Actions speak louder than words—or thought.


July 21st, 2001, 11:24 pm#1

A thought for a cigarette will never cause a person to go back to smoking-only an action can do that. The action is a puff on a cigarette or any administration of nicotine from any source for that matter.

Thoughts or words are not decisive factors of anything. Lets say you never quit smoking, and are eventually diagnosed with emphysema, and then knowing that every puff you took was destroying more and more lung tissue, basically crippling you a little bit more every smoking moment.

Should you then feel solace for saying as you are lighting up a cigarette, "Yes, I know I am destroying more lung tissue and I am likely going to be on oxygen soon and gasping for air at some point until my heart finally gives out from the overload, but at least I thought about quitting today."

I don't think you or your family, friends, or doctor will look at this statement as a major accomplishment as you are lighting up one cigarette off the one that is about to burn out. Especially if you have said the comment earlier that same day, and have been saying it day after day for decades now.

If you think back to when you were first quitting, the odds were you had numerous thoughts for days and maybe weeks and still, here you are smoke free. It is because you never gave into those thoughts.

Today still your actions are speaking louder than your words or your thoughts. The action is you didn't take a puff yesterday and I strongly suspect if you are here reading now you are not planning on taking one puff today either. As long as you continue this practice, it does not matter if you never think of a puff again or if you think of it daily. You will never relapse as long as you never take another puff!



August 15th, 2001, 7:10 pm#2

12/26/2013 added new video version of string. 
Actions speak louder than words or thoughts
Last edited by Joel on December 26th, 2013, 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

happycamper 67

September 10th, 2001, 9:09 pm#3

great message here Joel. It really speaks to what I've been going through at 7 mths. The thoughts aren't even close to what they used to be (in quantity) but I must remember that as long as I don't take that one puff, I will succeed in not smoking. Thanks a ton.
7M 1D
Never Question Your Decision To Quit


October 12th, 2001, 7:57 pm#4

Hello All:

I have one man in my group who said he is not going to quit, that he is planning on going back to smoking at the end of the two week clinic. Personally, I am not worried about him, I think he will be fine. For no matter what he is saying now, he is not smoking. I'd rather have 20 people in the room saying there is no way they are going to quit or stay off--but they didn't smoke today than having 20 self-assured, determined and confident people who say they know they are going to quit, are 100 percent confident about it in fact, that they know there is no way they won't succeed, but they did take a puff today but are not worried because they know they are going to make it. These are the kind of people that don't have much of a prayer--they don't get addiction.

Anyway, the rest of the group is fine, actually they have been a really great group. Lots of phone calls but they are fun. Well, at least I am having fun. They will all be having fun soon too. And they will continue to have a life filled with more fun times, more healthy time, and just more time overall as long as they learn and remember what you all have learned and remember now--that to stay smokefree they must never take another puff!


John (Gold)

October 12th, 2001, 9:30 pm#5

Wowsers Joel! We know why you're happy and to think that they'll all be at least 72 hours nicotine free at 7 p.m. CST tonight! We're with them in spirit!


December 24th, 2001, 6:39 am#6

For Kughes:

In regards to smoking--don't feel bad, guilty or any negative feelings about what every you think or even say. The only thing that can cause a person to lose a quit is by the action of taking a cigarette.

Many situations, including the stress of family dynamics around the holidays can trigger thoughts and even plans. But if you stay focused on the long-term realities of the outcome of a relapse, you will overcome even the most trying of times. Stay focused on the fact that you chose to quit smoking for you and you still choose to stay off smoking for your own sake. As long as you are not questioning your reasoning or resolve to make it through today you will be fine for today--and today is all that matters for everyone.

I'll bring up some posts to bring this point home. Get through today and we will deal with the week to come as it comes. You will survive through all of this, a little more self-aware and smarter as far as addiction, a lot healthier and you will continue to live longer as long as you stay focused on the fact that for today you are intent on keeping in practice your commitment to never take another puff!



March 6th, 2002, 12:19 am#7

For BillW:

Don't worry about your thoughts...take heart in your actions. You didn't take a puff--this is showing you that you want to stay off and are fully capable of it--no matter what mind games you are going through.

knowbutts (Gold)

March 11th, 2002, 1:58 pm#8

So here is how close a thought and an action can get. This happened a couple of weeks ago. I wish I was making it up.

