Becoming An Ex-Smoker

18 Jun 2002, 04:17#1

"As long as a person feels like a smoker trying not to smoke, he or she is going to have the psychological problems and play the little mind games of a smoker trying not to smoke. When you cross over to the frame of mind that you are not a smoker trying not to smoke but rather you are now an ex-smoker--and that is what you want to be--the psychological benefit can be both powerful and profound."


The above is an excerpt from Message No. 24 in the thread Carrying cigarettes (http://ffn.yuku.com/reply/425385/Carryi ... ply-425385). I read it for the first time today, and have not seen that teaching concept anywhere else in Freedom. It really got my attention. 

For two months now, I have been successful in my quit by telling myself that "I am not going to smoke, just for today. I may smoke tomorrow, but today I'm not going to smoke."


Lately I have not had to argue with myself each morning about this decision, and it has become much less important to me. What I am trying to say is my mindset is changing, and I begin to look more at the long range picture of not smoking for the rest of my life. That idea has been particularly scary to me, but I have to accept that my baby steps are getting bigger.


This post that I quoted above really affected me. I have been thinking of myself as a smoker who is trying to quit. I now begin to realize that is time to begin thinking of myself as an ex-smoker. This is a major step for me and I wonder if anyone else has been through a similar experience.


The one thing I don't need to forget is the fact that I will never be an ex-addict.


Dave


I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 4 Weeks 2 Days 18 Hours 12 Minutes 46 Seconds. Somewhere there are 2126 extra cigarettes.   
Last edited by Hillbilly(Gold) on 18 Jun 2013, 13:24, edited 4 times in total.
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18 Jun 2002, 04:47#2

Hi Dave... I'm not sure I can pinpoint when "the switch" happened - but I'm thinking more as an ex-smoker these days than as a smoker-trying-toquit - and accompanying those thoughts are different actions/reactions....

an example...
I was at a function this weekend, and sometime during the evening I was a participant in a fairly in-depth conversation....... as it happens with two smokers..... the conversation moved into the smoking room (indoors... with fan, full ashtrays, fog ans 8-10 or so other smokers. I moved with the conversation while the other two received their fix. I was not tempted to smoke at all.....and I didn't "recoil" at the thought of mingling with the smokers..... for fear of temptation.

My clothes absolutely reeked the following day tho' I don't intend to make a habit of this... (before anyone brings up the passive smoke threads ) and I wouldn't advocate to anyone to "tempt themselves" this way....)

But in resopsne to your thread, Dave.... i do find the "evolution" of our quits to be intriguing..... and hopefully a source of strength to those with fresher quits

-richard
Last edited by richard This is It GOLD on 18 Jun 2013, 13:21, edited 1 time in total.
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18 Jun 2002, 04:49#3

Hi David

The concept you have now grabbed is indeed a crucial one. I think most people get to this stage, but many do so without recognizing what a huge change in attitude and psyche it represents.

I remember that post of Joel's in the Carrying Cigarettes thread, and I have a feeling that the same idea is put forward in a number of his articles. My personal way of expressing that idea goes like this:

For the first three months of my quit, I felt like a quitter.
For the next 6 months, I felt like an ex-smoker.
Since then, I have felt like a non-smoker.

I know that Joel and John and others think it's not a good idea for us addicts ever to think of ourselves as non-smokers, in case we ever forget that just one puff will take us straight back to full-blown smoking. But I'm comfortable with the term, and I find it represents my mindset most accurately.

As a quitter, I was always on the defensive, looking out for the negative events that arose in my quit like withdrawal symptoms, irritability, weight gain, triggers, and so on.

As an ex-smoker I started to find the positives in my quit, like being fitter, feeling in control, saving money. During this phase, I actually enjoyed the process of maintaining my quit, and started to create a whole new personality and lifestyle for myself.

As a non-smoker, I feel calm and comfortably in control. I am aware of my dark past, I am conscious that I am an addict, but all of that has become a comfortable and natural part of my life.

The names aren't what matter, David. As you have said, you recognize this change in mindset is a major event in your life, and an event for good. That's what matters.

