Welcome! Are you ready to take back your life?

Welcome! Are you ready to take back your life?

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Feb 2003, 05:49 #1

Are you ready to take back your life?
Have you tried all the quit smoking magic cures and yet still find yourself hooked? Is it possible that you skipped the most important step of all? When did you take the time to read the instructions that came with your addiction?
Was the stroke of midnight on New Year's Eve 2002-2003 once again supposed to be the exact moment in time when you quit smoking forever and permanently broke nicotine's powerful grip upon your life? Did it really need to be?
In truth, quitting on January 2, February 3, March 4, April 5, in the middle of any day, tomorrow, or even before that next puff are all perfect times to begin the up to 72 hours needed to purge your body of all nicotine so that chemical withdrawal can peak in intensity and then begin to gradually decline. In truth, any moment that you choose to reclaim your life is a glorious moment indeed.
Contrary to what you'll read, it doesn't take massive planning, truckloads of motivation, spending your hard earned money on the lastest and greatest magic cure, a certain number of attempts (usually said to be 5), or you making major changes in your life, in order to quit. It requires only genuine desire and you taking the time -- at long last -- to read the instructions that came with your addiction.
More than 90% of all successful quitters alive today - an estimated 1.2 billion - quit smoking cold turkey. Most of them discovered the power of nicotine - just one puff - through repeated failures (usually said to be 5) and the school of hard-quit-knocks. Could education have served as a shortcut? Absolutely!
Nicotine Addiction - In 1988 the U.S. Surgeon General declared that nicotine is chemically addictive and likened the pharmacologic and behavioral processes responsible for "tobacco addiction" to those responsible for addiction to heroin and cocaine (ACSH). Since then science discovered that the brains of nicotine smokers on autopsy were found to have grown millions of extra neurons in the cortex, striatum, and cerebellum regions (1995, 1999). There is a growing sense that this visual "up-regulation" of brain cells may play a role in the addiction process itself (NIDA, 2002).
Between 1988 and today science has clearly presented neuro-chemical evidence that nicotine enslaves the brain's dopamine reward pathways in a manner strikingly similar to other drugs of addiction (HealthCanada, WhyFiles). Today the National Institute of Drug Abuse is trying to get the states to look at treating nicotine dependency as the true chemical addiction that it is. It has openly declared that withdrawal from chronic nicotine use rivals the magnitude and duration of similar changes observed during withdrawal from other drugs such as cocaine, opiates, amphetamines, and alcohol.
In comparison studies with heroin, cocaine and alcohol, experts are consistently concluding that nicotine ranks highest when it comes to chemical dependency - defined as how difficult it is for the user to quit, the relapse rate, the percentage of people who eventually become dependent, the rating users give their own need for the substance and the degree to which the substance will be used in the face of evidence that it causes harm (Henningfield Study and Benowitz Study, B.Y.U. Drug Comparison Study). Only last year (March 2002) did we begin to fully appreciate how nicotine is so much more captivating than other drugs of addiction. It some articles its now being called the most perfectly designed substance of addiction.
Although U.S. cigarettes still do not carry any addiction warning label, since 2000 the Canadian government's cigarette pack warning label has declared "WARNING: CIGARETTES ARE HIGHLY ADDICTIVE - Studies have shown that tobacco can be harder to quit than heroin or cocaine."
Even the web sites of the tobacco companies are now admitting that nicotine is addictive. At the Philip Morris web site it states "we agree with the overwhelming medical and scientific consensus that cigarette smoking is addictive."
From England (Royal College of Physicians) to America's heartland (Illinois) and on to the West coast (Washington), youth and smokers are being taught that nicotine dependency is a true chemical addiction, on a par with all other drugs of addiction.
