Fear of Success


December 20th, 2004, 7:55 pm#1

Fear of Success

The fear of success may keep more people from starting a quit than the fear of failure. The reason people are so afraid of success is that they are often working with a false perception of what life will be without smoking. No matter how many people tell them what life can be like without smoking, the perception an active smoker has is going to persist until the person quits smoking and sees for him or herself that life really does go on without smoking.

In clinic settings I always explain to the participants that the real goal of the clinic is to help the participants to get off for two weeks. Two weeks-that's it. In two weeks each clinic graduate will start to get a true sense of what it is like not to smoke. If the person decides that he or she hates not smoking, that life is unbearable, that he or she can no longer work, no longer carry on normal rational thoughts, no longer maintain a normal family existence, no longer have any fun or no longer able to meet life's ongoing demands, he or she will be fully capable of just going back to smoking. A person should never be afraid to quit because of the feeling that if he or she quits, he or she will not be able to get him or herself back to smoking again if they so choose. The choice should always be based on whether the person wants to go back to full-fledged smoking or smoke nothing, but the choice for full fledged smoking exists for all ex-smokers.

On the other hand, if in the two weeks the person decides that he or she likes not smoking - maybe not smoking isn't perfect - but he or she is starting to get a flavor of where life is heading, how he or she is starting to face up to life demands and handling them reasonably well, maybe even a little better than he or she was just a few weeks earlier while still an active smoker, he or she has the choice of staying smoke free for another day.

People giving themselves the opportunity to see what not smoking is really like will overcome all these fears and generally truly appreciate the gift that they give themselves by being nicotine free. There are very few people who have ever left a clinic graduation and went out and bought a carton or a case because they gave it the two weeks and decide that they really now wanted to become a full-fledged smoker again. Yes some people will throw away their quits days or weeks later, but it is not because they choose to relapse and are making a conscious decision to smoke until it kills them. It is because they get complacent and start to believe that they can somehow now control their quantity or duration of smoking. They almost inevitably regret this mistake and many will end up paying for it with their lives.

For as scary as quitting may be up front, the reality of what smoking can lead if understood is terrifying. A drag on a cigarette can end up costing a person tens of thousands of dollars, his or her independence, health and life. The reality of smoking does not improve with time, the fears intensify as symptoms develop and life gets a little more limited and the control nicotine exerts gets stronger and stronger.

You must quit smoking to see what life is really like as an ex-smoker and to some degree really recognize what life was like as a smoker. The longer you go without smoking and the more you understand, the less scary life will be and the more resolute you will continue to be to never take another puff!


Related videos:

The fear of failure

The fear of success

The fear of relapsing
Last edited by Joel on July 23rd, 2014, 12:57 pm, edited 5 times in total.

John (Gold)

January 3rd, 2005, 4:53 am#2

Why fear ending your self-destruction, of ending arrival of smoke's 81 cancer causing chemicals? Why fear letting your body heal? Why fear a clean ash-free world without chains? Why fear freedom, your birthright? Why fear a temporary journey of re-adjustment that transports you to entire days where you never once think about wanting to introduce nicotine back into your bloodstream?

Irrational fears breed needless anxieties. Why make coming home vastly harder than need be? Destroy both through knowledge and understanding. Where to start? http://www.whyquit.com/joel/

Just one brick at a time, yes you can!
Last edited by John (Gold) on April 30th, 2012, 11:23 am, edited 5 times in total.


January 25th, 2005, 9:35 pm#3

This thread is well worth reading. It sure works for me. I wasn't sure that I'de like being an ex-smoker, after all I didn't have any ideas what I'de do without a cigarette in my hand. I think somewhere after the 2 week period it really clicked im my brain just how silly and useless my old friend was. The thrill is gone!
Loving it
I've been quit for 24 days, 19 hours, 22 minutes and 12 seconds (25 days).
I've not smoked 620 death sticks, and saved $93.12.
I've saved 2 day(s), 4 hour(s) of my life.
Last edited by mauricesmom on July 5th, 2009, 10:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

lo bluestocking

May 12th, 2005, 1:37 am#4

At this juncture, I have to say something about this thread... this message. IT IS HUGE.

I read this OVER AND OVER AND OVER for days in the beginning of my quit.
I was so frightened of what it would mean to LOSE smoking. I thought it really made a difference in my life -- it made me more cool, more creative, more underground, more mysterious.

