Subconscious use cue extinguishment
Melissa made the below post in another thread by Guy. When I first read about the concept of conscious incompetence it immediately reminded me of Bob's Monster Under the Bed. I hope you guys don't mind me posting it here too. John
From: Toast (GOLD!) Sent: 8/20/2002 7:23 PM
I've got a couple cents to throw in this discussion!
We're talking about facing an addiction, but also that we are rewiring our awareness about long-standing habits around that addiction. We are learning! Anytime we endeavor to change - leave a relationship, start a new job, take up or give up a hobby, habit or addiction - we enter into a broad process that has been identified as four stages of learning: 1) unconscious incompetence; 2) conscious incompetence; 3) conscious competence; and 4) unconscious competence. At first, we are unaware of what our decision to move forward will mean in the details of life. As we begin, we learn and learn and often quickly become aware of all there is yet to learn! With determination, practice and patience, we are rewarded with doing well - and knowing it! Finally, we are so adept, so incorporated, our new state becomes easily taken for granted. Think of learning to drive a car. Do you still climb behind the wheel with the heightened awareness of a 16 year old and desire to do well, with a keen eagerness to use the turn signals and clutch as tho it were effortless?
So, in a very real sense, "learning" to quit smoking successfully fits into this pattern of learning. What is described here as a No-Man's Land could be compared easily to the conscious incompetence state described above. The rush of the newness is diminishing. We know enough to feel pretty content with this new state of things, and yet we are keenly aware of the experience only time and practice and continued desire will manifest. We long of competence. Everyone else appears to be confident and competent in their current place, while we can feel odd & out. It is that longing that can keep us moving forward!
I'd like to say as well that I don't think that educated thinking about your quit counts as obsessing about smoking. Obsessing is fixed, often unwanted, circular, unreasonable, loopy thinking that doesn't let up. I think lurking, reading, posting, thinking about your quit, trying on other people's ideas and successes and failures in your head, these things can really help sort out your thoughts, your triggers, your psychology behind why you smoked. Now, if we were all posting all day about those "Ahhhhhh" cigarette moments or the times we felt like a smoke was just the ticket ... that'd be another thing. That'd be obsessing and it's be nothing near the entire truth. Instead, we are focused here on the greater reality of cigarettes, smoking and nicotine addiction: quitting active nicotine addiction can add years and health to your life.
Last edited by John (Gold) on June 28th, 2011, 3:13 pm, edited 2 times in total.
For years WhyQuit's visitor statistics have indicated that Monday is Freedom's busiest day of the week. Not only is it the day when we have the most members returning for reinforcement but also the busiest day for new visitors arriving for the first time. The above article by Bob is a wonderful summary of the fears associated with this temporary journey of adjustment called quitting.
If you're just embarking upon Freedom's Road keep in mind that the fears and realities associated with today's challenges (if any) should not be blamed on where you're going (back home to meet the real you and once again reside inside a comfortable mind) but upon where you've been (years of active chemical dependency upon nicotine and an endless cycle of feeding a never-ending need).
If you are experience challenging moments today please remind yourself that this isn't what it feels like to again be the "real" you, a comfortable ex-smoker. It's what it feels like on this particular day, for you, of that temporary adjustment period called "quitting." Patience, slow deep breaths, plenty of cool water for flushing, while knowing with every fiber of your being that the next few minutes are entirely doable!
John - Freedom's Gold Club
Thank you for posting this thread. It is so true. I actually managed to get my stats on here. I wonder what happened to my first post???? Jess
I have been quit for 3 Weeks, 2 Days, 17 minutes and 15 seconds (23 days). I have saved $69.03 by not smoking 345 cigarettes. I have saved 1 Day, 4 hours and 45 minutes of my life.
I am glad I took some time on my lunchbreak to get some reinforcement. This posting is so good. Today is Day 6 for me. I feel worse than ever. I am at work and I can't seem to stop thing about smoking. I have never been able to smoke at work so there are not many triggers here. My chest is tight and I am feeling light headed again. Last nigh I kept waking up and worrying about not being strong enough to keep going. I love that I have chosen to quit but today I am tired and feel ucky.. Any words from the wise
Do you have any remaining memory of the comfort that was you, before nicotine's two hour chemical half-life became the clock governing your brain's neurochemical flow? Why fear coming home to a calm and quiet mind that goes days and then weeks without once thinking about wanting to use nicotine? You're leaving no part of you behind. The more than 200 neurochemicals that nicotine commanded already belonged to you.
If still feeling challenged, this isn't what it feels like to be a comfortable ex-user. This is what it felt like on this particular day of this amazing temporary journey of adjustment that most call quitting but a growing number of us call recovery. You see, the real quitting took place on the day that nicotine took control of our lives. What we're doing here is taking them back!
