**** Week?

25 Jun 2002, 15:46#1

I originally wrote the following in the The Teaching of Conventional Wisdom at Freedom, but think it deserves a string of its own. It seems not a day goes by that the "**** Week" term is not used by members, new and old alike. For over two years here at Freedom I watched this term used over and over again and basically ignored it. 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!.

Joel

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25 Jun 2002, 16:09#2

From another perspective, I also have an issue with "**** Week" in that by identifying the first week with "****", by contrast, it defines what follows as the opposite of ****, be that Heaven, paradise, total comfort. I think it sets up a false expectation that once we get to the end of the first week, everything's going to be rosy. I believe that many people who post that they are having major troubles during the week or two that follow the first week, may have their troubles made to seem worse by these unintentional false expectations. For similar reasons, I think even the term "Glory Week" is inappropriate. Again, it sets up (albeit unintentionally) the false impression that at the end of the week, it's going to suddently be a glorious event, and "POW, you're an ex-smoker." It just ain't necessarily so.

For some people, the first week is a breeze, and they experience real issues down the road. I know several people, including myself, who had a rough time during weeks 2 and 3, and started to worry that they weren't normal. When withdrawal symptoms continued that far out, they/I began to believe that we weren't normal, and that maybe we were the exception, and not meant to quit. Data here on the site states that withdrawal can continue as far as 14 days out. Experience (my own and others') tells me that for some, it can continue for several days beyond this. And yet, I've seen several new members laboring under the impression that their withdrawals should be over by the end of day 7, and when they aren't, I see the disillusionment, and often disappearance from the boards/relapse.

Point being, yes, the first week is a big accomplishment, and should be honored as such. But to term it with grand words like "****" or "Glory", it sets up dangerous false expectations. The false expectations cut both ways: 1) Connoting to people that it's supposed to be agonizing, when it doesn't necessarily have to be, and 2) Giving people the expectation (often a false one) that life as an ex-smoker gets dramatically easier with the passage of hour 168. The first instance can cause people to make their quit harder than it is, and the second can leave a quitter feeling stranded when the hope to which they've been clinging for a long week turns out to be false.

I know that at one stage, Freedom awarded a color for the completion of the first week without nicotine. I believe that's an appropriate acknowledgement... particularly if the connotations of the color are explained as they are for other colors. Essentially, it's a badge that says you've passed a milestone, have shown your commitment in practice, and that you're beginning to move away from one phase (physical withdrawal) and into the next set of challenges (the mental trigger game). A color can be a reward, without setting any false expectations of what comes with it.

Anyhow, there's my $.02. Excellent post Joel.

Bob (5 and a half months without the dragon)
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25 Jun 2002, 22:25#3

Yes, excellent post, Joel. I agree that ****/glory terms are misleading. I also agree that finishing the first week is a big deal. For me, for all freedomites, that was/will be our first big milestone. As such, it should not be ignored. I think giving the first week a color is a great idea. A color is nothing but a pat on the back of sorts. It says, "good job, and here's a little something to show for it." It is a rite of passage, it does not mean that the smoker is cured. Just as a teenager does not immediately become an adult at a sweet sixteen party.

Maturity and freedom take time, but even more so, they require experience. I vote for a one week color that reflects the first milestone experience.

Rosemary--Nicotine free for 4 Months 2 Weeks 9 Hours 53 Minutes. Cigarettes not smoked: 2688. Money saved: $672.06. Life reclaimed: 2 Wks 4 Days 16 Hrs 2 Mins 17 Secs.
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25 Jun 2002, 22:53#4

As you may know I lurked here for a year before I decided to quit and join.
I know the main reason for the wait was all the posts about "****" week!
When I finally stopped scaring myself and got the gutts to quit, I found "****" week
was really a non issue. Sure the first 3 days were a struggle, but not half as bad as I ivisioned "****" week! So Joel's point is well taken and should be addressed maybe by giving a color to the end of the first week. Maybe blue?
Just my thoughts...Rick

I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 3 Weeks 4 Hours 38 Minutes 9 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 3288. Money saved: $491.58.
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25 Jun 2002, 23:30#5

I'd agree that something should be done to recognize the first week, without making it look undoable, and without giving the impression that thats the end of the process. A color might be ok..... or some type of title, sorta like "Newbie" and "Oldbie", but a little more formal, and somehow carrying the impression that the person has earned the first level of respect, but still has a way to go....

kindof like "sophmore" translates as "wise fool".......