What I discovered is that smoking didn't do any of those things for me... any more than a new haircut. Or a new pair of shoes. It's the ME that matters.

If there is one lesson that can be had from my quit -- it's something that couldn't be taught any other way. I am the one in control. It's ME that makes me what I am. NOT a dirty addiction.

who's lost that lovin' feeling for smokes
41 days and counting.

John (Gold)

November 12th, 2005, 9:38 pm#5

Imagine being trapped inside a mind addicted to a central nervous system stimulant, a mind that has long forgotten the beauty and depth of hour after hour of deep and profound relaxation and calm. Imagine the quitting road block existing inside a mind which has falsely come to associate use of the alkaloid nicotine with a calming effect during stressful events, anxiety moments that generate acids within the body that significantly accelerate depletion of nicotine reserves from the blood stream. Imagine being slave to brain dopamine and insula pathways (the mind's reward and anxiety punishment priorities teacher) that have left you totally convinced that that next nicotine fix is as important as other species survival events such as eating (food aaahs, nicotine aaahs - food craves, nicotine craves).
Imagine a brain that became wired to function on a super toxin, a chemical that slowly destroys remaining brain gray matter (picture the amount of nicotine from your last fix [roughly 1 milligram] being sufficient to kill the largest rat you've ever seen, about 1.5 pounds). Yes, imagine the functional dishonesty infecting a a brain that has grown millions of extra a4b2-type
acetylcholine receptors in at least eleven different brain regions, priority altering receptors that so alter preceptions that half of smokers are actually smoking themselves to death. Imagine residing inside a mind where more than 100 of your body's own neruo-chemicals flow at the wrong times. Imagine using nicotine to steal an unearned dopamine "aaah" reward sensation upon hearing news that the person we loved most has just died, or that wants a nicotine induced adrenaline rush before climbing into bed.

Imagine the sickness afflicting a mind that has so forgotten it's own natural beauty that it now truly believes that life without nicotine wouldn't be worth living, that smoked, chewed or sucked nicotine defines who they are, and that quitting would rob them of their edge and cause them to leave a large part of themselves and their life behind.

Imagine a mind so sick that yesterdaty it was willing to risk trading 13 years of life (males) to 14 years of life (females) for 1 smoked chemical.

Millions of words here in Freedom's hundreds of thousands of posts but just one guiding principle determining the outcome for all, a principle that will always remain our common bond. No nicotine just one hour, challenge and day day at a time! The next few minutes are all that matter and each will be doable!

John (Gold)
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 5th, 2009, 11:24 am, edited 2 times in total.

JoeJFree Gold

April 11th, 2006, 2:35 am#6

So, what are you afraid of?
Fear of success? Yeah, I was too.
Didn't know I'd like the original me so much.

Did you quit to quit 'just for a while' or to 'quit until I feel better'?
Well, if you stay quit you are going to Feel GREAT! Every day.

Face your fear. Take control of your life.

John (Gold)

May 22nd, 2006, 4:38 am#7

One of the most magic awakenings during this amazing journey is when fear of success and fear of failure are replaced by the realization that not only is recovery doable, what we really should have been afraid of was where we were (using), not where recovery transports us (home).

If just starting this amazing temporary period of re-adjusment you may find yourself consumed by feelings that you're leaving both you and your life behind. It simply isn't so. Even the love in our heart, we get to bring it with us. Every neurochemical nicotine controlled already belonged to us and is still there. You're about to discover that every activity we did while using can be done as well or better as us. Recovery is the most intense period of healing we'll likely ever know as our mind is allowed the time needed to re-sensitize and restore natural neurotransmitter receptor counts, to extinguish subconscious nicotine feeding cues (un-ring our nicotine use bells), and to bask in honesty the mountain of lies we each invented to explain why that next nicotine fix had become our #1 priority in life.

Baby steps, just one hour, challenge and day at a time. The next few minutes are all that matter and each will always be entirely doable. Yes you can, yes you have, yes you are! There was always only one rule ... no nicotine today! We're with you in spirit.

