Repost of "Bad Days"


May 2nd, 2000, 6:17 am#1

Originally written for Penny when she had said she had just gotten through bad day. But it applies to anyone who posts that they have had a bad day.

Dear Penny,

I think it is important for everyone to know that as life goes on, people have bad days. Smokers have bad days, ex-smokers have bad days, people who never smoked a cigarette in their life have bad days. If the bad day is happening the week you quit smoking, blame it on quitting smoking. It is probably the reason. But as time marches on, you need to be a little more discriminating. For later in a quit, not smoking may be playing only a minor role, and possibly not any at all. What you said today was of pivotal importance though, even during your bad day yesterday, you didn't smoke, hey in your case, you didn't even consider smoking.

People in the early days of a quit sometimes hear long term ex-smokers say how it is now easy, how everything is going great. They often think to themselves, "well if it were going like that for me, sure I could stay off, but I am different now, it's still hard." They sometimes can't relate to ex-smokers. By acknowledging your bad day, or more accurately, an emotionally off day for one reason or another, and being able to awake the next day still smoke free with a new perspective on things gives a valuable lessons to new people here. Sure there are some tough times, but they pass and at the end of the day, you can still be smoke free. That is why I didn't call yesterday a bad day for you Penny, you made it through a touch day without a cigarette. You are still smoke free. In the greater scheme of things, it was a good day.

Watch people on the board who are off for months and have a relapse. Listen to their words and here you will see a bad day. Followed sometimes by an immediate quit which means a bad week. Sometimes though, some don't come back and you can probably accurately predict they are smoking again. They are having bad weeks, months and years. In America, with over 400,000 people dying annually every year from smoking, this translates to over 1,000 people dying prematurely every day. They then had a bad day. There surviving family and friends are also then having a bad day. Some go on having lives a little worse off every day because of the loss of their significant other. Smoking leads to this kind of chain reaction of bad days.

Summing up, it's OKto share tough times, but balance the message, with how you feel by the end of the day that you are still smoke free. It will reinforce your resolve, it will reinforce everyone who reads it too. To stay free from nicotine, be honest and never take another puff!



May 2nd, 2000, 8:18 pm#2


It wasn't Penny that had the awful day yesterday, it was me.(Darcy)

But thank you for the response, It was all good advice, and your right, it was still a good day because I didn't smoke. And I woke up this morning feeling good and recharged and ready to go! Thanks again Joel, your words are ALWAYS helpful.




May 2nd, 2000, 9:44 pm#3

((Joel)), I remember that post SO well. It helped me tremendously then. I hope it helped you Darcy. I always felt so special when Joel would respond to one of my posts!! : )


I have been Quit for: 5M 1D 10h 22m 41s. I have NOT smoked 5405, for a savings of $1,078.86. Life Saved: 2W 4D 18h 25m.


July 8th, 2000, 12:41 pm#4

Joel, that is a very special letter, and twice that I've needed to see it again! I probably should put it into my documents, but I think it means even more when it is posted by someone who cares, just when the ex-smoker needs that caring the most! Thank you again, my friend!



July 8th, 2000, 7:16 pm#5

Your very welcome Jan. I'm glad it helps to keep things in perspective. Life goes on without smoking and keeping perspective is crucial. It may not be perfect as an ex-smoker but it is a whole lot better than life as a smoker considering all the detrimental effects that goes with smoking. Smoking attacks you at so many levels, physically, economically, socially, mentally, in fact, it hardly leaves any aspect of your life unscathed. Keep remembering you are fighting for your health and your life. Again, if anything we can do to help don't hesitate to get in touch.



November 23rd, 2000, 9:04 pm#6

Dear Joel, thank you for such wise words. You are so right I did have a good day yesterday as I didn't smoke. When you look at things in a more positive way you feel so much better and feel like you are accomplishing what you set out to do. Now, when I have another day like yesterday it will be a good day because it means I am winning against the addiction of nicotine. I am amazed how you can turn my pessimistic thoughts into such optimistic ones. Thanks again Winever


November 30th, 2000, 11:11 pm#7

Thanks for this one Joel, I am famous for blaming everything on the fact that I quit smoking. If it's raining's because I'm quitting smoking...if I get a bill in the's because I'm quitting smoking...if my daycare kids are's because I'm quitting smoking, etc. etc. etc.And you are so right, sometimes a "bad day" or a bad moment or week or whatever, is just that and it has nothing to do with quitting smoking. One thing I know for sure is that smoking certainly wouldn't make it a better day!!!

