Why am I still having "urges?"

Joel
Joel

7:42 PM - May 19, 2002 #1

For the benefits of newbies wondering if they will ever stop wanting a cigarette, I thought I would elaborate on the concept of "urges" that happen weeks, months or even years into a quit. When we say that the urge hits after any significant time period after being smoke free, it is a desire or a thought for a cigarette that is different than the physical "urge" experienced during initial withdrawal. Those urges are physiological craves, the body demanding nicotine to alleviate a drug withdrawal state. The thoughts that happened down the road are triggers of fond memories. The thought is often that it seems like a good idea now to smoke a cigarette. Kind of like the urge you get to clean your house on a slow day. Seems like a good idea for a few seconds, but if you find something better to do, so be it. The same concept holds true for the thought of a cigarette.

Other times there will be thoughts of "I used to smoke when I did this." Not a desire for a cigarette or smoking, but a feeling that your timing or ritual is off. Sometimes there may even be a feeling that you are supposed to be doing "something" right now, but do not even realize what it is. All of a sudden you realize you used to smoke at this particular juncture of time or a specific new situation. Again, it is not that you want or need a cigarette in these two cases, just that the routine was a little off.

Years into a quit though, most days ex-smokers will go days, weeks and maybe even months without a thought. Even days which they call "bad" with desires, they may be going 23 hours and 59 minutes and 50 seconds without a thought, but because they think of it once, they think that was a lot. It really does get easier and easier.

The alternative side, smoking, is constantly riddled with thought of quitting. Whenever you are going to a doctor, a non-smoking friends or family home where you want to visit but cannot smoke, getting a new symptoms or aggravated by a chronic problem, read a news headline or hear a news report on television or radio on a new danger from smoking, have to pay another price increase for cigarettes, find another friend who has quit while you do not, stand outside in blizzards or heat waves or torrential downpour for the luxury of getting a quick fix or experience some horrible withdrawal because you can't escape for a cigarette or heaven forbid, you run out of cigarettes.

Yes there were plenty of times smoking made your life totally unmanageable. Not to mention the times that may come where a diagnosis of a horrible condition that require extraordinary measures to save your life that in themselves are almost as terrifying and painful as the disease itself. That unpleasant scenario still provides a chance of survival. There are frequently the cases where the first real symptom of a smoking induced illness is sudden death. Then you don't even have a chance to save your life.

As an ex-smoker, there may be times you want a cigarette. As a smoker, there will be times you want to quit. Neither side is perfect, but the ex-smoker side has clear advantages. It will get easier and easier over time getting to the point of smoking becoming a thing of the past. The smoking side leads to a much more ominous road.

Keep focused, whether it is hours into a quit or decades into a quit. It was a good decision to quit, maybe the most important decision you have made in your life as far as quality and length of your life goes. To keep the decision alive and continue to reap the benefit, always remember, Never Take Another Puff!

Joel

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Last edited by Joel on 10:30 PM - Aug 13, 2012, edited 3 times in total.
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clactwicegold
clactwicegold

8:26 PM - May 19, 2002 #2

Dear Joel,

Thank you for what I think must be one of the best threads I've read. Such an encouragement! I love how honest and straight forward you are and the fact that you acknowledge how yes, ex-smokers do sometimes want a cigarette makes me believe you ONE HUNDRED PERCENT when you say that one day I might not think about it at all.
It isn't easy but I'm doing pretty well I think and I'm already enjoying my more manageable life.
Love,
Clac xxx
2 weeks, 2 days, 21 hours 33 minutes 50 seconds tick tick tick
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Joel
Joel

8:43 PM - May 19, 2002 #3

Hello Clac:

The time will come where when you won't want or think about a cigarette on a given day, and eventually week, month or year. But my suggestion is when that day comes, get back here to read and reinforce your quit so that you do not slip into complacency. When you stop having thoughts, you stop talking yourself out of having cigarettes. You in essense then stop reinforcing your reasons for quitting. Then when a trigger comes out from no where, you can be caught off guard without having sufficient ammuniton to squelch the thought. This is where it becomes crucial to keep yourself focused on a daily basis as to why you decided to quit and more important, why you never want to go back. Pay a little attention every day as to why you quit and you will forever stay committed to never take another puff!

Joel
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Rosemary (Gold)
Rosemary (Gold)

10:25 PM - May 20, 2002 #4

Joel,

It is interesting that you post this. I was going to post about an urge that I had this weekend. I haven't had one for a while, and frankly, after the first three weeks, I haven't much in the way of bad urges at all. Sure, I occasionally get a thought of smoking, but no real desire to actully light a cigarette and smoke it. I usually acknowledge the urge, and move past it by telling myself that a cigarette will not help, and that the perfect cigarette is fictional.

