The Relapse of A "Social Smoker"

The Relapse of A "Social Smoker"

IrishLotus GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

19 Feb 2003, 04:28 #1

*WARNING- I did read the post regarding pasting from Word, but I believe this post may still end up a little screwy. I apologize in advance to anyone having difficulty deciphering my hyroglyphics.* Image

Although I have read quite a bit around here regarding the concept of "social" smoking (i.e.: Are there "social smokers?" and social smokers? are they real? ), I don't think I fully understood the term "social smoker" until now. You see, my boyfriend, a self-proclaimed "social smoker" who decided to quit as of 1/1/03, has since relapsed (C'mon...are you really surprised?).

RELAPSE SCENARIO: After two whole weeks of following my lead and maintaining a successful "never take another puff" quit, he was out one weekend with his smoking friends and had his first alcohol since he quit. Because he had still not accepted the fact that he is a nicotine addict (I'm an ADDICT! HooRAY!), he decided that he HAD to smoke while drinking. His junkie excuse?: "I can't do one without the other, because I never have". ANYWAY, He "triumphantly" announced that he planned to remain "quit" during the week, and that he had the "willpower" to allow himself ONLY to puff while drinking/on the weekends. I reminded him that soon after that first puff he would be back to full-fledged smoking, but he remained confident that he was different and that he could keep his smoking only to the weekends/while drinking. The crazy thing is that, even though I knew from my FREEDOM education that this was impossible, my inner-junkie and my personal belief in my boyfriend's "will-power" led me to actually secretly entertain the thought that, for him (a "social smoker") perhaps this was INDEED possible. HAH!

ANYWAY, as I said, he has been adamant about the fact that he is a "social" smoker, and that he only "needed" to smoke on the weekends when he was drinking alcohol. As I said, I knew in my heart that he is an ADDICT (just like me) and that just one puff would soon bring him back to his normal level of consumption (about a half a pack a day)...and then, this weekend...SWEET (although somewhat sour) VALIDATION!

Allow me to "break it down": Our Valentines' Day started off a bit rocky. (To make a long story a little bit shorter Image- we didn't end up getting our food and sitting down to eat until 11PM!) Throughout the entire, frustrating, evening (in traffic, in line, etc.) my boyfriend was EXTREMELY grumpy and miserable and although I was trying my best to look at the bright side of things (and be thankful that this year I actually HAVE a Valentine), he was doing everything he could to look at the gray cloud rather than the silver lining.Image I didn't understand what the heck was wrong with him, UNTIL, when we finally got out of the restaurant, he immediately rushed us to the store to pick up a pack of smokes! A-HA! Image FINALLY his grump all made sense! He was in severe nicotine withdrawal!

You see, for the last month or so, in order to prove to me that he is indeed a "social smoker", he had conditioned his inner-addict to wait until the weekend (apparently Friday night immediately following work) for a sickarette...And when he didn't get it he became VERY irritable! When I pointed out that he nearly ruined our Valentine's Day due to his nicotine withdrawal, he begrudgingly admitted, "his anti-depressants had run-out, and he felt he needed to 'self-medicate' with a cigarette" (well, at least he listens a BIT when I talk Image). I reminded him that REAL reason he wanted ("needed") a cigarette was because his new weekend smoking routine has kept him actively addicted to nicotine.

THE LESSON: Although he still has not verbally admitted that he is an addict, I think that it has become abundantly clear to him that he is not/cannot be a "social smoker". This morning I watched him as he went outside with his morning coffee (in two feet of snow mind you) to have a cigarette. I smiled and thought, "gee it's Tuesday morning, and he isn't drinking alcohol…"social smoker" my foot!

Not one single stinkin puff for 4 Months 3 Weeks 4 Days 13 Hours 27 Minutes 30 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 4426. Money saved: $1,106.71.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

19 Feb 2003, 04:38 #2

Thanks Lotus for that VERY entertaining and most educating read. Yeah, being a member here at Freedom, I saw what was coming at the end of your story. Good reminder to All of us here that nobody is exempt from the Law of Addiction.
1 Month, 2 Weeks 3 Days-Freedom is awesome!

