Have you ever embraced a crave?

John (Gold)

March 12th, 2001, 12:26 am#1

Embracing Crave Episodes
Learning to remain calm while being briefly uncomfortable 
We are pre-programmed to either stand and fight or turn and run when faced with challenge. If you're a newbie then chances are there is another conditioned nicotine feeding cue waiting around the corner that will soon trigger a short yet powerful anxiety attack that we call a crave. The cue that triggers the crave could be an emotion, time, event or place where, or during which, you used to inhale warm nicotine laden air into punished lungs in order to replenish your blood's constantly falling nicotine level.

The good news is that most cue triggers appear to be reconditioned and discarded (extinguished) by our subconscious mind with just a single encounter. The good news is that the triggered crave anxiety episode will normally peak within a couple of minutes (but keep a clock handy as cessation time distortion is real and can make the minutes feel like hours). The good news is that there is a reward awaiting you at the end of each crave episode, the return of another aspect of life.  The good news is that the anxiety power of our crave generator fizzles a bit with each passing day, and with each encountered crave there is one less triggering cue to extinguish. The good news is that entire days where you never once encounter an unextinguished cue are fast approaching. The bad news is that if you're a newbie then there is probably another crave episode just around the corner. But is it bad?

So what approach do you use? Do you duck or run when you sense one coming or do you turn and fight? Is your game plan working to your satisfaction? Our objective here is simple - NO NICOTINE TODAY - but our natural instincts on how best to achieve our objective may not be the easiest path to travel. Can we hide from our craves or will they find us anyway? Can we run away from them or will they catch us? It's the same with going toe to toe in battle, isn't it? Can we beat-up our craves and make them surrender or cry "uncle"? Can we scare them away? I think not. Encountering and extinguishing all of our mind's subconscious crave triggers is a very necessary part of recovery.  Encountering and extinguishing each is good not bad.  We are rewarded with a prize at the end, the return of another aspect of life.  It's true healing in every sense!

Tobacco's deadly cargo is clearly a killer but what about craves? Can a crave that lasts a couple of minutes kill you? Will it cut you, make you bleed or send you to the emergency room? Can it physically harm you? If not, then why fear it? How much of the anxiety associated with your recovery will be self induced? Why agonize over the anticipated arrival of your next crave? When it finally arrives, will your mind immediately begin breeding additional anxieties, anxieties that fuel an already raging fire?

The anxiety associated with a craving for nicotine is very real.  But how much of that anxiety is self induced?  Why not find out?   Be brave during the next episode.  Instead of feeling a tremendously inflated experience driven by fear, fueled by anticipation, and tense due to a history of prior relapse, just once, stop running, drop your guard, take slow deep deliberate breaths and then reach out inside your mind and "TOUCH" your crave. It won't injure you!

It's ok to be afraid but try to be brave just this once. In your mind, wrap your arms around the crave's anxiety energy . Clear your mind of all chatter for just one moment so that you can feel the true anxiety of your healing. Make sure that you feel your tummy rising as you take slow deep deliberate breaths into the bottom of both lungs. Clear your mind of all chatter, worries, fears and thoughts so that you can sense and appreciate exactly what this crave is like.

Touch it, hug it, feel it, sense it! You won't make the anxiety one bit more intense than it otherwise would have been. You're witnessing part of the most beautiful healing that your body and life may ever experience. Yes, there is anxiety there but for the very first time it's not being fed and fueled by you. Feel it's intensity peak and then slowing begin to decline. Take pride in your healing. It can't hurt you.  Only you can do that.  

Enjoy your recovery don't fear it.  Embrace and welcome each and every crave episode, as the arrival of each signals another time, place, location, event or emotion that you are about to reclaim.  Enjoy coming home.  There is a calm, quiet and free mind at the end, one that will go days, weeks and then months without wanting for nicotine.   But don't take my word for it.  Read the accounts of those you came before you!  Yes you can!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,

Last edited by John (Gold) on August 8th, 2017, 2:24 pm, edited 8 times in total.


March 12th, 2001, 12:39 am#2

I totally embrace my craves. I see them as a physical manifestation of my healing.
I know without a shadow of a doubt that we the person can always see things as positive , or negative, or even neutral.

I choose every day in every way to enjoy and embrace this wonderful freedom that I have finally found.

Thankyou to my freedom family.
Thanks for the knowledge and support.

Linnee (Gold)

March 12th, 2001, 3:17 am#3

It has taken me a while to understand that a crave is just a reminder that I am not smoking. I will always have the choice to give in to a crave or acknowledge it and wait for it to pass.