BillW Four months, two weeks, three days, 2 hours, 30 minutes and 40 seconds. 4113 cigarettes not smoked, saving $812.10. Life saved: 2 weeks, 6 hours, 45 minutes.
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25 Jun 2002, 23:44#6

Thank you Joel for a great post!!!
I never liked it when we refered to the first week as ****/Glory week. My first 3 days were bad but I wouldn't call them ****. I like the colour idea for our new members at day 7. How about PINK for their healing pink lungs???

Sarah
(2 months & 15 days)
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26 Jun 2002, 00:10#7

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26 Jun 2002, 00:13#8

From: GrumpyOMrsS (Gold) Sent: 6/25/2002 12:10 PM
good post, Joel! I am a person who never had a **** week.....but one I would term more as an "amazing" week. Never did I think I could get through an hour or a day, let alone 7 days in succession. When I finished that first week, I looked back at it in wonder. Did I really do this? Have I really gone one whole week without smoking? To me, someone who had smoked for 41 years without missing a day, that first week was a miracle as has been, the rest of my quit.

As far as giving that first week a color, we at Freedom NEVER did such. We had a couple of members who visited other sites that gave the color red to that week, but here at Freedom it was always known as ****/glory week, a term I have had difficulty coming to grips with as well.

To me, that first week is full of trepidation, of awe, of excitement and for us here at Freedom, education.
We have always hoped that our new members would use that week as a "learning" week, one where we learn about an addiction that if continued, would fill half of our lives with a smoking related illness.


Eventually, we all end up on this same path, no matter how our quit began... in total comfort and Freedom.....that is, if we always remember to never take another puff.

Linda
after 41 years, free for 2 1/2 years.
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26 Jun 2002, 00:59#9

Joel, I don't disagree with what you're saying, but I never really thought about ****/Glory week in that exact way. I saw it as a progression from the mental **** of doubt that I couldn't quit to the realization, glory, that I could quit. So within that context I like the name.
As far as the physical withdrawal went, for benchmarks/milestones, I latched onto the 72 hours to clear the nic out of my bloodstream and then the next eleven days to fully go through physical withdrawal. I agree with Bob that maybe the fourteen day window for full withdrawal is not entirely accurate for everyone but it was important to me when I first quit to have set timelines for physical withdrawal.
We have many creative minds here at Freedom. Perhaps a new name for week one is in order? Endurance Week? Breakthrough Week? Please someone help me with this! Takeback Week. Hmmm, someone can surely do better!
Regards, Janet
7+ Months
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26 Jun 2002, 01:08#10

What about Detox Week ? Short and to the point and pretty much descriptive about what goes on that first week without being emotionally suggestive as ****/Glory week is.

I know it sounds clinical and rather sterile, but that's how I thought of it and it really helped me to keep the focus, thinking of the best ways to get the nicotine out of my bloodstream in the quickest way possible. I think the name ****/Glory, especially the **** bit just brings in a little too much connotation and expectation of emotion when there's already enough emotion to deal with already. Besides...and I think this is pretty normal, no one block of time can accurately be described as **** OR Glory...there are **** Days and Glory days to be sure. but in this quitters humble opinion, LOL No ****/Glory WEEK.

Peace,
Tatum

Been kicking Nicodemons Butt to the Curb For 1 Month 3 Weeks 6 Days 2 Hours 45 Minutes 56 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 1713. Money saved: $214.18.
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26 Jun 2002, 01:19#11

Hello All,

All good points!

The concept of "****/Glory Week" is one that never moved me much in any direction, but I have certainly used the term because it was already in use and for lack of another way to mark a week nicotine-free.

If we're voting, I'd vote against a color for the first week ... something about having to be patient and earn that GREEN!

Rather, how about another name that doesn't have an association yet? Maybe "Discovery Week" or "Orientation Week" or "Miracle Week" or something because is really is a week of new discoveries, new achievements. Not only, is a new quitter learning about themselves, if they are members, they are learning their way around the boards.

Whatever the decision, there's no denying that first week free from smoking is a week to celebrate! As I am constantly reminded, struggling is optional.

