What was withdrawal really like?

forza d animo
Joined: 04 Apr 2005, 07:00

30 Dec 2006, 23:39 #21


Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:04

31 Dec 2006, 01:12 #22

I quit smoking during a bout of pneumonia. I don't know if the withdrawal from nicotine was bad during the first few days, because it was masked by the pneumonia symptoms. What I do know is that during the 47 years of my active addiction I suffered withdrawal from nicotine 2 or 3 times an hour during every waking hour, and sometimes even during the night. Now, after 20 + months of being free, I sometimes think for 5 seconds while waiting for the light to change, the water to boil, the dog to finish her business, or any of the bazillion other triggers, that a cigarette would be nice. But that thought is immediately followed by such a giant feeling of relief that its just a thought, not an active crave like the ones I suffered 40 or 50 times each and every day for all those years. There just isn't any comparison between a passive thought of smoking and an active crave for nicotine.

Let me try to put it in perspective. Craves for nicotine while I was an active addict were so strong that I, like most of you reading this, did things that others would never even consider, just to get a fix. I hid behind a dumpster next to the parking lot while my son won a trophy for swimming. I was behind the building getting a fix when my daughter won a tennis match. I was behind the barn feeding my addiction when a half-ton horse decided he no longer wanted my son on his back and did everything to get him off. I was smoking elsewhere while my precious Mother lay dying. Nothing, not even that half-ton horse, could keep me from experiencing those things now. Too bad for me that its too late for those things, but I don't plan on ever again missing anything!

On the other hand, the occasional thought I have that a cigarette would be nice, is just that.... a thought. Just a stupid, weak thought. Can't compare it to the withdrawal symptoms/craves that happened every 20 or 30 minutes while being an active addict.

Those of you who have a new quit going: Stay true to your commitment because you can't even imagine how good it gets. Those of you who are lurking, just thinking about quitting: Quit now! Making the decision to do so is more difficult than doing it.

Carol, nicotine-free for 1year, 8months, 2weeks and 5days... after 47years of active addiction.

Chipits GOLD.ffn
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 Dec 2006, 01:43 #23

I'll echo this >"Making the decision to do so is more difficult than doing it".<</font>
We all have done shameful things while active in our addictions.
Thank God I am free: I have forgiven myself and
One Day at a Time I am committed to
Never Take Another Puff
Wendy --Image--Free and Healing for 176 days
Randy --Image--Free and Healing for 44 days

Just Hannes
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Mar 2007, 21:17 #24

What was withdrawal really like?

It was terrible. I HATE WITHDRAWAL.

Every quit the same: Buy nicotine patches and nicotine gum and start your quit.
Days and days and days of withdrawal because these nicotine replacement devices cannot give me the nicotine and chemicals which a cigarette has.


The real withdrawal after really quitting? It lasted a little longer then 3 days. I was prepared for that because I knew for me everything would last longer because of the huge amount I smoked per day (4 packs). But really it was nothing compared with the days/weeks in chronical withdrawal due to the patch/gum.

I forgot Image. Yes I forgot. The only thing I remember is that I couldn't concentrate the first 2 weeks. I Also knew there would come an end to the withdrawal symptoms as promised here. And it's true withdrawal has an end.
I didn't know that during my other quits with the patch and gum. I thought quitting smoking was living in chronical withdrawal for the rest of my life.

I HATE WITHDRAWAL and am intense happy that I never have to go through withdrawal again in my life as long as......NTAP.

Frits (Bronze+)

Jacqui672 Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Mar 2007, 22:03 #25

You know, oddly, physical withdrawal was relatively painless to me. You see, once you stop placing the drug in your system every 20 minutes, you stop wanting it. I never felt like OMG I'm freaking out gimmee a smoke. Never. Not once.

I was tired as heck, completely unable to concentrate on anything but reading here, and just generally dopey. But never, never did I feel the angst of needing a smoke like I did when I continued to feed the monster.

The dopiness went away in a few short weeks. I still need more sleep though. I need a minimum of 8 hours as a non-smoker. And I sleep like the dead.Image

One year, one day, 23 hours, 3 minutes and 34 seconds. 14678 cigarettes not smoked, saving $4,036.56. Life saved: 7 weeks, 1 day, 23 hours, 10 minutes.

Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:41

31 Mar 2007, 01:43 #26

I am on day 12 now of no nicotine. I generally expected withdrawl to be very bad. It was not. It was not easy, but very doable. Education is the key. Fortunately, I came upon WhyQuit on my first day and read constantly. The knowledge of what was happening is I think what made withdrawl easier.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Nov 2007, 05:29 #27

A tactic I have been seeing used quite a bit lately by a pharmaceutical manufacturer and it seems, the FDA itself, is that it is hard to determine what symptoms a person might be having are from side effects of a quit smoking medication as opposed to what symptoms might be happening just because a person has simply stopped smoking.

It seems as if there is a perception being sold out there that people who quit smoking often experience agitation to the level of becoming dangers to society, depressed to the level of feeling suicidal, and a host of medical complaints that causes them to experience severe aches and pains that seem to go on for weeks or months after cessation.

This thread was basically started to dispel the myth that quitting leads to horrid withdrawals that are so debilitating that it is makes it almost impossible for people to quit without the aid of a pharmaceutical to ease up withdrawal that happen when most people quit. I think it is an important thread to get back up at this point in time, not just for people using or considering using medications to quit, but to help people realize that the experiences most people have when quitting are not as traumatic as it is being made out to be.

We are not saying that there is not some anger involved when people quit or that some people don't get depressed. It is the level of that anger or the extent of that depression that we take issue with, as well as the extent of the physical discomfort that people may experience that we are taking issue with.