Marty
NOT A PUFF for one year, six months, two weeks, four days : 10154 cigarettes not smoked saving £2,183.14 : 5 weeks, added to my life
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18 Jun 2002, 04:58#4

This very distinction is what made me dread my weekend trip to New Jersey....well, it wasn't the trip, it was the 3 hour layover cooling my heels in Hartsfield airport, at the gate next to the infamous smoking room. It is a nasty little place that has stained furniture, dirty carpet and walls, over run ashtrays, and a permanent cloud of smoke.

I used to hang out in that room.

And I was scared to death at the thought of being anywhere close to that room. I was thinking like a smoker, that is trying not to smoke. I was thinking that the temptation would be too strong. My trip had been one frustration after another.....long delays, missed connections, all that. As I sat there, I got out my magazine and read and read. After that, I strolled by the room and took a good look at the people in there. They looked uncomfortable and miserable. And I remembered that I had always felt that way when I was in there.

I think that my anticipation about my reaction to being there was much worse than the actual event. Hmmm, I gotta think about that.

misha your quit sister
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18 Jun 2002, 08:32#5

Good Thread David along with some very good posts relating to the subject. I like the way Marty has related to it and I think each and everyone of us goes through what David is describing. It may not be exactly as he feels it happening to himself but I think it follows along the same footpath. I relate it to the thread on depression and dealing wiht the 3 stages of acceptance. Of course the 3 stages here would be different. Such as the following.

1. Quitting: Hour to hour and Day to Day
2. x-smoker: Thoughts of smoking still prevelant.
3. Secure quit: No desires to smoke again. We are aware we are addicts but we now control the strings.
Comfort is a key element.

I believe it parallels the thread Every Quit Is Different. For each of us our goal is to reach step number 3. Some of us get there relatively fast and others take more time. There could be a multitude of events and things that assist each of us along the way. Craves, triggers, situations of stress etc. All of these happen to each of us probably at one time or another and depending on how we deal with them and process them depends on how long it takes us as individuals to reach our goal. On a personal basis my quit was relaxing to me in the very early stages. It was easier than expected. Was it? Or was it just how I dealt with everything? Was my attitude more accepting of the symptoms I was naturally going to recieve due to withdrawl of my drug of choice? Or were the symptoms just easier or not as intense for me? Was I more ready to journey to a better me this time? Who knows!!!!!

I am of the opinion this whole quitting business, once we get passed the physical cravings and withdrawl symptoms is nothing but a mind game we play with ourselves. We as individuals unknowingly make it as hard or as easy for ourselves by our attitude and how we accept and personally deal with things. I guess the whole point is that we all get to the Secure Quit and comfort zone nomatter how long it takes. We will all get there sooner or later as long as We Never Take Another Puff.

David, Your realization is a major step in the right direction. Keep up the good stats. I apologize for the long windedness.

Roger

5 months +
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18 Jun 2002, 09:29#6

"I have to accept that my baby steps are getting bigger"
That's a keeper David 
The baby does learn to walk and eventually to run like the wind! Being a teen to grave nicotine smoker is not who any of us are and once the real us starts shinning through going back seems ever so wrong! Half way between being an active smoker and ex-smokerhood is a no man's land of sorts where things can seem a bit confusing. It's there where the one day at a time and patience values we prefected as newbies become ever so valuable!
It's great reading that you're seeing the light up ahead, David! It's you! Enjoy yourself! The comfort is deep! Regardless of what we call ourselves the key to staying ourselves is in NEVER TAKING ANOTHER PUFF! Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! YQB John - The Gold Club
Last edited by John (Gold) on 19 Feb 2010, 16:34, edited 2 times in total.
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18 Jun 2002, 09:58#7

David,

Maybe it is something in the air ... or maybe it is just that we are in a similar place right now, but your post describes something that has been running through my mind today. It occurred to me that right now more than half the battle with quitting smoking, or anything else I want to change in my life, is in how I see myself. For so long it seemed like smoking was almost a part of my identity. I am sure a big part of that "identity" was created either through messages received via advertising, or ideas I came up with on my own to defend, explain, or support my addiction.

