Why we must never take another puff

Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

November 4th, 2003, 9:05 am #41

This is a good thread to go back to the beginning (hitting "First" in the lower left hand corner and reading all of the early responses.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

November 5th, 2003, 12:19 am #42

I got hooked on dip and cigarettes in 1986, my senior year in high school, at age 18. (d'oh, if I'd only held out one more year, my statistical likelihood of ever starting would have rapidly tailed off to almost none -- that is one bad decision I made that year!). I became a nicotine addict in very short order, and was walking to the store in any weather to get my fix. I tried to quit cold turkey that summer, so I could start college a nonsmoker. Initiated cold turkey about two weeks before school started, and lasted about two more. I tried again in the summer of 1987, and made one more serious attempt in the school year itself). I put about 30 days together the summer of 1988, and again started a short time after my junior year began. Those three failed summer quits and the one serious attempt during school in 1987-88 represent the last four sustained periods of time my body was nicotine free before this quit, because the next serious quit attempt, in 1992, was when I substituted Nicorettes for cigarettes, and kept using them for the next eleven years (along with snuff and occasional "cheat" cigarettes and cigars). I think I used nicotine every day from that day forward, for eleven years. I put quitting in the "too hard to do box".

In short, I became an addict very early on in the process, as addicted then as I am today. I spent seventeen years and thousands of dollars administering nicotine to my body and brain, with three or four very short excruciating failed quits early on, because I didn't understand or accept the Law of Addiction. Finding this site has helped me not take a smoke or chew, or any nicotine at all, for 16 days, 19 hours, and change, and has given me the tools to keep my freedom as long as I remember that the Law of Addiction applies to me too, and I can never take another puff or chew.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

December 2nd, 2003, 3:35 am #43

Thank you for bringing this thread back up to the front. What an eye-opener and also a memory-jogger!

I started smoking when I was in College--I had smoked very briefly when I was about 12 but lack of opportunity to continue and the fact that I really did NOT like them then kept me off them until I was about 21--my roommate started smoking and at first I bummed from him, then over the course of a couple of weeks started buying my own. This was in 1983. In 1985 my girlfriend asked me to quit and I did for app 3 months (quit #1). I had an auto accident in July of that year and started smoking again about 3 days after the accident. I smoked constantly from then until October 1986 when I moved back in with my parents (who did not know I smoked). I quit then (quit #2) which lasted about 2 weeks until I bummed one from a co-worker. I became something of a closet smoker around my family at this point.

The next time I really attempted to quit was in October 1992 when my fiancee asked me to quit (quit # 3). This quit lasted about 2 days and when it failed everyone was telling me "you're under too much other stress to add quitting smoking to your list right now" and even had co-workers telling me if I did NOT start smoking again on my own they were going to buy them and MAKE me start back. That quit would likely have failed anyway because my fiancee started smoing more heavily before we got married and then the marriage failed for other reasons before the honeymoon was even over good.

My next quit came in 1996 (quit #4). My dad had quit and so had my brother so now I was the only smoker in the family. This time I used the patch and followed the instructions to the letter. This was actually my longest quit. I used the patches for the prescribed 10 weeks then stopped and I felt great. I found that all of the things I used to do while smoking or using I could do "clean" and life was great. I married again and my 2nd wife even made the comment that she was so glad I did not smoke! That marriage failed shortly after it began but I did not even THINK about smoking again. What tipped me over the edge and caused me to lose my quit was the fact that my life basically fell apart in 1999, nearly 3 years after my last quit had started. I was in debt up to my eyeballs, my fiancee had dumped me, my job was going down the tubes. I bought a pack of cigarettes! Boy was I ever STUPID for doing that! It took a couple of weeks for things to settle down but eventually a gameplan was established for getting my life back on track but I continued to smoke.