Linnee I have chosen not to smoke for eight months, one week, six days, 11 hours, 24 minutes and 37 seconds. 10339 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,602.80. Life saved: 5 weeks, 21 hours, 35 minutes.

amcanuck ( GOLD )

March 12th, 2001, 3:39 am#4

I decided a while ago that when I feel an urge to smoke ,I would give that my undivided attention. At first ,I would distract myself with other things.Now ,I face the thoughts dead on. I picture myself smoking and I remember what a let down the last one was. Then I forsee my dissapointment in myself. Then,by the time Im done doing all this in my mind,the desire has passed and I feel good.I know Im stronger than I ever thought I could be. So yes I embrace those craves because I think if you dont you will never be prepared for the bigger ones,the ones that are so tricky that you almost fortget how far you`ve come and that maybe if you could quit once you could do it again.I am getting fewer craves now ,sometimes most of a day will go by without a thought to smoking,and that is why when I do think about it I try to go through the whole process of relaspe in my mind,including the aftermath.amcanuck


March 28th, 2001, 9:13 am#5

Embraced a crave? I think so. I want my whole being to be aware of my choice of never puffing again. I need to be acutely aware that I am stronger than the urge.

Triggers? Haven't run from one yet. I still go outside at morning break to enjoy the warm sun and conversation with my smoking friends.

marty (gold)

March 28th, 2001, 6:39 pm#6

Absolutely YES Zep
I love my craves because they remind me of what I have gained by quitting. In Linda's words -
NOT A PUFF FOR 3 months 3 weeks 4 days : 1883 cigs not smoked : 6 days 12 hours added to my life.

John (Gold)

July 17th, 2001, 12:41 am#7

Possible Crave Cue Triggers

Waking/Going to Bed
Using the Bathroom
Reading the Paper
Drinking Coffee/Tea
Before or after Eating
Seeing Certain People
Going Outside
Driving a Vehicle
Talking on the Phone
Depression or Sadness
Leaving Stores
Long Movies
Being with Smokers
Before, During or After Work
Anger or Rage
Joy & Celebrations
The End of Glory Week
Illness or Death
Alcohol or Drinking
or any other time, place or emotion during which
you conditioned your subconscious to expect
Stay calm yet ready!

Many are extinguished so quickly during the first few days
that you probably won't even realize it is happening.

Encountering an un-extinguished cue is good not bad.
It is subconscious healing which promises
the return of yet another aspect of life.

Last edited by John (Gold) on March 7th, 2009, 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Txgranny (Gold)

August 30th, 2001, 5:22 am#8


I had never seen this thread before although you had brought this subject up several times in your posts. I absolutely love it. There are so many things that I
did to deal with my craves and or urges, but after **** week this is what really brought me through. I finally got it! This is great and I hope all our
newbies read this and do it!

Thanks so much

nicotine free since 05/11/01

Chet Kast (Gold)

August 30th, 2001, 5:44 am#9

Hey Zep,
I also welcome, feel and meet my craves head on. In a way, it is kind of a challenge to figure out what it was that brought it on - a mood, a smell, an event, a remembrance, a season, a reward, etc. As you know, we could go on and on with those. The feeling of the crave itself is quite unique as all of you can attest to. As mentioned by Amcanuk, my craves come on, at my quit stage, for approximately 2 minutes in a 24 hour period. But, mostly, the crave brings on an inner smile together with an inner peace that reminds me that my addiction is still there and will be there for as long as I live.
Last edited by Chet Kast (Gold) on March 22nd, 2009, 9:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Mari (GOLD)

August 30th, 2001, 6:25 am#10

Embrace them??? Not only did I enbrace them, I named them!!! I made notes in my Journal of all of my craves and noted when, where, what I was doing, (or not doing), how I felt (happy, bored, angry, etc.). For example, I got over the craves for a cigarette first thing in the morning, and after meals, fairly quickly, but, I had a hard time with the "reading" craves. I always smoked when I read, and I read a lot!!! So, when I felt a crave and I was reading, I wrote "Reading Crave", noted the date and time, and just breathed deeply until it passed. I remember one day having a "reading crave" and I didn't have a pen handy so I just thought I'd write it down later. I never did. Then I noticed that those craves weren't happening very often, and I'd gotten to the point where I didn't need to keep track of them anymore. It is interesting, though, to read over the entries and see how quickly the craves spread out over time. Now I can read anything, for as long as I want to and I don't even think about smoking while I'm reading. In fact I haven't thought about it for a couple of months, at least! The same thing for most of the other craves. They just aren't the "monsters" they used to be, because I face them with confidence and don't run out of fear. I knew, because of all that is written here, that craves would come, so I knew what to expect. And, I knew they were temporary, just a minute or two. (That's true, too. I've timed lots of them!!!) I just didn't expect to be so brave, and "in your face" about them. But, it just goes to show you, if you're working with the truth, know the facts, and you're movitated, you can overcome anything this addiction throws at you. One Crave At A Time, One Day At A Time!!!
And thanks to Freedom for helping me get this far!!!