But Saturday, I had a bad one. We are moving out of state, so my husband and I have been trying to get everything in our house packed. Needless to say, we are a bit stressed out. I spent the morning packing the (way too many) toys in our daughter's room, which was a trial of patience as I supervised her careful packing of broken toys that I was just itching to throw out (Honey, do you really need a doll with one leg or, for that matter, a car with three wheels? (sob!)). Well, after that, we ate and then it was down to the basement to tackle the storage area.

As soon as we opened the door to the storage area, and I saw all the junk, I had a tremendous desire to run to the store for cigarettes. I had to take a break in the back yard. "What is this? Why is this happening now?" I questioned as I paced, with my nostrils flaring. I think that the urge came on so strong for a variety of reasons. First, is the general stress of moving out of state. Second, I had just finished packing up my daughter's room, that would mean a "reward" cigarette in the old junky days. Third, we had just eaten, that would mean an "after eating" cigarette to the junky. Fourth, the pile of dusty **** in the storage area was too much for me to deal with at that moment. What better way to hide from it and delay the reality of it than by smoking?

Of course I was dreaming of that Ahhh cigarette. I was hoping to smoke a perfect one. I was hoping to smoke away the reality of the move and the dirt and dust, and the aching back. I was hoping to smoke away the whiny child, and the husband who is more ready to move than I am, and the stress. But we all know that smoking would not do that. We all know that it would just add one more issue to my alreay full plate. We all know it would just increase my stress. We all know that I would be a full-fledged addict as soon as I took that first puff. We all know that instead of being that perfect Ahhh cigarette, a smoke would most likely make me dizzy enough to fall down the back stairs, and then, on top of all my other issues, I would be packing with a broken arm, or broken leg, or the beginnings of lung cancer, or worse. This was not fun, but during the whole thing, I knew I wasn't going to smoke. I did need to teach my junky-self that I wasn't going to give in. Let me tell you, I whupped that urge's butt and still went through all that garbage in the storage area.

The next day, I went to my sister's house. She smokes my brand, and I never once thought of asking her for one. And when we got home, and my clothes smelled, and I needed to shower to get the smell out of my hair, I felt good. I really did get choked up when I congratulated myself for staying smoke free last night. I am so happy to be free! Even with the occasional urge, life without cigarettes is really wonderful.

I have a new thought: I am free! And unless I hand my freedom over to old Nic, I will remain free.

Rosemary--Battle-scarred, but breathing--Nicotine free for 3 Months 1 Week 2 Days 9 Hours 49 Minutes. Cigarettes not smoked: 1968. Money saved: $492.01. (Almost $500.00!) Life reclaimed: 1 Wk 6 Days 16 Hrs 29 Secs.
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Slycat
Slycat

11:05 PM - May 20, 2002 #5

Hi Joel:

These cravings and urges are very strange sometimes. Sometimes within seconds I get this really bad urge and it comes over me like a gush of wind. Than for a second I think that I still smoke but in another second I realize that I don't smoke anymore. It's strange and sometimes you think you just had a cigarette or you know it's time to have a cigarette. In that second you realize that you don't smoke, you get depressed for a second and ask yourself "What am I going to do now"??? But than it passes pretty fast and you get on with things...

Sometimes you get confussed. Almost like your standing there but not really there??? Do you know what I mean? It kind of plays mind games with you.

Sometimes you don't feel like yourself because you don't smoke anymore. Sometimes you don't enjoy the things that you use to really love to do when you smoked, which has happened to me quite frequently. Sometimes I just want to sleep because it makes the urges less...

But I'm hoping this is all a passing faze and that I will get back to normal someday soon...

Judy
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BillW Gold.ffn
BillW Gold.ffn

11:34 PM - May 20, 2002 #6

Hi Judy:

What you are describing is just about where I was at that time. Feeling a bit confused is something I went through my first month or so. (Since I'm a college professor, being confused and light headed almost meant that I wasn't productive for that time. I had to continually remind myself that quitting smoking was the most important job I had to get done right now....)

I too went to bed early....to just duck out of another (possible) smoking situation.

But all this really does get better. You form new memories without smoking, you do things without smoking, you meet and defeat your previous programming. Your're doing great Judy.

