The Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom


May 25th, 2002, 7:58 pm#1

Conventional Wisdom and Quitting Smoking

We always want to be careful about giving advice that is considered conventional wisdom, sounds great on paper, and is basically wrong for most people trying to quit smoking.

Things like the idea of feeling you have to wait till a certain day of the week, or prepare for a certain time period gives many people the excuse to put off a quit that they may be ready to do at the point in time that they show up. Putting off a quit to the "right time" has caused many a smoker to put it off till death.

Some people advise people to sleep through the quitting process. Sleeping as much as you can teaches a smoker in the midst of a quit how to be a prisoner in bed as opposed to how to start to live life as soon as he or she can. Some people, if totally exhausted or sleepy from the withdrawals may need the sleep, but they are not the majority. If a person is tired and needs sleep, staying in bed is fine--but if they are doing it as an escape, they are slowing up their psychological adjustments more than helping them. There are plenty of other such tidbits of wisdom out there, such as carry cigarettes to show how strong you are or give up coffee or change all of your daily routines that have many advocates but is still not necessarily right for the majority of people.

We have a Quit Smoking Tip Sheet that gives a few tried and true techniques, not all inclusive by any means, but a starting point. Keep in mind, this list in controversial in most places, especially when considering the first line reads "Quit cold turkey. In the long run it's the easiest and most effective technique of smoking cessation." Controversial elsewhere or not, it is key to note that this concept and a few others are the reasons that our members joined up at Freedom and have stayed here.

Most people are here because they like the focus we put on our simplicity to quitting. I think many if not most have been to other sites and realized that idea of anything that works for you is fine just didn't seem to work for them. If you think other sites have an edge, go and read at them for a few days. Read carefully what is often going on. You will often see numerous relapses that are down played as not being big mistakes, and you will also likely see people who are complaining a lot more of physical and emotional problems much longer than the average participant here at Freedom. We are trying to help people get adjusted both mentally and physically the fastest they can to life as an ex-smoker.

We want to caution our newest members to read here and learn as much as you can and not to be so quick to throw in quitting advice that you have picked up elsewhere--either at other sites or in your real world encounters. We want people to come to Freedom to first learn how to quit before they shift their attentions on how to teach people to quit. Although in truth, the real reason people should be here should always be to enforce his or her own personal quit even more than influencing others--each and every members quit and life depends on this goal. Any advice that is telling people that they must somehow shift their way of life in order to start or sustain a quit may not be accurate for most people.

The bottom line of quitting is, the sooner people realize that everything they could do as a smoker they can now do as an ex-smoker--the sooner they realize that there is life without smoking. They will also find out there may be many things that they can now do better without smoking and that life is basically better on many fronts from them having quit smoking. The faster people get back to their life--the sooner they will break triggers and habits and the sooner they will realize that they can do anything as an ex-smoker as long as they always remember to never take another puff!

Last edited by Joel on July 13th, 2013, 11:27 am, edited 3 times in total.

Toast (GOLD )

May 28th, 2002, 11:04 pm#2

Another good one, Joel!


June 3rd, 2002, 6:03 am#3

We do come from a very different slant than most other boards. I suspect it is hard for our members to read what goes on at other sites without wanting to "correct" them on some of their views. But understand the members of those sites cringe when they read what we say here too.

A slip is a relapse sounds as absurd to them as a slip not being a relapse sounds to us. Pulling posting privileges if a person posts a relapse makes them think that we are intolerant and elitists. I guess in a way we are--we only want people who are wanting to quit and are willing to put in a 100 percent effort and commitment. The other boards are much more tolerant than us--they are willing to work with anybody no matter how much or how little effort they are willing to put into quitting and no matter how many it takes for them to get a quit right.

Our members are here though because they want to finally get smoking permanently over with and they see us as their best shot for treating nicotine as the addiction it is and they see us as their best chance of permanent success. They are here because they have accepted the premise that there is no real legitimate reason to relapse. We are glad they see us that way--it is how we see ourselves too. But it is not our place to try to convert any other site to our ways of thinking any more than it is their right to try to change us.