The smoking spouse and I had just come home from a social event and I find these events agonizing and exhausting. I just don't know how to handle them without booze and cigarettes.
I followed him outside to the smoking area and asked him for a cigarette. He lit one and handed it to me.
"Why are you doing this?" he asked.
"Because I don't have a loaded gun handy." I replied.
And I froze looking at that butt in my hand and remembered a line from Joel to the effect that "is it bad enough that you would put a gun to your head, because thats what taking a puff could be"
and I threw that stinking butt on the ground and jumped up and down stamping it to smithereens and laughing like a crazy person. Which must have looked pretty funny as I was wearing a full legnth evening gown and high heels. With that I strode into the house talking to myself and left the poor guy to puff away and wonder what he had done to deserve life with a ex-smoker.
Thats how close relapse is. Thats how close it will always be.
I have the freedom to choose if the thought becomes an action. I will never give up that freedom.

Still shaking and embarrased,
17 weeks 1 day, thanks joel

OBob Gold

March 11th, 2002, 3:42 pm#9

Well, that scared me. I guess it's good to be reminded now and again, as a guard against getting overconfident.
I believe it's the most dangerous thing. The "I'm sick of being on guard all the time" thing. Where your junky mind tries to get you to do the unthinkable, before you have a chance to think. Thank God you took the chance to THINK.
KB, how are you doing? I checked out your last couple of posts, and you seem to be going through a rough patch. You also seem to be a bit afraid of coming and out and out asking for help. Probably because, "hey, I'm a bronze quitter. I'm not supposed to have serious problems by now. If I am there's something wrong with me. Maybe I'm different, and not meant to quit. I don't want to 'scare any newbies'. I can't really post for help at this point. I already know what they're going to say, and I shouldn't NEED to post NOW, because I should be past all that." Now, I'm taking liberties here, and putting words into your mouth (keyboard), but that's what I'm hearing. You're going through a really tough time, and you feel like you're too experienced, should know better, and shouldn't ask for help, in case it might impact another's quit.
True, you know the truth about your addiction. But, neither you, nor I are prepared for everything that's gonna come our way. It's okay to be vulnerable after 17 weeks and a day. It's okay to admit it. It's okay to come and ask for help. In fact, consider the alternative... relapse, and REAL disappointment, (as opposed to admitting hardship, accepting a little knock in the pride, and being perhaps given some word of advice or encouragement that will help get you through this). The TRUTH cannot hurt ANYONE'S quit. We all must be prepared for hidden challenges. Rather than negatively impacting a newbie, you will more likely help one.
Now, I don't know exactly what you're going through at the moment, but I DO believe that you might benefit from the collective wisdom of the folks that are here. Pride and embarassment are tools of the enemy. Recognize them as such, and seek help when you need it... whether that's 8 days into a quit, 17 weeks and a day, or a year and a half.
For now, some stuff you might benefit from revisiting,
here's something from your second post:
When the thought of a puff sneaks up on me I remember:
the little dry throat clearing cough every few seconds
the metallic taste in my mouth
the stairs that made my heart feel about to explode
the soft wheeze if I breathed too hard
trying to fall asleep with a pool of phlegm in the back of my throat
the reek that won't wash off
the burn holes
wondering where they are
do I have enough
the panicked rummaging for a light
teeth that feel like a shag rug in the morning
my shame when non smokers looked at me
rationalizing my slavery

The truth doesn't hurt, It heals.
Freedom is everything.

Stay close KB. This truly is life and death.
Your Concerned Quit Friend,

Last edited by OBob Gold on March 22nd, 2009, 10:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

knowbutts (Gold)

March 12th, 2002, 9:42 pm#10

Thanks a lot Bob for the support. and for reminding me of those early posts. I think of hals dogs everyday.
I think I had stopped giving my quit the attention it deserves. My addiction is a lifelong chronic illness and as such it requires attention and treatment from me. I got lazy. I slacked on the exercise, overfilled my schedule and didn't eat right. I knew things weren't right but I didn't take the time to shine the light of truth inside my head.
I am the caretaker of my quit and the guardian of my freedom and that has to be my first priority because without my health and freedom what good good can I ever do?

taking a minute just to breath


September 13th, 2002, 6:33 am#11

For Naymor:

Your post may have said that you didn't care, but the fact that you posted instead of smoking says something to the contrary. Again, as in the title here, your actions spoke louder than words--or thoughts. The action was you stayed on course and continued to stick to your commitment to never take another puff!



September 13th, 2002, 9:13 pm#12

True, true, thanks Joel I have to (albeit grugingley) admit you just may have a point.
Love Naymor xxxx


November 1st, 2002, 10:04 am#13

For Dii:

I think she will appreciate this one today.


November 18th, 2002, 8:55 pm#14

For Melissa:

Today still your actions are speaking louder than your words or your thoughts. The action is you didn't take a puff yesterday and I strongly suspect if you are here reading now you are not planning on taking one puff today either. As long as you continue this practice, it does not matter if you never think of a puff again or if you think of it daily. You will never relapse as long as you never take another puff!

Joanne Gold

December 15th, 2002, 4:14 pm#15

" does not matter if you never think of a puff again or if you think of it daily. You will never relapse as long as you never take another puff!"

