Using Attitude to Reduce Anxiety

John (Gold)
John (Gold)

April 4th, 2001, 9:28 pm #1

Using Attitude to Reduce Anxiety
Can stress and anxiety be self induced? Can we make ourselves miserable on purpose? Of course we can! Throughout our lives we've experienced worry, fear, anger and irritability, only to find out later that our worries, fears and anxieties were either totally unnecessary or were over little or nothing at all.
During nicotine withdrawal after years of addiction, our self-induced tensions and anxieties can quickly become overwhelming. We can make them escalate to the point where we lash out against loved ones and friends, where we want to hit a tree with our bare hands, or where we put our heads under a pillow and scream at the top of our lungs. Our craves and urges don't cause us to relapse. If they did, few of us, if any, would ever break free from our addiction. What causes relapse is the tons of icing (anxiety) that we intentionally put on our cake (our craves).
Remember when we were first learning to swim and found ourselves in water over our heads. Did you panic? I did. If I had known how to swim would I have panicked? Of course not. Here at Freedom we teach smokers to swim and then we lead them into deep water. Once there, the smoker has only two choices - panic and relapse or remain calm and enjoy the swim.
Sadly, half of all current smokers will never learn how to swim in their sea of craves. Their addiction will end up costing them their lives. Many of us genuinely believe that time is running out and disaster is about to strike. Some of us are correct and bad news is just around the corner. Others among us think that plenty of time remains but after repeated attempts, we still remain slaves to our addiction. Don't panic! Instead, lets learn to become excellent swimmers. The more knowledgeable and skilled we become, the greater our chances of breaking free and remaining afloat.
Self-induced stress, worry, anxiety and panic - don't let them steal the glory of your healing. Let's start reducing it today. If you repeatedly tell yourself that "quitting is hard or painful" will your anxieties begin to build? Sure they will! If you begin telling yourself that you won't be able to make it through the next few hours or the remainder of the day, what will happen when your next crave arrives? Will you swim or will you sink? If you keep feeding yourself massive doses of negative thoughts there's a good chance that you'll sink. So why do we intentionally set ourselves up for relapse? Let's briefly stand back at look at quitting from an entirely different angle.
Instead of our cup being half empty, let's concentrate on the truth that it's more than half full. If we keep telling ourselves that "quitting is hard" then unless we're intentionally lying to ourselves, it will be hard and we should expect it to be hard. True? Then why feed ourselves failure? Why intentionally breed negative and powerful anxieties? Why allow such thoughts to fester in our minds until they begin oozing puss? Instead, immediately throw or chase the half empty cup away. Replace it with the cup of long overdue healing, new found pride, extra daily pocket money, and a volcano of self confidence.
Fight back with positive thoughts that look forward with hope and glory to your new beginning, your new life and the healing that's occurring within your body. Fill your cup with desire! Fill it with the reasons that caused you to seek your freedom! Don't look back, look ahead to lungs that are healing so quickly that you'll feel an almost one-third increase in overall lung capacity and function within just ninety days, to higher good cholesterol levels (HDL), to a regular heart beat that pumps clean blood into a rapidly healing brain and body.
Do you feel like you lost a close friend (half empty) or do realize that friends don't slowly kill friends (half full)? Did you QUIT smoking (half empty) or are you finally STARTING to live (half full)? Do you fear the arrival of your next crave (half empty) or are you excited about it's arrival as a test of your tremendous desire and resolve, and as a true sign healing (half full)? Will your next crave last forever (falsehood) or will it end within a few minutes (the truth)? Will withdrawal never end (falsehood) or is it temporary with its intensity peaking within 72 hours and your body physically adjusting to life without nicotine within two weeks? Will you continue to experience daily craves forever if you remain nicotine free (falsehood) or will your remaining craves continue to grow further and further apart and weaker in intensity until you begin experiencing your first days of total comfort where you never once even "think" about smoking, quitting or cigarettes (no later than day 90 but often much earlier depending upon attitude and reconditioning rates).
Did you truly find joy in being addicted to one of the most powerful substances on planet earth or is that just something you convinced yourself of in order to justify your addiction, your next fix, and to avoid the challenge of withdrawal? Will 5, 10 or even 20 temporary extra pounds actually kill you (if they even happen at all), or will your addiction kill you instead? Is there really too much stress in your life to continue your journey toward freedom, or is that the drug addict finding yet another excuse to avoid withdrawal ? Do you tell yourself that your will-power is growing weaker with every passing crave and each passing hour, or do you tell yourself that you're growing stronger and more determined as you look each craves squarely in the eyes and laugh in its face?
Do you show fear that's breeding anxiety or do you see yourself enjoying previously untapped courage as you celebrate each dose of fresh healing air that now kisses your lungs? Do you have visions of going to the store and purchasing your next pack of death or do you delight in the extra dollars that are gradually filling your pockets? Are you missing the lingering smoke, crushing the butts and dumping the ashtrays or are you marveling in your new ash-free world that's clean, bright and refreshing? Is your cup half empty or is it half full? You are what you think!
There are lots of lessons to learn here at Freedom but only one passing grade for every nicotine addict - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF! If you do puff, the statistical relapse rate for a single cigarette is ninety-five (95%) percent. With 19 out of 20 drowning, are you the lucky one who won't? I leave you with a brief summary of my thoughts on how to reduce stress through altering our attitude and perception toward this glorious adventure.
If you're TRYING to quit smoking then TRY is all you'll do.
Tell yourself quitting is HARD and unless you're lying it will be.
Believe your craves to be INTENSE and intense shall be your ride.
Ponder excuses for a FIX and you'll eventually get to use them.
If you think you might RELAPSE, then relapse you just might.
If you believe that you will FAIL, then chances are you will.
If you still WANT to be an ex-smoker, you're mind has yet to heal.
When you're READY for your freedom, freedom you shall find.
View this challenge as WONDERFUL and fulfillment will arrive.
See the GLORY of today, then glory it will be!
Praise the HEALING of your body and set your spirit free.
Inhale the JOYS of today, feel the spender of the journey.
Yet be TRUTHFUL and record the past to protect the here and now.
BELIEVE yourself an ex-smoker, and an ex-smoker you shall see.
NEVER take another puff and freedom it will be.
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long Freedom!
Your quit bro, Zep : )
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tammer
tammer

