Triggers & Craves

gibson592
gibson592

January 28th, 2008, 12:33 am #1

I am still having a difficult time. I have stopped smoking on 12/20/07, but am still having a very hard time. Certain triggers keep rearing their ugly head and my crave generator starts roaring to life. From everything I have read I thought that once you successfully encountered a certain event or trigger more than once you would not have the crave again. This doesn't work for me. I know it is all psychological at this point, but it doesn't seem to be getting better.

Does anyone else out there in the same stage of their quit feel similar to the way I do? I keep reading all these posts from members who say how great they feel and that they hardly have any craves any more. I seem to have craves and withdrawal pangs the entire day. Do I have to live the rest of my life this way? I keep thinking that it will get better, but every day is the same. Am I doing something wrong?

I am trying so hard and am determined to hang onto this quit. I never want to go through this agony again. I only want to see some light at the end of the tunnel. I keep thinking that tomorrow will be better, and maybe in time it will be. But the question is HOW MUCH TIME.

I would appreciate your advice

Rick
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 28th, 2008, 12:58 am #2

Rick, at day 38 it's possible you've encountered a couple of remote and still unreconditioned feeding cues recently but in how you describe the situation (I seem to have craves and withdrawal pangs the entire day. ) it's far more likely that you stand exactly where most of us stood on or about day 38 of our quits, with your conscious thinking mind noticing some smoking stimulus, or an excuse to do so, and then spending time consciously fixating upon the thought of wanting to smoke.

Even though not hungry, how long can you stay focused and concentrate upon your favorite food, Rick? If you attempted to do so, would you expect to feel urges and desires to get your favorite food and eat it? It's much the same except for one big difference, we used nicotine thousands of times more than we ate our favorite food, and at times the day 38 mind may find itself swimming in what seems like a sea or smoking thoughts.

Don't try to run or hide from your thoughts, Rick, but instead grab each by the horns, look it square in the eye and ask yourself this ... is it an honest thought?
  • Taste? There are no tastebuds in my lungs, the place I want the smoke
  • Friend? A chemical? A chemical with an IQ of zero? A chemical that's slowly destroying our body?
  • Like, love? What pre-addiction memory remains to form a basis for honest comparison? What was it like going months and years without once wanting to smoke nicotine.
  • Just one? The law of addiction says there's no such thing as just one, we have to take them all back and everything that comes with them.
Your addicted mind and tobacco companies have lied to us long enough, Rick. You're entitled to the truth and entitled to finish this journey and see what it's like to again go entire days without once wanting to smoke nicotine.

When I was where you are it seemed as if my recovery had come to a standstill, that things just were not getting better, that the rosebud had stopped opening. But we promise you this, Rick. The rosebud that is "you" is still opening. Just like in real life, it just gets hard to see. Be patient with your healing, as we had to learn to be with ours. It's normal to want it over and done but it took us years to collect all the lies and rationalization you now find yourself having to wade back through. Be patient. All you can control are the next few minutes and each is fully within your ability to control.

But you're right, there's no guarantee you could ever come this far again. Keeping your freedom and healing alive may not always seem easy but it is as simple as ... no nicotine today.

John (Gold x8)
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zoe
zoe

January 28th, 2008, 1:01 am #3

Rick,

I'm Newbier than you. I quit on Jan. 1, 2008 and will be green soon. I feel compelled to respond to your post because I too don't feel like I'm getting better. But, I've been holding on to my quit because I know deep down inside that this is a very important process for me in my life. I also think at times that this process is not necessarily about getting "better" for me but rather about listening to "me"--letting myself feel that moment without masking it with my addiction. Feeling that crave, the discomfort of not fulfilling it, well, that's keeping it real. I want to keep it real now...

I can't give you advice like the oldbies here but wanted to let you know that your fellow quitter is here to keep you company. I come here often and read, read and share and read some more. Just think, you're here NOT smoking. What an accomplishment! I hold on to that because that's a WOW factor for me.

zoe

NIC free since 1/1/08
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 28th, 2008, 1:03 am #4

Fixating on a Cigarette



What happens to some people is that when they are off smoking for a certain time period they start fixating on a cigarette. By that I mean they forget all the bad cigarettes they ever smoked, they forget the ones they smoked without ever really thinking about them even at the time they were being smoked, and they start to remember and focus on one good cigarette. It may be one they smoked 20 years earlier but it was a good one and they now want one again.

It's a common tactic for the ex-smokers to try and tell themselves that they do not really want that "good" cigarette. Well, the problem is, at that moment they really do want it. An internal debate erupts, "I want one, no I don't, one sounds great, no it doesn't, oh just one, not just one!" The problem is that if the ex-smoker's focus is on just "one" cigarette then there is no clear-cut winning side to the debate. The ex-smoker needs to change the internal discussion.

Don't say that you don't want one when you do, rather acknowledge the desire but ask yourself, "Do I want all the other cigarettes that go with it. Then, do I want the package deal that goes with the others? The expense, social stigma, smell, health effects, possible loss of life. Do I want to go back to smoking, full-fledged, until it cripples and kills me?"