Use your intelligence and honesty to calm and quiet those deep inner false fears. Going days and weeks without thinking about using nicotine is a good thing not bad. Everything you did while nicotine's slave can be done as well as or better as you! Embrace coming home, don't fight it! The next few minutes are all you can control and each will be doable. There was always only one rule ... no nicotine just one challenge and day at a time! Yes you can, yes you have, yes you are!!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,
Last edited by John (Gold) on March 18th, 2009, 2:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Thank you for this post. It really made me think. Samson 1 month 3 days
Thanks for your post O-Bob Gold. Tonight has been difficult. I think in just the last couple hours I felt most of the bullet topics in your post filter through my brain. Your post screamed at me, tackled me and I think physically punched me a few times!
I only feel triggers and I think they might be non-specific (is that possible?). I try to analyze why I'm feeling them or what caused them, and can't see the reason for them. I just want to run to the convience store and end this inconvience! I think my "Junkie" might be the stongest, most stubborn junkie in history.
I keep repeating my mantra -NTAP. It doesn't seem to calm like it has in the past. Is this the point of turning from a smoker that doesn't use into an ex-smoker? Is that part suppose to hurt? I really want to get to that point.
Thanks again for your post. I'm off to bed for the night, because I don't think I'm strong enough to get through the rest of the evening. I'll wake up strong tomorrow!
Samson 1 month 3 weeks 3 days
another good one for RickD.
and anyone else for whom the din of battle has subsided into the "boredom" of "just" being quit.....
BillW Two years, eleven months, one week, one day. 32191 cigarettes not smoked, saving $6,357.89. Life saved: 15 weeks, 6 days, 18 hours, 35 minutes.
The urge hits
Last edited by OBob Gold on March 18th, 2009, 2:53 pm, edited 2 times in total.
The Fear of Success was probably the reason why I never tried to quit in 12 years. I mean, I told myself I don't try until I'm "really ready" (whatever that would feel like) because quitting does not work if you're not ready for it, does it? And therefore I put it off all that time.
But really it was the odd fear I might actually make it and quit. And what next? A whole life of "not being allowed to smoke", what a horrible thought.
I wish someone had told me that once you are quit, you don't want to smoke any more, and so the terrible thought vanishes into thin (but nice and clean) air.
I suppose they did tell me back then. I just did not want to hear.
Now I know, and I am so happy about my quit, every day. Thanks Gitte, for popping this one up!
Listening since 2 March 2005
Firstly, Thank you SO much OBob for writing this. You are truly wise. You have made perhaps the biggest difference in my decision to quit.
This may very well be my #1 favorite. I love this thread. I think this is the thread that did it for me, that made me really believe that I was in fact strong enough to quit. This thread got printed, put into my purse, carried around with me and got read over and over again. I'm silver now, it's still in my purse. I don't read it too much anymore, but when I'm cleaning out my purse I notice it, pull it out and give it another read. Now it serves to remind me of how scared I was to quit, how scared I was of failure, of success, and it truly strengthens my resolve because I now know there is nothing scary about quitting. In fact it's so wonderful, it's better than I ever could have dreamed possible.
These parts used to make me cry, now they make me smile. That alone, shows me how far I have come. Lurkers, pay attention!
This crave is going to last forever, this crave is unbearable, quitting is just TOO **** HARD: Okay, what does this crave really feel like? How long is it lasting? Is it really lasting all day long? Or, is my fear of the crave, and my fear of failure, or my fear of success, making me THINK about it all day long? For how many seconds have I actually WANTED to put a cigarette in my mouth, light it and inhale, as opposed to just being anxious about my lifestyle change, and all of the things associated with it. Am I feeling anxiety? Or am I really wanting a cigarette? Will smoking a cigarette make me feel better or worse than I do? Furthermore, I KNOW from talking to all the former smokers around me that this isn't what being an ex-smoker feels like! I'm in the latter stages of withdrawal, and the early stages of reconditioning my life to NOT revolve around my addiction. Soon, I will be feeling a lot better, and I'll have a hard time remembering how hard this has been. It's only hard for a while.
You weren't meant to quit, You're not strong enough: I wasn't meant to SMOKE. Smoking is not a natural thing. Ingesting deadly chemicals to satisfy a never-ending cycle of withdrawal and replenishing of nicotine supplies is NOT the way I was meant to live. I was MEANT to breathe freely. I was meant to taste my food. I was meant to have good breath. I was meant to be free. And I'm strong enough to realize that nicotine is stronger than me; that if I try just one, nicotine will win, and I'll be trapped. I'm strong enough to make it through this temporary difficulty, in order to live the life I was meant to live on the other side.
Lurkers, no matter what you might believe, no matter what you have been told, if you want to quit smoking there is no good reason why you can't. Period. Believe in yourself and anything is possible.
jamie - confronting my monster (what monster? oh that little twerp??) for 206 days.
Congratulations on your silverdom! It means a lot to hear that you were able to find some strength in this post. Thanks for the kind words.