My next quit came (Quit # 5) about 10 months later in 2000 and this time I used Wellbutrin. My wife (that same fiancee who had dumped me before took me back and we got married) wanted me to quit, my employer wanted me to quit and would pay for he drugs to do it, and I thought I wanted to quit. It lasted about 3 weeks and then I did something really stupid--bought a pack of cigarettes because I missed them! I was able to smoke that one pack and then put them down for another 3 weeks until the urge to smoke became overpowering--it was stronger than ever before and nothing I did could break me of it. Because I associated my wife wih this quit and my misery, I left her SO THAT I COULD SMOKE!

We reconciled but I still continued to smoke even though she wanted me to quit but she was nice and did not nag me too much. In January 2002 we went to a Church Revival and the evangelist said if you have an affliction you want removed put your hand on it and pray with me. I put my hand on my cigarette pack and prayed and found I did not want cigarettes any more. (Quit # 6). This lasted about 6 weeks until we decided to move and have our dog "fixed" at the same time. Something happened during or after the surgery and the dog died overnight at the vet's office. We were behind on what we needed to do to get our stuff out of the house to move and my wife just said "I can't handle it now, I just can't make myself do what needs to be done." With that stress I went and bought a pack of cigarettes and became a closet smoker for about 10 days and then it was out in the open.

This quit (quit #7) started on November 7, 2003 s a result of a conversation I had with a co-worker who also smoked and we both decided we were going to quit. She had all sorts of NRT stuff she was going to bring me but she also told me about this website called whyquit.com. She quit cold-turkey 4 days before I did, she gave me the NRT but said to read before I used it.

It is almost a month into this quit and I can truly say it has been the easiest of them all, thanks to the support and education I have received from Freedom! Thanks Joel, John, and all of the people responsible for making these sites and posts possible!

David - Free and Healing for Three weeks three Days, 5 Hours and 34 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 1 Day and 12 Hours 20 minutes, by avoiding the use of 436 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $32.75.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

December 2nd, 2003, 4:59 am #44

This is a great thread. I started smoking when I was about 13. I smoked on and off through high school and settled for good in the Spring of 1996. I smoked a pack or two a day for the better part of college and my first year out. About a year and a half ago, summer '02, I quit for 7 weeks. I had a defeatist attitude and hated everything about that 7 weeks. My actual goal was to be able to quit long enough that I could become a "social smoker"! Now I realize that that is totally impossible for me, a drug addict. I guess I always knew that it was not possible but it was a prolonged stage of denial. Well, I went back to smoking by starting with one puff and then a week later back to smoking. Since then I was able to keep it under a pack a day..starting with 5 a day...then 10...then dangeroulsy close to 20 a day again. 2 weeks ago I decided I had had enough and this time I can genuinely say that I can see myself never smoking again because I'll never take another puff.

Jane
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

December 2nd, 2003, 5:35 am #45

I posted my story above. I used to be a nicotine fiend, but because I have not ingested any nicotine -- for One Month, Fourteen Days and 58 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 1 Day and 23 Hours, by avoiding the use of 573 nicotine delivery devices that would have cost me $275.11,

I am free!

Edson
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Joined: January 12th, 2009, 10:10 pm

December 6th, 2003, 10:17 pm #46

My longest past quit was for one year. I lost it due to the "nostalgia factor" and not being educated about never taking one puff.

When I lost my quit, It was a beautiful day. I was driving home alone from shopping listening to the radio. I felt great! The sun was shining, I had the top down and all of a sudden the idea popped in my head to have a cigarette! I think it was the music and remembering how when I was a teenager I would drive around listening to music and smoking.

Anyway, I thought I could handle it! I thought, I'll just stop at that convenience store, have a couple on the way home and throw them out when I get home! I thought, I feel great and I feel strong! Three years later (now) I have finally got the strength again to quit.

I know I am an ADDICT! I know that I can NEVER TAKE A PUFF! I also know that I can handle anything ONE DAY AT A TIME!