April 4th, 2001, 11:45 pm #2

ZEP!!!!


What a great article....I just read it this morning and I totally relate to this one! It is definitely my attitude that is going to determine whether I succeed or not and this sums it up in a nutshell! THANKS from the bottom of my heart!

This one is definitely going in my notebook for reading and re-reading!
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Joanne Gold
Joanne Gold

April 11th, 2001, 11:05 am #3

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Theresa
Theresa

May 28th, 2001, 2:34 am #4

Thank you Zep for this one!
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Patsy (Gold2)
Patsy (Gold2)

May 28th, 2001, 3:26 am #5

for this article. It is just what I needed today because I feel like
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SunshineRay
SunshineRay

May 28th, 2001, 2:11 pm #6

I recall reading the verse before and loved it so I printed it out. didn't recall the whole posting tho ... right up my alley, miss stressed out/excuses here! Well, my mind's a changing and so are my lungs, thanks to Freedom and Zep's monologue.

We is Zep anyway, is he still around, noticed his name isn't up with Managers anymore...gone on a well deserved vacation? Hope all is well.
sunshine 3d, 11h, 11m I have chosen not to smoke!
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

May 28th, 2001, 7:24 pm #7

I'm here Sunshine and my new start in life (what some call a quit ), along with Freedom, is doing just fine : ) It's you we're worried about. How many quits do you have left in you? Are you serious this time? Breaking free should be a serious yet temporary process and period of life. I may have had a dozen prior failed quits but each was done in ignorance and darkness. Your blood is nicotine clean again Sunshine but do you have the resolve to keep it clean, go the distance and get on with life as a comfortable ex-smoker? Let comfort arrive and see if you don't like it a whole lot more than when relapse arrives. I think you will : )
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long, YQB Zep : )
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

July 10th, 2001, 5:55 pm #8

Attitude touches every aspect of our quit, including the vocabulary we use in our minds to describe our journey (we are what we eat). In fact, it would be great if we could get by without even calling it a "quit" because the word "quit" implies that something is being given up, while it seems to me that our focus should be on what we're getting instead - a whole new start in life! I tried substituting the word "start" in many posts, early in Freedom's life, but it wasn't easy. Most read something like this - "Congratulations on your wonderful new start in life!"

