Misery Love Company
Freedom is not the best site for this particular adage. For when it really comes down to it, most people here at Freedom are not that miserable. Yes, many of our members may relate to some miserable moments, or memories from early days of their quits where the first few days may have seemed pretty bad. Those days don't last long though and once a person has overcome them it is more important to share the message of hope, comfort and happiness that they have likely gained by quitting more than feeling the need to share the misery. It is important for longer-term members to share the message that you may have been bad before but that most of the time that you are not feeling bad anymore. Yes misery loves company, but miserable people can make for some pretty miserable company. While on the board work with sharing the attitude that successful people love to see other successful people. Also, when you are in your real world, recognize that smoke free people love spending time with other smoke free people, where their air and lungs are not being assaulted by smoke.
In the past you likely lived with the feeling misery loves company whenever you were in a smoking room or any smoked filled area of any public place. You likely felt and witnessed lot a misery and yet didn't feel alone in those kind of places. While you may not have felt alone in such company, you likely didn't love the circumstances you were forced to live in at the time. Now you no longer have to face such situations and never will again as long as you always remember the importance of knowing to never take another puff!
There are times when a member is having a bad day or more accurately a bad moment who come over to read and participate at Freedom. We would hope that the reason a person stops by when encountering difficulty is so that he or she can read to refocus and reinforce his or her thoughts on how much he or she wanted to quit, how important it is for him or her to stay off, and to seek out motivational and inspirational posts to help him or her secure the quit that he or she has worked so hard at attaining.
But sometimes it is quite evident that this is not what a person is doing when he or she arrives. In fact, the person often goes to look for the strings with the most negative titles and brings them up to the top, or goes to look up the strings from a person who is also in the midst of a rough time period. So what is a person having smoking thoughts hoping to get out of finding others who are having rough thoughts?
Well, he or she is either looking to establish some sort of camaraderie with the person, working on the basis of misery loves company or, maybe he or she is looking to see if the person relapsed, which would help justify his or her own reason for relapsing. Well Freedom is not the best place to be for either of these two goals. Our general membership is not here because they are working on the theory that misery loves company, and as far as one person relapsing justifying another person's relapse, they can pretty much forget about using the board for this effect too.
You are responsible for your own success or your own failure. The fact is if every one of our Managers relapsed, if I took up smoking and if every other member relapsed too, it would not justify your going back to smoking. It would not give you a legitimate reason to take a cigarette.
I have written this often but when it comes down to it there are only two legitimate reasons to take a cigarette.
One, you want to go back to smoking until it cripples and kills you,
two, you enjoyed the physical withdrawals you never want them to end. If this is the case take one drag every three days--withdrawals will last forever.
Every member should start to think out what his or her motivation is for participating at Freedom. If you are coming in to support your decision to quit, to strengthen your resolve and thus secure your quit, then you should either read every single post on the board no matter how negative or positive it sounds so you can see a balanced message, or, just focus on the positive posts and work on tapping into the positive attitude that the vast majority of our members have about quitting.
If you are coming primarily to help others, which is fine if you are personally feeling relatively strong and secure and totally committed to staying free, then you may spend a little more time reading the posts of people in distress so that you may help write posts to reinforce them. Although if you do this enough, it wouldn't hurt for you to spend some time on the positive posts too so that you do not get sucked into a dismal abyss by spending so much time in negative territory.
But if you are looking to rationalize smoking you are going to find more success elsewhere. Go talk to your smoking friends, they will often help you in your quest to rationalize failure. If you believe all of the lies that people tell themselves and will often be glad to share with you as to why they keep on smoking, you likely won't feel to bad about relapsing. Unfortunately whether you feel bad about it or not, your cigarettes are still going to control you and slowly cripple and kill you. Your mind may believe the lies but your body knows the truth, and the truth is that if you are going to stay free saving your health and your life is by you knowing to never take another puff!
I fear that people looking here at Freedom for the first time may be getting the impression that quitting is a whole lot harder and staying free is a whole lot more difficult than it really turns out being for most people.
Does quitting have the potential of causing some discomfort and can the adjustments to life without smoking cause some difficult times? Sure it can. But when contrasted to the pain, agony and disruption that smoking can cause, the effects experienced from quitting are minor in comparison. Smoking will cost you a fortune and can cause pain, agony, suffering and DEATH. To some degree it does the first three effects to most smokers at one time or another, and as far as the last effect-killing the individual, it ends up doing this to one out of every two smokers. To avoid the pain, agony and total loss of everything that can be caused by smoking always stay resolute in your resolve to never take another puff!
| From the string "Bringing negative posts to the top" There were two instances today where a certain kind of negative post was raised to the top. One was from a person who was having a tough time a couple of days ago, and the other was from a person who was a member for a short time, put up a post saying he was thinking he wanted to go back to smoking. I want to use this thread to address these two types of incidents and to have it available to bring up in the future when such events occur. |
Again, in the first example the person was having a bad time a few days back. When she put up the original post, a few people responded back with a few well thought out and supportive posts. The person who put up the original post wrote back in another string saying that she was now better and that time of the crisis had passed. This was a good example of how a few quick and well thought out replies can really do the trick of helping a person get through a bad time. It is not the quantity of responses that is going to get a person through a moment--it is the quality of the information and support that he or she will get.
When a person cries out for help, gets it, comes back and responds that they have ridden out the moment and our now better, and then maybe one or two people respond quickly that they are glad to hear that the person got through the bad times--then it is time to let the post drop. Bringing it up over and over with comments like I am glad you are better is just making a person looking in for a quick look at the board think that the person is still in distress and in need of help--maybe hours and then days after the real problem existed.
