The Urge Hits!

Subconscious use cue extinguishment
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

22 Apr 2002, 01:27 #31

"I want one." " No I don't." "One sounds great." "No it doesn't." "Oh just one!" "Not just one." Sounds familiar? Think in terms of one and you will go back and forth with this internal debate, all day long driving yourself nuts. When you have the urge for one, don't lie to yourself saying you don't want it. You do want it. That is a given. But, you don't want the others that go with it. Taking a puff now means either going back to smoking or going through quitting again. Those are both lousy options.

As far as when will the urge stop, it is not a question of time, more a question of experience. The day to day rituals will break relatively quickly, but new experience happen all the times that you will not learn to deal with until they happen. If you quit in the winter, the first time sitting down at a beach or by a pool next summer will likely trigger the urge because you would not yet have learned to do that as an ex-smoker. You may not go to a wedding for years. The first time is awkward, the second less so, after three or four it may be a non-issue. But this does not prepare you for going to a funeral. Every new experience is another victory when you get through it without relapsing. See it that way. It may have been tough for the moment, but in the aftermath, it was worth it. You are still an ex-smoker.

Also consider how often you wanted to quit when you were still smoking. That was never going away or getting better. Neither side is perfect, but this side has real advantages. To stay on the side where the thought for smoking will get less and less frequent, and the damages from smoking no longer occur always remember to never take another puff!


Lilac (Bronze)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

28 Aug 2002, 20:11 #32

I can't imagine how I missed this message. I surely would have remembered it. At first, though , there is so much to absorb that I probably read it and there were other questions and answers, at the time, that were more important to me. The entire message spoke to me this morning but I come away from it with a little ,seemingly, insignificant statement, very simple , very honest.. Joel says, " Neither side is perfect but this side has real advantages". A nice, quiet mantra, without drama , having only indisputable truth. And one needs something indisputable.during those mind battles. Boy, there are a lot of "I"s and "me"s in this post---Oh, well Lilac

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

28 Aug 2002, 20:56 #33

Hello Joel:

This is a great point...

I can go days and even weeks without thinking about a cigarette...But than all of a sudden out of nowhere it hits me... Yes, your right when you say that it might be my surrounding or the circumstances at the time. I related smoking to relaxation or excitment... When ever I'm in that situation like on vacation in Vegas or just relaxing on the beach, all of a sudden the wave comes over me... But these days it doesn't last long. If I put it aside than I stop thinking about it.... Than it goes away for the next 3 weeks or so.... But it does seem that it gets farther inbetween.

I guess when you were use to doing something for sooo many years, you expect to still do it. I guess it takes a long time to undue the habits you have come to know for many years of your life. I have found that exercising has helped me to cope with those anxiety feelings. It relaxes me and when I'm breathing hard and sweating, kind of like a cleansing of your body....I can not imagine putting a cigarette in my mouth during that time... I remember what it use to feel like when I did and I can tell you this... It's the most nasty thing and because you are breathing hard from exercising, you feel like you can't breathe when you inhale that poison.......

So I guess everybody has their own way of coping... But I guess that wave will be with us for the rest of our lives because we were addicts... Maybe it will eventually come to the point where we only experience it once a year and that's won't be so bad.....


18 weeks++++

A1ex Gold
Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:31

29 Aug 2002, 01:50 #34

I'm really proud to be smoke free for so long (2W 2D 2h 24m 59s).

It hasn't been as bad as I thought it was going to be, but it hasn't been easy either.

The cravings are getting less frequent but when I do get them they are huge cravings!!

I was trying to reason why I still get these cravings.

There's no nicotine in my body and I gave up because I really hated smoking, so why do I crave a cigarette?

Every time I got a craving I stopped what I was doing for a short while and thought about what I was doing and why that would trigger a craving. What I came to realise is that it wasn't just associations with people and places that triggered my cravings. Over the years of smoking I had used cigarettes as a means of dealing with emotional peaks. As I got more and more addicted I relied on cigarettes more and more to deal with all the stresses and strains of every day life. Actually I now realise that I used to have a cigarette whenever I was nervous, angry, depressed, tired, bored, annoyed, etc. For instance if I got really stressed I would go and have 2 or 3 cigarettes. I would chain-smoke them. Afterwards I would feel much calmer. The reason I felt calmer was not the cigarette but the fact that I had subconsciously associated smoking with feelings of calm and relaxation. I was so addicted to nicotine that I made myself believe that somehow smoking was actually good for me because it helped me to relax. In the process I had subconsciously made myself believe that cigarettes calmed me down. If you believe something to be true you can not only convince yourself but you can actually alter your subconscious. The fact is that smoking doesn't help us cope with any of our problems or emotions. In fact in some cases cigarettes can actually aggravate the situation.

