Why we must never take another puff

Why we must never take another puff

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Dec 2001, 22:31 #1

While the below post was originally started as a daily parade, the real messages in here are timeless and should be seen by members for a long time. Feel free to add your own past exeperiences here, your earlier misfortune may some day save someone elses quit--and who know's, coming back days, weeks, months or years from now and seeing this string again may just save your own quit and with it, your life. The underlying lesson in all these experiences is that to stay smoke free you must never take another puff!

From: Joel. (Original Message) Sent: 12/27/2001 6:36 AM
Yesterday the parade didn't start until after 7:00 p.m.
Things do get a bit slow here around the holidays. Since things are slow
I thought I would take this opportunity to use today's parade
as an opportunity to do a little exercise.
Most of our members have had past quits.
Some of these quits actually lasted a long time.
I know in clinics I usually get a few people in every group who had lost
quits over 5 years, 10 years and occasionally even 20 or 30 years
quits who then relapsed.
Since we have set up Freedom as a site to prevent relapse,
and since we don't want any of our members to learn from
the future mistakes by any other member, lets learn from past mistakes.
This string can help serve this purpose.
Let's use it illustrate just how addictive nicotine is.
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.
Share your past experience so as to help others as well as yourself
remember that no longer how long an ex-smoker is off cigarettes,
they only way to stay off now is by still remembering to
N E V E R T A K E A N O T H E R P U F F !

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Dec 2001, 22:32 #2

From: marty (gold) Sent: 12/27/2001 6:59 AM
Oh boy, Joel, when you said "...an opportunity to do a little exercise..." you had me really worried. I thought you meant ...
That gives me a feeling of despair. It conjures up pictures like the one of Bryan Curtis, and of my sister-in-law who died of lung cancer. It makes me hear sounds like the rasping cough of a man I saw waiting to get a chest X-ray at a clinic, and the tortured breathing of an emphysema sufferer that I saw on TV a few months ago.
And it reminds me of my "smoking dreams" in which I dream that I take a puff, and wake up in a cold sweat, with fear in my heart. This is my first quit, but I know what relapse feels like because I have dreamed it !!!
But most of all, I learn about relapse from people who join us at Freedom for their second or third or later quits. Their testimony bears witness to the truth. We are all of us just ONE PUFF away from reverting to our fully active addiction.
I HAVE TAKEN NOT A PUFF FOR 1 year 3 weeks 5 days
and my knowledge and commitment will ensure that I
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From: Jinksy (Silver) Sent: 12/27/2001 7:44 AM
Good idea Joel. I had three failed attempts at quitting before this. All my relapses occured because I lacked education and committment. I faltered and had "just one puff." Which of course turned into a pack... You know the story. It's funny to imagine that I thought just one puff was possible. It's not.

I have been enjoying my freedom from nicotine now for 10 months, 1 day, and counting.
YQS, Julia
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From: Alice Sent: 12/27/2001 8:27 AM
In October 1998 I saw an ad in our local newspaper. A local hospital was offering a FREE Stop Smoking clinic for women called "Smokefree". You had to go for an interview. They accepted me. I was happy. There was hope. It was held on Wednesday nights at a library. We all shared our own personal stories. We all picked a quit date within a 2 week window, but we all had to stop smoking by a certain date because the clinic was only 6 weeks. Relapses were tolerated. A collective "groan" would go through the room but the relapser would get sympathy and often end up dropping out. Not me. I didn't relapse until AFTER the clinic was over. I decided that since I was so successful at quitting smoking, I could start JUST smoking at night, AFTER dinner. Well, it didn't work. In no time I was smoking AFTER 12 noon, and then it was "What the heck" I'll have JUST ONE with coffee in the morning" A year later, in 1999 I received an invitation in the mail to go to a One Year Anniversay Party of the 1998 Smokefree Group. I was sad and depressed. Darn, why didn't I quit? Why did I start smoking again? I could be so healthy now I thought. Year 2000 was spent in several attempts using the patch. Didn't work
Then in January of this year, 2001 I did it again. Quit smoking for awhile and decided I was a changed person and could JUST SMOKE 3- 5 per day because someone told me that the human body could handle the toxins of NO more than 5 cigarettes per day. HAH. I'd smoke 5 cigarettes by 10 am. Hey, I get up early.
ANYWAYS EVERYBODY.........................The only reason I am going to be a happy, healthier, ex-smoker THIS TIME is because I will never ever take another puff. THIS TIME I "get it". I'm an addict. So, in October 2001 (3 years after my most determined FIRST quit in 25 years) I quit again, COLD TURKEY and am happy to say it's working. I can never take another puff. Never ever. I like myself again. And that's a really great feeling.
I love this website.
Feeling Absolutely Fabulous!
8 weeks, 6 days

