Every Quit is Different.

02 Jan 2001, 20:03#1

Every quit is different. Not only that, when a person quits multiple times, each one of those quits are different also. Some people quit and have a terrible time, relapse down the road and are terrified to quit again because they "know" what will happen the next time. Well, actually they don't know, the next time may be a breeze in comparison. On the alternate side, some people have an easy quit, go back with the attitude, "Oh well, if I have to, I'll just quit again." They may find the next quit horrendous, and possibly not be able to pull it off.

The reason I mention this is it is possible that you won't have any major symptoms this time. I have had a lot of four pack a day smokers who smoked 40 plus years who toss them with minimal withdrawal. The reason they never tried to quit before is they witnessed people who smoked one fourth of what they did go thorough terrible side effects and figured, "If it did that to them, it will kill me." But when the time came, their quit was easy in comparison.

You may find that this quit will be relatively easy. Stranger things have happened. But if it does, don't think this didn't mean you weren't addicted. The factor that really shows the addiction is not how hard or how easy it is to quit. What really shows the addiction is how universally easy it is to go back. One puff and the quit can go out the window.

Summing up, the first few days may be relatively easy, or for some, it may be very difficult. Who knows? The only thing we know is once you get past the third day nicotine free it will ease up physically. Psychological triggers will exist but more controllable measures can be taken with them, basically keeping your ammunition up for why you don't want to be a smoker.

Easy or hard, quitting is worth it. Once you have quit for even a few hours, you have invested some effort, time, and maybe even a little pain. Make this effort count for something. As long as you hang in there now, all of this will have accomplished a goal. It got you off of cigarettes. After that, to stay off, the make or break point simply translates to...Never Take Another Puff!

Joel

Edited November 4, 2014 to add links to these three related videos:

Every quit is different

Comparing quits with others

Predestined bad days after quitting smoking
Last edited by Joel on 13 Mar 2015, 13:24, edited 6 times in total.
Reply
Like

03 Feb 2001, 20:47#2

Hello All:

I read earlier today where a member was wanting to compare notes with others to see if a symptom she was experiencing was normal. The way she was trying to determine the state of normal was by a comparative basis with others. This article addresses why that method has its severe limitations. People can't even look at their own past attempts as an absolute barometer of the next quit, let alone look at others who are basically different in many physiological and psychological make-ups.

I normally tell people who experience wild or bizarre reactions the first few days not to be surprised or unduly alarmed, it is likely from not smoking. But at the same time they should not totally ignore certain symptoms, in case in the long shot that something else is happening just coincidently at the same time as they are quitting smoking. The symptom of muscle tightness is often felt through out the body. Back aches, neck pains such as those experienced from times of extreme stress, even leg cramps can be felt by some. Chest tightness too can be experienced. While quitting smoking is the usual reason behind the reaction, for obvious safety reasons it is prudent to get the symptoms checked with ones doctor. You just don't want to take the chance that you were the exception to the rule, that the chest pain was actually a signal of real heart trouble.

I have literally had over 4,500 people in smoking clinics over a 26 year time period and had only had two people actually have heart attacks within a week of quitting. And they were both people who were quitting because of doctors advice that a heart attack was an imminent danger because of pre-existing conditions. So while I am not trying to say that the risk of a heart attack is high from quitting, in fact your risk of heart attack decreases upon cessation and relatively quickly, there still is a risk as there is with all smokers, ex-smokers and even all never smokers. Ignoring a cardiac symptom is just an unnecessary risk that no one should take. It is better to check in with your doctor and to be safe than sorry. Doctors are often very receptive to work with a person when they are quitting for they often recognize the serious nature of the effort.

So as for symptoms, don't be surprised or alarmed by anything, but be cautious and stay aware. If you experience any symptom that would normally be a reason to get checked out immediately, follow through with the same expedience now. Life goes on without smoking and things can always happen.

Also, once over the first few days, be really cautious of blaming symptoms on smoking cessation. While some reactions can linger, especially coughing and excessive phlegm reactions, other factors can happen too, especially during cold and flu seasons. Pretty much stay aware and follow the normal precautions you followed before while smoking. Unless as a smoker you never did anything, for some smokers are intimidated to go to the doctor when having symptoms for shear embarrassment that the doctor would just chastise them for smoking and tell them to stop. Rather than putting up with the admonishments, they would ignore problems in the past.