Thank you Freedom! Peace, Karen

I have been quit for 2 Weeks, 4 Days, 9 hours, 30 minutes and 52 seconds (18 days). I have saved $31.26 by not smoking 183 cigarettes. I have saved 15 hours and 15 minutes of my life.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

January 16th, 2004, 7:13 pm #47

My last successful quit lasted 10 years! Oh yes...I was a non-smoker for 10 years. I had smoked a pack a day for 10 years before embarking on that quit and I was thoroughly proud of myself for quitting. I can honestly say that I did not think of myself as an ex smoker but as a non-smoker. Having said that, I had given up on National No smoking day here in the UK and as that anniversary came round every year I would stop & remember what I had achieved and quietly celebrate it with myself. Not only did I not think about smoking or want a cigarette but I actually HATED it when othjer people smoked. I hated the smell of it on them and especially on my clothes after a night out. I can remember hanging my leather jacket outside for 2 days to get rid of the smell of other peoples cigarettes at a wedding reception I had attended.
With all that you may ask how did I ever start again?
It was simple. I took another puff.
It was a ridiculous moment when I was feeling a little stressed about something and a smoking friend lit up and just for a second I thought "Hmmm...that smells good" and at that point I made the fatal mistake of reaching for that cigarette and taking a drag! Of course it tasted absolutely disgusting and made me feel VERY ill. And I thought yuk..why did I ever do this? And of course I had to take another cigarette to try to remember why i had ever done it. And another and another in an effort to recreate that aaaahhhh feeling which would explain to me why I had ever been a smoker. And by the time I got that aaaahhh feeling of course it was too late. I was addicted again and my TEN YEAR QUIT was down the toilet!
Words cannot explain how I felt about myself! I had to admit to family members that I had started again. My husband and his family had only ever known me as a non-smoker and, as a family of non-smokers themselves, they found it quite horrifying. Worse than other people's opinions of me has been my opinion of my self for the last 3 years. Not a day has gone by that I have not HATED myself for starting again. I have HATED this little white stick in my hand that has held me hostage for anothe 3 years after I thought I had broken it's grip. I had always considered myself to be fairly intelligent, yet how could that be the case when I had done something as stupid as that.
Now of course I know why.
This quit is only 2 weeks old but I know now that the answer is simple. I can use the excuse that I broke that 10 year quit thru ignorance of the true power of my drug of choice.
If I break this quit there will be no excuse. I know the answer and the choice is mine.
My advice to everyone on this website is this, for what it is worth.
Never Take Another Puff.
Don't think you will be different or that you can get away with it 'cos you can't. Thinking that way cost me a ten year quit, my self esteem, God knows how much damage to my body, approximately £2300 in donations to the already rich tobacco companies and a fortune on prescriptions for asthma inhalers. It's not worth the risk so don't take the risk.

Maggie
I have not used any nicotine for 2 Weeks 1 Day 11 Hours 58 Minutes 48 Seconds. During this time I've left 154 evil butts in their packs on the shop shelves at a saving of £33.32. I've reclaimed 12 Hrs 54 Mins 57 Secs of my life to spend with my beautiful children who, hopefully, will not now smoke themselves. I will never take another puff.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:58 pm

February 14th, 2004, 1:21 am #48

I started smoking when I was 13. I can remember it so well. I used to steal my sisters cigarettes so no one would know I wsa smoking. I can remember how it made me feel like I was one of the gang, I belonged with these people, I was part of something. I can remember how I would smoke to cover my nervousness, it gave me something to do with my hands. I never really tried to quit smoking until I was pregnant with my daughter. I'm not sure how long that quit lasted, not even sure if I really quit or if I just became a closet smoker so no one would give me a hard time about it. I can remember my mother and sister would come over for coffee and to chat, (this is something we used to do once a week), and I would go into the bathroom and smoke and blow the smoke out the window. I couldn't wait for them to leave so I could smoke a whole cigarette. Well that was 12 years ago. Then I tried to quit 7 years ago. It was something I was doing for myself, for my 30th birthday, I was going to be healthier and take care of myself. My life was pretty much in the toilet at this time, I was married to an abusive alcoholic who was getting worse by the day. Well that attempt lasted 19 months when while fighting with my husband I decided that I would smoke just one, I was aggravated and I deserved it dammit. Well, it was disgusting. But I was back up to my 1 1/2 packs a day within a week. So now here we are with this quit, and I know I can make it this time. I know that I'm a nicotine addict and can never have "just one". Its all or none. I choose none.
I have chosen not to smoke for 1 Week 1 Day 14 Hours 34 Minutes 58 Seconds. Nasty Cigarettes not smoked: 258. Money saved: $44.42.
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:33 am