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From: Beccy (Gold) Sent: 12/27/2001 8:42 AM
alrighty.. what a good parade joel! thanks! why can't i take another puff? well let's see.. i smoked for ten years... i quit a couple times in that process.. i would make it about a week.. sometimes just a couple days... then i would fool myself into thinking 1 of 2 things... 1) smoking JUST ONE won't make me start smoking again OR 2) it was so easy to quit this time, i might as well smoke a little longer .. i know i can quit again. well let's see... all of those quits.. ended with ONE PUFF... and none of those "just one puff"s EVER got me any closer to a successful quit and ALL of them landed me right back into my full time smoking within just a few days. after all those failed attempts i went on smoking for a few more years... and finally made the decision to "really quit". i quit smoking and made it about 18 months... then i started smoking "just at bars"... then i started smoking "just during the wedding planning"... then i started smoking "just when i am driving long distances"... and then in a weeks time.. i literally sat down and went through my budget to figure out how i could fit smoking back into my life... i told myself "i am young, i have YEARS before i have to worry about cancer". that time also started with JUST ONE PUFF.. that lead to a series of idiotic mistakes and lies to myself. i look back on all of those attempts... and i wonder how noone noticed how ridiculous and insane i was acting "oh i have years until i have to worry about cancer"... ummmm hello rebecca... is it really sane to sit around planning your life based on when you think you should worry about getting a terminal illness?!?!?! oh what an addiction!!!!!

each and every attempt i had failed because I just did not have any education on this addiction and did not understand that there is no such thing as "just one puff" to a nicotine addict. i came here in Sept of 2000 and learned that fact.. and here i am .. not taking a single puff for over 14 months :) i have made it through a year of divorce battling... family crisis... moving.. job layoff...and even more... and i did it all smoke free because i now know that nicotine will never solve any of those problems and that my life is certainly worth living for. any smokefree day, no matter how difficult, will always be worth it to me.

1 day away from 15 months smoke-free
Last edited by Joel on 23 Feb 2011, 18:32, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Dec 2001, 22:33 #3

From: John (Gold) Sent: 12/27/2001 9:19 AM
From: improud (SILVER) Sent: 12/27/2001 9:52 AM

This New Year I will start out as a GOLD FREEDOM MEMBER. Image I know that you must NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF because I am now educated. WE are ADDICTS. I never saw myself as an addict but I know now that after many failed attempts to quit in 40+ years, Cold Turkey and Education is the only way to go. I can't say what will happen tomorrow or next year but I do know that right this minute I WILL NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF. I am an exsmoker and will remain an exsmoker. Thanks to FREEDOM and Whyquit.com. I am 11 MONTHS 3 weeks 1 day 11 HOURS 20 MINUTES. Soon to Be Gold. Image

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From: Subie0(silver) Sent: 12/27/2001 9:58 AM
Why can't I ever take another Puff????

If I ever take another puff I know that I will be a forever smoker. I know in my heart of hearts as badly as I hate smoking now that if I broke down and took another puff I would not have the courage to begin another quit.

It took me ten years to finally quit and I now have not had a puff for eleven months 3 weeks and 4 days, just 2 hours away from 5 days and just a few days away from GOLD.

I know that the year without taking a puff does not heal my addiction it only proves that if I walk carefully one day at a time that I can control the addiction. HOW??? Never take another puff. And that is what I have to do every minute, hour day for the rest of my life.