As an ex-smoker you won't face the same complications. Again, doctors are often more prone to work with you when they see you working for yourself, and not to ignore symptoms writing them off to a normal smoker's ailments. They are often more supportive when you quit.

So to stay healthy, learn to listen to your body. Smokers are notoriously bad at this, for their body was likely telling them to quit for a long time and they ignored it. But the day the quit smoking was a good indication that they were now working with their body to maintain health. To keep a good partnership going with your doctor, other health professionals, your family, friends and your own body always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
Reply
Like

04 Feb 2001, 07:08#3

Joel, I am so glad you are around to give us all these tidbits or insights into quitting---I read the message board a lot and you and Zep always slip in something helpful for me. I like to read from ones a little ahead of me so that I can think about the problems they may be encountering and make a "plan" in case that happens to me when I get further along in my quit--I am DETERMINED, so I don't want anything to sabotage my quit...this time is my last time--I WILL NOT SMOKE TODAY---I say that/yell that inside my head often---I quit at least 5 or 6 times before and couldn't figure out how come it didn't work---now I know---I didn't know about Junkie Thinking or the idea of NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!!! Thanks for all the articles to keep me on my mental and physical toes--I will not let NICODEMON sneak up on me!!! My stats are slowly growing--Three weeks, 16 hours, 11 minutes and 32 seconds. 520 cigarettes not smoked, saving $78.03. Life saved: 1 day, 19 hours, 20 minutes.
Thanks again---selpel
Reply
Like

06 Mar 2001, 08:38#4

Hello everyone:

I was out doing a talk today that has the potential of bringing a number of people to look at the board. They are not necessary going to join in, in fact I suspect one of them smoked, but as medical professionals they are likely going to be able to influence many of their patients. I am bringing up some special articles in accordance to this. Often I aim articles at things happening at the board at the time. But some articles are more generic and can be helpful at any time. So bear with me on some of the selections I bring up, although I think they always make interesting reading.

All the letters look at smoking and quitting from many different angles, but they all point to the same solution. That is to stay free always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
Reply
Like

05 May 2001, 19:22#5

Because we have had a number of new members join and often like to compare notes and experiences, I thought it would be a good idea to reemphasize this concept today. The question to what this quit will be like for you will not be accurately answered by other people or even by your own recollections of past attempts. The question to what this quit holds will be answered by time and experience. The one answer we can give you though about this quit is that it can be your last quit as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
Reply
Like

05 May 2001, 19:58#6



Joel produced this video clip on January 3, 2011 in which he explains
why comparing your recovery with others probably isn't a good idea,
especially if the other person is quitting by adifferent method.
Last edited by John (Gold) on 06 Jan 2011, 04:06, edited 2 times in total.
Reply
Like

05 May 2001, 20:30#7

Hello Joel,
The article you posted is completely relevant to me as my partner just quit 3 days ago - he had been smoking for 30 years, a pack a day .... it has been baffling because he hasn't really had any trouble with his 72 hours - no big complaints only the occasional trigger. He was nervous about doing it as I had gone through quite a bit of grief and irritability. One of the reasons he thinks that he's handling his triggers so well is that he has had to deal with other addictions through 12 step programs and the moment that the trigger enters his head he deals with it using his program. While he was smoking he had a constant cough and constant phlegm - the day that he stopped, the coughing stopped almost automatically. His skin complexion has improved and he is sleeping better - this is just within 3 days.....there have not been many adverse side effects but more importantly, his health has showed an automatic improvement. At first I was very nervous about him quitting because of his emotional nature and quick temper but the reverse has happened, he is utterly calm. Thank G-d that he has quit - kind of wish it had happened earlier but so be it..... I am grateful that his process has been easier than mine but then again, he had prepared for it using a 12 step program. For myself I still read from the message board and post - this is my 12 step program and my support group. Thanks again for your original post Joel - seems that whenever I have a question the answer is always there.
Diana
1 month, 5 days, 13 hours. (Green!!)
Reply
Like

03 Jun 2001, 18:55#8

I somehow missed Zep's response to this one before about this quit being different than any other, because it is the one that has lasted and is going to last permanently. That is true for Zep and everyone else here as long as every single person stays committed to the concept that they will never take another puff!