BillW Three months, one week, five days, 2 hours, 34 minutes and 8 seconds. 3033 cigarettes not smoked, saving $598.81. Life saved: 1 week, 3 days, 12 hours, 45 minutes.
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wcsdancer (Gold)
wcsdancer (Gold)

12:32 AM - May 21, 2002 #7

Joel, I was just asking myself this very question! Thanks for answering for me! I haven't been without nicotine during the springtime for a very long time. There must be tons of memories surfacing. It helps to think of the alternative...as a smoker there were constant thoughts of quitting (exactly as you've said). I'd much rather be on this side of the coin!
*Candy*
6 Months 1 Week 4 Days 13 Hours 30 Minutes 17 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 2310. Money saved: $519.92.
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Jordan(Silver)
Jordan(Silver)

11:06 PM - Oct 20, 2002 #8

I got a very strong crave yesterday. It was a nice and sunny day so I decided to wash my car. I got to the waxing part when all of a sudden I got this intense feeling that I needed a cigarette. I remembered about "embraceing your crave". I looked at the crave. Then I remembered that I used to take smoke breaks whenever I did chores outside. So washing the car was a trigger. Hopefully next time it won't be. It was still annoying haveing that crave though. It bothered me that I could still feel that way.
Sincerely,
Gena (green)
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rllothringer
rllothringer

6:36 AM - Aug 28, 2003 #9

Thanks, Joel I really needed that today.
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TOM DPLN1 GOLD
TOM DPLN1 GOLD

5:20 AM - Feb 14, 2004 #10

Thanks Joel,

Sometimes i think these urges will never cease and then i read something like this. I'm
going to print this one and hang it all over the place. I guess we all need some reinforcement
from time to time. thanks again

Tom
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wackylaurie
wackylaurie

9:36 PM - Feb 14, 2004 #11

Hi Joel,
Had a couple of days that the craves seemed to be pounding down on me. you suggested that I read this and a few other threads. I had already read them before but I read them again. I will continue to read things over and over. It is just like getting that GET OUT OF 1 CRAVE FREE! pass.
I still do not know what the triggers were that caused such a ruckus in my head but because of another thread I read that also is explained.
Well, I posted, got wonderful support and suggestions and I DID NOT TAKE THAT STINKING THINKING PUFF! If I had smoked yesterday today I would have been a failure, all my hard work would have been in vain, nothing would have been solved and now I would be back on that LIFE ZAPPING tread mill again. If smoking is so wonderful why did I always want to quit?
Well this ex-smoker is going to spend this valentines day walking the urban trail of Asheville with my sweetheart. Happy VICTORY Day to all!
Laurie
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LilLulu814
LilLulu814

9:49 PM - Feb 15, 2004 #12

hi Laurie! I'm so glad you didnt take that puff! You are always so good with your posts, so encouraging and welcoming. I too have always wanted to quit and never seemed to find the "right" time. I guess like people waiting to have a baby ti; th e"right" time, the time is right when you start to think about it, there never really is a "right" time. Im not sure where I'd be if not for this site and all of you wonderful encouraing people. Not sure if my quit would still be happening, but I don't have to wonder, because I found you and I have come to read everyday since the second day of my quit. Thank you all for being so kind and encouraging. Laurie, keep up the good work and NTAP.
I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Week 3 Days 10 Hours 48 Minutes 39 Seconds. Cigarettes not smoked: 313. Money saved: $53.92.
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threeboyz2keep
threeboyz2keep

12:09 PM - Feb 26, 2004 #13

Thanks Joel, I needed this reminder....

One month, two weeks, two days, 23 hours, 43 minutes and 30 seconds. 1439 cigarettes not smoked, saving $172.76. Life saved: 4 days, 23 hours, 55 minutes.

Michelle
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tedhend
tedhend

12:59 PM - Feb 26, 2004 #14

I sign on this evening and read this. This site is incredible. I am eight days in my quit, facing lots of urges and fighting them back. So far, nothing has been a hard fight and posts like this reinforce my vigilance. I need this ammo in my head, the thought of giving in to a puff and then wanting to quit all the time- what a choice!
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ozeroc
ozeroc

12:05 AM - Aug 19, 2004 #15

Thanks Joel,
I needed to read that.
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AntiqueRadioGuy2
AntiqueRadioGuy2

11:36 PM - Sep 20, 2004 #16

Thx!
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

9:23 PM - Jan 10, 2005 #17

Last edited by John (Gold) on 11:22 PM - Jan 29, 2010, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

10:49 AM - Feb 04, 2005 #18

For a clinic graduate from 10 years ago--in case she is looking in. First real thought for a cigarette in years kind of caught her a little off guard.
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coryw42
coryw42

7:24 AM - Feb 05, 2005 #19

A very good friend of mine quit smoking over 10 yrs ago and she admits to having a craving for maybe a split second for a cigarette every once in a great while, she said it happens so fast that she hardly realizes it.
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JoeJFree Gold
JoeJFree Gold

9:09 AM - Nov 20, 2005 #20

"The thoughts that happened down the road are triggers of fond memories. The thought is often that it seems like a good idea now to smoke a cigarette. Kind of like the urge you get to clean your house on a slow day. Seems like a good idea for a few seconds, but if you find something better to do, so be it. The same concept holds true for the thought of a cigarette.