The second example from today is where a member wrote that he was thinking of going back to smoking, that quitting just didn't seem worth it. Again, there were numerous members who wrote a response back to him and suggested articles for him to read. Actually, the articles I had suggested for him to read were the following:
The man never replied back, and this was from well over a week ago. Then today a member brought back the post today asking how he was doing and telling him to hang in there and post.
The member who made the first post has either relapsed and can't post or has not taken the time to read the replies and acknowledge that he is okay or to let the people know who have tried to help him that their efforts were helpful and appreciated. We honestly don't know which situation is involved here. Either way, there are reasons why this post should not have been raised to the top today. There are a few already existing strings that address why we feel this way. They are:
Misery Love Company (If you have not already read this one today please do and pay special attention to post 10 in that string.)
"Please don't smoke."
Acknowledge the negative but dwell on the positive
Each of these string address issues that are likely explaining some of the possible reasons that this post did get raised today. There was no real reason for this man's post to be singled out.
If you go back over the board for the almost three years since Freedom has existed, there are hundreds of people whose posts like this could be brought up every day if we wanted to. Why pick out one and forget the others? Why are we not working at dragging all these people into posting and maybe quitting?
The reason is we are not here to force anyone into quitting and we are not here to enforce personal resolve. We are here to help people who have already decided to quit and are sticking with that commitment. (See Our Mission Statement) We want people who are in fact putting in a one hundred percent commitment. If the man had come back and said he was still off and still in dire straights, you can bet he would have been inundated with help and support. If our membership saw he was needing more, they would have delivered it. But at this point we have zero indication of what this individual is thinking or doing.
The one thing that these two posts have in common is that they were bringing negative posts to the top, giving the impression these people were quitting and in trouble. In the first case the person was not in trouble, at least not in trouble with what was being addressed in the particular string, and the second case we don't know if the person is even quitting, let alone in trouble.
I hope that each and every one of our members would try to think back to what the board was likely like the day that you arrived. What made you realize that you wanted to join Freedom? Was it a whole bunch of posts of people complaining about the bad lives they are having since they quit smoking, or was it from a balance of posts?
The odds are the kind of posts that made you want to join were seeing people who were successfully quitting. There were likely some posts from longer-term members who were relating what it is like 99% of the time since they had quit smoking and not really thinking about cigarettes. Other posts were probably from people who were first quitting but who recognized how their lives were in many ways being wrecked from cigarettes and were totally out of control while they were still smoking. It is also likely that there were other posts that had a very strong educational component trying to get the message out that the effort being put forth by all of our members was truly a struggle for your Freedom, your health and your very life.
Try to think back what pulled you into Freedom and ask yourself is what you are posting now really helping others to want to quit smoking too. I suspect if you do this you will consider how you post and how you respond and will much more likely write posts that will not only better help the individual you are writing to, but also all others reading your words to stay determined to never take another puff!
Do members of our board seem to happy?
| A number of months back a new member had wrote the comment that the people at our board seemed to be "too cheery" for people who had quit smoking. There are plenty of Internet sites that people can go to if they ever want to be cheered down a bit. If you can find sites that are dedicated to supporting people who are facing the ravages of smoking you will likely find lots of people who just won't seem overly happy or optimistic with their current situation. Is it right that so many of our members seem happy that they quit? Of course it is for if people realize just what they have accomplished by quitting and the terrible fate that they would likely have faced if they did not stop they will likely stay forever happy, proud and thankful that they have stuck to the commitment that they had made to themselves to never take another puff! |
P.S. If anyone is still looking to get a little more depressed today go check out the following links at www.whyquit.com:
A couple of my depressing pieces:
The Isolation of a Widowed Smoker
I Can't Quit or I Won't Quit
A Tribute To Joel's Friend Joe
For the record, people actually can quit and stay off even with a lousy attitude. Here are two stories of clinic participants that illustrate this point:
In the string Quitting With A Possitive Attitude
| Hello Roger: I actually have an attitude quote I sometimes use in clinics. It is that if you quit with a lousy attitude you are pretty much assured to have a lousy time when first quitting. |
If on the other hand you quit with a good attitude, well, you may still have a lousy time in the beginning, but at least you will have a good attitude about it.
As you may have guessed, this insight doesn't help a whole lot in the first few days. But it usually gets a chuckle. The more important advice on this issue is the string Acknowledge the negative but dwell on the positive Thanks for your sharing of insights here.
In the string Using Attitude to Reduce Anxiety
| If you quit with a lousy attitude and sustain a lousy attitude, you can expect to have a pretty lousy time of it. If you quit with a good attitude, well during withdrawal you "may" possibly still have a lousy time but at least you will have a good attitude about it. After the initial withdrawal and normal readjustment period though, your attitude is going to make a huge difference on how good you will feel and how comfortable you will get. Everyone here must understand that by quitting you are not depriving yourself of one or even a few good cigarettes--you are ridding yourself of full-fledged smoking and all of the consequences that go with all of your cigarettes. |
The consequences include the costs, the smells, the accidental burns or fires, the social awkwardness, the looks and stares, the constant withdrawal or nicotine poisoning episodes experienced from over-smoking at times because you are not able to smoke on your time table but rather having to smoke when the resistance of those around you is minimal, the health effect and the life-threatening implications that go with being a smoker.
Keep focused on the fact that quitting smoking is a good thing that you have done for yourself--something you likely wanted to do for a long time but never quite knew how to do until you finally realized that all it really take to stay successfully smoke free is just knowing to never take another puff!
One more comment I think I have used before but cannot find on the board. It may be something I just used in my live clinics:
Some people will just never allow themselves to be happy until they relapse. Then they will likely be miserable until they possibly quit again or until smoking kills them.