John (Gold x7)
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 5th, 2009, 11:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

January 30th, 2009, 8:27 pm#8

Video Title Dial Up High Speed MP3 Length Created
The fear of quitting smoking 4.09mb 12.3mb 5.04mb 11:08 11/11/06


July 5th, 2009, 12:23 pm#9

Fear of Happiness?
The below recent study suggests that ex-users are 21 times more likely to report being happier after ending nicotine use than less happy. Imagine 2,100% odds that our quitting fears were totally unfounded. Why fear happiness? Within two weeks our addiction is no longer calling the shots and we can decide for ourselves whether or not gradually increasing periods of calm and quiet are worthy of completing our journey home. There was always only one rule ... no nicotine just one hour, challenge and day at a time!

John (Gold x10)

Do ex-smokers report feeling happier following cessation? Evidence from a cross-sectional survey.
Nicotine & Tobacco Research, May 2009, Volume 11(5), Page 553-557

Shahab L, West R. Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, 2-16 Torrington Place, London, WC1E 6BT, UK. lion.shahab@ucl.ac.uk

INTRODUCTION: Many smokers fear that when they stop smoking they will give up an important source of enjoyment and be less happy. Yet, little is known about the long-term affective impact of quitting. The present study examined ex-smokers' reports of change in happiness following cessation and factors associated with these reports.

METHODS: In a cross-sectional household survey of a randomly selected, representative sample, 879 ex-smokers were asked to indicate whether they felt happier now, less happy, or about the same compared with when they were smoking. In addition to sociodemographic variables, the survey assessed how long ago ex-smokers had quit as well as prior enjoyment of smoking.

RESULTS: The large majority of ex-smokers (69.3%, 95% CI = 66.2-72.3) reported feeling happier now than when they were smokers, and only a very small minority (3.3%, 95% CI = 2.2-4.7) reported feeling less happy. In multiple regression analysis, controlling for all other variables, we found that greater happiness following cessation was associated with being younger (odds ratio [OR] per 10-year decrease in age = 1.21, 95% CI = 1.09-1.35) and having quit more than a year ago (OR = 2.37, 95% CI = 1.48-3.80), but responses were not related to other sociodemographic factors, prior cigarette consumption, or previous enjoyment of smoking. Irrespective of these associations, in every given category of respondents, the majority of ex-smokers reported being happier having quit smoking.

DISCUSSION: Ex-smokers overwhelmingly reported being happier now than when they were smoking. There are many possible reasons for this finding, including self-justification, but it provides at least partial reassurance to would-be quitters that quality of life is likely to improve if they succeed.

PMID: 19351779 [PubMed - in process]

Source Link: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19351779
Last edited by FreedomNicotine on July 5th, 2009, 12:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.


July 6th, 2009, 7:25 pm#10

Why Obama and smokers fear quitting
New study shows that life after quitting smoking is better not worse.
by [url=mailto:john@whyquit.com]John R. Polito[/url][/size]

Most who smoke or chew nicotine have deep fears that quitting will **** the joy from life. New research demolishes this "unhappiness" fiction. A May study published in Nicotine & Tobacco Research found that successful quitters were 21 times more likely to report feeling happier after quitting smoking (69.3%) than feeling less happy (3.3%).

President Obama is far from alone in harboring unrealistic beliefs about decline in the quality of life after ending all nicotine use. But how can false fears about the consequences of successful quitting be greater than fear of smoking yourself to death? What could possibly motivate President Obama to endure two years of media ridicule over his failure to stop both smoking nicotine and chewing it? It's simple. Like 30 million daily U.S. nicotine users, his deep inner mind is convinced that his next nicotine fix is central to his survival. According to Joel Spitzer, a leading U.S. cessation educator, fear of success is less recognized yet more pronounced among quitters than fear of failure. It's more real, more powerful and probably stops more people from coming to stop smoking clinics than fear of failure, notes Spitzer.

"The thought that they're never going to smoke again for the rest of their lives will scare them," says Spitzer. "We're trying to get people to a point where they have a choice" - two weeks. "If a person decides to go back to smoking on the first or second day of a clinic they decided nothing. Their addiction called the shots. The addiction was alive and well, these people were in withdrawal, they wanted to stop the withdrawal and they relapsed."

Why do users develop profound fear about ending nicotine use? "That fear is based on the fact that they have a whole bunch of false beliefs about cigarettes, that they're doing things for them, that they're making life possible, things that not only are cigarettes not capable of doing but in many cases the cigarettes are making the situation worse than if not smoking at all."

A core user belief is that nicotine relieves stress. It's a false belief that then Senator Obama hinted at last October when explaining that he "fell off the wagon" and relapsed. "But I figure, seeing as I'm running for president, I need to cut myself a little slack," he was quoted as saying.