I feel like I have come to a place in my quit where I want / need? to reexamine my vision and beliefs about myself - to see what I can toss and what I want to keep. I am sure when I look at it there will be things that just don't ring true and other things that have nothing to do with whether or not I smoke - it is just that, up until now, I haven't given it a lot of thought. It seems like such a strange and sick thing to have part of your identity defined by an addiction, but there is definitly a transition from being a smoker to an ex-smoker or non-smoker. Maybe this process would just work itself out over time, but it seems to me that it wouldn't hurt to spend some time envisioning what I and my future look like without this active addiction tagging along for the ride.

Interestingly enough, I think it also takes the people around us a little time to get the picture that we REALLY don't smoke. The thread on lighters today reminded me of something that happened over the weekend. I went on a short camping trip with a friend who has been wanting me to quit for a long time. When it came time to build a fire, she realized there were no matches so she asks me if I have a lighter. I think my response was something like "Nooooooo?!" We both got a little laugh out of it. I don't think there was any bad intent on her part - it's just that I had always been The Bringer Of Fire in the past :-)

Like I said before, I am pretty sure all of these things would work themselves out whether I actively do something about them or not. Just seems like it wouldn't hurt to be a little proactive in the process. Thanks for your post. Its good to know that other people are wrestling with similar kinds of things!

YQS on this fabulous road to freedom
JennyG
1m1w6d
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18 Jun 2002, 12:12#8

Hi Dave,
I'm kinda where you are as well. I can't really say exactly what day it was that I
began thinking of myself as an ex-smoker instead of a smoker trying to quit, but it happened!
I like the thought of being an ex-smoker. I argue less with myself!
When I first quit, I kept waiting for this moment and once I stopped thinking about it,
presto here I am!
Here's to staying an ex-smoker!
YQB
Catherine
I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 1 Week 4 Days 22 Hours 20 Minutes 30 Seconds.
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
Last edited by Kit Cat (Gold) on 12 Apr 2009, 05:45, edited 1 time in total.
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18 Jun 2002, 21:55#9

" I have been thinking of myself as a smoker who is trying to quit."

We all know that quitting is impossible!.. Not only are we addicts for life, but we're gonna be in withdrawal for life......and so,

We think of ourselves as smokers who are trying to quit........

And then one day we realize..........................
We have quit!!
BillW Four months, one week, three days, 54 minutes and 59 seconds. 3871 cigarettes not smoked, saving $770.23. Life saved: 1 week, 6 days, 10 hours, 35 minutes.
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19 Jun 2002, 02:14#10

You know, sometimes it takes some one to smash you over the head
with a house!!
I mean is this a "DUH" thing or what!!
Here I've been for 1 1/2 months and still saying I'm quitting smoking.,instead of saying I'm an ex-smoker! How simple!

I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 2 Weeks 7 Hours 53 Minutes 16 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 2855. Money saved: $426.93.
Last edited by Rickgoldx5 on 12 Apr 2009, 05:46, edited 1 time in total.
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29 Dec 2002, 15:24#11

You're not silver are you (hillbilly(silver))?
Anyways if you are or not, what you are talking about will come with time. The more experiences you go through not smoking, the faster the transition will be. At least that is what happened to me. And it just goes that the more time goes by, the more experiences you will have without smoking, and the better it will get!! Don't worry about that far down the road, it will come! Take it one day at a time, you will get there!

hoop

I have chosen not to smoke for 7 Months 6 Days 14 Hours 12 Minutes 45 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 3308. Money saved: $537.69.
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25 Jun 2004, 09:36#12

This is an excellent way of looking at it. I am still a newbie, so I am still a smoker who is trying to quit. Everything I do is a trigger and a struggle. I am even afraid of the thought that I will never have another cigarette in my life. So really it is one day at a time. I just focus on not taking another puff from the time I wake up in the morning until the time I go to bed. Every day that passes is quite an achievement for me. I even inhale in the air and exhale as if I am smoking!!?? would you believe that? Reading your posts gives hope that the future is not going to be all struggle. Perhaps one day I will reach my comfort zone. Meanwhile, I am a smoker who is trying to be an ex-smoker.