6 "bad" days, 4 "not so great" hours and 6 "really terrific" minutes

JimD (Green)

January 4th, 2001, 10:49 pm#8

Thanks for reposting this one Joel...I know it hits home for me...sometimes we (I) tend to forget that non-smokers (people who have never smoked) have bad days too...and...every bad day can't be blamed on my quit!!! In fact as you said, every quit day is in essence a good day...And i now have a not smoke on my bad days...which in a way, makes them great days, that's positive!!!!

Jim D.


January 4th, 2001, 11:48 pm#9

thank you Joel.....for reposting, and for caring....


January 20th, 2001, 8:22 pm#10

For Riptide:

Riptide, I know that when I bring this up for most people they really only experienced bad moments and called them bad days, but from your description yesterday you had experienced what sounds to really be a bad day. Why this happened now I am not sure. It may have been purely emotional, going into the notmal depression stage (I will bring up the letter on "Depression Accompanying Smoking Cessation") and feeling generally anxiety about never smoking again. First, don't worry about never smoking again, you still need to set your sights on just quitting a day at a time. That is not just for you, that is how everyone needs to do it. I will bring up that post again too.

Also, because it is so close to when your physical withdrawal should have ceased I want to make sure that you are off all nicotine products, see the following letter as to why I had to ask that ( and, some medications can actually extend the withdrawal a few days by slowing the excretion rate of nicotine. Some of todays current ulcer medications and antacids have that potential, although 6 days is really out of that range too.

There may have just been an inordinate number of triggers all hitting simaltaneously yesterday. I am going to attach a post at the end here that talks specifically about psychological triggers causing such a day as you described.

If this is from psychological reactions, or, in the unlikelihood that it is from another medication prolongiing the physical withdrawal, either way, it will pass as long as you keep your focus strong of why you quit, and get a little more time and experience under your belt. I must also point out that as bad as your description of yesterday was, if you compare notes to a person on chemotherapy, fighting for his of her life and not sure if even these drastic measures are going to save it, or a person who is on supplemental oxygen to breath every day for the rest of his or her life, basically a pulmonary cripple for all practical purposes, you will recognize that as bad as your day was, their days are worse. Your WILL get better, their's may not and in the case of the emphysematous patient, will not. You are investing time, effort and pain but it is too further your goal of not smoking.

That goal, in the long run can overt such a painful and sad fate as these poor victims of the nicotine addiction ravages are facing. When you wake up the day after the last bad day, every day after that will be better than if you had continued to smoke. So try to keep things in perspective, this is a fight for your health and your life and worth all the effort that you are putting into it. To make this effort all payoff always remember that no matter what, never take another puff!

Joel's Reinforcement Library

"You said it would get better. It's just
as bad as the day I quit smoking!"

Recently I was met with this warm greeting from a clinic participant on his 8th day without smoking. As you may recall, we explain during the clinic that if a smoker can get through the first three days without smoking, the physiological withdrawal will start to diminish, and within two weeks all physiological withdrawal will stop.

While we can accurately predict the physiological withdrawal, psychological withdrawals can occur at anytime. It is possible that the urge this man was having was just as painful as the ones he had a week earlier. While the urge may have been as strong, it was different. When he had an urge before, there was really nothing he could do to get over it. If he just held out a few minutes, the urge would pass. But psychological urges are more under the ex-smoker's conscious control. A good analogy demonstrating the difference between physiological and psychological pain can be seen by analyzing a common toothache.

A rotting tooth can cause a lot of pain. If your dentist explains to you why the tooth hurts it really doesn't resolve the situation. You know why it hurts, but it still hurts. Simply understanding physical pain does not make the pain go away.

To illustrate another point, say you go to the dentist and find out that you have a cavity. He has to drill the tooth and put in a filling. The drilling can be a very rough experience. After it is all over the pain will stop, but whenever you hear the sound of a dentist's drill, even if it's years later, you cringe at the thought of the pain. Once you realize that you are simply reacting to the sound, you know that you are not really in danger and the reaction will end. Understanding the root of the fear alleviates the anxiety and the associated pain.

Any urges for cigarettes that occur today are reactions to conditioned triggers. You are doing or experiencing something for the first time without smoking. It may be going to a bar, a wedding or going on a plane. It may be seeing a person or being in a place where you always had a cigarette in the past. It may be something you hear or even an old familiar aroma. The sense of smell is a powerful mechanism for triggering old emotional feelings.