What it boils down to is that the only reason I used to go "nuts" when I got a really bad craving was because I had successfully brainwashed myself into believing that cigarettes calmed me down.

I realise this is "Junkie Thinking" which has identified the problem the next step is how to deal with it.

What I have tried doing is re-associating the feeling of calm and relaxation with drinking water. When I have a glass of water I take a couple of deep breaths and relax. If I succeeded in subconsciously brainwashing myself into believing that cigarettes calmed me down then I'm sure I can do it again with something less harmful this time!!

There's no reason to get stressed about cigarettes or anything else. As they say, it's all in the mind. I know it's easier said than done but if other people, myself included, can do it then you can too!!! It's strange but I didn't think that I would have to re-learn how to relax and calm down just because I quit smoking.


John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

29 Aug 2002, 02:46 #35

Don't feel alone, Alex, it's likely that most all of us allowed our emotions to serve as feeding cues. The good part is that it doesn't take brainwashing or even repeated encounters with the same triggers before the subconscious mind abandons them as cues. The subconscious isn't capable of independent thought. It simply reacts to the input provided. That being said, the longer you go between encountering feeding triggers the more you get out of your defensive war posture and the more it may seem like you've been sucker punched or blind-sided when one does arrive.

Alex, if you have not done so already I strongly encourage you to try and make a record of what a triggered crave anxiety is really like. Why? Well, with fewer and fewer left to recondition, their frequency will continue to decline and you will so go days and then weeks without one. What you will be left to deal with are all your smoking thoughts and memories which at times can seem to flood the mind but unlike a true triggered crave, which lasts less than three minutes, our thoughts can linger as long as we allow them.

Here at Freedom the distinction is important in two respects. We can, to a large extent, control the arrival and departure of smoking related thoughts and memories while the arrival and departure of habit triggered craves, or cutting them short, is beyond the abilities of most to control.

The second reason it's important is in relating to the next generation. You'll sometimes see threads by bronze and silver members saying that they had a "crave" that lasted "all day" when what's really happening is that have allowed their mind to become to fixated upon "thoughts" smoking -- for which we can usually discover an underlying cause -- and the thoughts linger on for some time. We just don't want to confuse those in the first few days of their quit into believing that the tremendous challenge of the first few days lasts for months and months. It really isn't fair to them. By making some record of what a "real" crave anxiety attack is like it helps us see and distinguish later the lingering sea of thoughts that can at times flood, fill and linger in the mind. A wonderful post that brings back memories. You're thinking it through Alex . Be proud of how far you've come! John

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

24 Oct 2002, 21:36 #36

The next few minutes are doable by all of us! Listen to the junkie excuse in an honest manner, reflect upon it, and then laugh! Nicotine provides nothing except an endless need for more. For the addict, there is no such thing as smoking nicotine just once. It doesn't make coffee taste better but in fact deadens your taste buds. Nicotine (an alkaloid) does not relieve stress (an acid generating event). It simply relieves its own absence after your body's nicotine reserves become quickly neutralized by the acid producing event!

Try slow deep breaths into the bottom of each lung & a cool glass of water! Clear your mind of needless chatter by focusing on an object, color or happy thought! To continue your healing and adjustment simply never take another puff of nicotine! This isn't what it feels like to be a comfortable ex-smoker. This is one it feels like during this particular day of this temporary period of adjustment called "quitting." Go the distance! It's your birthright to be free!

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

04 Jun 2003, 19:51 #37

Subconsciously Triggered Crave Episode
Consciously Fixating on a "Thought"?
True or False - the urge you now feel will end whether you feed it or not? Although almost always small - unless you waited too long between feedings - you were threatened by urges each and every day of your entire smoking life. Two choices but which in the end which promises lasting comfort and a healthy life, and which promises to immediately, again, begin the destruction of your body's ability to receive and transport life giving oxygen?
Which is easier, a temporary period of adjustment that with each passing day witnesses fewer and fewer thoughts of "wanting" or permanent chemical captivity to nicotine's two hour chemical half-life in the human body? Which is smarter?
Unless you are fixating upon a "thought" of smoking - as you would with your favorite food, person or place - the crave episode you are feeling now will not last longer than three minutes but be sure and look at a clock as science tells us that time distortion and longer minutes is part of the dependency recovery process. If you are fixating upon a "thought," fixate even harder but immediately begin viewing the "thought" in honest light.
Self honesty is important. Is the concept of "just one" an honest thought for any true chemical slave? Then why picture just one? Instead try to calculate and picture the number of cigarettes you've smoked so far in your life while playing the "just one more pack" mind game. Picture them all there with you now. What does throwing all your hard work away and having that "one" powerful puff really mean? Do you have enought time remaining to again fill the room with as many cigarettes as you've smoked before serious bad news arrives? I don't know. What I do know is that the next few minutes are 100% doable!
You're going home! Remember, each and everyone of us faced our own biggest challenge. Whichever challenge in the end proves to have been your greatest will someday soon be looked back upon with a smile and pride! There's only one rule - no nicotine today!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John
Last edited by John (Gold) on 02 Apr 2009, 00:02, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:30