Aida
One week, three days, and some hours.
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10 Mar 2005, 08:42#13

While doing history research (Uh Huh BG) I sometimes take a moment to stop and gawk as I cruise through hundreds of posts (not too diff from part of my job) if a title or favorite writer catches my eye. It's kinda like rooting through the toy chest when you were a kid, looking for just the thing that will strike your fancy (what a weird term BTW). Hey Guys, look what I found . Enjoy all, Thanks brother from the hills.

My name is JoeJFree a nicotine addict and Ex-smoker for 1 month, 28 days, 9 hours, 26 minutes and 27 seconds (58 days)
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 19 Feb 2010, 16:36, edited 1 time in total.
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10 Mar 2005, 10:46#14

JoeJ,

Great work pulling this one up, as it really hit home today. The last week or so I felt as if I was in a bit of a funk. From my Freedom Education, it seemed like the 'depression phase' with a lot of bargaining mixed in. However, last night it occurred to me that not smoking was the natural thing to do. Today, I referred to myself, without hesitation, as an ex-smoker, rather than saying "I'm trying to quit." This is not to say that the cravings aren't there, but I had a strange feeling that Hillbilly has put into words better than I could have hoped.

Thanks Dave and Joe.

DragonSlayer (formerly Ish9184)

Free and Healing for One Month and One Day, while avoiding the use of 798 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $181.85.
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22 Jan 2006, 13:20#15

Thanks to JoeJ for keeping this in his archival index of which complexities I fear. He mentioned it in another thread today.

Cannot believe I never read this classic by Dave. I had what most people would call an "easy" quit this final successful time. The worst of it was the month before quitting and the first two weeks of my actual quit. (I guess I would say plus a few months of "low lying fog".) And STILL I spent far too many months long telling people (and myself) that I was quitting, when I had actually already quit! That change in mindset changed everything for me.

For our dear Newbies... comfort is coming.

Kay (Gold x 2)
Last edited by kattatonic1 gold4 on 19 Feb 2010, 16:36, edited 1 time in total.
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11 May 2006, 02:10#16

I certainly understand the difference in the mindset of "trying to quit" and "not smoking". I once heard somone explain how to "try". He said to sit in a chair and "try" to get up. No, don't get up, just "try" to get up. "Trying" is not doing is it? In the past during my feeble attempts to quit smoking I would say "I am trying to quit". This time I refuse to make that statement. This time "I quit", "I do not smoke", "I am a recovering nicotine addict". Which ever statement I use now it must reinforce to me that just for today, "I do not smoke".

Kathy I am at work and do not have my quit meter but I have been nicotine free for 6 weeks and 1 day.
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26 Aug 2006, 04:04#17

I sometimes think there is magic going on here. I was having a bad evening, posted about it then read this string which had gone to the top of the list from the beginning of the string and much of it spoke directly to me. It is magic!

Ax
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26 Aug 2006, 04:35#18

Thanks JoeJ. I had already read this a long time ago, but don't think I'd hit the "first" button and read everything. With the passage of time since then and with then and with the benefit of reading all the other posts to this thread, an enormous light has just turned on for me. I am realising that there are many things in life which people deal with and approach differently. As an "ex/non-smoker", I have envied all those who were able to report quite early on that it was "easy", that they "hardly ever thought about smoking", I envied that they achieved comfort so quickly.

Re-reading this entire post, I was thinking about how many of the cherished events in life do not conform to a set timetable. Pregnancy and childbirth, study and attainment, emotional loss and healing, working out and getting fitter, loving and losing, setting goals and seeing them through. ....they are all life events with no timescales attached. The satisfaction they provide make all the effort worthwhile, they are all joyful experiences, although each person will take their own time to achieve them. And so, I think, it must be with dealing with this addiction. Patience and knowledge will ensure that comfort arrives for each of us when we are ready to accept and celebrate it.