John (Gold)

July 31st, 2003, 9:29 pm#16

If you averaged 8 puffs per cigarette, 15 cigarettes per day, and 20 years of smoking nicotine, you created 876,000 tiny memories of having handled a cigarette, 876,000 memories of having put it to your lips, 876,000 tiny memories of sucking 4,000+ chemicals into your mouth, 876,000 memories of having smelled and tasted their arrival, 876,000 memories of the smoke's destructive cargo filling your lungs, 876,000 small memories of sensing nicotine arrive in your brain (the aaahhhh memories).
Don't you find it utterly amazing that many here report experiencing that very first day where they never once "think" about "wanting" to smoke nicotine within just 90 days of quitting? After the first such day they become more and more common until your expectations evolve to the point where upon waking each day you expect not to "want."
Although difficult to appreciate while in the middle of a mind filled with thoughts of smoking, the pace of psychological recovery is ongoing and tremendous. One of the most intensely dependent relationships you've ever known has ended.
Your mind is now sorting through old memories while viewing each group in honest light. They can't hurt you and are a normal part of the recovery process! Baby steps, patience, just one day at a time. The next few minutes are entirely doable and there's only one rule - no nicotine today, NTAP! John
Last edited by John (Gold) on March 22nd, 2009, 10:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.


August 23rd, 2003, 4:41 am#17

The really difficult part of quitting is figuring out how simple it really is. Just don't put one in your mouth. The rest of it is just hunkering down and getting thru it.


PS--Yeah, I'm cruising at 16 months, but it's still the truth.

PSS--I didn't say easy, I said simple.


January 3rd, 2004, 1:55 am#18

Thanks Joel for bringing this thread up to the top. I really needed to hear this! I have had some "smoking thoughts" for the last 24 -36 hours myself. I have no intention of going back to the nasty things but at the same time I have had some very strong thoughts and triggers. I am recognizing them as what they are (nostalgia for a different time in my life when I had fewer responsibilities and was much younger) and not so much a desire to actually smoke.

Thanks for reminding us of why we are here and why it is best to never take another puff one day at a time!

yqb, David One month, three weeks, five days, 3 hours, 57 minutes and 18 seconds. 1010 cigarettes not smoked, saving $75.82. Life saved: 3 days, 12 hours, 10 minutes.

John (Gold)

January 15th, 2004, 9:53 pm#19

It is a normal part of recovery to eventually find yourself sorting through and reflecting upon years of smoking related thoughts and to notice lit cigarettes and smokers around you. We all went through it. With each passing day you move closer to new expectations. There's only one rule to keeping your freedom and healing alive - no nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff! John


October 11th, 2004, 10:16 pm#20

I really liked reading this; thanks for bringing it up. A few days ago I was having a really rough time but kept reading and reminding myself there is no reason/excuse for relapse. The rough stage passed--despite some remaining triggers I am glad to be free and on the path of healing. I'm very grateful for the simplicity of the NTAP message. Clear, concise, and to the point--and very, very true. On to green tomorrow.



February 18th, 2005, 1:13 am#21


I really like this one, very powerful.


BillW Gold.ffn

April 20th, 2005, 11:21 pm#22

For TrulyFreeMe.... No Shame! You Won!

LeoEx Smoker

February 13th, 2006, 10:25 pm#23

Someone on this site said somewhere (can't remember who or where, I still got that foggy head sometimes) that:
There is no Try
There is Do, and Not Do

The quote was from ... Yoda

I love it. It says what Joel is saying up the top of this page. We have to just not smoke, no matter how much we think about it, talk about it, worry about it, write about it. Just 'Not Do' a Puff. Ever.

40 days off the nicotine delivery sticks

Crystal View1.ffn

February 18th, 2006, 11:00 am#24

Actions speak louder than words - or thought - "A thought for a cigarette will never cause a person to go back to smoking-only an action can do that. The action is a puff on a cigarette or any administration of nicotine from any source for that matter."

Hi Quit Buddies! I saw some posts for preparing for the first weekend and I remembered this one. It really touched my heart when I was experiencing my "first weekends". I hope it encourages all who are experiencing their first weekend or "first weekends".


Katie - After 40 Years! Free and Healing for One Year, Four Months, One Day, 12 Hours and 53 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 28 Days and 20 Hours, by avoiding the use of 8305 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $1,694.83.
Last edited by Crystal View1.ffn on March 22nd, 2009, 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

March 23rd, 2006, 9:38 am#25

Only the action of putting nicotine into your body is going to cause you to relapse.

A smoking dream has no power unless you turn it into reality.

Never take another puff, dip, chew, or any form of nicotine in your waking life and your healing will continue.

3 years comfortably and happily free and I still occasionally dream of smoking.