The Law of Addiction - The law of addiction is simple and its understanding crucial. If a former nicotine addict uses any nicotine, even one puff, they are all but assured of full and complete relapse back to their old level of nicotine intake or higher. Whether you quit for a day, a month, a year or a decade, just one puff of new nicotine and your period of healing and freedom are over.
Chemical Withdrawal - Recovery Benefits Timetable - Nicotine's half-life in the human body is two hours. Within 72 hours the quitter's body is nicotine free and chemical withdrawal peaks in intensity as the brain begins sensing the arrival of, and adjusting to, nicotine free blood serum. But, just one puff and the early quitter must again endure the anxieties associated with another 72 hours of nicotine cleansing. Few of us are strong enough to go toe-to-toe with nicotine but then we don't need to be as nicotine's I.Q. is zero. Don't try to out-muscle your addiction, outsmart it!
When it comes to true chemical addiction, there is no such thing as having "just one." It's a destructive illusion that kills. Instead of picturing that one "perfect" smoke, picture all the others that come with it. Instead of trying to cheat or reward yourself by bumming just one cigarette, grab the entire pack and run because you're going to need every single one of them, and the thousands more that follow. There is only one rule to staying free - Never Take Another Puff!
Quitting smoking is a temporary period of adjustment during which a nicotine dependent person develops the patience needed to allow themselves to once again become 100% comfortable functioning with natural levels of dopamine and adrenaline. Peak chemical withdrawal occurs within 72 hours and within 10 days to two weeks the brain has chemically adjusted to functioning without nicotine.
Craves and thoughts that occur over time - Psychological recovery also normally peaks at about day three, when an "average" of six crave episodes occur. A crave episode is triggered by encountering a time, place, location, emotion, event, or activity that acted as a conditioned cue for your subconscious mind to begin to expect the arrival of new nicotine. It's the ingrained nicotine feeding patterns that you selected to fulfill your chemical addiction's endless need for more.
The good news is that most triggers are reconditioned and discarded by the mind with a single encounter. The good news is that no crave episode will last longer than three minutes but be sure and look at a clock as your mind may try and convince you that the minutes are hours. The good news is that the "average" quitter experiences just eighteen minutes of craves on the most challenging day - day three. The good news is that by day ten the "average" quitter is experiencing just 1.4 craves per day.
You may have established more feeding cues than the "average" quitter but even if you are compelled to meet, greet and defeat ten triggers on your most challenging day, that's still no more than thirty minutes of crave episode anxiety on the worst day of all. Can you handle 30 minutes of substantial anxiety? Sure you can, we all can.
Within a few weeks you'll begin experiencing entire days without encountering an un-reconditioned crave trigger, but remain alert. After going a few days without a crave episode it's normal to let your guard down, and when a trigger is eventually encountered it is likely to feel like you've been caught off-guard and sucker-punched. The crave was no more intense than others. It's just that you were no longer in battle mode, awaiting its arrival.
Thoughts and Memories - As the number of craves continue to dwindle, your focus will turn to a phase where you'll find yourself sorting through and dealing with thousands or even millions of independent memories associated with years of lighting, puffing, tasting, smelling, inhaling, sensing, ashing, butting, needing, craving, feeding, buying and sharing your addiction.
At times, a sea of thoughts can seem to flood your mind. Unlike crave episodes, thoughts can linger on as long as you allow them. The good news is that to a great extent we can control our thoughts. The good news is that with each passing day you'll experience fewer and fewer thoughts of wanting to smoke. The good news is that within just a few months you'll begin to experience entire days where you never once think about wanting to smoke.
Baby steps - An important initial expectations tip is to abandon all thought of quitting forever - a mighty big bite to chew upon - and instead view each day of freedom as the full and complete victory that it truly is - Take it one day at a time! If you insist upon measuring success in terms of quitting forever, when will you be entitled to celebrate? What good is celebrating once you're dead?