Maria - 129 days free after 38 years
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15 Apr 2007, 23:52#19

Wow that was an awesome post. I am now 11 days into my quit. I hope on day I can take on the mindset of an ex smoker it sure would alleviate alot of my stress and anger.
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12 May 2007, 08:13#20

The Key to our success
resides within each of us.
It is acknowledging & accepting the Law of Addiction
while choosing to stay nicotine clean and Free.
Joel's Library
Click here to open Joel's entire 149 page library in PDF file format
(1.35 MB). Once opened, save a copy to your computer. You'll then
be able to search, print, and e-mail the library to friends who smoke.
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 12 Apr 2009, 05:56, edited 1 time in total.
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25 Mar 2008, 01:47#21

Joel's Videos are priceless..........a must listen.....even his voice is informative, supportive, caring and humorist....always feel brighter and lighter (that means feel much better)
Star
Last edited by starbirder.ffn on 12 Apr 2009, 05:58, edited 1 time in total.
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03 Aug 2009, 01:15#22

Becoming An Ex-Smoker
"As long as a person feels like a smoker trying not to smoke, he or she is going to have the psychological problems and play the little mind games of a smoker trying not to smoke. When you cross over to the frame of mind that you are not a smoker trying not to smoke but rather you are now an ex-smoker--and that is what you want to be--the psychological benefit can be both powerful and profound."

The above is an excerpt from Message No. 24 in the thread Carrying cigarettes . I read it for the first time today, and have not seen that teaching concept anywhere else in Freedom. It really got my attention.


For two months now, I have been successful in my quit by telling myself that "I am not going to smoke, just for today. I may smoke tomorrow, but today I'm not going to smoke."


Lately I have not had to argue with myself each morning about this decision, and it has become much less important to me. What I am trying to say is my mindset is changing, and I begin to look more at the long range picture of not smoking for the rest of my life. That idea has been particularly scary to me, but I have to accept that my baby steps are getting bigger.


This post that I quoted above really affected me. I have been thinking of myself as a smoker who is trying to quit. I now begin to realize that is time to begin thinking of myself as an ex-smoker. This is a major step for me and I wonder if anyone else has been through a similar experience.


The one thing I don't need to forget is the fact that I will never be an ex-addict.


Dave


Posted: 06/17/02 11:17
I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 4 Weeks 2 Days 18 Hours 12 Minutes 46 Seconds. Somewhere there are 2126 extra cigarettes

Last edited by dixieanny on 19 Feb 2010, 16:38, edited 1 time in total.
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28 Aug 2009, 18:35#23

This thread really hit home for me. Not there yet, but I know it's coming. The day I can say I've found "the zone" and am an ex-smoker. Thank you Freedom, I'd be lost without this site!
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06 Nov 2009, 17:50#24

A few days ago I faced a new trigger of some kind. Normally I am "talking to my craves". Speaking out loud, and telling them off.
But for some reason, I tried out a new strategy, this time.
I tried to imagine, what it would be like, to surrender to the craves.
Tried to picture my self go and get my coat, and go to the store to by that pack of cigarettes.
Tried to picture my self lighting up and inhale the smoke.
And then I realized some thing very odd... that picture just did not "feel" like me at all. It seemed so unreal, so wrong.
Isn't it amazing? After 25 years of smoking and just 1 month quit - now it actually feels like smoking never actually took place. Like it was just a bad dream.
This is hard to explain. Hope it makes sense.

My point is: I think, I have crossed that bridge all ready. I am not feeling like a smoker any more.
And since I realized that, my journey is getting much easier, since I really get the feeling, there is just no turning back to life as a smoker. Even if I would want to - I just can not go back no more.

Like a hermit crab who out-grew its shell. Once he left the shell, to search for a new and bigger shell, there is no going back. He will never be able to squeeze himself into that old shell again. Yet he might still feel a bit strange in the new shell.

(and I know, I still have to maintain my quit.. never feel to secure, and all...)
Benedikte - Free and Healing for One Month +4D
Last edited by benedikte on 06 Nov 2009, 17:53, edited 1 time in total.
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20 Dec 2009, 13:46#25

"As long as a person feels like a smoker trying not to smoke, he or she is going to have the psychological problems and play the little mind games of a smoker trying not to smoke. When you cross over to the frame of mind that you are not a smoker trying not to smoke but rather you are now an ex-smoker--and that is what you want to be--the psychological benefit can be both powerful and profound."

-Joel in a response to the string Carrying cigarettes
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