April 2nd, 2004, 10:28 pm #49

hi all,
i too like most people here taught myself to smoke to feel accepted, ive given up blaming myself for being so stupid because i was only thirteen years old. ive tryed to quit most new years and national no- smoking days, but thinking about being without smokes was enough to scare me into not giving them up. im so proud ive been free and re-learning to live for the past two months, my biggest fear is a relapse,there happens to be a very thin line between being quit and relapsing . THANK YOU UKMAGS FOR THIS FANTASTIC POST,THESE LINES HAVE MADE SO MUCH SENCE TO ME, THERE GOING ON MY 'REASONS TO QUIT LIST' BECAUSE YOUR WORDS SUM UP HOW IMPORTANT STAYING QUIT REALLY IS!!!!!!

It was a ridiculous moment when I was feeling a little stressed about something and a smoking friend lit up and just for a second I thought "Hmmm...that smells good" and at that point I made the fatal mistake of reaching for that cigarette and taking a drag! Of course it tasted absolutely disgusting and made me feel VERY ill. And I thought yuk..why did I ever do this? And of course I had to take another cigarette to try to remember why i had ever done it. And another and another in an effort to recreate that aaaahhhh feeling which would explain to me why I had ever been a smoker. And by the time I got that aaaahhh feeling of course it was too late. I was addicted again and my TEN YEAR QUIT was down the toilet!



fantastic insight!thanks again ukmags
lynda,......day74
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:03 am

May 28th, 2004, 11:09 am #50

Joel, John (anyone):
This might be a dumb question, but I'm going to ask it anyway.
Joel, you write:
"I have written often that what really shows the addictive nature of
nicotine is not how hard it is to get off of it,
but rather how easy it is to go back after a quit."
Question: Why is it easy to go back? Could it be that because after years of feeding our brains nicotine we permanently changed our brains physically? ...such that we have millions of nicotine receptors still in our brains months or years after we quit? That if we still do have all those receptors in our brain, its that one puff that re-awakens them as though we never quit in the first place?
...Just asking.
Thanks
Richard
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

May 28th, 2004, 6:37 pm #51

Hello Richard:

This is not at all a dumb question. Basically your assumption is correct, when dealing with any drug addiction your brain is permanently altered. That is why we always try to make it clear that smokers who quit will be thought of by many as "non-smokers," they will never become "never smokers." The post

What should I call myself, ex-smoker or non-smoker?
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

May 28th, 2004, 7:45 pm #52


Unlike those of us having our own relapse history, who have our own evidence of the power of a puff, Joel's statement is built upon 32 years of living down in the trenches daily working with smokers and witnessing a couple of thouand relapses.

As for those millions of extra acetylcholine receptors that the brain grew in an attempt to protect itself from an endless steam of a powerful natural insecticide, the science in this area is still unfolding, Richard. Although we're told that receptor down-regulation and re-sensitization is fairly rapid as Joel notes active dependency does permanently alter the brain but is it more psychological and memory driven than physiological? Time will tell.

The act of relapse itself appears to be a combination of a memory that gradually suppresses just how horrible daily life as an addict was and how challenging recovery can be, an excuse to smoke nicotine, and either not yet knowing the law of addiction or rewriting it to make ourself an exception to it.

