were already taking (like depression meds). It is not unusual for medications to need adjusting.

11) Even though you are leaving an extremely abusive and destructive relationship, the endless cycle of using nicotine to briefly satisfy your dependency created a powerful bond. During this temporary journey of adjustment from active smoker to comfortable ex-smoker, the emotional sense of loss and the phases you'll go through can be similar to those experienced during the death of a loved one - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

Although it is normal to feel a short term sense of loss when quitting, chronic organic depression is also real and for some smokers nicotine became a deadly means of medicating it. If you become at all concerned about lingering depression then seek medical assistance not nicotine!

12) While quitting, the next few minutes will always be doable. One of the greatest challenges faced by the new quitter is in developing quitting patience after a lifetime of sensing new nicotine arrive in their brain within 10 seconds of a new puff. Give yourself a couple of minutes and the worst will pass. Someday soon you'll look back upon your biggest challenge of all as your greatest moment of glory.

Just one day at a time, baby steps and never forget the golden rule - no nicotine - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!


John
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

12:40 PM - Mar 15, 2003 #22

Riding Robust Dreams to Freedom
Welcome to Freedom! What is the inner source that will allow you to stop smoking nicotine, skip those once mandatory feedings, and resume full control of your life? Strength, willpower, desire?

It would be natural to think that it's a combination of the three but none of us are stronger than our addiction, as is clearly evidenced by our inability to live the drug addict's first wish of being able to control the uncontrollable. You cannot beat your dependency into submission, stand toe to toe with it, or handle one puff of nicotine and prevail. Nicotine's chemical bond with the brain's reward pathways is beyond the reach of strength.

Willpower? Yes, we can each temporarily muster mountains of willpower but can willpower make any of us of us endure a challenge that we lack the motivation to complete? Can you inhale, chew or **** nicotine into your body and then "will it" to not travel to the brain's addiction circuitry or create the chemical need for more? Have you ever been able to order or command the challenges of chemical withdrawal or psychological recovery to cease? If we are incapable of using strength to control our addiction and we cannot "will" our chemical dependency into hibernation or submission, then what remains?

As simple as it may sound, dreams and desires born of honest recognition of tobacco's impact upon our life have the amazing ability to fuel change, but it takes keeping those original honest motivations in the forefront and driver's seat of our mind so that they can both consciously and subconsciously guide us home.

The successful quitter finds ways to protect and safeguard their primary motivations so that they remain robust, alive and available at a moment's notice to fuel the patience needed to transition this temporary period of adjustment called "quitting." The intelligent quitter's strategy combines an understanding of the law of addiction - one puff of nicotine equals relapse - with well-protected core motivations.

The successful quitter does not try to forget what their health was like while smoking, what it felt like to be controlled, the growing sense of becoming a social outcast, or that feeling as we stood at the tobacco counter and paid our hard earned money to purchase the more than 4,000 chemicals contained in each cigarette that would slowly destroy our body and mind. The successful quitter keeps such memories - and others - in the forefront of their mind as honest reminders and motivations to fuel their dreams and desires.

The intelligent quitter realizes that if they allow their motivations to die that it is very possible their freedom and healing will die along with them. The intelligent quitter finds ways to fuel their motivations, just one day at a time, through study, understanding, education, skills development, critical observation and honesty. They know that they are 100% guaranteed to continue free today if they'll only maintain and protect their original day #1 genuine desires to ... Never Take Another Puff!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

11:18 PM - Mar 30, 2003 #23

The Final Truth
You made it! You endured or embraced those first real wall climbing crave episodes, you knocked them dead! You remained firm during the up to 72 hours it took to empty your blood of all nicotine! At last you were clean! You marched through that first week and started feeling the anxieties begin easing off, you navigated the ten days to two weeks that it took your body to physically adjust to fully functioning with the chemical nicotine, you confronted and reconditioned almost all of your major psychological crave triggers, and you may even have already tasted that first day of total and complete comfort where you never once thought about wanting to smoke nicotine, soooooooooo why are you still having days where the thought of wanting to smoke enters your mind?
It isn't that you don't believe the law of addiction because you do. It isn't that you think you can take one puff and not experience full relapse because you've most likely "been there" and "done that" and know that it's true. So why are there still days during which you find yourself thinking about that "perfect smoke?"