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

19 Feb 2003, 04:59 #3

Am I ever glad I don't have to go through that misery again unless I choose to!
Smokers are welcome to it!
Thanks so much for reminding why I never want to take another puff again!
Nine months, two weeks, 9 hours, 44 minutes and 53 seconds. 23232 cigarettes not smoked, saving $3,473.75. Life saved: 11 weeks, 3 days, 16 hours, 0 minutes.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:25

19 Feb 2003, 05:03 #4

Hi Lotus,Image

While your boyfriend was in denial about being a social smoker, my husband was sure that gradual withdrawal would work for him. I tried to tell him that it would be too hard to do gradual, to just go cold turkey, but he did'nt listen. He's tried gradual withdrawal for the past few months. Well it did'nt work! He's back up to his old level of smokeing a pack and a half a day right now.

There's no such thing as a social smoker!Image
Quitting by gradual withdrawal is too torturous for most of us addicts.Image

ImageCold turkey all the way to Freedom!!!Image

Maybe one day our men will listen to us the first time we try to tell them something eh Lotus?!Image

yqs, GenaImage (bronze) 5 months and two weeks free

IrishLotus GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

19 Feb 2003, 05:07 #5

You said it Gena...I suppose the best way can do is just to keep on "leading by example". One day they will listen, I'm sure. Until then, leave the painful withdrawal symptoms to them and let's just keep on enjoying the comfort in this beautiful bronze limo!
ImageMary Kate
Just realized...21 weeks today!

OBob Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

19 Feb 2003, 05:11 #6

You must be dating my doppleganger. Flashback: 1/1/00. Bob quits smoking. Flash forward 10 days. Bob decides to smoke over drinks. Forward another 2 days. Monday. Bob decides that he'll just smoke on weekends while drinking. Forward 10 days. After 5 days of not smoking, 2 nights of smoking (making an excuse to go to the pub on Saturday night for the primary reason that he wanted to smoke), Bob decides that, in addition to the weekend smoking, he can allow himself the odd one during stressful times Monday - Friday. Forward another 10 days. Bob's smoking at old levels just for this one stressful week. Back to weekend smoking next week. Forward another 10 days. Bob's still smoking at his old levels. Maybe next week. Forward another week.... Still smoking, getting frustrated. Realization of failure beginning to get hard to ignore. Maybe he'll quit for his birthday in July. Forward to July.... Nope, still smoking... maybe 1/1/01. Forward to January, 01..... Still smoking.... attempted several quits, all of which ended in the ashpit of the social smoking dream and/or the stress-relief smoking fantasy.

Forward another year. Bob finds Freedom. Discovers he's an addict. Quits for good. Goes to pub, and has some trying experiences early on, but uses strategies derived from Freedom education to get through them, confident in the truth that the triggers were finite, and that he would eventually be able to be social both without smoking, AND without being bothered by cravings. Forward a few months. Bob socializes, works, plays, celebrates, mourns, drives, stresses, drinks coffee, leaves long meetings, goes fishing and camping.... all without nicotine or its withdrawal symptoms, and almost always without even thinking about it.

Bob is now a social person. Bob was always a social person. I was never a social smoker; just a plain old addict smoker.

Thanks for the memories, Lotus. I hope your boyfriend takes less time than I did to figure it out.


Time not smoked: 1 Year 1 Month 1 Week 6 Days 8 Hours 10 Minutes 32 Seconds
Smokes not toked: 4912
Cash not spent: $1,228.02
Life, self-esteem, smell, taste, health, happiness saved: Priceless

IrishLotus GOLD
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

19 Feb 2003, 05:58 #7

Me too, Bob, me too. Specially since he thinks this ongoing hacking cough he has must be due to some sort of allergin in his house (*ahem* tobacco smoke) or maybe the cold, and the fact that his doctor has reminded him that without a spleen he is especially prone to infections in his lungs (including bronchitis, menagitis, and pneumonia) and my guess is that his smoker's lungs won't do too well fighting off these types of (possibly deadly) infections , etc...