If someone from another site came to us and told us we were all wrong about quitting cold turkey and our relapse policy we would delete the post and say we don't want to divert our board from attention of quitting smoking. We should then not try to divert the attention of other sites or raise controversies elsewhere either then. By sticking with this policy they may call us intolerant but they should never be able to call us hypocrites.

Here are a few other posts that elaborate on how we are different.

I Liked My Other Support Group More
Is Relapse a Natural Part of the Addiction Process?
The text below I lifted from Our Mission Statement.
This is a real valuable string covering many different aspects of our operation. Its not easy keeping the board focused on just quitting smoking. We have many people coming in from different countries with many different life situations and many different problems. But everyone joining here from all these many different places and different problems all have ONE thing in common. They are all nicotine addicts and by joining here at Freedom have committed to quit smoking and to do everything in his or her power to stay nicotine free.

That is all Freedom is here to do, help people realize that no matter how different they are and no matter what problems they may have, that not smoking is an option. This is very different than the common statement that smoking is not an option, which of course is not true considering the millions and millions, and probably billions of smokers, I just never thought of looking to see how many smokers there actually are in the world. But not smoking is an option, which is clearly evident considering the billions of people there are in the world who don't do it.

Anyway, the original post here and the additional posts cover many aspects of what our one and only mission is here at Freedom. We are here to help our members save their own lives. I have said often we are not striving to be the biggest quit smoking site, the most popular or even the best. The best is always going to be in the eye of the beholder.

Every member at every site thinks that their site is the best. If not, they would move on to another site better fitting his or her own needs. In their view, that site will then be the best for them. And if the next site helps the person sustain his or her quit, he or she will have been right.

If on the other hand the person loses his or her quit when he or she loses his or her focus, the end results can be tragic. Whether or not he or she then feels the site was the best is of little consequence if the person loses his or her quit.

But we want this site to be viewed as the best by the people who are its members. The purpose we present to all when they join is that we are a site that is totally focused on smoking cessation and relapse prevention. We are all committed to keep this site focused on this concept at all times. In our membership's view, that is what makes this site best for them, which is evident because they are still here.

When will our Mission for Freedom be over? When no one posts anymore because we no longer seem to be fulfilling anyone's needs. Then we will know that there is no longer a need for a focused cold turkey quit smoking site.

Until then, all members should know that we are a cold turkey quit site that is totally dedicated to help each other and more importantly help ourselves to stay dedicated to the simple principle that we will never take another puff!
Last edited by Joel on March 21st, 2009, 1:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.


June 11th, 2002, 6:00 am#4

I saw where one of our newest members mentioned how she was printing out materials from other websites and also mentioned how she had done quite a bit of research on how to quit smoking. I thought I had better get this string up. I was actually surprised to see how I left out one major example of the kind of advice that is often given at other sites, as well as in most professional programs and professionally produced literature on smoking cessation--the concept of "Don't let a slip put you back to using." This line pretty much undercuts whatever valuable advice may be given in such pieces. The message should never be not to let a slip put you back to using. The message that needs to be understood if you want to keep a quit is, ''DON'T SLIP!" For a "slip" is a relapse and a relapse carries the major consequences of either having to quit smoking again or smoking till cigarettes cripple and kill you. These are both lousy options. Simply reworded, to stay smoke free always remember to never take another puff!



June 11th, 2002, 6:15 am#5

THIS is why I'm here!!!

mirigirl (silver)

June 11th, 2002, 6:32 am#6

Staying Focused
yqs mirigirl
another nicotine addict
free and healing
Last edited by mirigirl (silver) on March 21st, 2009, 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.


June 17th, 2002, 9:45 pm#7

I just saw the term "**** Week" used in a post to a new member and a post from a new member. I really never addressed this before, but I guess now is as good as time as any. I don't really believe in the idea of "**** Week." This is another one of those conventional wisdoms that are big elsewhere but do not necessarily play out to be true in the real world.

