Thinking of quitting?... BUT ....

marty (gold)
marty (gold)

6:30 AM - Mar 07, 2002 #1

I don't know a single smoker who would rather smoke than not smoke. But "wanting to not smoke" is a mile away from "wanting to quit". Why ? Well I think there are two reasons.

First, smokers think quitting is tougher than it really is. They see TV advertising that tells them they need special chemical aids, medical advice and so on. They see movies about people climbing the wall as they give up other drugs like heroin. They talk to people who have tried to quit (usually with no outside help) and failed within days. And of course those people, in order to justify their own failure, tell them how tough it was, how they suffered excruciating withdrawal symptoms, how they put on 10lbs in a week, how they couldn't sleep, and so on and so on.

Despite all this, smokers do get to a stage of understanding what they are doing to their own health, and large numbers of them would be, and are, willing to try to quit. But many don't try, and a huge proportion (90%) of those who do try fail because they don't give themselves a proper chance, they lose self-belief too soon.

Which leads me to my second reason, a reason why some smokers never try, and why many quits fail in the first few weeks.

This is the belief that it is impossible to maintain the self-discipline needed to stay quit for the rest of your life.

Indeed, if the level of mental energy and drive that is needed in the first few weeks of a quit were necessary for as much as 3 months, then people might indeed be better off smoking ! But that is simply not the case.

I quit 15 months ago, and the attention I have to give to my quit right now is less than I give to being careful when I cross the road. It's a no-brainer almost, the fact of not smoking is just a natural and comfortable part of my life. And it's been pretty much at that level for 9 months.

Between 3 and 6 months, I was more aware of the fact that I was still 'quitting', a little fearful of what event might cause me to relapse, and spent a fair bit of my time continuing to learn about smoking and quitting, and staying close to the Freedom Board. But even that period was fairly comfortable.

The first 3 months needed quite an investment of my time in self-education and 'attending' this support group, and quite a lot of mental energy in daily re-committing myself to the fight. For that indeed is what it was --- a fight for my life.

For those of you out there who really want to quit, but believe you can't stay the distance, stop worrying about it. Quitting is not easy; it's not something you just do and get it over quickly, like going to the dentist; it's not something that you just try on a whim. But it's also not as difficult as you think it is, and it is absolutely not a prescription for a future life of self-denial and mental agony.

If only you could see life through my eyes now .....
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Glenys Goldx3
Glenys Goldx3

6:53 AM - Mar 07, 2002 #2

Marty - such wisdom! I can see life through your eyes - I am experiencing the same comfort and relative "ease" of maintaining my quit. It feels amazing and I am still in awe of the fact that I am a non-smoker (I was one of the best you know......)
I marvel at the fact that whereas once I could not imagine a day without a cigarette, I now marvel that days go by without the thought even entering my head.
Yes, "wanting to not smoke" and "wanting to quit" are poles apart. A friend of mine recently said to me (after telling her that I had quit) "oh, you are so lucky, I wish that would happen to me" . Quitting is not something that "happens" to you. It is a decision that each smoker will make and yes, it takes work - a lot of work, focus and sometimes sheer guts to hold fast to that decision, but Marty - you are a shining example of the rewards that come from the effort. Total Freedom!
I have never heard anybody who ever quit say "Quitting smoking was the worst decision I ever made" (I suspect my husband might be thinking this right now as he is just three weeks into his quit.........not a happy camper, lol)
Thanks again Marty - Cheers from Glenys @ 10 months +
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Alice
Alice

7:38 AM - Mar 07, 2002 #3

Yes. True. Perfect.
I agree.
That's me.
YQS
Alice
4 months and about 2 weeks
One day at a time.
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BillW Gold.ffn
BillW Gold.ffn

9:18 AM - Mar 07, 2002 #4

Marty.....this is why I am here, and not already failed (again!)

You are where I _will_ be.......in 14 months.