Melissa
the Gold Club
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26 Jun 2002, 04:09#12

Very good post Joel. **** week does sound alittle intimidating like oh no what is going to happen to me and will I make it!!!! I didn't pay too much attention to it like Linda I was just so thrilled that I made it through 72 hours and then one week. I didn't join Freedon until I was past one week and when I kept reading about **** week I thought Gosh I didn't go through **** I was in **** when I was smoking and coughing my head off every morning afternoon evening and when I walked up steps Look out I thought I was going to pass out. Quitting was not **** Smoking is and I think that since every ones quit is theirs alone we can't really put a handle on what that first week will be like. To each his own. The education is the key. Cathy GOLD
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26 Jun 2002, 04:41#13

maybe "Breakout Week?"
just thinking out loud.
I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Month 3 Weeks 4 Hours 38 Minutes 9 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 3288. Money saved: $491.58.
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26 Jun 2002, 04:49#14

Genesis? Intern? Foundation? Fresh(person)? Jubilee? Banner?

-richard
(just my tuppenceworth, .028 Euro worth - and gettin ready for vacation !!!)
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26 Jun 2002, 05:02#15

Good post, Joel! When I first quit smoking....a "week" was not even entertained in my mind...the only thing that mattered was the "day". My first week was pretty tough but so were many other moments later....but as Joel has pointed out...nothing is as tough as a relapse or having to repeat constant detox. I literally quit smoking "one day at a time" and that is all this nicotine addicted lady could handle....be assured...that same concept stayed with me much longer than a week. Each day that passed where I remained free and in control was a huge victory...reaching a week didn't matter...it was a daily resolve until things became comfortable. The process is amazing and happens at different stages for each of us...the sooner we start facing the challenges and living out the associations we have to smoking...the faster we learn how doable quitting really is. We each have learned that in order to work through this process...all we have to do is never take another puff.

JUST FOR TODAY....NOT ONE PUFF..NO MATTER WHAT

So anyway, in those early days we should be concentrating on getting through each new day without taking that first puff....and nothing more.

One long day for this girl....three and a half years free and grateful for every minute.

Joanne : )
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03 Sep 2002, 10:25#17

Hmmm, good points, although I must admit I'm pretty lenient with language, as you can pretty much apply any meaning to any phrase if you put the words in the right order...I just take what I need from any given term.

So, with no opinion one way or the other about the term Glory Week (or **** week, for that matter), I'm going to offer my thoughts anyway just to keep me out of mischief.

Having just finished Glory Week, I can tell you it was hardly glorious although it had its moments. I've spent this week embracing my urges to smoke, allowing my mind to inhale and exhale the cigs, and then smiling as I push the thought away and exercise my healing lungs by taking yet another expanded breath. I've spent this week learning, and although this week was highly cerebral for me in terms of education and using mind over body, it was really a battle with my physical dependance on nicotine and my body's memory of it. I told myself that I could do it a thousand times but sometimes nothing worked but to ride out the cravings and urges, like a ship in a storm. For that reason I think Motivation Week would be an adequate name...even though, as I said, I don't really have much of an opinion . My non-opinion also says that two weeks should be the milestone, as I'm having a tougher time on day nine than I did on day 4, probably because my life is slowly changing in realization to being a non-smoker.

Just my non-thoughts for today!
Theresa, 9 days.
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14 Nov 2002, 13:25#18

Good post, Joel! When I first quit smoking....a "week" was not even entertained in my mind...the only thing that mattered was the "day". My first week was pretty tough but so were many other moments later....but as Joel has pointed out...nothing is as tough as a relapse or having to repeat constant detox. I literally quit smoking "one day at a time" and that is all this nicotine addicted lady could handle....be assured...that same concept stayed with me much longer than a week. Each day that passed where I remained free and in control was a huge victory...reaching a week didn't matter...it was a daily resolve until things became comfortable. The process is amazing and happens at different stages for each of us...the sooner we start facing the challenges and living out the associations we have to smoking...the faster we learn how doable quitting really is. We each have learned that in order to work through this process...all we have to do is never take another puff.

JUST FOR TODAY....NOT ONE PUFF..NO MATTER WHAT

So anyway, in those early days we should be concentrating on getting through each new day without taking that first puff....and nothing more.

One long day for this girl....three and a half years free and grateful for every minute.