Joel
Reply
Like

30 Oct 2001, 20:22#9

While every quit is different, there is one way to make this quit stand out as being really different and really the best. That is to make it the last quit--the one that lasts for the rest of your life. All that is needed to do this is to make this quit the one where you know, believe and always keep in practice your resolve to never take another puff!

Joel
Reply
Like

30 Oct 2001, 22:45#10

I didn't think this was possible --- a Joel-thread I hadn't read before .

The point that really stands out for me is "The factor that really shows the addiction is not how hard or how easy it is to quit. What really shows the addiction is how universally easy it is to go back."

I am saddened every time we have a relapse here at Freedom. In my early months here I just assumed that those who relapsed were weak, not properly motivated, just couldn't make the grade. Then I started to understand the facts about nicotine addiction, and the Laws of Addiction, and then I looked at relapsers with new eyes. I came to realise that they simply did not believe that one puff would instantly reactivate their total addiction. They still did not want to smoke, but they were tempted by the idea that they had demonstrated their control and mastery over cigarettes by quitting, so they decided to take that one puff just to prove the point. It's like a game of dare, but in this game the stakes are immensely high, and the human player always loses.

I think that could have happened to me if I hadn't found this site. I'm the type of personality that always wants to assert itself, that always rises to any perceived challenge. If someone says to me "Let's go this way, that way looks too difficult" then I immediately translate that into a challenge, a test of my will, and of course I go "that way". So I would normally be a sucker for the "just one puff" challenge. In other words, I have a feeling I would be a relapser.

What this site has done for me is to prevent that from ever happening, by giving me the knowledge of my addiction, and by proving thru this Board the truth of my addiction, and the consequences of ignoring that knowledge and that truth. It's sad but true that every relapse I see here has a positive side --- it enables us, the onlookers, to learn from others' mistakes.

Marty
NOT A PUFF FOR 10 months 4 weeks 1 day : 6010 cigs not smoked : 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours added to my life
Reply
Like

28 Nov 2001, 20:46#11

Every quit is different--but this one will be the most different of all if this time you get the understanding of nicotine as an addiction. The way this one will be the most different is it is the one that can last a lifetime--as long as you accept that you don't want to go back to full fledged smoking again AND that one drag can cause that tragic occurence to happen. If you always accept these two premises, this quit will be your last quit as long as you always stay focused on your commitment to stay smoke free be sticking to your vow to never take another puff!

Joel
Reply
Like

04 Jan 2002, 09:24#12

With many new members coming in at once, and even more lurking, it is common for people first quitting or those just thinking about quitting to look over our members experiences to help predict what they might experience now. But the truth is, you cannot predict an exact experience of what this quit may hold for you, not if you talk to thousands of people. You cannot even use your own past reactions as an absolute predictor of what this quit holds in store for you.

While we can't predict the exact symptoms you may or may not have, we can predict certain issues. We can predict that once you get through the first 72 hours, physical withdrawal symptoms will have peaked and will then really dissipate and eventually disappear all together. More importantly, we can predict that once you have gotten through whatever withdrawals may have occurred, you will never have to deal with them ever again as long as you learn this time to never take another puff!

Joel
Reply
Like

07 Mar 2002, 19:13#13

Every quit is different. Also, every relapse is the same--at least they all happen for the same reason. The ex-smoker forgot the law of addiction and took a puff. So again, while the exact experiences that a person goes through when quitting is different, ranging from being as easy as putting them down and never really looking back and having what is described as a really easy time, to having constant thoughts for days and lingering internal debates that can last a while--the technique to keep the quit going is still the same in either extreme. It is simply remembering to never take another puff!
Reply
Like

09 Mar 2002, 21:41#14

I saw in one string where it was written that quitting is hard--just not as hard as most people thought it would be. Actually, there are some people who quit with great ease--experiencing no withdrawal and never looking back with any thoughts or desire. While this is not the norm these people do exist, and sometimes they were very heavy smokers who never even tried to quit because of how hard they thought it was going to be.