If you make a serious list of all the things you feel you're giving up or "quitting" and then analyze it carefully, there really won't be much meat on it at all - in fact probably none! If you do have a few items remaining on your list, we strongly encourage you to share them as part of your next post so that we can all help you sort them out. Just slide them in as part of your thinking - we'll do the rest!

Another line of vocabulary words to toss out are "slip," "cheat" and "just one puff." You don't "slip" and light a fire between your lips, it's done on purpose and we call it "relapse." You can't "cheat" with a real addiction because its bite just won't let go. And there is no such thing as "just one puff" as the nicotine receptors in our brains just don't operate that way. I may have remained nicotine free for two years but inside my brain remains all the circuitry and wiring necessary to process and sustain my former three pack a day addiction. You don't get to awake and energize just a portion of it, as though you were turning on the lights in a single room in the house. The whole house turns on and the addict is back!

See relapse for what it truly is - the intentional and complete defeat of all your glory and possibly suicide!
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Breathing Easier (Gold)
Breathing Easier (Gold)

July 11th, 2001, 10:24 am #9

Thank You Zep!
I am printing this one for my journal and I know it will surely help me make it to bronze! Positive Attitude Always Required...What a Concept to Remember...We must always be on Guard.
Breathing Easier,
1 Month, 3 Weeks, and 42 Minutes of Positive Attitude Later!
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Jinksy (Gold)
Jinksy (Gold)

July 24th, 2001, 9:21 am #10

For Donna YQS, Julia
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

August 4th, 2001, 12:54 am #11

How many times would you have already smoked by now during a normal day before your quit? Isn't it amazing that all, or most, of those events, times or locations have passed today and you didn't once have a triggered crave!! What emotions have you experienced today (stress, happy, sad, worry)? Isn't it amazing how all, or most - if still a newbie - of those emotions didn't having your craving a cigarette! It only gets better.

An amazing recovery is ongoing inside your mind, lungs, circulatory system and ever cell in your body. Four thousand less chemicals are being fed into your system. The abundant supply of water you're drinking (half your body weight in ounces) is helping flush and clean your systems! It only gets better! Let the healing continue! YQB Zep : )
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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

August 31st, 2001, 8:17 pm #12

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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

August 31st, 2001, 8:39 pm #13

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From: Deb Sent: 8/5/2000 12:59 AM
Zip, What an attitude booster. WOW! I still hear your word ringing in my ears. Hope you don't mind but I'm going to have to copy this one. Has I'm reading your post I'm reminded of all the other area's of life that are affected by our attitudes. Half-full or half-empty. Positive or negative. And the amazing thing we are the ones who get to choice how it will be in our own situations of our life. And the results of our attitudes are no ones but our own. I think this is a lesson that every child should learn and be reminded of frequently. For at times it's so easy to blame things on the other guy or statements like "I knew I couldn't do it. WOW! This is good. Thanks big brother Zip. Big, big Hugs, and Breathing deeper then ever! Quit sis, Deb I have been Quit for: 2M 2W 1D 23h 29m 1s. I have NOT smoked 3079, for a savings of $428.00. Life Saved: 1W 3D 16h 35m
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From: Nora (Gold) Sent: 8/11/2000 10:13 PM
Zep, this message was one I needed tonight! I wasn't sure what was wrong but after reading this message again, I think I was afraid of reaching the 1 week point tomorrow. Funny isn't it how we can create anxiety for ourselves. Thank you so much for being there for us. I think I printed this post before but do not see it right now so am printing it again. I need to get all my printouts into a book.

Your quit sis

Nora

Six days, 11 hours, 9 minutes and 25 seconds. 193 cigarettes not smoked, saving $15.42. Life saved: 16 hours, 5 minutes.

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From: twovees (Gold) Sent: 8/16/2000 8:57 PM
Thank you, Zep. I noticed you posted a picture of a turkey, which I almost was. Not even completed day 2 and I was thinking about how nice it would be to just have a couple of drags. Instead of doing that, I came to my computer to read, and Lo and Behold, there was your post about unbearable cravings. It was at the top of the list. JUST IN THE NICK OF TIME.

Vivian: One day, 20 hours, 55 minutes and 59 seconds. 93 cigarettes not smoked, saving $6.13. Life saved: 7 hours, 45 minutes.