01 Dec 2003, 02:54 #38


Hit me hard yesterday at the mall, wanted "just one".

It was my first weekend alone, with no kids, as a non smoker.

Start my new job tommorow, that will keep me busy.


John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

16 May 2004, 21:02 #39

Is it an urge to destroy few more air sacs?
Do you have an urge to clog your arteries a wee bit more?
Is it an urge to relapse and further reducing your life expectancy?
Is it an urge to again give nicotine control of over 200 neurochemicals?
Maybe it's a burning urge to again start trading $$$ for nicotine?
Is it a desire to take a 50/50 chance of killing yourself 14 yrs. early?
What exactly do you have an urge to do?
Freedom or feedem, the choice is yours.
But if you choose relapse, as shown below,
Don't expect compassion from society while dying.
No nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff!

Lung cancer patients fight stigma of disease

Canadian Press
Wed. Aug. 13, 2003

VANCOUVER - Just 14 per cent of lung cancer patients on this continent survive for five years and if those odds aren't bad enough, patients also face the perception they have no one to blame but themselves, according to experts attending a Vancouver conference.

The strong association between lung cancer and smoking (up to 90 per cent of lung cancers are caused by current or former Image smoking plus secondhand exposure) means patients are stigmatized, speakers told delegates at a session of the 10th World Conference on Lung Cancer.

Even though lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide, the lack of compassion being afforded such patients is contributing to its low profile in the media, its low level of funding relative to other cancers and even its marginal treatment success rates, said Lynne Robertson, a patient advocate from the United Kingdom.

The fact that lung cancer garners little sympathy stems also from the fact that patients are too demoralized and too sick to put a human face on the suffering of the disease. Some die within months of being diagnosed.

"Because outcomes of treatment are relatively poor, there are few survivors and as such, few patient advocates raising lung cancer awareness and ensuring optimal treatment and support for sufferers," said Robertson.

Dr. Paul Bunn, director of the University of Colorado Cancer Center in Denver, said patient advocacy has to increase so that new therapies can be researched and developed.

Despite the fact that lung cancer claims more lives than cancers of the breast, prostate and colorectal combined, it is those cancers that generate the most research funding and public attention.

In 2000, the U.S. National Cancer Institute estimated it awarded research funding of only $1,200 per lung cancer death, compared to $11,400 for breast cancer and $8,000 for prostate cancer.

Carolyn Aldige, of the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation, based in Virginia, said the low priority accorded lung cancer means that treatment is "sub-optimal and there is a paucity of support services."

Indeed, a recent study to which the speakers referred found that of 600 stories on cancer in the U.S. print and broadcast media, 73 per cent detailed the personal stories of breast cancer patients and the remainder were about prostate and colorectal patients.

Dr. Diane Blum, a New York Cancer Care delegate, said the 10 per cent of lung cancer patients who have never smoked are particularly affected by the `victim blaming' and have a hard time coping when confronted by "public indifference and judgmental attitudes."

She said such prejudicial attitudes can create a vicious cycle in which people with suspicious symptoms fail to seek medical attention promptly. (Symptoms of lung cancer may include a persistent cough, shortness of breath, spit that contains blood and chest pain.)

But Robertson said research shows lung cancer can be beaten if diagnosed at the very earliest stages of disease, which means that those at risk of developing cancer should be screened.

Robertson said the Roy Castle Lung Foundation, with which she is involved, believes public understanding of the disease could be increased by publicizing the stories of patients who survive, while being careful not to raise false hope.

Dr. Nevin Murray, chair of the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer and a researcher at the B.C. Cancer Agency, which is one of the co-hosts of the conference, said patient advocacy can have an enormous impact on treatment and care and that is why conference organizers invited patient advocates such as the Global Lung Cancer coalition and others to the conference, which in the past has just included scientists and health professionals.
© 2003 Bell Globemedia Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 Aug 2004, 20:02 #40

This short article is a little dated. I wrote almost 21 years ago. Today we have over 46 million former smokers in the United States.