Bob (3 years, 10 months free)
You are such an inspiration to us newbies! I have saved this post to my favorites to read over and over and over again. Although I do not know you, I already respect and admire you a great deal. Thank you for being here for us, and thanks to Joel and all management!
8 Days Nicotine free!
Thanks OBob, for the reminder. I haven't had any craves in the past two days, just those old black urges -- the fantasy smoke, I call it, that says how good it was when I know it wasn't good. It didn't taste good -- that harsh, hot burning in your throat. It certainly didn't feel good after hundreds and thousands of cigs had gone down -- it felt depressing and desperate and out of control a lot of the time after all those years. It smelled hideous. It snuck up on your clothes, your hair, your rooms, your car, days afterwards -- yuck! The other day I found a towel that someone had hung on the back of the door in a bathroom that only gets used once in a while, and I could smell it as soon as I opened the door -- that stale, rank smell of cigarettes. So what was good? The fantasy, that early cigarette that pretended to make you feel ahhhhh.
And the fantasy that one puff could solve a problem instead of feeling a hundred problems. Thanks, OBob. NTAP, Best, Joanne
This is the first time I read or that it clicked with me that you wouldn't get an ahh from your first cigarette. Just one more incentive to never take another puff.
Kristie - Free and Healing for Thirteen Days and 1 Minute, while extending my life expectancy 21 Hours, by avoiding the use of 260 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $42.15.
- Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am
The urge hits
Last edited by Sal GOLD.ffn
on April 11th, 2009, 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
For Russ & Mary.
The last paragraph of O'Bobs original essay above:
Confront the fear, and confront the voice. Our junky side doesn't fight fair, and uses confusing logic. It plays upon the parts of us that feel most vulnerable. The parts of us that want to hide and wish things away. You can eliminate the fear, and silence the voice by always looking it in the eye, seeing it for what it is, and never letting it get away without shedding the light of truth upon it.
Keep taking it one day at a time. One minute at a time if you need.... You'll get there. This is eminantly doable.
Freedom's guarantee - give your body and brain time to heal and adjust to what is normal - free of the infuluence of a killer chemical, nicotine &........calm comfortable living as you were always meant to live will envelop you. It's true. We've all been you.
Like Bob said in Three years vs. three days
- we just got here and started on the road back to the true us a bit sooner.
Exercise some Patience
and sooner than you can imagine you'll be Turning the corner - and gaining acceptance
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on April 11th, 2009, 11:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
This is what Freedom is all about to me
From Bob's original message, still dear to my heart:
"And, like the monster under the bed when we're small, the best way to deal with the unknown is to face it, to understand it."
Katie - After 40 Years! Free and Healing for Three Years, Five Months, Two Days, 12 Hours and 55 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 73 Days and 19 Hours, by avoiding the use of 21259 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $4,478.02.
This site is like having the lights on and when the lights are on the monster can't get you. What we can see is information and the constant input of reasons not to pick up another cigarette.... I have to say since I quit over 4 months ago I have been through ALOT, including the deaths of my father in law and my birth mother(I'm adopted) who both would have lived longer lives without smoking. The point is I quit after 40 plus years and still haven't smoked ..... the monster is there though and I need to keep a clear head and enjoy my quit( which is such a gift!) with my eyes open . The " just one puff" thoughts still go around even now!. I love this site cause I can run here and bolster myself with the truth and take a deep breath and be thankful for my health and my quit!!!I have been quit for 4 Months, 1 Week, 2 Days, 23 minutes and 42 seconds (130 days). I have saved $487.56 by not smoking 3,250 cigarettes. I have saved 1 Week, 4 Days, 6 hours and 50 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 11/11/2007 9:34 PM
I love the "dare to look deeper" attitude that I find on this site. And I really appreciate this post today, as I have not dared to even peak at the monster under my bed. I have been trying to hum away the addiction chatter and pull the covers over my head! I just took a moment to look at monster head-on and have discovered that the chatter is not an urge to smoke at all, but a lack of belief in myself, in the fact that I can stay quit. This is a confused junkie thought that has been fed by years of addiction, not by logic, as you say; whereas the decision to quit was a decision ruled by logic, a weapon against addiction that I possess as much as anyone! The chatter ceases immediately in the light of this truth! So I will confront the voice and answer, as I cross the threshold from smoker to ex-smoker:
"I, like anyone, was meant to live nicotine-free, and am strong enough (smart enough) to do it".
- Joined: January 16th, 2003, 8:00 am
Allow yourself the time it takes to adjust to living without your drug. True healing is taking place in your brain. Let it happen. Breathe, continue to educate yourself about nicotine addiction and recovery, and pat yourself on the back often. You are FREE and HEALING!
As written by OBob: Keep taking it one day at a time. One minute at a time if you need.... You'll get there. This is eminantly doable.
Yes even on Halloween there are no monsters under the bed with regards to smoking.
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Last edited by FreedomNicotine on January 18th, 2012, 6:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Thank for the post. Really helps me! Marge 19 days free!