"You must be dating my doppleganger". (Image Silly Bob) I think so...the pattern sounds oddly familiar...let's see, two weeks of smoking only on the weekends with friends and alcohol, ten days later, finding excuses to drink during the week so that he can smoke then too, ten days later, smoking when he bought his new truck (cause it is "stressful" to make such a big purchase, you know), fast forward ten days, smoking in a blizzard with his morning coffee.Image (Can you say, "Addict"?)

Actually, I feel relieved to have personally unearthed this "social smoker" myth once and for all. To tell you the truth, the idea that there might actually be such a thing as a successful "social smoker" was actually acting as a bit of a trigger for me...for a while there I found myself actually getting jealous of his ability to "contain" this drug. What a laugh! I'll tell you though, I think the fact that I have been responding to all of his junkie thinking with the simple phrase "that's because you're an addict" is starting to sink in. Hopefully sonner rather than later.

21 AMAZING weeks!

Sal GOLD.ffn
Joined: 16 Jan 2003, 08:00

19 Feb 2003, 07:25 #8

I don't whether to laugh or cry.
Yes, I do.....
One month, six days, 16 hours, 25 minutes and 53 seconds.
753 cigarettes not smoked, saving $131.89.
Life saved: 2 days, 14 hours, 45 minutes.

BillW Gold.ffn
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

19 Feb 2003, 07:59 #9

Hi Lotus!

I'm sorry to read about the little learning experience you've been involved with. Your boyfriend has just emailed me, and authorized me to say that you are right, and that he really is an addict..... Image He further asked that you discretely print out some good informative Joel articles and threads (Good heavens!!!! NOT this one!), for your own use, of course, and discretely leave them lying around for him to find and read when you arn't there.... Image and arn't watching.... Image and won't know he read them..... Image He wanted me to emphasize that both he and I will deny this conversation ever took place, now or at any time in the future..... Image And while he greatly appreciates your frustration in his failure, he asks me to very descretely remind you that your real final aim is to get him to be smoke-free.... so you can keep him around for a long time..... Image

This posting will self destruct in one hour...... Image

BillW One year, one week, three days. 11262 cigarettes not smoked, saving $2,224.32. Life saved: 5 weeks, 4 days, 2 hours, 30 minutes.

kensensei gold
Joined: 09 Jan 2009, 23:54

19 Feb 2003, 09:29 #10

Thank you for the very inisghtful story Lotus. And to Bob--VERY well said! I doubt there is anyone at Freedom with whom your story does not resonate. Through all of college it was gonna be just weekends, or just papers, or just with my buddies from home, and it never, ever, was. Then beginning in November of last year I went through a string of 5 or 6 quits (each one was the ONCE AND FOR ALL LAST QUIT EVER) each of which disappeared because I decided that I was strong enough to have just the one: because I'm really stressed right now, because I have to stay up late tonight, because whatever.

Because we all think that WE are different. We would hardly be human if we didn't believe that we were unique and special. And goodness knows, we ARE all unique and special, in many, many ways. But the junkie inside of us skews that fact into believing that the simple, uncontrollable chemical forces of addiction don't apply to US. Of course your boyfriend thought that he could be a social somker, Lotus. It is just the teeniest tiniest leap from being a well-adjusted person who has a healthy self-image to believing that nicotine doesn't affect you the way it affects everyone else. It takes the education that we get here at Freeom to realize that believing we can be social smokers is tantamount to believeing that we can be social breathers or sleepers or drinkers of water. Sure everyone else needs oxygen to survive, but not ME. I can just use it when I want. My body won't go into hypoxia and do everything it can to get oxygen into the bloodstream when I stop breathing for more than a couple of seconds.

Anyway I don't mean to ramble. I have a friend here who is "only allowing herself to smoke in social situations," so these issues have been on my mind lately, too. Trying to explain to her what I have learned here has been totally fruitless. She, of course, CAN be a social smoker. SHE is different. She is the one person on earth that can do it. Well, it up to her to learn on her own. She knows that I am happy to try to help her if I can, but I'm not gonna force all this down her throat. I'm too busy enjoying my own quit anyway.

5 weeks, 3 days