So today, if you find yourself desiring a cigarette, look around you and see why at this particular time and place a cigarette is on your mind. Once you understand that the desire is being triggered by some reaction to an insignificant event, you can just say "no" to the cigarette without further problem. All you need to do is understand what triggered the thought. The urge will pass. The next time you encounter a similar situation you will not even think of a cigarette. You will have learned how to face another experience as a ex-smoker.

Quitting smoking is a learning experience. Every time you overcome an urge you will have overcome another obstacle that threatened your status as an ex-smoker. As time goes by, you will run out of obstacles and you can comfortably go through life a happier and healthier person. All you need to remember and practice to stay an ex-smoker is - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF.


February 12th, 2001, 10:34 pm#11

For Patticake:

You had a bad experience during a day, not a bad day though. You got through it without smoking and have learned the lesson of being prepared for the unexpected. Triggers can come at anytime and your surrounding environment may be of no help to you at the moment they occur. That is why it is so important that you are mentally prepared to always be ready to help yourself. Make a list of all the reasons you quit and the reasopns you want to stay off. Make it during a clear sane moment, it is hard to make when in the midst of a mental smoking battle. Carry that list where you used to carry your cigarettes and when the situation occurs again, pull it out and read it. When you are done, if you still think you want "a cigarette", pull out a copy of "The Smokers Vow" attached below and read it through and absorb its meaning and really ask yourself do you want to be a full-fledged smoker for the rest of your life until it cripples then kills you. I am willing to bet if you really go through these two practices you will survive the evening without having to leave or feel that shaken. You may leave for health reasons because you realize that your lungs are under assault and you don't esthetically like being deluged by smoke, but you won't have to leave because you are feeling tempted or mentally threatened. It is a matter of keeping up your motivation and resolve and what better to do this than your own reasons for quitting.

Anyway, here is the smokers vow. Wish you luck.

Joel's Reinforcement Library

The Smoker's Vow

To be said just before taking your first puff after
having quit for any appreciable period of time

With this puff I enslave myself
to a lifetime of addiction.
While I can't promise to always love you,
I do promise to obey every craving and
support my addiction to you
no matter how expensive you become.
I will let no husband or wife,
no family member or friend,
no doctor or any other health professional,
no employer or government policy,
no burns or no stench,
no cough or raspy voice,
no cancer or emphysema,
no heart attack or stroke,
no threat of loss of life or limbs,
come between us.
I will smoke you forever
from this day forth,
for better or worse,
whether richer or poorer,
in sickness and in health,
till death do us part!
"You may now light the cigarette."

"I now pronounce you a full-fledged smoker."

Postscript: While 1 in 2 marriages end in divorce, the addiction to smoking will last a lifetime-albeit a shorter lifetime. Once a smoker, annulment of the addiction is impossible. One puff can result in a permanent relapse. Don't take the chance of relapsing to this marriage of inconvenience.



Patticake (Gold)

February 13th, 2001, 1:38 am#12

Thank you Joel for getting me back on track where I can get things back into perspective. You are absolutely right, parts of my day yesterday were absolutely great. Lesson learned. Well Nicodemon who got the last laugh here? FREEDOM......that's who.


February 28th, 2001, 9:01 pm#13

I know I just brought this one up a few days ago but Kim was having a bad day. But from the look of her last post she woke up the next morning to a good day. This is important to recognize. Having a bad day and not smoking gives the real opportunity to waking up the next day with many things being better. Sure there may still be some unresolved issues hung over from the day before. Maybe even some new problems. But you have another whole day now to work on them. And if you don't resolve everything that day there will always be tomorrow. Sooner of later the problem of today will be resolved with time.

But taking a cigarette because of a problem is different. Because you will not wake up the next day with just the same problem. You will wake up the next day with the same problem and a whole lot bigger problem than you woke up the previous day with-an active addiction, a need for a drug. A drug that is either going to put you into a major withdrawal or is going to be continued day after day. A drug addiction that doesn't ease up with time but just gets stronger and more dangerous. Most important it is an addiction that will not give you more time to resolve itself or any other life issues, but one in fact that will give you less time overall to deal with life problems but also to experience life's joys too. It basically comes down to being an addiction that will steal your time by shortening your life.