BillW Three weeks, five days, 11 hours, 13 minutes and 45 seconds. 794 cigarettes not smoked, saving $138.95. Life saved: 2 days, 18 hours, 10 minutes.
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Msariel2u2 (Gold)
Msariel2u2 (Gold)

9:24 AM - Mar 07, 2002 #5

My quit was not easy, and it was not painless, but I agree that I now longer worry about "not having a cigarette". I hope that makes sense to everyone. I was amazed to see my quit meter at 10 months, 3 weeks, etc..... as I once lived by the "one minute at a time" principal. I can now drive my car, talk on the phone, or walk around the block without triggering a crave.... Now I feel stronger, more confident, and am able to deal with life without worring if I have cigarettes, can I smoke them where I am, do I need to buy more, etc.

Freedom is AMAZING! And I am very proud to have attained it after 14 years of smoking.

Ariel
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Hal(Gold)
Hal(Gold)

10:58 AM - Mar 07, 2002 #6

Hi Marty
You have always been my nonsmoking bro in England.
I've been showing you the way in longevity,
But you have always been there in wisdom.
This freedom in not thinking about smoking in less than 15 minutes
each hour of the day is so satisfying.
Just knowing that if the thought comes up
I can easily dismiss it as something I CHOOSE not to do.
Not something that I cannot deny.
I do not want the 4,000 chemicals in my body.
I do not want to puff that puff that starts the cells to develop in
an unhealthy way.
The 40 carcinogens in cigarettes to start an irreversable trend.
The single cell cancer that will eventually kill me in a short period of time.
One puff is too many, a million cartons not being enough.
How tough is that to choose the alternatives.
I choose to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF
Hal
@
after smoking for 54 years, and at 70 Years of Slow suicide
is @
One year, three months, six days, 7 hours, 1 minute and 14 seconds. 18531 cigarettes not smoked, saving $2,316.46. Life saved: 9 weeks, 1 day, 8 hours, 15 minutes.
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grafix(Gold ))
grafix(Gold ))

11:28 AM - Mar 07, 2002 #7

Thought I'd put my Seven months, one week, two days of experience into the equation here. Marty as always "spot on" , I found the first month a personal challenge "I can do this"...., The second month... look out ... doubt comes into play ... this is why I read and reread everything here at freedom and went back to basics of one hour one day at a time and meeting, greeting and defeating the triggers. My Bronze achievement was personally my greatest because it was the point where I had mentally beaten the addiction. I think the colour analogies are perfect. Here on the silver liner I am cruisin', hardly have craves anymore in fact they are more "I used to smoke once". When these thoughts occur, I greet them with a smile... its a smile of pride .... 25 years as a smoker ... now an ex smoker and loving it. For anyone thinking of quitting or having a hard time doing so.... "this side of the fence is wonderful...life has started again"... with a bit of patience, knowledge and determination, you can join me.
Chris
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janetd (GOLD)
janetd (GOLD)

12:44 PM - Mar 07, 2002 #8

Marty, Great Job of Explaining How it is so hard to put down and yet So Easy! It's a paradox that I don't have the words for (yet)!
yqs, Janet the Junkie
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Bet (Gold)
Bet (Gold)

9:32 PM - Mar 07, 2002 #9

Hello List

This is my first post though I've been quit for just over 6 weeks now. I found this site 2 weeks into my quit, just when things were starting to get tough and the stuff I've read from Joel and other contributors has saved my bacon a few times so far.

I tend to experience the weird phenomenon of actually finding it easier not to smoke at the start of a quit. Marty's message has been a lifesaver for me. I've smoked 30 a day for 30 years and have quit a few times in the past. Every time I have gone back to smoking, it has been the result of a cold decision. Ever since my second quit I have known that this meant a return to full-blown smoking, that there is no such thing as "just one". The saddest one was about 15 years ago when I quit for a whole 4 months and found it incredibly easy - I had just read Allen Carr's Easy Way to Stop Smoking. I decided to start smoking again because I gained weight and I also figured cigarettes did contain some mysterious ingredient that I missed.

This time I haven't gained any weight because I'm not smoking food and drink as I usually do on a quit. This has been quite hard. I think the famous metabolism-boosting properties of nicotine are boloney. People gain weight because they eat more. So, I've solved the weight-gain problem. This time I've got depression and inability to concentrate- I've had this before while quitting. Interestingly, my concentration problems were less of a problem in the first 2 weeks and I felt rather pleased with myself, not depressed!