Below are a dozen solid quitting tips to help take the "cold" out of cold turkey quitting. For additional information, motivation enhancement, group support, free counseling, and hundreds of additional pointers you're in the right place as 150,000 archieved Freedom posts address almost every cessation topic imaginable!
1) Blood sugar changes when quitting - Drink plenty of fruit juices the first three days to help avoid symptoms associated with wild blood sugar swings - headaches, an inability to concentrate, dizziness, time perception distortions and the ubiquitous sweet tooth. Cranberry juice is excellent.
Nicotine fed you by indirectly pumping stored fats and sugars into your blood via adrenaline releases. It allowed us to skip meals and yet not feel hungry because nicotine was feeding us. Normal people must eat. It isn't a matter of consuming more calories but of learning to spread our daily intake out more evenly over the entire day.
2) Caffeine tolerance changes after cessation - possible changes - Blood studies have shown that nicotine accelerates the rate at which caffeine is metabolized by 203%. This means that nicotine smokers may need twice the caffeine as non-smokers in order to feel the same effects from caffeine.
If you are a heavy caffeine drinker (over 750 mg) and you failed to reduce your caffeine intake by roughly half during prior quitting attempts then it's likely that you found yourself climbing every wall in sight. Don't give up your caffeine but do understand why you may need less.
3) Quit for yourself - Quit for yourself not others. If you quit for others, what will happen the first time they disappoint you? We call it "junkie thinking" and it is a "quit" killer. Don't entrust your cessation motivation to anyone but you. It may be fun to have a quitting buddy along but do not lean upon them as a primary source of motivation. Also don't expect your family to appreciate what it's like for a drug addict during withdrawal and recovery unless they've ever been chemically dependent themselves. It just isn't fair.
4) Crutches - Although you may need to reduce your caffeine intake or take great care in using alcohol during the first week, don't give up anything in your life when quitting except for nicotine. Also, don't pick-up any new crutches either, good or bad. Food can be a crutch but so can any abrupt or major lifestyle change, even exercise programs. A crutch is any new activity that you are relying and depending upon to help you quit. You don't need any crutches.
5) Make a list of why you want to quit smoking - Write down all of your reasons for quitting, keep them close at hand, and use them as a powerful crave coping tool during challenging moments. Also, take a few notes or keep a diary during the first few days so that you can document what withdrawal was like. The mind quickly suppresses life's negative memories. Preserve them as both a yardstick to measure your healing and a tool to renew and invigorate your motivation to stay quit.
6) Crave coping tips - What will you do to get though a craving that lasts up to three minutes? Have both a primary plan and at least one back-up and use them all if need be. Three approaches during crave episodes are to briefly distract your mind, to relax it, or to confront the crave head-on.
Distraction can be any activity that works for you including walking away from the relapse threat, a brief period of exercise, or even screaming into a pillow. Try reciting your ABCs while associating each letter with a food (A is for Grandma's hot apple pie).
Relaxation can range form of a five minute shower to a few slow deep breaths while clearing your mind of all chatter and focusing on your favorite color, object, person or place.
Crave confrontation can be empowering. In your mind relax while reaching out and Embracing crave episodes . It can not hurt you, cut you or make you bleed. Wrap your arms around it. Sense its power peak in intensity and then slowly begin to subside. Victory is yours!
In that a crave episode is always less than three minutes, delay is your friend. Get rid of all your cigarettes and build-in a bit of delay. With tobacco having a 50% kill rate - each dying an average of more than 5,000 days early - chemical withdrawal is not a time for mind games. You have nothing to prove.
7) Quitting Aids - On September 11, 2002, a new California study was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) which concluded that "NRT appears no longer effective in increasing long-term successful cessation in California smokers." Here is a link to the JAMA study - http://jama.ama-assn.org/issues/v288n10 ... 11973.html