Other times there will be thoughts of "I used to smoke when I did this." Not a desire for a cigarette or smoking, but a feeling that your timing or ritual is off. Sometimes there may even be a feeling that you are supposed to be doing "something" right now, but do not even realize what it is. All of a sudden you realize you used to smoke at this particular juncture of time or a specific new situation. Again, it is not that you want or need a cigarette in these two cases, just that the routine was a little off." - Joel

Well today was the day I went to the attic to retrieve the lights, wreaths, garlands and whatnot to begin preparing our house for the approaching Holiday. Possibly the last 'nice' weekend day (nearly 50 and a little windy but lots of sun) to get most of this annual ritual behind me.

And so as I'm carying two large tote bins into the garage (yep another garage story ) I got hit with just the kind of urge Joel details above. Even at 10 months I occasionally run into a 'First Time since I Quit' activity. The urge wasn't all that strong, really didn't last too long - 5 or 10 seconds tops. But the flood of thoughts, claims and counter claims, was indeed a warning flare that I should be especially mindful that I'm going to be in many once a year situations for the next two months.

So if any of you guys are gonna be putting up the holiday lights and decorations for the first (or even second) time since getting rid of nicotine, just know that the associations you have filed in your brain linking smoking with some event or other may bring back the 'Hey, how bout a cig' thought and urge.

Way too educated to be fooled by what I now recognize another  false association  being recalled from my minds' storehouse. Each and every time I like to repeat a phrase that I came up with after reading Kay's classic Triggers: Reminders From Your Executive Assistant ....

'Oh I'm sorry Sir, I'm afraid you've reached a number that is disconnected and no longer in service.'

JoeJFree always a nicotine addict and 40 year tobacco user gratefully now an X-smoker for 10 months, 9 days, 9 hours, 51 minutes and 54 seconds (313 days)
I've now reclaimed 27 Days and 4 Hours to live life as I choose! NTAP!
Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 8:54 PM - Feb 10, 2012, edited 3 times in total.
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Crystal View1.ffn
Crystal View1.ffn

10:05 AM - Nov 20, 2005 #21

 THANK GOODNESS FOR READING, READING, READING !


Joe, GOOD FOR YOU ! ! !  This is a very important and precious links to bring up at this time of year (and, of course, all year!). Triggers: Reminders From Your Executive Assistant .... This was one of the MOST IMPORTANT pieces of the education I "planted" in my mind and heart. It is the one that comes to mind most often when my executive assistant tries to feed me lines!

Restoring volume control
"But, the past couple of days… It is November, it is getting colder, it is getting near the holidays and I went to the mall tonight, work is reved up because we are doing the very biggest project we have ever done and it is exhilerating and so exciting, I am doing some "heart" work and I am not sure "where " I am going with it!, and, well, IT IS LIFE ISN'T IT. "


These days, I think about lots of stuff, like leaving work to go shopping, stopping at a favorite deli for dinner, going to visit my children and grand children, cleaning, living....but not about when I am going to get my next fix. FREEDOM !  Today, I even thought, with all these grandchildren that seem to be blessing my live, I might actually get to be a great-grandmother someday! This part of my journey is SO different but so lovely.



Katie - After 40 Years! Free and Healing for One Year, One Month, Three Days, 11 Hours and 50 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 23 Days and 12 Hours, by avoiding the use of 6774 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $1,377.31.
Last edited by Crystal View1.ffn on 11:30 PM - Jan 29, 2010, edited 1 time in total.
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Rickgoldx5
Rickgoldx5

12:09 PM - Mar 31, 2006 #22

For Steve or anyone thinking they might have another quit in them.
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auntvaleria
auntvaleria

8:03 PM - Apr 12, 2006 #23

aunt valeria
I have been quit for 1 Month, 2 Weeks, 2 Days, 11 hours, 33 minutes and 52 seconds (47 days). I have saved $130.56 by not smoking 949 cigarettes. I have saved 3 Days, 7 hours and 5 minutes of my life. My Quit Date: 2/23/2006 7:30 PM
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Joel
Joel

3:10 AM - Jul 21, 2006 #24

As an ex-smoker, there may be times you want a cigarette. As a smoker, there will be times you want to quit.

Neither side is perfect, but the ex-smoker side has clear advantages.

It will get easier and easier over time getting to the point of smoking becoming a thing of the past. The smoking side leads to a much more ominous road.

Keep focused, whether it is hours into a quit or decades into a quit.

It was a good decision to quit, maybe the most important decision you have made in your life as far as quality and length of your life goes.

To keep the decision alive and continue to reap the benefit, always remember, Never Take Another Puff!

Joel
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JoeJFree Gold
JoeJFree Gold

1:16 PM - Nov 22, 2006 #25

Last edited by JoeJFree Gold on 11:38 PM - Jan 29, 2010, edited 1 time in total.
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