A twenty year smoker who averaged a pack a day and took eight puffs per cigarette lit 146,000 cigarettes and sucked warm nicotine laden smoke into their lungs 1,168,000 times. Over one million puffs! Where do the memories of those one million puffs go after we quit smoking? Where are they now? How many of those one million puffs made our mind say "ahhh" as they immediately helped restore our falling blood nicotine level? Where did all of our "ahhh" memories go when you quit? Were they true? Did new nicotine bring us a sense of replenishment and stimulation thousands and thousands of times?

Although we often hated being smokers and our bondage, there is no denying that each of those 146,000 nicotine fixes helped, to some degree, to bring relief from falling blood serum nicotine levels. Each of them were played a vital role in restoring us to that level of comfort upon which we had come to depend. We created our own artificial sense of normalcy, our own addiction comfort level that each year required a bit more nicotine to sustain. Yes, each fix brought the addict in us a true sense of comfort (from the pains of our own addiction) and yes all those memories still remain, but one important thing has changed - our mind's physical/chemical need for nicotine is ended within 14 days of quittiing! There is nothing missing!

If you go back through old Freedom threads for the year 2000 (when relapse was common, catered to, and impliedly permitted) and read all of the descriptions of relapses that occurred beyond week two, they almost all sound identical. They read like this, "I had a mouth full of smoke, I was dizzy and I coughed but I didn't get the sense of satisfaction that I expected." "It just didn't come!"

Those thousands of enticing memories in the relapsor's mind told them to expect a sense of relief and satisfaction" but their body had adjusted to life without nicotine and the "ahhhh feeling" was not there. Unlike when the memories in their mind were created, there was nothing missing and there was nothing that needed replenishing. So what happens next.

Well, sadly, most relapsors keep believing the true memories in their mind and keep searching inside the pack, or maybe the next pack, until their addiction returns in all its full blown deadly glory (along with the ahhh feelings) and they can finally look in the mirror and say to themselves, "see, I was right, smoking did bring me a sense of relief!"

Until we fully appreciate that our memories of our "perfect smokes" were created during the cycle of our chemical dependency and that we must once again be active addicts to experience that same sense of relief, the memories of prior fixes will continue inviting us home! Yes, the memories are true but only for active addicts in need of their next fix!

If we decide to keep our dependency under arrest and allow the healing and risk reversal to continue then we need only follow one simple rule ... no nicotine, Never Take Another Puff! John
Last edited by John (Gold) on 4:01 AM - Apr 02, 2009, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

8:11 PM - May 24, 2003 #24

Don't hide from "thoughts."
Put them under honest light.

Don't run from thoughts of smoking but instead go the extra step and place each thought under honest light. Flavor or a drug addict? Smell or no choice but to smell? Like and enjoy, or true chemical dependency and little or no remaining memory of what it was like inside your mind before nicotine took control? Stress or the interaction of an alkaloid encountering body acids that threw you into withdrawal? Smoke "just one" like the control dream of every other true drug addict on earth, or will the 1,000 that follow the 1 still not be enough? Boredom, food, driving, sex, telephone, work, yard, bathroom, garage, leaving the building, entering the building, or in truth the fact that every two hours the amount of nicotine remaining in your blood is reduced by 1/2 and, for the average smoker, a reminder urge arrives every 20 to 30 minutes.
The next few are entirely doable
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gramelaine
gramelaine

12:16 PM - Oct 17, 2003 #25

I just wanted to say a quick Thank You John! I just got through meeting, greeting and defeating yet another crave and was feeling tired and a little down. I decided to hit the computer one last time before turning in for the night in the hope of finding something comforting and inspiring and there was your post. It's not the first time that your words have been just what I needed to hear and I just want you to know that you've been a hugh help for me. I know that I am responsible for my own quit and have myself to thank for it, yadda, yadda; however, the caring and thoughtful posts by yourself and everyone else here are tremendous stepping stones in helping us get across to the other side without slipping and drowning. You are making a difference in so many lives and I for one truly appreciate it. Elaine
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