NRT is the nicotine patch, gum, spray, inhaler and lozenge. Nicotine is nicotine, as it all comes from the same plant. In the "real-world" those using NRT are not part of some highly structured medical study whose education program focused exclusively on successful nicotine delivery device transfer (from tobacco to NRT device), while ignoring the abrupt nicotine cessation education needs of those in the control or placebo group - like "Tips" one and two above.
Not only does NRT needlessly prolong nicotine withdrawal, the fact that it does so is being used in many studies in order to claim success. For example, in the new nicotine lozenge studies the authors declare successful "cessation" at three months while study participants continue using the nicotine lozenge for six months.
The slight of hand is in defining "quitting" as quitting smoking and not in breaking nicotine's powerful grip upon the brain's dopamine reward pathways. Under definitions used in most medical studies a nicotine smoker who gets hooked on nicotine gum or chewing tobacco has successfully quit. Keep your eye on the nicotine!
8) The smoking dream - Your body's healing is likely to trigger one of the most vivid dreams in your entire life. Don't be afraid as it's perfectly normal. You'll awake convinced that you have actually smoked, when what your improved senses of smell and taste have sampled are the odors being given off during the breakdown of tars inside horizontal healing lungs.
9) Minimizing the weight gain - Although metabolism changes can account for a pound or two of weight gain, within just ninety days of quitting you can expect an almost one-third increase in overall lung function. The ability to build cardiovascular endurance is a powerful tool for change. Quitting smoking does not cause major weight gain - eating does.
Two quick points. Smoking was your old cue that a meal had ended and you may need to find a healthy new cue (walk, dishes, tooth-pic, brushing your teeth). Also, with nicotine feeding us, many smokers are not used to encountering and dealing with true hunger. Whether you eat with a shovel or a teaspoon it still takes roughly 25 minutes for your body to digest those first few bites so that the brain's hunger switch can be turned off. When hunger arrives eat as slowly as possible.
10) Possible Withdrawal Symptoms - In dealing with symptoms it's pretty safe to blame quitting for almost everything you feel during the first three days, but after that you need to listen more closely to your body and contact your doctor should you have any lingering concerns.
Each puff of smoke introduced over 500 gases and 3,500 chemical particles into your body. Some of those chemicals could have been hiding or masking a serious underlying condition (for example asthma or thyroid conditions) or even interacting with medications that you were already taking (like depression meds). It is not unusual for medications to need adjusting.
11) Understanding emotional loss experienced when quitting - Even though you are leaving an extremely abusive and destructive relationship, the endless cycle of using nicotine to briefly satisfy your dependency created a powerful bond. During this temporary journey of adjustment from active smoker to comfortable ex-smoker, the emotional sense of loss and the phases you'll go through can be similar to those experienced during the death of a loved one - denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Although it is normal to feel a short term sense of loss when quitting, chronic organic depression is also real and for some smokers nicotine became a deadly means of medicating it. If you become at all concerned about lingering depression then seek medical assistance not nicotine!
12) Patience - While quitting, the next few minutes will always be doable. One of the greatest challenges faced by the new quitter is in developing quitting patience after a lifetime of sensing new nicotine arrive in their brain within 10 seconds of a new puff. Give yourself a couple of minutes and the worst will pass. Someday soon you'll look back upon your biggest challenge of all as your greatest moment of glory.
Just one day at a time, baby steps and never forget the golden rule - no nicotine - Never Take Another Puff!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long! John : )
Last edited by John (Gold) on 20 Oct 2009, 17:28, edited 2 times in total.