Again, surviving even a bad day smoke free makes it a good day by definition, when considering the grand scheme of things. To make today a good day and all the others to follow always remember to never take another puff!


mirigirl (silver)

February 28th, 2001, 9:18 pm#14

Thank God these "bad days" (or bad moments?) do pass and we can wake up to a new day, grateful that we got through the last one, (no matter how skew-iff!!??) smoke and nicotine free!!

It does get better.

One month, one week, one day, 21 minutes and 35 seconds of FREEDOM!!


March 26th, 2001, 6:25 am#15

Thanks for bringing this up for me Joel. It's great to have such support.
We have all probably heard the saying, "A Bad Day at the Beach is better than a Good Day at Work."
Well, I think we should coin a new phrase:

"A Bad Day Not Smoking is BETTER than a Good Day Smoking!"

1M, 2W, 2D Smoke Free

Patticake (Gold)

March 26th, 2001, 10:53 am#16

I suppose not having the habit to lean on and learning to lean on myself has been my greatest hurdle. I have really been taking a good look at myself, seemed everything (almost) I did nicotine was involved. One of my rituals was a smoke and a Dr. Pepper in the evenings. Had to learn to undo that habit. Gads I wasted a lot of time, nicotine this, nicotine that, no wonder this is called Freedom. I have really had some 'bad times' getting from 1/17/01 to today....even had some times when I had a hard time remembering why I wanted to quit in the first place. Even had some days when I looked in the mirror and said "hi, who are you today'. Even had some days when I wished I could crawl under the bed with my cats and sleep eighteen hours like they do. Then one day it suddenly occured to me that yes enemy #1 was nicotine, but enemy #2 was 'moi'. I had convinced myself I was having a horrible time simply because I had noticed someone else was and I was just following the herd. Actually after I had completed a mental inventory I discovered I felt pretty darn good. I checked a lot of the notes I had made in my journal and discovered that a lot of them were a hoot. Now I admit this is not something I EVER want to go through again. I smoked for 40+years and I have a lot of history with the stinking things but I honestly can't think of a day/moment that was so bad that I couldn't go through it again and relapse. I asked my God for help on January 17th, he led me here, now that was a very good day.

Joanne Gold

May 17th, 2001, 12:22 pm#18

For Keilit


May 18th, 2001, 11:52 am#19

I haven't been able to spend a lot of time here the past few days. It seems a number of people are experiencing what they think of as bad days. Everyone should work at keeping things in perspective. Life goes on without smoking and sometimes things will be bad that have nothing to do with smoking and or quitting.

But I think if everyone really considers the full implications of smoking, they will realize that that even bad days are better days than they would be if you were still a smoker. More significant, if you compare your bad days to people on oxygen for the rest of their lives because they are permanently pulmonary cripples, or people on chemotherapy trying to save their lives from cancer, or people in the end stages of smoking induced conditions that have no real effective treatments, they will realize that the bad days they are now having are a walk in the park compared to these patients bad days. In fact, your bad days are probably better than these people's good days.

If in doubt of this concept, go to and take a read of the ALA Wall of Remembrance or take a look at Bryan's story and see which of these people's life stories would you consider trading positions with. Trouble in relationships, job troubles, sleep disturbances, even depression, if compared to these tragic stories should help make you realize what you have gained by quitting as opposed to lamenting of the problems that you may perceive quitting has caused. In most cases quitting hasn't caused your problems, life has. Cigarettes won't resolve problems either, just add new ones to them that are usually more serious than the problem leading you to want a cigarette. Life goes on after quitting. In fact it will likely go on longer and you will go on significantly healthier as long as you always remember to never take another puff!



June 13th, 2001, 5:19 am#20

Seemed apropros today from people talking about stress and the such

Keilit (Gold )

June 14th, 2001, 7:50 am#21

I just wanted to say this. I was reading this thread today and saw that a month ago JoAnne brought this up for me, I guess I was having a bad day. I honestly don't remember anymore.
Today I had another bad day, but it was still a wondeful day. Because no matter how badly things went, or how I embarasssed myself in front of my fiance's family (ugh! I think falling into the pool fully dressed, says enough here!)
I NEVER thought about having a smoke, even with other people who were there smoking like chimneys.
So, for all the lurkers and newbies, it really does get better, and we really do learn how to control our emotions without nicotine. And it feels great!
One month, one week, four days, 10 hours, 39 minutes and 48 seconds. 424 cigarettes not smoked, saving $90.19. Life saved: 1 day, 11 hours, 20 minutes.


June 28th, 2001, 6:49 pm#22

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