If you are having an easy time with almost no desires, don't be worried that one day it all of a sudden is going to turn bad on you. You may never get a desire for a cigarette again. There may be thoughts or memories that you used to smoke, but not a desire or longing. But even if this is the case, where the "want" becomes non-existent, still keep up your understanding of the addiction and that if you were to let your guard down and take a puff, it would be a relapse and you don't know if the next quit would be horrible and maybe even impossible. There are scores of people out there who quit smoking one day with relative ease, blew the quit with the feeling that if they actually go back, they would "just" quit again, and never are able to get off.

Whether this is easy or hard, staying off is possible and in fact guaranteed as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
Reply
Like

10 Mar 2002, 04:28#15

Joel,

This is a great piece of writing. (for me anyway) I have read this over and over quite a few times and have knind of been struggling with this mentally. Ever since I began this quit I have had an easy time of things. I have attempted to quit many times in the past resulting in failure. I used every aid on the market. I tried every way except having someone lock me away for a month or so. One time I even thought about getting arrested and requesting solitary confinement for a couple months but realized inmates are addicted too. All of my quits resulted in the same. Relapse and failure. The very sad part of it all was I never made it 24 hours without having a ciagarette. I was that addicted. I do believe I am addicted and always will be. I know that will never change. Each failure sent my self esteem and confidence in myself (being able to overcome this nasty addiction) plumetting to depths I can't even begin to describe. That was hard for me to accept due to the fact I am a very positive person and actually very self confident in myself. The onset of this quit was no different. It lasted just about 12 hours before I succumbed to my addiction. And 6 or 7 hours of that was sleeping. This time something was different. I don't know why but I just resolved to the fact if I could onlymake it one day, 24 hours, just smoke free I would be home free for the rest of my life. I vowed to myself to accomplish what I never have done ever before. I also told myself at the end of this 24 hour period if I just had to have a cigarette I would go buy a carton and sit and smoke 2 or 3 at a time to make up for the ones I didn't get. On 31 Dec 2001 my quest began , just one second after the begining of a new day. The day before a brand new year. To be honest I never figured I would make it 24 hours. I had this pre conceived notion I would be climbing the walls, choking all my friends trying to get a smoke from them, banging my head on the floor etc etc. I actually was secretly looking forward to my failure so I could resume smoking my brains out and preserving my internal organs like a smoked fish.

To my surprise I made it 24 hours. My self confidence soared and I told myself, that wasn't so bad. From that day forward it has been easy for me and I just knew in my heart it would last forever. I read all of the struggles some Freedomites are having and I feel undeserving of my 2 month plus quit. I know this to be foolish but just the same the feelings are there. Of course I had my withdrawls. They lasted 3 days of cold sweats. I also had urges to smoke. They come and went as fast as they entered my mind. I called my mother, She had quit some 35 years earlier than I. She was a heavy smoker also. I asked her how it was for her. She told me she spent just 3 days drummming an eraser from a pencil on the dining room table ( I remember this) and it was all over. No more craves. I resolved to the fact I am possibly the same as her with this quit.

Since my quit I have been waiting for the ball to drop hard. In the back of my mind I am slowly resolving it may never do that. However, if it does and I get sudden urges I know I am far better prepared to hand and defeat them simply due to the fact of all the people here and all I have learned about myself and my addiction by coming to Freedom each and every day.

I still find it hard for me to accept I am deserving of this quit. This is primarily due to how I was brought up I think. It was always drummed into my head, nothing is easy and worth while at the same time. You have to fight hard for everything you achieve. I know this to not be true in this case because everyone is derseving of a healthier life. As I think back on 35 plus years of my addiction, the last 10 or so have been the most agonizing for me. I hated myself for continuing to allow this ememy to control me. Each and everytime I would lite up a cigarette I cussed myself out. I litterally smoked in mental anguish for the last 10-12 years. Possibly that time frame was my price to pay. I guess I should just quit trying to outguess and analyze my gift of Freedom and just progress with my journey as a smoke free individual. There will never be another puff of cigarette smoke enter my lungs forever.

I guess it is now a good time to thank all the dedicated managers here for doing a tremendous service to your fellow man by volunteering your knowledge and time here for so many people.