Toast (GOLD )
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

07 Feb 2003, 06:38 #2

Wow, John! What a pile of good info!
20 months
Last edited by Toast (GOLD ) on 20 Oct 2009, 15:44, edited 1 time in total.

Sal GOLD.ffn
Joined: 16 Jan 2003, 08:00

07 Feb 2003, 07:23 #3

I agree with Melissa! This would be a good one to print for a friend who's interested.......
Three weeks, four days, 16 hours, 24 minutes and 19 seconds.
513 cigarettes not smoked, saving $89.89.
Life saved: 1 day, 18 hours, 45 minutes.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:02

07 Feb 2003, 07:23 #4

WOW, John....this was an awesome read!! Whether she likes it or not, I've sent this to my sister. She quit a year ago and then blew it after some 5 months. She was using one of those doofus NRT cig looking gadgets so she may have never actually detoxed from the nicotine. When I began my quit 3 weeks ago, she mentioned that she needs to try again. This time, I hope she wakes up and goes for FREEDOM. Hope I'm as fluent on all this by the time I'm gold as you! Thanks for a great piece. JD

I have been Quit for: 3 Weeks 1 Day 15 Hours 14 Minutes 43 Seconds. I have NOT smoked 950, for a savings of $159.24. Life Saved: 3 Days 7 Hours 10 Minutes.

Parker GOLD
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:58

07 Feb 2003, 10:55 #5

I am so grateful that after 32 years of smoking I reclaimed my life. There is real freedom and true comfort on the other side of nicotine addiction.

Thanks, John!

Parker - 8 months

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

03 Mar 2003, 12:26 #6

Can You Handle 30 Minutes
of Crave Anxiety?
Some habit triggered craves truly might feel like a short panic attack but keep in mind that unlike smoking "thoughts" (which are far more controllable but that can linger inside your mind for as long as you allow them), a triggered crave is extremely short lived and almost always less than three minutes in duration. I encouage you to look at a clock and time your first few craves. If you don't, the intensity of the experience might tend to slow time to a snail's pace and lead you to believe that it is lasting much longer than it really is. I think you'll find it amazing just how brief they really are. Don't be fooled.
The below chart is from a very detailed quit smoking study and it shows the AVERAGE number of craves that the AVERAGE quitter documented during the first 10 days of their journey home. Keep in mind that many quitters experience fewer while others experienced more. These are only averages.
Assume for a moment that day three of your cessation experience will be ABOVE AVERAGE and that you will experience 10 craves on day three instead of the average of 6. Further assume that no single crave will last longer than 3 minutes. That is a total of 30 minutes of crave anxiety on the most challenging day of your entire recovery. Are your motivations for quitting sufficient to carry you through 30 minutes of challenge on your most challenging day of recovery? You bet you are! Write them down, hold them close and before you know it you'll begin believing that life without nicotine is at last within your grasp. John
Last edited by John (Gold) on 20 Oct 2009, 15:46, edited 1 time in total.

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Mar 2003, 22:47 #7

Dreams Born of Reality are the Fuel Home
Welcome to Freedom! What is the inner source that will allow you to stop smoking nicotine, skip those once mandatory feedings, and resume full control of your life? Strength, willpower, desire?

It would be natural to think that it's a combination of the three but none of us are stronger than our addiction, as is clearly evidenced by our inability to live the drug addict's first wish of being able to control the uncontrollable. You cannot beat your dependency into submission, stand toe to toe with it, or handle one puff of nicotine and prevail. Nicotine's chemical bond with the brain's reward pathways is beyond the reach of strength.

Willpower? Yes, we can each temporarily muster mountains of willpower but can willpower make any of us of us endure a challenge that we lack the motivation to complete? Can you inhale, chew or **** nicotine into your body and then "will it" to not travel to the brain's addiction circuitry or create the chemical need for more? Have you ever been able to order or command the challenges of chemical withdrawal or psychological recovery to cease? If we are incapable of using strength to control our addiction and we cannot "will" our chemical dependency into hibernation or submission, then what remains?

As simple as it may sound, dreams and desires born of honest recognition of tobacco's impact upon our life have the amazing ability to fuel change, but it takes keeping those original honest motivations in the forefront and driver's seat of our mind so that they can both consciously and subconsciously guide us home.

The successful quitter finds ways to protect and safeguard their primary motivations so that they remain robust, alive and available at a moment's notice to fuel the patience needed to transition this temporary period of adjustment called "quitting." The intelligent quitter's strategy combines an understanding of the law of addiction - one puff of nicotine equals relapse - with well-protected core motivations.