John (Gold)

October 18th, 2001, 1:41 am#11

As Mari recommends,
Don't just embrace your craves, name them!
Just one crave at a time! This is doable!

John (Gold)

January 5th, 2002, 4:12 am#12

The trick is staying calm yet prepared!


January 25th, 2002, 11:20 pm#13

Thank you for this insight. For as long as I can remember I have never DEALT with hard or uncomfortable feelings without a crutch of some sort. It was usually cigarettes, but also drinking, food, running, sarcasm, etc. I actually thought is was what one should do in the a crisis or difficult time. First thoughts are stuff it down, mask over or inhale the poison, drink and laugh so on. Since I have quit on Jan 14, 2002 I have had many opportunities to run to my emotional crutch, the smoking. A few times I was dangerously close but the intensity passed and it wasn't as scary as originally thought. For me it is all about re-conditioning, its a huge world out there as a non-smoker, lots of things to learn and re-learn. The fact that I don't light up cigarettes is a small part of a big picture. In the process healthy decisions are being made, emotional maturity is being reached, discipline is being practiced,habits replaced, freedom gained. It is a package deal! Your point is an excellent one. I used to view the craves and even thoughts as these huge overwhelming obstacles that couldn't be beat. They really aren't that scary anymore for me, they have been exposed now I feel I can stare them down and wait em out if necessary.
1 week, 3 days, 22 hours, 48 minutes, 13 seconds
Last edited by michelle25 on July 23rd, 2009, 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lablover (Green)

January 29th, 2002, 9:07 pm#14

I debated about this subject almost all day Sunday. On Sunday nights, I usually have supper with my mother, who still smokes two packs a day, Maxi 120s!

It being Sunday of my first week, I was very nervous - should I "embrace the crave" or should I call her and make some excuse why I can't come over. If I face this will it be the cause of a relapse for me? These thoughts stayed in my head all day. I spent a great deal of the day reading posts here at Freedom.

I decided I could do it. I went to her house armed with a bottle of cranberry juice and some suckers. Initially, I stayed at least 15 feet from her while she was cooking (and smoking). Then came our dinner together. Afterwards, she immediately lit up. I was so surprised at myself. The craves, desires, came in like giant waves, but crested and fell very quickly!

I think it may have been harder on my mother. Because I was tense and it seems like I talked non-stop!

But I drove home, yelling "Whaa whoooooo", because I felt like I had drove straight into a tornado and survived it! I will never be afraid to sit with my mother while she smokes, again! I embrased it, I TACKLED IT!

1 week, 7 hours and still feeling great!

John (Gold)

February 1st, 2002, 10:42 pm#15

Thanks DHD, glad it helped, and welcome to Freedom and congratuations on three weeks of awesome healing! I was just getting ready to post to your first thread but then saw this post and decided to reply here.

To answer your question, we provide new arrivals with guidance during the first 72 hours, and answer or address their individual concerns after becoming members, but beyond that they are pretty much on their own to explore, read and focus in those areas or on those issue that attract their attention. When they do post to a particular thread - the way that you have here - it pulls that thread to the top of the message board where the group takes notice and peeks to see if the member needs any additional help.

Aside from Joel's Library and the motivational materials at WhyQuit, Freedom has almost 100,000 archived posts containing a wealth of member insights! You'll see Joel, the managers, and seasoned Freedom graduates (Oldbies) cycling through and pulling up selected threads for a variety of reasons. Joel is not only cycling members through the heart of his library, bringing a couple of articles to thread page 1 each day, he also sees posting trends and patterns developing within the group, has a sense of where most members are within their quits (new members tend to arrive in bunches), and will often highlight important concepts by focusing the group's attention on a member's individual concern.

Not only will we encourage you to consider embracing your craves, we encourage every member to embrace education and understanding as the keys to developing the tools needed to allow their healing and new life to become permanent We're here if you need us DHD and congratulations again on three weeks of healing. Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! YQB John (Zep)

OBob Gold

February 2nd, 2002, 4:47 am#16


Great to hear from you again! This is one of my favorites too. Sometimes, the temptation is to try to wish a crave away by pretending it's not there. I liken it to the monster under the child's bed. The longer the child lays awake in fear of the unseen threat under the bed, the bigger, more dangerous and frightening it becomes; the more power it has over the child. As soon as the child peeks under the bed, and acknowledges what's REALLY there, the monster's power fades. Great job embracing those triggers!

YQB (Your Quit Brother),


John (Gold)

May 22nd, 2002, 1:30 am#17

That next crave can't hurt you and it won't make you bleed!
It won't last longer than it took to smoke a cigarette!
Relax, embrace it, and say goodbye to your needless fears!
This isn't what it feels like to be a comfortable ex-user.
This is what it feels like to say goodbye to our former master!
Smile! The calmness ahead is permanent and deep!
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 25th, 2017, 9:03 pm, edited 3 times in total.