Roger, (A much better person today, than yesterday)

2 Months 1 Week 2 Days 12 Hours 25 Minutes 59 Seconds smoke free, moving on until forever.
Reply
Like

10 Jul 2002, 09:41#16

NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF.

That is so true for me...I am the national champion of frustrated quits and relapses.

Juan
1month and minutes
Reply
Like

24 Aug 2002, 19:02#17

Last edited by John (Gold) on 07 Mar 2009, 18:24, edited 1 time in total.
Reply
Like

22 Jan 2003, 07:34#18

"On the alternate side, some people have an easy quit, go back with the attitude, "Oh well, if I have to, I'll just quit again." They may find the next quit horrendous, and possibly not be able to pull it off."
Reply
Like

31 May 2003, 12:59#19


Just as this thread reads is how it is. We witness many people quitting around the same time and experiencing different levels of comfort in their quits. Don't feel bador indifferent because you are not as comfortable or your quit hasn't progressed as fast as someone elses. Continue on with the belief and faith the comfort you seek & desire will actually find you as long you are patient and never take another puff.
Reply
Like

23 Oct 2003, 07:34#20

No one should think that just because they have a specific physical or emotional response when he or she quit that others are going to experience the same reactions. It is possible other that others may get the same reaction, it is possible that other people will get no reaction or even the opposite of the specific reaction. The fact is that you don't know that if you were to have to quit again that you would get the same reaction next time. Next time might be much easier, next time might be worse. Next time might be impossible or too late. What's nice though is that you don't have to worry about next time as long as you always remember this time to never take another puff!

Joel
Reply
Like

15 Mar 2004, 08:13#21

I have seen quite a few newbies comparing quits and telling others what they have to look forward to in the coming days.

It is really important that our newbies understand that every person's quit is different. Some of us have had easy times and some difficult.

The best advice we can give all of you is to take each day as it comes. Do not look at what your quit will be in a year or even next week. Look at it now and learn. Have patience and take baby steps. Read everything you can read at Freedom because knowledge is the best tool in overcoming the feelings you are feeling now.

One thing is a constant though, and that is, eventually each and every one of us finds comfort and joy in our quits. Some find it sooner than others, but we are all guaranteed find our freedom as long as we never take another puff.

Linda
50 months
Reply
Like

07 May 2004, 21:24#22

I was just reading a post from a person who had quit two month ago and reflected back that quitting smoking wasn't that hard. I think in a way most people find quitting easier than they expected it would be. I say this because most people while still smoking think that quitting is going to be so hard that they will not be able to do it. Just by the meer fact that a person is able to pull off the quit, quitting is likely easier than they had anticipated.

Of course there are those people who worked with the false perception that they could quit any time they wanted because quitting smoking would be a breeze once they just made up their mind. These people are often underestimating the grip nicotine addiction can take on people. There are plenty of people who start out their smoking careers in this state of thinking but over time reality sets in. They then may realize that smoking is no longer a simple choice and finally recognize that they have lost control of their smoking. Then they often convert over to the feeling that quitting is just too hard and they end up sustaining the addiction.

Again, while every quit is different and while it may be harder for some people than they thought it would be and easier for others, it is important to note that it is possible for all smokers to quit. Once a person quits if he or she keeps his or her reasons reinforced for first having wanted to quit and now for wanting to stay smoke free, he or she will be able to stick to his or her commitment by simply always remembering to never take another puff!

Joel
Reply
Like

19 Oct 2004, 05:38#23

The number and intensity of effects noticed or felt during recovery varies from person to person, and even between each person's own cessation experiences. Many members at Freedom are surprised to find that they experience almost no symptoms at all while others are confronted with multiple symptoms.
Reply
Like

19 Jul 2005, 04:20#24

No one reading here at Freedom should be getting the idea that there is some predestined number of days, weeks, months of years that that are going to be bad. The only day that we know will end up being bad is the day that you renege on your personal promise to yourself to never take another puff. Joel
Reply
Like

15 Sep 2005, 19:20#25

While every quit is different and while it may be harder for some people than they thought it would be and easier for others, it is important to note that it is possible for all smokers to quit. Once a person quits if he or she keeps his or her reasons reinforced for first having wanted to quit and now for wanting to stay smoke free, he or she will be able to stick to his or her commitment by simply always remembering to never take another puff!
Reply
Like