The successful quitter does not try to forget what their health was like while smoking, what it felt like to be controlled, the growing sense of becoming a social outcast, or that feeling as we stood at the tobacco counter and paid our hard earned money to purchase the more than 4,000 chemicals contained in each cigarette that would slowly destroy our body and mind. The successful quitter keeps such memories - and others - in the forefront of their mind as honest reminders and motivations to fuel their dreams and desires.

The intelligent quitter realizes that if they allow their motivations to die that it is highly likely that their freedom and healing may die along with them. The intelligent quitter finds ways to fuel their motivations, just one day at a time, through study, understanding, education, skills development, critical observation and honesty. They know that they are 100% guaranteed to continue free today if they'll only maintain and protect their original day #1 genuine desires to ... Never Take Another Puff!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long. John : )

nadette bronze
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

22 Mar 2003, 01:42 #8

thank you very much john!
2w, 4d

John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 Mar 2003, 12:25 #9

Have you fully accepted the fact that
you are a
REAL drug addict?

If you have repeatedly tried to quit smoking but failed, you need to understand that you do not smoke because you are bored, to reduce stress, because you're happy or sad, because you like the smell or taste, or because you enjoy smoking. You smoke because you are a real live honest to goodness drug addict, in the exact same sense as an alcoholic or heroin addict. Make all of the excuses you want, your brain is married to and chemically dependent upon mandatory regular nicotine feedings and it probably has been for a long, long time. Nicotine's half-life in the human body is about two hours. Within two hours of last smoking nicotine your blood serum nicotine level drops by half. In another two hours it will drop by half yet again. We don't need to look at any fuel meter or gauge in order to see it dropping. Our brain sends a small urge reminding us that it is time to fuel-up again. If we don't listen to the smaller urge, the message will gradually grow in intensity until we find ourselves in full-blown nicotine withdrawal.

You don't smoke immediately prior to entering or leaving a store because you are excited about going shopping or about the purchases you just made. You smoke to tank-up and get through your shopping experience without having to deal with your addiction's craves and urges, or because you stayed too long and it's once again time to feed that endless cycle of need.

You say that you smoke to calm your stress? Nonsense! Nicotine dependency increases the level of anxiety associated with every stressful situation the dependent smoker has ever encountered. Nicotine is an alkaloid and stress is a major acid producing event. Have you ever seen baking soda (an alkaloid) poured on an acid covered car battery terminal? It's that fast!

A smoker and a never-smoker have a flat tire. The never-smoker reaches for the jack to change the tire while the smoker must first deal with stress induced chemical withdrawal. Once the smoker finishes caring for their chemical dependency, they then turn their attention to the original stressful event, which never once was solved by smoking nicotine and still needs their attention.

Until we are willing to study, understand and appreciate nicotine smoking for what it truly is - an endless cycle of mandatory chemical replenishment - we will not be able to come to terms with all the excuses and false justifications we create and rely upon in order to justify smoking that next cigarette.

Knowledge is power. What lessons did you study and learn while using the nicotine patch or gum? What knowledge and understanding did you rely upon with your last cold turkey attempt? What did the hypnotist or acupuncturist actually teach you?

You are a drug addict and with your method of delivery (smoking nicotine) comes a 50/50 chance of killing yourself and dying roughly 5,000 days early. Are five thousands days without breath, joy, family, friends, love, and life worth spending a few hours of study time in order to avoid? Isn't it time to master your master?

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,

Last edited by John (Gold) on 20 Oct 2009, 16:00, edited 2 times in total.

Joined: 07 Jan 2009, 19:52

31 Mar 2003, 21:04 #10

Image John, I just have to recommend this site, there is enough information to get a lurker interested enough to look further. I give this thread a huge "high five".....

Christine 16 days, 8 hours into my Freedom!!!