I was beginning to think that I am so hopelessly addicted I will never be free from my slavery to tobacco. Maybe I would have to be a non-smoking slave or go back to smoking and be an active slave. Your messages have given me hope that even I will get free one day. But I have met people who have been quit for a very long time and still moan about how they miss smoking. What's that about then?

Thanks again. BTW I live in UK.

Bet
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improud (golder)
improud (golder)

10:07 PM - Mar 07, 2002 #10

Marty you are always there to share your wisdom I'm sure all of the lurkers out there wanting to quit, thinking about quiting and not smoking and being very scared that they can't do it I always felt that I get sick if I didn't smoke What junky warped thinking But I was uneducated and did not know that I was an addict to the most deadly of addictions. Keep up the good work Marty and lurkers It does get better I am proof at 1 YEAR 2 MONTHS. Cathy~GOLD CLUB
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marty (gold)
marty (gold)

10:11 PM - Mar 07, 2002 #11

Hello Bet

Good to havve another Brit at Freedom

There are at least a couple of reasons why long-term quitters say they "miss smoking" depending on exactly what their personalities are, and how they say it.

For example, I often say that I miss playing badminton, which I gave up at the age of 40 because I couldn't physically keep up to the standard I used to play at. OK, I miss it, but there's nothing to be done except indulge in nostalgia . I miss many facets of my childhood. I miss a dear aunt of mine who died recently. These are all things that are beyond our reach now, but we still "miss" them.

Then there are things that we "miss" but know we mustn't have. Like sugar for diabetics, or violent exercise for people with heart conditions, or smoking for everyone. Some people will still say they "miss" these things, even though they have no intention of responding to that. As it happens, I don't miss cigarettes, and I don't think I ever will. But I guess some people might.

The important point, Bet, about all those long-term quitters you know is that even though they say they miss smoking, they still don't smoke. So I guess it's not a very intense feeling Maybe they're just seeking a little sympathy from you

At the end of the day, those guys manage to live a life even though they're "missing" something. If that's the worst it gets, Bet, it's a heck of a lot better than the alternative, which is not you missing smoking, but your family missing you.

Take care, and keep that great quit going.

Marty
NOT A PUFF FOR 1 year 3 months 4 days
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childofnite GOLD.ffn
childofnite GOLD.ffn

12:48 AM - Mar 08, 2002 #12

WOW Marty! *STANDING OVATION*! These are my thoughts exactly - hey, did you give me a lobotomy and steal them?! LOL!!

Seriously though; to all lurkers wanting so badly to quit: the wisdom gained here at Freedom is more than enough to help sustain our quits through the first few months. After that period (around 6 months) it really is no more effort than what Marty has told you.

You just have to be strong in your beliefs, and obliterate any junkie thought that creeps into your mind. And it is NOTHING like the ****/Glory week craves one experiences when first quitting. It is a mere thought that flits out of your mind as fast as it entered it.

It does not require you to devote your entire life to painstakingly abstaining from nicotine, because after the first few weeks, an x-smoker is so elated he/she has come so far, that they don't ever want to go back! The Freedom you will feel will be FANTASTIC!

Remember - thoughts can never hurt you, only actions can - and the ONLY action you can never take again is administering nicotine to your body. It really is not that difficult, just NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!

I will reiterate what Marty has said: "If only you could see life through my eyes now ....." I wish you could witness my Freedom as well. Give yourself a gift: the quit education that we have given ourselves, and you will be posting sentiments exactly like these in a short period of time.

I will be talking to you soon.

Yqs, Diana
7 MONTHS 1 WEEK 3 DAYS!
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SweetLorraine (Gold)
SweetLorraine (Gold)

12:30 PM - Mar 08, 2002 #13

Hi Betmon - I'm going to take a crack at your question the long term quitters who say they miss smoking.

My theory is they do mean it and they like any non-using addict are in danger of losing their quit if they should take even a single puff. Do they really miss smoking yes - because they are "missing" that mythical enjoyable perfect smoke they had maybe once out of hundreds of cigarettes.