Do some people go through rough times the first seven days of quitting? Yes, some people do. But there are people who toss them on day one, have no real major complaints and basically never look back. I have one man in my current clinic who came in day one and said this is it, he is done with smoking and that is all there is to it. He wasn't planning on having any trouble. I tried to warn him that it may not go as easily as he was anticipating, although at times for some people it does go this easily. Well it turned out that in his case he was right. Usually I will get a few people in a group who quit with relative ease, although it is not always the people who think it is going to go this way. If I were to perpetuate the idea of "**** week," most people would experience tough times even if they were not actually destined to have a hard time this time around, and those who didn't have a hard time would think that there was something wrong with them.

The other problem I have with the term "**** week" is the fact that while the first three days pose a real threat of causing physical withdrawal symptoms--by the fourth day, if these effects have occurred, they will usually now be subsiding. By the fourth day most people will really start to feel good. The term "**** Week" is giving the impression that times are still "hellish" on days four through seven.

I am about to graduate a group tonight who have been off smoking for just 13 days. If they are like the majority of other groups, most will be coming in happy, feeling healthier and quite shocked that they have actually pulled off a quit. But even when I saw them last Monday, when they were all only off 6 days, it was quite evident to all in the room that nobody was going through "****" at that point. All of them all ready were having noticeable physical improvements over when they smoked, most were already calmer and had more energy, most were already experiencing only a fraction of the thoughts for cigarettes that they normally experienced while they were still smoking.

One week that the term "**** Week" is a more accurate description surrounding smoking is the week that a person finds out they have lung cancer, or ends up in a hospital after a heart attack, or ends up partially paralyzed or unable to speak from a stroke, or the day a person starts on oxygen, or the day a person ends up on a burn ward from a fire they started with their own cigarette, or the day a person dies suddenly or unexpectedly from a smoking induced incident.

Even in these cases though the term "**** Week" is an inaccurate assessment of time. These people may end up going though weeks or months of what they consider hellish experiences and still sometimes end up losing the battle to save their lives. In the case of sudden death, "**** Week" doesn't apply either, at least not for the deceased individual himself or herself but likely for the family and friends left behind. The suffering and sadness of these family members and friends will not likely end on day eight either, they will be facing the sadness of the smokers premature loss for a long time to come.

I guess the closest a week may be considered "**** Week" in regards to smoking is the week a person relapses. That is the week they have to admit failure to everyone they know, unless they start their new lives living the lie of being closet smokers, which creates it own problems that last a whole lot longer than a week. This is the week that they start to smell like **** again, and possibly start to experience perceivable detrimental effects again. This is the week that they start paying exorbitant prices for a product that is attacking their heart, lungs, self-respect, self-esteem, start to make them question their own intelligence or their own common sense, and affect the ways other people view them. In the case of the closet smokers who eventually gets caught, it also threatens their basic honesty and integrity for they are living a lie now and are always afraid of being exposed.

The week a person relapses may be hellish but the problems posed by smoking will not end in seven days for them either, but rather get perpetually worse as the days, months and years pass while maintaining the active addiction to nicotine. To end the hellish experience of being a smoker is as simple as knowing not for seven days, but for the rest of your life to never take another puff!.



June 17th, 2002, 10:14 pm#8

Hi Joel,

That was me and I feel a bit embarrssed! **** Week is a term I learned at Freedom and I agree with everything you wrote. From my own experience it could be renamed Surprisingly Doable Week although that doesn't have quite the same ring to it, nor, can I point out, a great sense of achievement.
I think that's important. Milestones are few and far between. Rightly so of course but I do think week old quits deserve to be congratulated. I know you agree with this and whilst the term **** Week might scare people away from starting a quit, it does I think serve as a warning not to relapse once we've "survived" it.
Just wondering what your thoughts might be on that or if anybody can think of a more appropriate title for those first seven days?
Clac xxx
1 month, 2 weeks, 23 hours, 20 minutes, 38 seconds tick tick tick...


June 17th, 2002, 10:58 pm#9

Hello Clac:

Don't feel embarassed, it wasn't you I was referring too. I would have if I saw yours but I somehow missed it. If you look around you will see two other people who used the term this morning--just goes to show you how pervasive the term seems to be, which is why I thought I should finally address it head on.