But once there and that first powerful puff strikes the brain, whether our acetylcholine receptor count in a host of pathways is back to normal or not (some regions with increased receptor sites and others with fewer ), nicotine will cause the release of dopamine and through cascading affect the flow of over 200 other neurochemicals. Logic tells us that, like kissing an old sweetheart, sensing that first puff will revive and bring to the forefront hundreds of thousands or even millions of tiny independent memories of  having put a cigarette to our lips, of sucking upon it, of tasting its destructive cargo fill our mouth, of sucking it into our lungs, of waiting those 8 to 10 seconds and then feeling a rush of dopamine and an adrenaline surge, and then memories associated with all the sensations of exhaling.

Aside from any permanent nicotine imprints upon the brain's circuitry, we know that the initial dopamine relapse will be real yet it won't match the addict's thousands of replenishment aaahhhh sensation memories as we're told that the brain had fully adjusted to again functioning without nicotine (within 10 days to two weeks) , there was nothing missing and nothing that needed replacing. Yes, the neurochemical flow is real it comes up short of all those memories of badly needing a fix and the addict's moment of aaahhh glory in buying another 30 minutes to an hour before the mandatory replenishment cycle was repeated again.

In regard to immediate relapse, does this failure to match replenishment memories cause most relapsing to keep trying as they smoke cigarette after cigarette, or possibly even an entire pack, until they restore active dependency and their again junkie mind can say to itself, "see, I knew that my thousands of aaahhh replenishment memories were real as they're back!"

We also know that the circumstance under which the puff was taken are being compared against prior memories and that in all likelihood there will be a match to an old nicotine feeding cue (a trigger) that will likely be reinforced to some degree and that will likely be encountered again soon.

While pouring over piles of NRT studies back in 2000 I noticed a recurring statement by researchers along the lines that smoking one cigarette was the single most predictive factor of ultimate relapse. I think I may have cited two studies in some buried thread, one showing a 95% once cigarette relapse rate and the other an even higher figure which I recall as being 98%.

But I like the way Joel puts it. There are only two possible perceptions after taking that first puff: (1) digging through a pack with full and complete relapse back to your old level of intake or higher; and (2) a feeling that you've somehow gotten away with smoking just one - a feeling that will breed the false belief, and every addict's dream, that you can now control the uncontrollable. Gradually the dream itself will be their undoing. Sadly the group fails to learn the power of that first puff from the school of hard quitting knocks, and the price could be years of extra damage or the ultimate - life itself.

Richard, we check all the new studies coming out fairly regularly and as relapse science continues to unfold we'll share what we learn here on the boards. But it has been my experience these past five years, while watching new studies hit the street, that regardless of the ultimate answers associated with neuronal and neurochemical nicotine mechanics, that the answers will have no choice but to reinforce Joel's lifetime of "real-world" observations. I've now seen it so many times that my jaw no longer drops in awe. Instead I just smile and shake my head.

As Roger likes to remind us, it may not always be simple but certainly is easy. There's just one rule that 100% guarantees success for all. If we want to stay on this side of the bars and keep our now arrested dependency on the other, just one day at a time we need to Never Take Another Puff! John
Last edited by John (Gold) on February 23rd, 2011, 6:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

August 6th, 2004, 6:51 pm #53

The best way to read this thread is to hit the First option at the bottom of the page and read through the early messages in the string.
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:03 am

September 3rd, 2004, 1:02 am #54

"what really shows the addictive nature of nicotine is not how hard it is to get off of it, but rather how easy it is to go back after a quit."