June 6th, 2002, 10:06 pm#18

Hi John, I know this is an older post but the one line that got me was "How much of the anxiety associated with your quit is self induced? "
I can't count how many times I've beaten myself up over stupid things and thought "Oh what do I keep trying for?" I think I've answered this a hundred times and each time it gets easyier to say "My own health!" and "I won't take another puff!!"
I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 2 Days 3 Hours 50 Minutes 51 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 2089. Money saved: $312.32.
Last edited by Rickgoldx5 on March 22nd, 2009, 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

John (Gold)

July 3rd, 2002, 1:15 am#19

Just three minutes to say goodbye to another another feeding cue!
You can do that standing on your head! This is doable!
You're going home to be with you!
Enjoy the journey!
Last edited by John (Gold) on July 25th, 2017, 9:05 pm, edited 2 times in total.


July 28th, 2002, 3:26 am#20

This little article has helped me tremendously to gain the courage to go out to a bar/club tonight. I've been anxious about tonight all day today because that social scene was when I smoked the most nicotine. I even thought about staying home. But i don't want to put off the inevitable and it makes no sense to. I'm on day 6, nicotine free and have been staying away from alot of triggers as much as I can but I know I can't hide forever.
Tonight will be the first real situation that I'll be in since Sunday where there will be smokers.
Thanks to your article I've gained a new sense of strength. I'll read it again before I go out!! Gosh, I really love this forum......you are all sooooo helpful!!
Thanks agains!!
Last edited by joyfulgrl on July 23rd, 2009, 2:25 am, edited 1 time in total.

Lilac (Bronze)

July 29th, 2002, 3:47 am#21

I read your article earlier today and it stuck in my mind for some time afterward. I was trying to decide if I am running away from "craves" or hiding or exactly what. Then I got busy after deciding that I don't really know what I do--would have to wait till the next episode developed.

Just now as I lay out linoleum on the den floor to cut for the little bathroom I had to laugh. Last week I would have run in terrror from reflooring a room. My creative juices were always fed and rewarded with cigarettes. when I got involved in relatively complicated activities. And here I am at the end of three weeks, snorting with frustration, concerned about getting my measuremets correct , rolling a heavy roller over the linoleum to straighten it--------and I am not out of breath, I am not tired. My legs are not heavy., and tho' I am thinking of cigarettes as you can tell by my message, I really can't say I want one. I still don't know tho' if I go out to meet my craves and hug them. Maybe time will tell.... Lilac


August 4th, 2002, 11:15 am#22

Thanks for bringing this article up Roger. I did not know until I'd read through all the messages here that you had brought this thread up for me.
While I was reading the John's original msg, I kept saying, "Oops - that's me. That's what I've been doing. Running..." I get it. I finally get it. I have read several articles about triggers, but this one is the one that did it. I read the subject, "Have you ever embraced a crave?" HA! Ya gotta be kidding! Look forward to? Embrace? the crave that drives me CRAZY? But, I read the article, and I got it.
OKAY CRAVE - bring yerself on!
Last edited by Lynne on July 23rd, 2009, 2:29 am, edited 1 time in total.

Rzquit Green

September 6th, 2002, 11:36 am#23

What a wonderful Post this is!I never thought of embracing a craving.. Thought they were to be feared... I was teetering.BAD.Cravings were real bad...Almost tearful.. Ate out tonight and the staff at the place were so confused where we should sit. Tried to show us our usual table in the smoking section. They were so used to us sitting in smoking section they argued among themselves as to where to seat us. . .. Looked at us like we came from outer space when kept requested non smoking. . However it felt good to sit in non smoking :-). I was afraid to go there tonight as we used to smoke there for many years....Very habitual place. Made it over that hurdle too. Nicotine free.. Still fighting back! Determined not to take another puff..

John (Gold)

October 16th, 2002, 9:11 pm#24

A three minute crave will not give you emphysema. Would you like to compare the challege of a three minute crave to the challenge of having emphysema? Get a drinking straw and try breathing through it for an entire three minutes. Now imagine only having that many functioning alveoli for the balance of your life. Forget about exercise - out of the question. Your battle is to simply keep breathing.

A short crave anxiety episode can not cut you, break a bone or otherwise hurt you, while that one puff of nicotine for which it begs could very well bring with it a 50/50 chance of you receiving the death penalty.
Unlike smoking, the challeges of this adjustment period called quitting are temporary. The next few minutes are doable!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John

John (Gold)

October 27th, 2002, 3:12 am#25

So much of what we feel is self-inflicted!
Relax and clear your mind of needless chatter!