Tatum (Bronze)

June 18th, 2002, 12:16 am#10

I don't really like the "**** Week" term implies non-stop..well, ****..when in fact the first week is anything but. It is exactly as Joel (or was it John? I can't remember!LOL) said. You can make it however you want it. It's a matter of perception, in my opinion.

I much prefer the "Glory Week" really fits so much better when you think about it. I mean...sure there's craves that will need to be faced and dealt with, but each time one is successfully dealt with there's a real sense of glory and accomplishment there. Also, such a wonderful thing for ones self esteem to KNOW they are doing something so GOOD for their bodies and minds. I thought of each crave (I still do, even though now their mental craves only) as a sign of healing, of the gradual lessening of the intensity and occurance as positive signs my body is getting the picture..LOL..that is that I don't smoke anymore.

It's like the glass half full/half empty thing. How you think it is how it will be.

Glory week was SO much better.


I have been Nicotine Free For 1 Month 2 Weeks 5 Days 1 Hour 53 Minutes 56 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 1472. Money saved: $184.05.


June 18th, 2002, 12:37 am#11

Hi Joel:

It's funny that you should mention quitting smoking and sleeping. Before I joined Freedom, I got hypnotized and the instructor introduced a few people sitting in the back of the room that had quit smoking and lost weight. One girl had done both. The guy that had only quit smoking stood up and said "I stayed in bed for 3 weeks when I quit smoking"... and I thought "Gosh, I wouldn't want to do that".... and besides if this Hypnotizing thing worked than you should walk away free of ever even thinking about cigarettes again, much less having to stay in bed for 3 weeks...

I have realized that since I joined Freedom that there is No Easy Way. It has to be stopped and you have to deal with the consequences until they go away. It has to be COLD TURKEY or nothing. There really is no other excuse or alternative. There is no cutting down, no sleeping no anything but COLD TURKEY.

I have never been to any other Quit Smoking Site. This is the only Site I know. But I could not imagine it being any other way.

You have destroyed your body for all those years and now you have to pay. But Pretty Soon the withdrawals will end and the cravings will end and you will be happy and you will feel healthy and you will wonder why you put yourself through soooo much toruture...



7 weeks, 6 days, 22 minutes and 17 seconds...

S Sweet

June 18th, 2002, 8:30 pm#12

ya know the one thing i always disliked in regards to the "**** week" usage is that it implies that after that first week... that's it.... no more bad times, no more "****".... but that's not necessarily true. if you work the way most of us have worked at our quits, it WILL get better and easier...but there ARE still rough times... that's just life. but i think sometimes people assume that the "bad" is all over with and then they are pretty surprised that there are still things to face and work through in their quits past that first week.

20+ months and counting


June 19th, 2002, 8:48 am#13

Freedom's focus on remaining abstinent from nicotine is the reason I am here. I, too, have been to other online support groups. The frequency with which people spoke of their "slips" (relapses) and the outpouring of support that accompanied it each time drove me NUTS! People saying things like, "It happens to everyone", or "Quitting is a process"..... To me, it seems they are just giving people a reason to relapse. As addicts, I think we have enough reasons why we should give in to junky thoughts as it is, I highly doubt we need any more. I am here to focus on the reasons why I should remain quit, and to gain support and encouragement in that goal.



July 20th, 2002, 8:18 am#14

I just read this post and felt much better. I am a newbie and did my first post this morning. I must add first post any where on the internet. My ending of the first reply really disturbed me and has all day. I finally wrote the person an email to explain that to me it was negative and had disturbed me. I stumbled on this post this evening and how appropriate for me to read. Thanks. Also your reply, I do know one day at a time(hard to put everything down). But I also want and deserve it forever. If I don't keep it in my mind to forever stay nicotine free or as you state never take another puff. I fear I would lose my battle. I fight my battle with nicotine every day and one day at a time to forever stay free. Hope it makes sense to you. But that's not what counts, it's that it makes sense to me to never take another puff today, tomorrow and doit4ever.