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From: Aphrodite Sent: 8/16/2000 9:01 PM
Dear Zep,

Thanks,

I stayed late at work tonight and needed this reminder to breathe deep berfore I get into the car for the drive home..

Iris

p/s what's with the turkeys? Find a more winning symbol!! I like your soaring eagles better. ;-)
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

August 31st, 2001, 8:40 pm #14

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From: laila Sent: 8/18/2000 11:21 AM
I really like this one too :-)

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Recommend (1 recommendation so far) Delete Message 9 of 21 in Discussion
From: Roswitha Sent: 9/7/2000 7:40 PM
Thanks Zep,

Bevor I hade a chance to read your post I was ready to get back on Zyban,but I will try one more day without Zyban and replace it with positive thinking,I don`t know how to thank you .

LOTS OF HUGGS FROM ROSWITHA
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From: Christiana (Silver) Sent: 9/22/2000 7:56 AM
Hello Hello, It never occured to me, that instead of getting weaker with each passing thought or craving to use i was getting stronger. silly me, and i have been trying to figure this out since 1986, and smoking the things since 1962. ok i get it, is my glass half empty as i think it is too late, and why bother, or half full, and no it is never to late, and i can respect what health i have left, and even get feeling better than i have in a while. Later Christiana
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From: Shelley Sent: 1/30/2001 1:58 PM
Zep, I guess maybe keeping my positive attitude is helping me a lot with this quit---I am having more trouble with depression and tiredness--but I would rather sleep my life away than smoke!!!! Seeing the rough time some of the quitters ahead of me are having will help me prepare for the worst, just in case it happens. This place is a Godsend for me---I get lots of "lightbulbs"--ideas that I can use to stay quit. Thanks to all...lol
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From: Hal(Silver) Sent: 1/30/2001 4:28 PM
I saw this at another site and it really helped me:
Cravings:
Smokers and ex-smokers both get cravings.
The smoker smokes to push the cravings away temporarily.
The ex-smoker accepts the minor discomfort of craving to get the reward of not smoking.
One trtades short term relief for long term misery.
The other accepts short term discomfort for long term freedom
I'm glad I am making the latter choice
2M2D1H, 2522 not smoked at age 69 Never a puff, never.
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Treese (Silver)
Treese (Silver)

September 1st, 2001, 11:15 am #15

HI ZEP! I AGREE THAT ATTITUDE PLAYS AN IMPORTANT ROLE IN MANY THINGS A PERSON DOES, AND YES, PARTICULARLY IN KEEPING A QUIT GOING. I WANTED TO SAY THAT IF IT WASN'T FOR THE ARTICLES HERE I VERY WELL MAY HAVE BLOWN MY QUIT AS OF YESTERDAY. " THIS IS WHAT HAPPENED": MYSELF AND STAFF WERE HELD UP AT GUNPOINT AND IT WAS THE MOST HORIFYING EXPERIENCE ANYONE CAN GO THRU. I'M STILL THANKING GOD THAT WE ARE ALL OK. WE ALL WENT TO THE POLICE STATION AFTERWARDS. AS I GOT OUT OF THE CAR, I THOUGHT, IF I WERE STILL SMOKING, I WOULD BE SMOKING AT LEAST 2 OR 3 RIGHT NOW!!. (ONE THING I DID NOTICE THO, WAS THAT I DIDN'T THINK OF CIGS UNTIL ABOUT 1 HOUR AFTER THE "INCIDENT". IF I WERE STILL SMOKING, YOU KNOW I WOULD HAVE BEEN LIGHTING UP IMMEDIATELY AFTER THE THIEF LEFT THE BUILDING) LATER THAT DAY I HAD SOME JUNK THOUGHTS ABOUT HAVING THAT NOTORIOUS "JUST ONE" TO HELP ME RELAX. I WAS SO UPTIGHT AND NERVOUS. BUT THE WORDS KEPT COMING TO ME THAT SMOKING IS NOT GOING TO MAKE ANY SITUATION BETTER - ONLY WORSE!!! ACTUALLY, TODAY, I FELT EVEN WORSE THAN YESTERDAY, BUT AM PROUD TO SAY I MADE IT THRU, STILL SMOKE FREE. THIS WAS A BIG, I MEAN BIG STEP FOR ME AND I WANTED TO TELL YOU ALL ABOUT IT THAT I MADE IT BECAUSE OF ALL THE EDUCATION I RECEIVED RIGHT HERE AT THIS SITE!!! I AM GETTING STRONGER AND STRONGER EVERYDAY AND ANOTHER THING THAT KEPT GOING THRU MY MIND FREQUENTLY WAS TO TAKE ONE HOUR, ONE DAY AT A TIME!!!!!!!! THANK YOU ONCE AGAIN, FOR I WAS ABLE TO TALK MYSELF OUT OF BLOWING THIS GLORIOUS QUIT OF MINE. TREESE@ 2MONTHS 6DAYS, 2HOURS
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Joanne Gold
Joanne Gold