For anyone who still wonders about their quit being what they wanted to do: Sometimes the addict inside us (junkie thinking) does its best to convince us that we could take a puff or smoke just one cigarette and "get away with it". We all know that's just another lie.
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:03 am

September 17th, 2004, 2:44 am #55

(to paraphrase a well known saying on this site...One (puff) is too many and 1,000 (puffs) will never be enough)
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

September 23rd, 2004, 1:36 am #56

Do we have members who have lost quits in the past? Sure we do, here are my of them talking about it. But they know that things are different now--not because their current quits are longer than their past one, for they are clearly not. It is different now because they understand addiction this time around--they clearly know what they are fighting. They are not fighting a million cigarettes, a thousand, a case of cigarettes, a carton, a pack or even just one cigarette. They are fighting a puff and the battle line is drawn clearly in the sand for them. They could blow this quit whenever they want or they can stay successfully smoke free as long as they stay one hundred percent committed to never take another puff!
Joel
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

November 20th, 2004, 9:13 pm #57

Do we have members who have lost quits in the past? Sure we do, here are many of them talking about it. But they know that things are different now--not because their current quits are longer than their past one, for they are clearly not. It is different now because they understand addiction this time around--they clearly know what they are fighting. They are not fighting a million cigarettes, a thousand, a case of cigarettes, a carton, a pack or even just one cigarette. They are fighting a puff and the battle line is drawn clearly in the sand for them. They could blow this quit whenever they want or they can stay successfully smoke free as long as they stay one hundred percent committed to never take another puff!
Joel
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

January 12th, 2005, 8:51 pm #58

"I have written often that what really shows the addictive nature of
nicotine is not how hard it is to get off of it,
but rather how easy it is to go back after a quit."
Joel
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

March 13th, 2005, 7:13 pm #59

Do we have members who have lost quits in the past? Sure we do, here are many of them talking about it. But they know that things are different now--not because their current quits are longer than their past one, for they are clearly not. It is different now because they understand addiction this time around--they clearly know what they are fighting. They are not fighting a million cigarettes, a thousand, a case of cigarettes, a carton, a pack or even just one cigarette. They are fighting a puff and the battle line is drawn clearly in the sand for them. They could blow this quit whenever they want or they can stay successfully smoke free as long as they stay one hundred percent committed to never take another puff! Joel
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

April 13th, 2005, 12:34 am #60

Last edited by John (Gold) on February 23rd, 2011, 6:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:00 am

July 11th, 2005, 10:30 am #61

"Do we have members who have lost quits in the past? Sure we do, here are many of them talking about it. But they know that things are different now--not because their current quits are longer than their past one, for they are clearly not. It is different now because they understand addiction this time around--they clearly know what they are fighting. They are not fighting a million cigarettes, a thousand, a case of cigarettes, a carton, a pack or even just one cigarette. They are fighting a puff and the battle line is drawn clearly in the sand for them. They could blow this quit whenever they want or they can stay successfully smoke free as long as they stay one hundred percent committed to never take another puff!"
Joel
Last edited by GrumpyOMrsS (Gold) on February 23rd, 2011, 6:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

August 24th, 2005, 7:18 pm #62

Do we have members who have lost quits in the past? Sure we do, here are many of them talking about it. But they know that things are different now--not because their current quits are longer than their past one, for they are clearly not. It is different now because they understand addiction this time around--they clearly know what they are fighting. They are not fighting a million cigarettes, a thousand, a case of cigarettes, a carton, a pack or even just one cigarette. They are fighting a puff and the battle line is drawn clearly in the sand for them. They could blow this quit whenever they want or they can stay successfully smoke free as long as they stay one hundred percent committed to never take another puff! Joel


The best way to read this thread is to hit the First option at the bottom of the page and read through the early messages in the string.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

November 27th, 2005, 9:28 pm #63

The best way to read this thread is to hit the First option at the bottom of the page and read through the early messages in the string.
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Joined: December 19th, 2008, 12:03 am

June 16th, 2006, 10:33 pm #64

The best way to read this thread is to hit the First option at the bottom of the page and read through the early messages in the string.
Last edited by Rickrob53 Gold on February 23rd, 2011, 6:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: December 18th, 2008, 11:57 pm

July 29th, 2006, 11:51 am #65

Don't forget to hit the "First" button.
Kat
205 Free Days
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