July 31st, 2002, 9:12 pm#15

I saw where one of our newer members wrote, "Hi, I am new too so my advise at this time would be worthless." I don't want newer members to think that we think that there advice is worthless--what they may want to advise may be quite valuable and right on target. The problem is there are times where new people are coming in with advice that may or may not be valuable and may even be harmful if based on conventional wisdom. But the more time people spend reading and learning here they more adept they will become at being able to differentiate to what sounds good in theory and what really works in real world applications. If any new member ever feels the need to write something in response to another member and doesn't know exactly what might help to tide them over till a the more seasoned veterans arrive, a safe option is just hang on to the a day at a time principle for now and know that it will get better and better over time and stay on that course as long as you always remember why you first committed to never take another puff!


LarryS (GreenX2)

July 31st, 2002, 9:28 pm#16

All of the above information in this (and probably all other threads) is great food for thought. I'm new here and I know that I am the only one who can decide what is right and what works for me. I am happy to have the FREEDOM to choose now.

Thanks, Larry
I have been Quit for: 1W 2D 9h 25m 7s. I have NOT smoked 375, for a savings of $70.07. Life Saved: 1D 7h 15m.


September 24th, 2002, 9:18 pm#17

I saw we have a new member who also belongs to another quit smoking site. I figured it would be good for her to see this string, so as to know not to bring over concepts picked up elsewhere that may be conventional wisdom but are inherently flawed, as well as to know to be careful what they bring from here to the other site, which is likely to stir up great controversy and debate.


October 20th, 2002, 6:07 am#18

I just thought of another conventional wisdom that should be covered here. The concept that long term weight gain is totally unavoidable and beyond control for a person who is quitting smoking. The string I actually lost weight! shows a number of examples of people who have actually dealt with weight control effectively after they had quit smoking. It comes down to it is not what you put in your mouth after you quit that is going to sustain your quit--it is what you don't put in your mouth. Your quit will last as long as you don't put nicotine in your mouth by knowing now to never take another puff!
Last edited by Joel on April 14th, 2009, 6:17 am, edited 1 time in total.


November 23rd, 2002, 10:29 pm#19

This is the best site for me... glad I had the Freedom to pick it.
BIRKY 1wk 1day 1hr 18min
PS I have referred this site to the 3 smokers I know!

John (Gold)

December 13th, 2002, 8:45 pm#20

Part of the conventional wisdom being taught is that only smokers in the "contemplation" phase of the dependency cycle - a fancy way of saying that they are consciously thinking about quitting - stand any chance of successful cessation. Yesterday we received and shared with each other the following email in which the quitter actually came to to purchase cheap cigarettes and ended up quitting on the spot. My online quitting experience is very similar to what's described below and I'm sure some of you probably violated the "contemplation" rule as well.

Many experts and web sites also tell smokers that they must do lots of planning, pick a date well in advance, or even beginning cutting down in anticiption of their approaching quit date. It's amazing the things nicotine addicts are being told they need to do in order to quit. The next few minutes are doable : )) John

Thank you for your web page. I am 24 years old and I have been smoking since I was 17. The price for a pack of smokes is around 5 bucks, they just raised the prices about .60 last month. I was looking on the internet searching for a place to buy cigarettes online when someone posted your site in a discussion group. I honestly thought this was a place to buy cigarettes, that's why I clicked on the link. Since that day I haven't took 1 puff. All I needed was an eye opener and some tactics for quitting, exactly what your web page has. In fact the first week when i quit was pretty tough, so i printed out portions of your articles and taped it to my dash bored in my car.

I just wanted to let you know your web page is awesome and saved my health and lots of money. Keep up the good work!