October 25th, 2001, 7:38 am #16

For our new members. : )
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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

December 3rd, 2001, 7:42 pm #17

for our newest members
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

July 13th, 2002, 11:18 am #18

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Roger (Gold)
Roger (Gold)

July 14th, 2002, 1:12 pm #19


4 David
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MareBear GOLD
MareBear GOLD

August 1st, 2002, 9:58 pm #20

This is a great thread John. I just copied the first post & emailed it to a friend who wants desperately to quit --she told me "I've gotta stop. I get so stressed that I feel like that's what gets me thru without exploding half the time on people. What can I do about the stress thing?" So I sent her this thread...any other ones I can send her? She has a young daughter and she doesn't smoke in her presence...I think she is ready but she doesn't know how to deal with her junkie thoughts--she probably still believes them.
Thanks,
MareBear
Not a puff for: 2M 3D 12h 15m. Cigarettes NOT smoked: 1290, saving me $199.98. Life Saved: 4D 11h 30m.
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

August 18th, 2002, 4:27 am #21

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Roger (Gold)
Roger (Gold)

December 2nd, 2002, 12:49 pm #22



It's been too long since this thread has seen the light. It just might help someone see the light!!!!!
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Joel
Joel

December 8th, 2002, 11:53 pm #23

If you quit with a lousy attitude and sustain a lousy attitude, you can expect to have a pretty lousy time of it. If you quit with a good attitude, well during withdrawal you "may" possibly still have a lousy time but at least you will have a good attitude about it.

After the initial withdrawal and normal readjustment period though, your attitude is going to make a huge difference on how good you will feel and how comfortable you will get. Everyone here must understand that by quitting you are not depriving yourself of one or even a few good cigarettes--you are ridding yourself of full-fledged smoking and all of the consequences that go with all of your cigarettes.

The consequences include the costs, the smells, the accidental burns or fires, the social awkwardness, the looks and stares, the constant withdrawal or nicotine poisoning episodes experienced from oversmoking at times because you are not able to smoke on your time table but rather having to smoke when the resistance of those around you is minimal, the health effect and the life-threatening implications that go with being a smoker.

Keep focused on the fact that quitting smoking is a good thing that you have done for yourself--something you likely wanted to do for a long time but never quite knew how to do until you finally realized that all it really take to stay successfully smoke free is just knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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michaela Bronze
michaela Bronze

December 27th, 2002, 8:19 am #24

Thank you this is just what I needed today:)

Michaela
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OBob Gold
OBob Gold

May 29th, 2003, 10:43 am #25

This version contains a bit more than the one at the top of this post... including the crave chart... Using Attitude to Reduce Anxiety
by John R. Polito
Have you ever stopped to consider that each of your quitting attempts has been different? It is far more common than you think to see educated quitters experience almost cakewalk like quits that are less challenging than any prior quit they've had. Those quitters who learn how to handle the possible wild blood sugar swings that may accompany nicotine cessation, who learn why it may take only half as much caffeine after quitting in order for their blood serum caffeine level to be identical to what it was while still smoking nicotine, and who take the time to understand and appreciate the different phases associated with the sense of emotional loss when quitting, can actually use their intellect to help them avoid many of the symptoms they would have otherwise experienced. This article focuses on another important factor, the concept of expectations and attitude.

Can we make ourselves miserable on purpose? Of course we can. Throughout our lives we've experienced worry, fear, anger and irritability, only to find out later that our worries, fears and anxieties were either totally unnecessary or were over little or nothing at all.