I am going to attach some related strings and videos addressing these issues below. We just want to make it clear that the frequency and the extent of problems that we see from quitting appear to be quite different than the frequency and levels that we seem to be seeing from certain medications out there.

The tactics that are being used to sell and defend pharmaceutical products can easily have the secondary effect of scaring people from implementing the program that has resulted in the vast majority of successful ex-smokers we have in the world today--people who simply quit smoking cold turkey and who will be able to stay successfully free for as long as they stick to a personal commitment to never take another puff.


Related articles and commentaries:

Anger - new reactions as an ex-smoker
Emotional loss experienced when quitting
Depression - normal or real organic?
Life goes on without smoking
Blame for early symptoms - a rule of thumb
So how did most successful ex-smokers actually quit?
"Isn't quitting cold turkey too dangerous?"

Related videos:
Video Title Dial Up HS/BB Audio Length Added
"Is this a symptom of quitting smoking?" 1.91mb 18.9mb 0.77mb 05:13 09/27/06
Does smoking cause my headaches? 2.69mb 07.4mb 08:32 03/21/07

JoeJFree Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Nov 2007, 05:58 #28

As you've said quite often..... in your 30 or so years working in tobacco cessation you have knowledge of 2 maybe 3 cases where someone died while going cold turkey. Was cessation the cause? Was there an underlying problem? Out of how many? THOUSANDS upon THOUSANDS. Nearly 50 MILLION folks have stopped using tobacco - most by simply choosing no more.

Quitting tobacco is not going to kill you. Gotta remember it is the way we are designed to be, naturally, normally, nicotine free.
Keep using tobacco and it probably will kill you, one way or another.

What was withdrawal like? It was constant for 40 years - it occurred every 30 to 40 minutes every hour of every day for nearly all of my life. Quite awful really, no matter the method of delivery. Usually worse when 'quitting smoking' & using transdermal or mucusoal absorption methods as they were not nearly effective or quick as actually ingesting tobacco smoke or the juice of finely chopped leaves.

What was FINAL ONE-TIME & DONE withdrawal like?
Not that bad actually. Challenging, somewhat uncomfortable is my best description.
Not nearly what I thought it would be. I was taught by buying in to 'Conventional Wisdom' it would be terrible.
Neither my health nor well-being or sanity was ever put at risk.
Seems not all 'quitters' utilizing other 'endorsed methods' can make that statement.

My Dad (2 1/2 years) would for sure say the same as would my boss (26 years) and my partner (6+ years). Not as bad as we'd been led to believe. All of us ceased ingestion abruptly. All of us have stayed free the same way for years now - we each know that to keep our freedom we simply choose to never take another puff.

JoeJ Free - NicotineFree and Living as I was meant to be for Two Years, Ten Months, Nineteen Days, 6 Hours and 41 Minutes, while reclaiming 91 Days and 10 HoursImage, by choosing not to use 26332 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $5,776.13.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Nov 2007, 06:45 #29

Actually, I never had one person die while going cold turkey. I had one person die a few weeks after quitting, but when he came in I think he was needing a quintuple bypass and was in really bad shape already. If I recall right, his doctor did not believe he could make it through the surgery and wanted him off smoking for a while before attempting to do it. The doctor made it clear though that he was in really bad shape and had prepped the patient and his family to the fact that the man was not likely to make it much longer. He did quit, for the duration of the clinic, actually was feeling much better on a number of fronts, but did pass away sometime around the third week in. As I said though, and as he and his family knew though, he knew he was on borrowed time. I actually went to his funeral, and his wife really thanked me for the help I had given him. She told me how proud he was that he had quit and how proud she was of him for doing it. I believe that she deeply appreciated the fact that he did fight to live at the end, but that he was just too far gone by the time he quit. She did go out of her way though at the funeral to introduce me to lots of family members and friends and hit home the point that her husband did successfully quit--hoping to help her loved ones avoid a similar fate.

The only other time I had a person die who was in the clinic was when I had a husband and wife team come to quit smoking. The man was in his mid to late 30's, had severe out of control diabetes, a host of other problems, and was a heavy smoker. His doctors laid out to him that he was a walking time bomb if he didn't quit smoking. He was making it as clear to the man that he had better quit smoking or he was going to die, and he was not talking in the distant future.

During the clinic the wife did successfully quit, but the husband cheated from day one and finally dropped out before the first weekend. He was back smoking after that and died the next week. Again, it was no surprise to anyone. Blaming his death on quitting smoking was pretty much out of the question though considering, he actually never quit and for all practical purposes, had not even cut down at the time he had died.

Besides my clinic contacts, over the years I have spoken to around one hundred thousand people in live programs. I don't remember one case of a person coming up to me and saying that they had a personal family member or friend die when they tried to quit smoking cold turkey. Not a one. Considering the state of health of many people who do quit smoking because of a diagnosis of life a threatening condition, it is quite remarkable when you think about it. That is why pushing the idea of the danger of cold turkey quitting is so abhorrent to me.

The story about NRT use in the ICU in the string "Isn't quitting cold turkey too dangerous?" really hits home this issue too.

JoeJFree Gold
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Nov 2007, 08:18 #30


Thanks for replying and expanding the point I was attempting to make. My original premise was that getting clean of nicotine never in and of itself killed anyone. As far as I've been able to research and in my personal experience noone has died as a result of abrupt cessation of tobacco / nicotine use. Millions have died because they've wrongly believed they were unable to quit. Abhorrent indeed.

Also, wanted to mention that my Mom also was a successful ex-smoker for 7+ years. She quit cold turkey and stayed free until her passing by choosing a life lived free & not ever taking another puff.