A Most Intense Dependency
Thinking about going grocery shopping and experiencing hunger pains are two different things.
Yes, they can both happen at the same time but most often they don't. This very moment, you're here in the quitting store, stocking up on insights, thinking deeply about the topic of smoking but are you experiencing a crave. Maybe, but probably not.
A ten cigarette per day nicotine smoker, who smoked for ten years and averaged 8 puffs per cigarette has had a cigarette touch their lips 292,000 times, has tasted their burning cigarette's 4,000 hot particles and gases 292,000 times and has sucked nicotine deep into their lungs 292,000 times. Eight to ten seconds later they sensed nicotine ar
rive in their brain. Yes, 292,000 times - eighty times per day. How well do you know your name? How many times each day do you say or write your name?
Albeit chemical, our dependency upon smoking or using oral nicotine may have been the most intense relationship we've ever known. We're told that nicotine may be the most perfectly designed drug of addiction ever. When we anticipate a human hug or actually get one, we get a shot of dopamine. That "aaah" reward sensation. The same happens when we anticipate or eat an anticipated food, when we anticipate accomplishment or complete a non-routine task.
When anticipation or the excited event actually occurs the firing rate of millions of dopamine neurons in our midbrain increase from their normal baseline rate of about 4 bursts per second to as much as 25 bursts per second (25 Hz) depending upon the intensity of the stimulus. Entirely by chance the nicotine molecule fit into brain neuron receptors designed to receive acetylcholine (the a4b2 sub-type). Like your TV channel changer, it's the brain's conductor of an entire orchestra of neurochemicals, including initiating the flow of dopamine.
We've read research reports here at Freedom indicating that the key
difference in using nicotine to steal dopamine versus having its flow controlled by life is that unlike the "aaah" sensation that comes from anticipating or receiving a nice cool glass of refreshing water when thirsty, the dopamine released by nicotine doesn't quickly get cleaned up. That's right, one of the "orchestra" of neurochemicals controlled by acetylcholine is the dopamine killjoy enyzme MAO B. With almost no MAO B, nicotine produced dopamine gets to linger on much longer.
We're not here to become ex-user neurochemists. But it's important to appreciate how nicotine is so gripping that through the hacking, coughing and the six shades of green that often came with that first nasty tasting puff, we each quickly started making excuses as to why we came back for more.
We're told that half of all our brother and sisters in bondage are not arresting their dependency prior to costing themselves an average of 13 to 14 years of life. What we've each done in staying nicotine free is pretty darn special. To think about a relationship that was this gripping, this intense and, yes, extremely dependency dependable is entirely normal. The imposter nicotine and its control of neurochemicals as diverse as adrenaline and MAO B may have made everything from the need for and "aaah" associated with eating a hardy breakfast or a child's loving embrace take a neurochemical backseat in life.
Nicotine dependency recovery can be one of the most glorious adventures we'll ever make if we'll only allow ourselves to not be afraid of the self-beauty that our mind's dependency has so deeply suppressed. Allo
w yourself to see, feel, smell, taste, hear and imagine the beauty gradually unfolding within.
Melissa (Toast) just shared with me the fact that she hasn't had a crave in years. My last crave was in December 2001 but then again we may both experience one tomorrow. But through all that I have never once seen someone smoking a cigarette, especially on television or in movies, when I didn't think about the topic.
We will never promise you that you will not think about where you spent all those years but we can promise that with each passing day the challenges, if any, will gradually grow fewer, shorter in duration and generally less intense.
Still just one overriding principle, one that will always remain our common bond, no nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff, Patch, Dip, **** or Chew!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,
John (Gold x7)