During nicotine withdrawal, after years of actively feeding, our self-induced tensions and anxieties can at times seem overwhelming. We can make them escalate to the point where we lash out against loved ones and friends, where we want to hit a tree with our bare hand or where we put our head under a pillow and scream at the top of our lungs. Our craves and urges don't cause us to relapse. If they did then few of earth's more than 1.2 billion comfortable ex-smokers would ever have become ex-smokers. What causes relapse is the layers and layers of anxiety icing that we intentionally cake upon each crave.

Remember when we were first learning to swim and found ourselves in water over our heads. Did you panic? I did. If I had been a skilled swimmer, would I have panicked? Of course not. Here at Freedom we teach smokers to swim and then lead them into deep water. Once there, the smoker has only two choices - panic and relapse or remain calm and enjoy the swim. Quitting doesn't have to be nearly as difficult as most try to make it. In fact, it can be a proud, calm and glorious journey.

Sadly, almost half of all current smokers will never learn how to swim in their sea of craves and their addiction will end up costing them their lives. Many genuinely believe that time is running out and disaster is about to strike. The gut instinct of many is absolutely correct and bad news is just around the corner. Others think that plenty of time remains but after repeated attempts they still remain nicotine's slaves. Don't panic! Instead, invest the time needed to become an excellent swimmer. The more knowledgeable and skilled we become, the greater our chances of breaking free and remaining afloat. Yes, there may be a few big waves along the way but that doesn't mean we can't do the backstroke between the times they arrive.

As part of our recovery, why not work on reducing the self-inflicted stress, worry, anxiety and panic that we inflict upon our quit. Like any other wasted emotion, we need to stand back and take a long hard look at the stress and anxiety of withdrawal from a whole different angle. If we repeatedly tell ourselves that quitting is hard and painful, will our anxieties begin to build? Sure they will. If we begin telling ourselves that we won't be able to make it through the next few hours or the remainder of the day, what will happen when the next crave and wave arrives? Will we swim or will we sink? If we keep feeding our mind massive doses of negative thoughts then we increase the possibility that we'll sink. So why do we intentionally set ourselves up for relapse?

Picture a plugged-in lamp without a bulb it and the switch turned off. Picture yourself intentionally sticking your finger into the bulb socket and leaving it there. Now picture all of your nicotine feeding cues or triggers - the times, places, emotions and events during which you customarily smoked nicotine and conditioned your mind to expect the arrival of new nicotine - being wired directly into the lamp's switch.

We know from detailed studies that the "average" number of crave episodes that a new quitter can expect. The light will be briefly turned on a lamp a specific number of times each day and for the average quitter it is less than 18 minutes on their most challenging day (day 3 with 6 craves less than 3 minutes each). Be sure and look at a clock because the mind can make a 2 to 3 minute crave seem like 2 to 3 hours. I've prepared the below crave chart from crave coping data presented in a 1998 study published in Research in Nursing and Health.
With the above chart please keep in mind that they are just averages and every quit is different. Every quit is different. Some quitters experience no craves at all while others can have twice as many as show. Even so, if you were in the extreme with double the average, that's still only 36 minutes of crave episode anxiety on your most challenging day - 36 minutes to freedom!

If you know that you are going to be encountering your crave triggers and cues but you don't know when, what will having your finger in the socket all day do to your nerves? Will it put you on edge for the entire day? Will you feel like lashing out against anyone walking into the room? Will you feel like crying? Will you be able to concentrate on other things? Will it wear you down?

But what if you know for certain that the shock itself will always be tolerable, that the crave episode can't harm, cut you, make you bleed, break bones, make you ill, or kill you, and that it won't last beyond three minutes? Can honesty, certainty, planning and attitude make the distance and time between crave episodes more comfortable?

Instead of focusing on the discomfort that you'll experience during the short period of time a crave episode is actually occurring and the crave switch turned on, why not focus on enjoying the massive amount of time that the switch is actually off? Instead of your cup being half empty, why not let the time between craves make it half full? If we keep telling ourselves that quitting is hard, then unless we're intentionally lying to ourselves, it will be hard and we should expect it to be hard.