The reality of smoking is not the occasional blissful indulgence of a social smoker - it is an addiction that requires feeding many times per day more often in times of stress when it is strangely enough least convenient. Thanks to this site I understand why - stress causes nicotine levels to deplete more rapidly - hence the quicker need to feed. But I digress.

Looking at smoking objectively - it has no redeeming value. Even that rare pleasurable cigarette is an acquired taste. Who liked their first cigarette? I figure tastes can be re-education or if you prefer - unacquired. When you know what cigarettes are (deadly nicotine delivery systems) it changes your attitude towards them. That is why an educated quitter has a much better shot at staying quit.

Apologies Marty - you know far more than I do - but I think without the education we have all had access to here at Freedom, we might be idealizing our missing cigarettes instead having a healthy disgust for them. "Missing cigarettes" even after a year or two of abstinence seems a lot less attractive than living in complete comfort. I think it is a matter of choice, we can choose how to think about cigarettes. And we can chose not to take a single puff.

I'm finding freedom quite glorious after years of slavery,

yqf Lorraine
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Matt (Gold)
Matt (Gold)

1:31 PM - Mar 08, 2002 #14

The first time I quit smoking...it was to see if I could go without a cigarette for a few hours. That was over 4 and a half months ago. I made those few hours, and then a few days later I found Freedom while searching on the Internet for some support.

So was I lucky? Maybe a little bit. Once I came inside and took a look around I knew that I was in the right place. It was time to wage war on my addiction.

Recalling the bumps in the road early on only makes me smile all the more. Those bumps are little reminders of what it USED to be like. It's really a pretty amazing feeling that I'm very grateful for.

I didn't even think I'd make it 2 hours.

Matt
Four months, two weeks, five days, 9 hours, 28 minutes and 30 seconds.
2847 cigarettes not smoked, saving $569.74. Life saved: 1 week, 2 days, 21 hours, 15 minutes.
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Bet (Gold)
Bet (Gold)

7:43 PM - Mar 08, 2002 #15

Cheers Marty.

I feel miserable as sin again today, but I've got other "issues", as they say, going on, mainly financial, so having quit is, in reality, an especially great benefit right now. Everything passes and I've just got to cheer up eventually, I guess.
Bet.
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mirigirl (silver)
mirigirl (silver)

8:09 PM - Mar 08, 2002 #16

Hey Bet - How's it Going??
I think you are pretty new to Freedom eh? And today hasn't been so good?
Why not start another thread of your own and some more Freedom members can give you a helping hand.
As for your question about why long term ex-smokers say they can still have craves - is that they may have quit (which is great) but they haven't necessarily got an understanding of smoking as an addiction (which would make it harder)
I think once we truely accept that about ourselves as nicotine addicts the craves actually go and what we get may just be thoughts. Anyone can cope with thoughts - especially if we accept realistically we have no other option.
After a while it's whole lot easier.
Anyway post again Bet - if youcan - be brave and start a new thread! and you'll see how many Freedom friends you have travelling this journey with you
and most of all remember to
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
yqs mirigirl
another nicotine addict
Two months, four days, 23 hours, 18 minutes and 36 seconds Free
1674 cigarettes not smoked, saving $602.74. Life saved: 5 days, 19 hours, 30 minutes.
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

5:50 AM - Mar 09, 2002 #17

Some things:

1) Quitting Marty for 2 weeks while he golfed was pretty darn rough. I was dreading his return, because I knew the trigger would be too much. I kept repeating, "Never Read Another Marty, Never Read Another Marty", but alas, the temptation overwhelmed me, and here I sit, in full-blown Marty-relapse. The never-ending cycle of..... read... learn... understand... jones.... read. Hello, my name is OBob. I'm a Marty-holic. (Hi OBob).

2) BET, if you didn't want to start your own thread, at least you had the wisdom to choose a good house (Marty's) to make your appearance. Read every word this guy writes.

As for your current predicament.... doggonit, I gotta run.... my lift just showed up..... A couple of quick, but possibly relevant threads:

"Bad Days"
I feel depressed - SO WHAT ?

Cheers, (AND WELCOME!)