Stated like this it normally is not a back and forth debate. The answer will normally be, "No, I don't want to smoke under these terms," and those are the only terms that a cigarette comes with.

Normally if viewed like this the debate is over almost immediately after being pulled into focus. Again, if the focus is only one, you can drive yourself nuts throughout the entire day. If you focus on the whole package deal, you will walk away from the moment relieved to still be smoke free and sufficiently reinforced to NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!


Joel

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Joel
Joel

January 28th, 2008, 1:07 am #5

Hello Rick:

I am at a computer now that I cannot attach links with. I just popped up a series of strings addressing craves and triggers. Give them a look:

Thoughts that seem worse than the first days urges 264 22 Joel. 1/27/2008 11:05 AM
"You said it would get better. It's just as bad as the day I quit smoking!" 170 18 Joel. 1/27/2008 11:04 AM
Why am I still having "urges?" 139 12 Joel. 1/27/2008 11:03 AM
Fixating on a cigarette. 178 9 Joel. 1/27/2008 11:03 AM
"Just think about something else." 137 11 Joel. 1/27/2008 11:03 AM
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JoeJFree Gold
JoeJFree Gold

January 28th, 2008, 1:18 am #6

First of all Rick, let me assure you that the nicotine free path is FAR better in the long run. Second allow me to congratulate you on making your way thru what for most of us is the toughest part of this journey - this return to sanity - the first month. Welcome to the Green club.
Quitting is not a problem......it is a solution to a problem.
Sometimes the tunnel is longer on the path we choose to walk on our way to a life of comfortable freedom from the constant demands of this crippling addiction dependency we all share. Sometimes it helps to pick up a shovel and get digging into this treasure trove of information found here in order to shorten the time until we break thru to the other side. But never doubt that it will happen. It does get better each day in some small way as long as you are looking forward and not back.
My favorite section of this site that aided my recovery greatly is a sub-message board called My New Life ...
It may be helpful to adjust how you're handling the random urges and echoes of your addictive behaviors. Psychological triggers are indeed broken with usualy one or two - "I don't do that anymore" self affirmations. But many triggers are so similar that we may believe they are the same when our mind see the differences and nuances of situational encounters and send us reminders from our executive assistant. Pesky fellow is only doing his job you know.

What is comfort?
" I'm different, I'll never be comfortable without nicotine "
Reading and Growth

JoeJ Free, a nicotine addict & an ex-smoker who last administered nicotine 3 years, 17 days, 1 hour, 59 minutes and 40 seconds Ago (1112 days).
Not needed, wanted or missed 27802 deadly dose delivery devices, and retained $6,113.58.
Reclaimed 96 days, 12 hours and 50 minutes of precious remaining life time.
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gibson592
gibson592

January 28th, 2008, 2:50 am #7

Thank you John. You really helped me with this advice. Your analogy of the opening rosebud was particularly enlightening. I didn't realize that my feelings were similar to where as you say most of us stood on or about day 38 of our quits. I was beginning to feel that maybe I was totally alone in my feelings. I can't wait to see what it will be like to be able to go entire days without once wanting to smoke. The freedom must be awesome. I know that I will get there. I will just take one day at at a time. When I get up in the morning, I tell myself that I will not smoke today. When I go to bed at night I give thanks that I have made it through another day.

I do believe that I may be fixating. I will just keep remembering all of the reasons why I quit in the first place. I will remember to ask myself --Do I want all the other cigarettes that would go with that one. Do I want to go back to smoking full-fledged until it cripples and kills me? The answer is a resounding NO!!!

A few days ago, I stayed the night visting my Daughter and Grandson who live out of town. What a feeling of freedom, not to have to go outside every hour or so to feed my dirty adiction. What a feeling not to have to worry how I smelled when I came back into the house, and whether my Grandson would smell the smoke on me ( since I always tried to hide it from him).

Thanks again to all for your support and advice.

Rick
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aksunshine69
aksunshine69

January 28th, 2008, 3:37 am #8

hi Rick,

Just wanted to say, hi, and i'm right behind you. Day 27 for me. I too can fixate on a cigarette for hours, not so much at work, but when i'm home alone at night. i can just sit here for hours at the computer and think about a smoke. it does seem to be getting easier for me. i'm noticing that, but i'll see how tonight goes once my daughter goes back to her dad's tonight. those are the hardest times for me. on a good note, took my daughter to the mall, movies and dinner yesterday. it was nice to spend the whole day with my dear daughter without having to constantly go smoke ;) loved that feeling.

i will not smoke today!

emmie - Free and Healing for Twenty Six Days, 11 Hours and 9 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 2 Days and 7 Hours, by avoiding the use of 662 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $215.26.
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gibson592
gibson592

January 28th, 2008, 4:32 am #9

Joel,
Thanks for the strings on craves & triggers. I was beginning to question whether being free of nicotine was always going to be some sort of inner struggle. I know it will get better. I know I must hold on tight. My life is worth any temporary challanges. I also know that this is the most important decision I have ever made in my life.
Thank you again.

Rick
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