If true, then why feed ourselves failure? Why fear the swim and worry needlessly when you're not even in the water? Why intentionally breed negative and powerful anxieties? Why allow such thoughts to fester in our minds until they begin oozing anxiety's destructive relapse puss? Instead, chase all negativism from your mind. Replace it with calmness, joy and the knowledge that no three minute crave can force you to ever again **** nicotine into your body. Fight back with positive thoughts that look forward with hope and glory to this new beginning, this new life, and the wonderful healing that's occurring within your body. Fill your cup with desire. Fill it with the reasons that caused you to seek your freedom. Don't look back except to delight in how far you've come, look ahead. See encountering and reconditioning each crave trigger and cue for what they truly are - a sign of true healing and a small price for freedom.

Do you feel like you've lost a close friend (half empty) or do realize that friends don't slowly kill friends (half full)? Did you QUIT smoking (half empty) or at last are you STARTING to live (half full)? Do you fear the arrival of your next crave (half empty) or are you excited about it's arrival as one more step toward breaking your mind's expectation links to a destructive cycle of deadly feedings (half full)? Will your next crave last forever (falsehood) or will it end within a few minutes (the truth)? Will withdrawal never end (falsehood) or will its intensity peak within 72 hours and then begin to gradually subside (the truth)? Will you continue to experience daily craves forever if you remain nicotine free (falsehood) or do the vast majority of quitters experience that very first day that is 100% smoking anxiety free, where they never once THINK about WANTING to smoke, within just 90 days of ending the use of all nicotine (the truth)?

Do you truly find joy in being addicted to one of the most powerful substances on planet earth or is that just something you convinced yourself of in order to justify your addiction, your next fix, and to avoid the challenge of withdrawal? Will 5, 10 or even 20 temporary extra pounds actually kill you (if they even happen at all) or have you learned that it takes 100 extra pounds to equal the health risk associated with one pack a cigarettes a day? Do you tell yourself that smoking helps to calm you and reduce your stress, or have you learned the truth that acidic stress rapidly neutralizes the body's remaining nicotine reserves (an alkaloid) and that smoking new nicotine only elevates your rapidly falling blood serum nicotine level back into the comfort zone - where it should have been in the first place - so that you can turn your attention to handling the underlying stressful event? Is there really too much stress in your life to continue your journey toward freedom, or is that the addict in you feeding yourself yet another excuse to avoid or end withdrawal?

Do you tell yourself that you're growing weaker by the hour and won't be able to handle the next crave episode (if any), or do you know for certain that the next brief jolt will be less than three minutes, that you can handle those minutes, that a crave can not harm you, and that they are growing fewer and further apart with each passing day Do you show fear that breeds and fuels extra anxiety or does education, understanding, and planning have you celebrating the fresh air that now kisses your lungs? Do you feed your mind visions of going to the store and purchasing that relapse pack of decay, destruction, defeat, disease and a 50/50 chance of a very early death, or do you delight in the extra dollars gradually filling your pockets? Are you missing the lingering cloud of toxic smoke, crushing chemically laden butts and dumping an endless cycle of ashtrays, or are you marveling in your new ash-free world that's clean, bright and refreshing? Is your cup half empty or is it half full? We are what we think - attitude is everything.

There are lots of lessons to learn here at Freedom but only one passing grade for every nicotine addict - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF! None of us are stronger than nicotine but then nicotine's I.Q. is zero. I leave you with a brief summary of my thoughts on how to reduce stress through altering our attitude and perception toward what should be one of the most glorious adventures of our life.



If you are TRYING to quit smoking then you're still undecided.
Tell yourself quitting is HARD and unless you're lying it will be.
Believe your craves to be INTENSE and intense will be the ride.
Ponder excuses for a FIX and you'll eventually get to use them.
If you think you might RELAPSE, then relapse you just might.
If you believe that you will FAIL, then chances are you will.
If you WANT to be a ex-smoker, you're mind has yet to heal.
When you're READY for your freedom, freedom you shall find.
View this challenge as WONDERFUL and fulfillment will arrive.
See the GLORY of today, then glory it will be!
Praise the HEALING of your body and set your spirit free.
Inhale the JOYS of today, feel the spender of the journey.
Yet be TRUTHFUL of the past, to protect the here and now.
BELIEVE yourself a ex-smoker, a ex-smoker you shall see.
NEVER take another puff and freedom it will be.


Breathe deep, hug hard, live long
John R. Polito
© WhyQuit.Com 2000, 2002
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF
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