Bob
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richard This is It GOLD
richard This is It GOLD

5:37 AM - May 15, 2002 #18

Hi all....

I just found this thread and I wanted to "bring it up top" for the following reasons:
1. Marty's words make sooooo much sense to me (at this stage in my quit)
2. They should help some "lurkers" out there, and/or some current "quit-sufferers"
3. The thread started over 2 months ago, and has 16 replies all from people who are now either bronze or above (ie "seasoned-sticky-quitters" and regular posters of wisdom on this board) and I wanted to add my name to this illustrious band for posterity

Thanks Marty.... you're pretty smart..... (must be a brit... )
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buffey
buffey

11:31 PM - Jul 10, 2002 #19

Hi Marty,
I wanted to respond to your post, as I am just minutes away from 72 hours free from nicotine......and its taken me a few months to get back to this point, for exactly the reasons you mentioned. BUT......it feels so much better to be not smoking, than it does to be actively smoking, and WANTING to be not smoking.
I have been on the quit/relapse cycle for weeks now, and I think I even got addicted to relapsing.
I have never had a problem accepting that I am an addict. I am a recovering alcoholic, drug addict, and know the rules, etc. The thing that was the hardest for me to accept, was that I would definately feel better in a short time. I would decide to quit, go about 5 hours, than couldn't get past the thoughts that I was going to feel like this every 15 mins, for a long time.
I had pretty much decided to "give up" on quitting, but was still reading in Freedoms site, and I came across something that opened my eyes completely. I can't remember where I saw this, but I read "if you refuse to feed the addiction when you get a craving, the nicotine in your system drops 50% right then" I may not have that exactly right, but the concept just blew me away. I always knew, if you made it thru a day, or 3 days, that of course, the nicotine is going to be getting out of your system. But, I had always wanted just one, thinking it wouldn't make much difference, in the long run. The idea that it was so powerful, to that moment in time, to REFUSE just one, gave me such hope. I also had to totally forget the past failures, and surrender to the belief that quitting COULD actually be possible for me. And, not think about more than one day at a time. Not worry about how it will feel in 3 months, etc. The way it feels now, after 3 days, is way different than all my past quits. I feel so much more positive about it, and like 3 months can only feel even better. Your post was right, in that you can't worry about it. I have spent so much time miserable for not being quit, that it is such "freedom", to not have to worry about quitting. I don't ever want to give it up.
Thanks to all here at freedom, for understanding, and keeping the info going. It helps more than you'll know, to those of us who keep reading, and finally something sinks in!
Thanks marty, I think I may be beginning to "see life thru your eyes." Or at least getting a glimce.
buffey.
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Roger (Gold)
Roger (Gold)

8:41 AM - Jul 28, 2002 #20


Good Post For Our Lurkers, Procrastinators Or Freedom Members.........

You Can Do It.........

Just Thinking You Can...Will Give Way To...... I Believe I Can.......Will Give Way To...... I Know I Can.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

10:27 PM - Nov 21, 2002 #21


Yesterday, now or tomorrow, the maximum of 72 hours needed to allow the brain to begin bathing in nicotine free blood serum could have commenced on any day. When you awake, after that first or second nicotine fix, after lunch, dinner, or even an hour before going to bed, it doesn't matter which hour you select to celebrate that first hour of freedom but only that you do! Remember any butt you crush can always be the last as 72 hours is 72 hours!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

9:39 PM - Apr 21, 2003 #22

What we know that you don't is that ....
it's much easier being "You"
than living the daily life of a nicotine addict,
til death do you, and your drug, part!
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

3:18 AM - Mar 09, 2004 #23

It may be hard to believe but it's coming, we promise, but don't take my word for it !
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

9:39 PM - Jun 08, 2004 #24

Yes you can!
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

8:49 PM - Sep 27, 2004 #25

If you quit for just one hour celebrate!
If you meet, greet and defeat that first challenge celebrate!
No subconscious crave episode will be longer than three
minutes but time distortion can make the minutes feel like hours.
Keep a clock handy in order to keep honest perspective!
We're with you in spirit!
Just one rule, no nicotine for these moments!
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