December 13th, 2002, 9:07 pm#21

I loved it when I got this email forwarded to me yesterday. I was hoping John would get permission to use it here at Freedom. This was a good string for it to land in to. One other place I thought it would be appropriate is in the string Can we help a person quit when they are pretty sure they don't want to quit?. I think this letter is a clear indication of how many people really do want to quit and just don't think that quitting is possible or know how to do it. All of our members can show people they know the solution to both of these issues. You can show people that it is totally possible since you yourself have done it and you can share with them the method of how you did it--you simply stopped delivering nicotine and understand from this point on that the way to stay off is by knowing to never take another puff!
Last edited by Joel on April 14th, 2009, 6:18 am, edited 1 time in total.


February 3rd, 2003, 6:50 pm#22

I feel the need to bring this one to the top today. I see we have a number of members who do in fact read at lots of sites. I know this when I see words like **** week or heck week, nicodemon or nicomonster, and a host of others. In 30 years of running live stop smoking clinics with thousands of participants I have never encountered such phrases from anyone in describing smoking cessation. Actually to this day no one has ever uttered one of these phrases during any of my clinics.

Some of these terms may have a regional aspect so I might be wrong here, but somehow I doubt this in most cases. I suspect that when people come here and use these words or phrases that they have likely been picking up information at other sites. Well other sites work with lots of conventional wisdoms and beliefs--concepts that can easily cost individuals who believe all that they read their quits. So I want to make sure that little gems of wisdoms that are picked up elsewhere are not passed along here. Gems like relapse is not an option, or people can't quit their first time, or that there is some different between slips and relapses, or that relapses are natural and everyone does it. These beliefs and many others can easily cost people their quits.

We work with one little gem of wisdom here that if analyzed by anyone from anywhere is actually beyond debate. That little gem is that you will actually be smoke free forever if you stick to your commitment to never take another puff!



February 4th, 2003, 10:55 pm#23

From: John (Gold) Sent: 2/3/2003 10:44 AM
New Lie Added to Nicodemon's Lies


It's all Nicodemon's fault, not mine! There is no Nicodemon. There never was. The title to this article, Nicodemon's Lies, is just one more lie. They were never Nicodemon's lies, they were your lies. There is no nico-monster and there never has been. Nicotine is simply a drug, an alkaloid chemically known as C10H14N2, and its I.Q. is and always has been zero. It does not think, plan, inflict punishment, nor will it conspire to make you relapse or die addicted to it. The fact that it has zero intelligence is your greatest weapon. Everything you see, feel, and sense during nicotine withdrawal and recovery will be grounded in chemical dependency, conditioning, reason, logic or science. The conspirators in any past attempts to make you relapse and destroy your quit were always and only "you!" Should you reclaim control of your brain reward pathways, your health, and your life, the victory will belong only to you![/size]

From Nicodemon's Lies
Last edited by Joel on April 14th, 2009, 6:20 am, edited 1 time in total.


March 17th, 2003, 11:46 pm#24

I saw where one member wrote to another member that he or she should do what ever it takes to quit smoking. The example specifically given was drink water or eat ice cream. I have to say, if someone plans on going the ice cream route they had better be ready to go buy a whole slew of complete wardrobes, of ever increasing sizes. If your crutch for smoking thoughts are going to be any high caloric food weight gain of massive amounts should be expected.

As far as using whatever it takes, I guess that can be translated to taking any food, any drug, legal or illegal to quit smoking or any activity, no matter how ludicrous or dangerous that activity may be. Does the comment smoke crack cocaine, or shoot up heroin, or drink lethal dosages of arsenic make any sense to anyone as practical advice to quit smoking? If not, the comment of do whatever it takes loses any real concept of credibility.

The comment needs to be do what it takes to quit smoking. What it takes is simply sticking to your commitment to never take another puff!


GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

October 18th, 2004, 9:20 pm#25

We want to caution our newest members to read here and learn as much as you can and not to be so quick to throw in quitting advice that you have picked up elsewhere--either at other sites or in your real world encounters. We want people to come to Freedom to first learn how to quit before they shift their attentions on how to teach people to quit. Although in truth, the real reason people should be here should always be to enforce his or her own personal quit even more than influencing others--each and every members quit and life depends on this goal. Any advice that is telling people that they must somehow shift their way of life in order to start or sustain a quit may not be accurate for most people.