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Love Eileen? I don't doubt or dispute your belief but do hope you'll explore the depths and foundations upon which its based. It's why this thread is here. Whether it's food, a great book or movie, or a love for another human, it's usually pretty easy to explain why we love something, and do so in detail. What is it that you loved about years of true chemical captivity, where your only alternative was chemical withdrawal and recovery?
Yes, we can throw back upon the glamours image that a lifetime of tobacco marketing conditioned each of us to accept and associate with our dependency. We may have loved unwrapping those pretty little boxes like some present to get to the highly dependable, manipulated and engineered smells, flavors and other chemical additives neatly aligned inside, including the most important of all - nicotine - that kept each of us on a never ending cycle of dopamine and adrenaline highs and depression and energy lows.
Not only did an endless cycle of adrenaline feedings whip every central nervous system neuron in our bodies like beating upon some tired horse, the dopamine aaah sensed with replenishment convinced us that the exhaustion and the depression of bottoming out was reason to go back for more.
If we believe we use to stimulate our body via adrenaline, there's scores of ways to release it which are non-addictive and come to an end when done, that range from anger to exercise. The same with elevated dopamine output that range and flow from a simple sense of accomplishment (that feeling that came when we colored between the lines) to the flood of dopamine released when gratifying sexual desires. If somehow related to organic depression our physician can even prescribe non-addictive depression medications that can provide constantly elevated dopamnen output should they determine medication indicated.
Even the tobacco companies say there is no longer any debate but that each and every puff damages the human body while gradually destroying its ability to transport life giving oxygen. If those who provided us with the colorful little packs and boxes are correct, what factors could possibly cause a drug addict's mind to define their own self-destruction as love?
Every fond memory created during years of feeding nicotine's two hour chemical half-life was true and real but the underlying action, event or image would have been just as real, exciting or memorable had we been nicotine-free and sucking-up life instead of smoke. To give ourselves as much of an opportunity as possible to continue enjoying life as long as possible there's only one rule - no nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff!
That First Cigarette Was Great!!!
Hey Joy, I just had to strike a half-life chord with your morning fix. As you know, nicotine's half-life in our blood was about two hours. If we slept for eight hours, then by morning our blood serum nicotine level was just 1/16th of what it was during peak periods each day. If we picture ourselves as a nicotine gas tank, our reserves had to have been down around our ankles by sunrise. Is it any wonder that those first few puffs each day were so darn memorable
The Law of Addiction
As Joel reminds us, by the two week mark we have put ourself in position to accurately sample the free, still healing and emerging life that was not long ago buried beneath dependency, fear and despair. You've successfully navigated the up to three days needed to remove all nicotine from your bloodstream. You've now extinguished the vast majority of your regular subconscious nicotine feeding cues and may be nearing the point where you experience entire days without major challenge.
You are probably beginning to appreciate that each time you encounter an as yet un-reconditioned subconscious crave trigger that you are being rewarded upon completion with another piece of the puzzle, one more aspect of a life once dominated by chemical dependency upon smoking nicotine.
By now any initial fears that you were leaving a massive portion of "you" behind, that life without smoking nicotine was almost unimaginable, are being calmed by the honest realization that even the love in our heart, we get to bring it with us.
The excitement you're feeling now, about your freedom and healing, swim in it! Yes, there may be a few more remote triggers up ahead but look forward to each as a glorious moment of healing, not with dread or fear.
As for the conscious thoughts that may at times seem to fill your mind, don't run or try and hide from them. Most reflect the years of lies we fed and sold ourselves in order to look in the mirror each morning and not see a real drug addict looking back. Dig in, sort through the chatter and find the rationalization bantering about. Whether the rationalization, minimization or blame transference involves some aspect of like, stress, taste, love, boredom, oral fixation, flavor, or the addict's false illusion of "just one," grab hold of it and put it under honest light.
Our brain did not grow millions of extra nicotinic receptors (up-regulation) because of like or love. Our lungs did not grow taste buds inside them in order to support some bizzare taste rationalization or tobacco advertising.
Pleasure? Is that what we felt when we'd waited too long between fixes? Which cigarettes each day were truly pleasurable? What about all the others each day, the ones smoked while on auto pilot, that seemed to fill the ashtray and empty the pack without us hardly noticing it was happening? The all came from the exact same pack. Why were they not just as pleasurable?
Might nicotine's two-hour chemical half-life inside the human bloodstream and the fact that a bit of time had passed between nicotine feedings help explain those we thought "pleasurable? As Joel is fond of saying, it isn't that we liked smoking but that we didn't like what happened when we didn't smoke. All the neurochemicals that nicotine controlled via acetylcholine receptor sites already belonged to us. We left absolutely none behind.
Talking about flavor, now scores of neurochemicals are beginning to flow in response to life not in compliance with nicotine two-hour half-life mandatory feeding clock. When the moment calls for deep deep relaxation it will not be destroyed by a nicotine induced adrenaline rush. When it calls for genuine sadness or sorrow it will not be interrupted by a nicotine induced dopamine "aaaahhh" reward sensation.
The next time that joy fills your life for more than thirty consecutive minutes it will not be interrupted by a command to leave and find an acceptable place to service a mandatory chemical need. Take a swim in the gradually emerging you! You've already recovered many of the pieces of the puzzle and are now in a position to sample and notice what it can again be like being "you." Let recovery be your gift of the long forgotten "you" to you. Embrace it!
When you meet the ex-smoker who tells you that they still yearn to smoke nicotine it's because they took their smoking rationalizations with them. Few had the benefit that we've had to fully explore this most amazing chemical and its impact on our physical, subconscious and thinking minds.
Although it has been seven years since I was where you are, and more than four years since I've known anything you'd vaguely consider an urge or crave to smoke nicotine, we are at this moment both equals under the law of addiction. For no matter how many pieces of the puzzle we collect or how deep, calm or comfortable these minds become, our now arrested dependency has traveled with us. It paints a rather bright line in the sand, a line that does not discriminate.
The key to staying on this side of the line and keeping our now arrested dependency on the other is as simple as ... no nicotine today, Never Take Another Puff, Dip, Patch, **** or Chew! Yes you can, yes you are! We're with you in spirit!
Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,
John (Gold x7)