"They're afraid they can't deal with stress without cigarettes," says Spitzer. "Stress makes your urine acidic, it makes you lose nicotine, it puts you in drug withdrawal. When you take a cigarette under stress you are not doing it because it's calming down your stress but to stop the drug withdrawal."

The same happens when drinking alcohol explains Spitzer. When smokers drink they smoke more. "If you ask them why they smoke more they think it's a social thing. It's not a social thing. Alcohol does what stress does. It makes them lose nicotine at an accelerated pace and they have to smoke a lot more when drinking."

"They are afraid they can't deal with stress. They are afraid they can't drink anymore. They're afraid they can't talk on the phone anymore without a cigarette. They're afraid they can't get out of bed anymore. This is where fear of quitting comes in because they have smoking so tied into everything they do that when they first think about quitting they're not thinking about just giving up cigarettes, they think they're giving up everything they do with cigarettes. Now life becomes scary."

For years they've lived trapped between urge and crave anxiety beatings after failing to resupply sagging nicotine reserves soon enough, and dopamine "aaah" reward sensations surrounding nicotine replenishment. The thick bars on their neuro-chemical prison are nicotine use conditioning that has them totally convinced that nicotine use defines who they are, gives them their edge, helps them cope and that life without it is unthinkable. It's a cell from which half won't escape before their dependency costs them their lives.

"Oh sure, smoking may kill them five years down the road, ten years, maybe twenty years down the road," says Spitzer. "But my gosh, the day they quit smoking, well their life is over. That is the fear they're walking around with."

"It's based on a false premise," notes Spitzer. "Their life isn't over the day they quit smoking. They may have to live with withdrawal but that's going to be a short term process. Get through three days, it'll ease up, that physical aspect, and then it's a matter of teaching themselves how to do everything they ever did with a cigarette, without taking a cigarette. Quitting smoking is a learning experience."

According to the May study, which suggests 2,100% odds of feeling happier, "Ex-smokers overwhelmingly reported being happier now than when they were smoking." "It provides at least partial reassurance to would-be quitters that quality of life is likely to improve if they succeed."

Cheryl, a 55 year-old 40-year smoker is a recent example. "I was really nervous about quitting but I did that one week ago. And do you know what? I've been calmer, happier and slept better than I have in years! After reading here about how quitting affects blood sugar I made it a point to make sure I always had juice handy. And it worked!"

Cathy stopped smoking a bit earlier, on April 10, 2009. "Earlier today I happened to be thinking my husband and I seem to be on a happier plane the last few weeks and I wondered if it is coincidental with my not smoking or if my not smoking has had a positive effect on my marriage? Hey this is pretty cool, I'm not smoking and I think I got it this time."

A flood of recent studies teach that nicotine addiction is about living a lie. It's about an external chemical taking the minds priorities teacher hostage. It's about the brain's "pay attention" pathways compelling us to believe that that next nicotine fix is as important as eating when hungry or drinking fluids when thirsty. We all know what food cravings feel like. We also know the dopamine "aaah" sensation that arrives following obedience to them. Imagine your brain being fooled into seeing nicotine as food: food cravings, nicotine cravings - food dopamine "aaah" sensations, nicotine "aaahs."

So how did 40 million U.S. ex-smokers succeed? They harnessed their fears long enough to allow them to realize that every activity they did while using nicotine could be done as well as or better without it.

Treating nicotine dependency as a true chemical addiction makes recovery's rules simple. In fact there is only one rule. Just one taste of nicotine and relapse will occur. Oh, you may think you've gotten away with it. But just one puff and up to 50% of the brain's a4b2-type acetylcholine receptors become occupied by nicotine, creating a dopamine explosion that soon has the brain begging for more. There was always only one rule ... no nicotine today, never take another puff, dip or chew!
Last updated July 6, 2009 at 1321 EST
Last edited by FreedomNicotine on July 7th, 2009, 1:50 am, edited 1 time in total.


August 28th, 2010, 4:10 pm#11

A ridiculous confession: One of my lead fears was that I'd succeed in quitting...meet a beautiful woman who smoked like a fiend...and have to start smoking again rather than to lose her! Today any woman who smokes like a fiend is no longer on my radar except as an object of pity. And I have nothing but fond memories of all the lovely women who may have liked much about me--but passed on the stink of the smoke.