Joanne : )
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26 Jan 2003, 07:17#19

I saw where one member just used the term that she had gone through quite a hellish week since she had quit smoking. I didn't want people to confuse this with the term "**** week." I always want people reading here to recognize that smoking has the full potential of causing much more pain and suffering and much more grief spread over a lifetime than any problems quitting may cause even in the first few days of a quit. Life will be better in the short-term and the long term as long as you always stay committed to never take another puff!

Joel
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21 Jun 2003, 19:44#20

I saw where a new member wrote, "when I joined a few days ago, someone mentioned that when the first week was over, it's called Glory Week? (see Glory Week?)Actually this was a term coined by John I think to balance the term "**** Week" which is used quite pervasively on the Internet. As in the case of the term "**** Week," "Glory Week" is not really said much out there in the real world. Bring it up in a conversation of ex-smokers who had no connection with the Internet and they will likely stare at you and not know what you are talking about. I have not heard either of these terms said by any person who I have talked to in any of the live clinics or in any of the live seminars I have conducted in the past 30 years, meaning after having talked to close to a 100,000 people about smoking, I don't think I have heard either of these terms spontaneously used once. I do think I have a vague memory where a member of Freedom said it in one of my live groups, although I am not sure of that.
I felt that we really needed to really clarify the term "**** Week" because the connotations that are associated with that term can clearly be counter-productive and are just plain wrong when looking at quitting in the grand scheme of things. "Glory Week" is a lot more accurate of a descriptive term. I just like to think of the first week though as the first seven days of what a person who truly understands the issues at hand is going to want to be thousands and thousands of days where they will eventually look back and still be able to say that they are still thrilled that they have stuck with their commitment to never take another puff!

Joel
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04 Sep 2003, 01:12#22

I saw three different people use the term "**** Week" in the past 24 hours. I think this post needs to be near the top today.

The week a person relapses may be hellish for some but the kinds of problems smoking can cause do not just last seven days. Smoking causes problems that 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 in chronic withdrawal as well as mimimizing the risks of getting diseases and conditions that can make your life really **** like is as simple as knowing not just for seven days, but for the rest of your life to never take another puff!.

Joel
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04 Sep 2003, 04:02#23

I sheepishly note that in my very first post I referred to "**** Week'! Please accept my apologies for the faux pas. After doing some reading up here, I fully concur that the term "Glory Week" is much more apt and in keeping with Freedom's positive perspective.

It seems to me that self pity in the recovery process is counterproductive and the term "**** Week", when used to describe the nicotine withdrawal experience, is not only implicitly self pitying, but hyperbolic and insentive to those who are truly living through hellish experiences. Nicotine withdrawal may be a very uncomfortable experience but it is certainly not life threatening or even catacylsmic. I agree with Joel and others that there are too many experiences out there that are truly hellish to use this term to describe our first week's ( or 72 hours') discomfort.

Still learning after all these years...

Carl
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04 Sep 2003, 04:46#24

Hi All:

I just joined about four days ago and have seen the term "**** Week" quite a bit as well as Glory Week. I agree with Joel on this.

Glory Week has a much better taste than **** Week. So, as long as I am here and posting, I think I will refer to this as Glory Week as well. It is only 7 days but worth celebrating afterall.

I think lots of people really wonder if they will get through the first 7 days at all. But getting through them gives us the courage to keep going.

Thank you Joel for your wonderful insights and for keeping us all in line "often"

Alleen
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11 Sep 2003, 17:51#25

Good morning everyone, from the Irish YB!!

Day 6, so still in Glory Week, and believe me, after the first few days of very weird symptoms it truly has been a glorious week, of realisation, education and recovery.

I am going on holiday to one of the Greek Islands on saturday. Smoking was always a big thing for me on previous holidays, but this time I am never going to take another puff, so I am not worried. I am not complacent either, and I will be on my guard, as my husband smokes, but I will not smoke. My mind set is so strong that I am very sure in my quit.

I will be bringing printouts of pages from freedom, to reinforce my quit if needed.
Otherwise I am going to relax and have my first non smoker holiday!!!
Well since I was 17 (20 years ago!!
Imagine the damage I done to myself??) anyway.

Any advice from my colleagues here will also be gratefully accepted!!!

YB. Day 6!!! Yippeeeeee!!
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