Subie0 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours


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From: knowbutts (green) Sent: 12/27/2001 10:11 AM
Here's a parade I'll be marching in for the rest of my life.
"How easy it is to go back"
This site is the only place I've seen this subject really addressed right up front from day one.
I have been stuck to this site like glue for the past week because I know relapse is waiting for me to lower my guard again.
I had called myself being quit for 2 years but it was more like the worlds record for torturing myself with withdrawal from nicotine. Sometimes I would go for a few of months without a puff. But then a stressful day or a special meal or a holiday or sitting by the campfire or just because my spouse was outside having one and I was JEALOUS. So I'd have a few puffs and think "hey this is gross" and feel so proud of myself for having quit. I was playing russian roulette and I knew it.
Once I let that jealousy concept slip into my thoughts I couldn't get it out again. I started stealing cigs from my husbands briefcase and hiding them for later. Thats when I found myself standing alone in my old smoking hideout and I could hear the click as the shackles snapped back into place. A few weeks later I was buying a pack of my own (driving to a store in the next town so no one would see me). A week later I was making the trip every day.
Was I enjoying being reunited with my old companions? NO NO NO! I was horrified! How has I let this happen? I reeked, was nauseous, my chest ached and yet I drove to that store every day AGAINST MY OWN WILL. I had to give up the exercise routine I had been enjoying because I was afraid I was going to take a heart attack. I was miserable. I wanted to quit again but the months were ticking by and I wasn't doing it. I knew I was killing myself and denying my responsibility to the other people in my life and it didn't stop me.
One night while trying not to think about my next cigarette I came accross John's Nicodemons Lies page. That page led me to Freedom. I sat up all night reading the information provided here and I have not taken a puff since.
Was it a mysterious miracle? No.
It was inescapable logic. Squirm and whine though I may every if and or but I can come up with has been met with cool, simple truth with no candy coating. I am very grateful.
I now know I don't have to relapse again as long as I remember every waking hour for the rest of my life that I can never ever take another puff. Its just that simple. A lifetime of constant vigilance is required. Some people might find that cause for a self-pity party, but let me tell you, after living through relapse I consider it an honor and a privilege to be the conscious custodian of my own personal freedom.

Last edited by Joel on 23 Feb 2011, 18:33, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Dec 2001, 22:35 #4

From: I win (Bronze) Sent: 12/27/2001 11:13 AM
'Mornin Joel...I really, really HATE/LOVE this parade. It terrifies me to think that I will ever be so completely, insanely stupid as to take another puff!!! This is my 4th (and LAST) quit....like every single other addict, my prior three quits went down the toilet because of "just one"! And you know, when I had the "just one", it really tasted like "doggie poopoo", but each time I was back to two packs a day within a month of the "just one"....So now, even though I still "suffer"Image the occasional wish/crave for a death stick, I'd rather "suffer" like this for the rest of my life then to ever be controlled by such a hideous, monstrous, life destroying addiction as nicotine. Thank you, thank you, thank you, Joel and fellow Freedomites. The joy of freedom is very, very precious to me and honestly, everyone, I am still enjoying and savoring each and every breath I take!
yqs, Patty 
After 36 years of 2-3 pks a day I am now celebrating 5 months, 2 weeks, 3 days, 9 hours, 13 minutes and 24 seconds. 6815 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,192.98. Life saved: 3 weeks, 2 days, 15 hours, 55 minutes.
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From: Toast (SILVER!) Sent: 12/27/2001 11:54 AM
You know, I never even thought seriously enough about trying to quit before this quit to pick a day or anything. I just enjoyed smoking too much. I enjoyed the fetish. I enjoyed the smell of a new pack opened. I enjoyed the taste. I enjoyed smelling tobacco on my hands .... I came into this world a smoker - both parents smoked, mother while pregnant. The culture of smoking was well-entrenched in my house. I don't know if there is science to back that up, but I feel certain it's true for me. I know now, what I was really "enjoying" were the habits and details of addiction. All those things meant, beyond being "comfort" memories from my childhood, that my supply was not far off.

I didn't enjoy that nagging fear when there was only a few cigarettes left in the house. I didn't enjoy that lousy feeling in my chest mornings after smoking too much the night before. I didn't enjoy my yellow teeth. I didn't enjoy smelling like cigarettes when I went in to wake my kids in the morning with a cuddle. I didn't enjoy the lectures from my Drs. over the years. I didn't enjoy feeling like a hypochondriac, telling my children not to smoke & me smoking away. I didn't enjoy standing in line to buy 'em by the carton, each carton bought meaning I'd probably be smoking at least another 7 days. I didn't enjoy having to plan when I could get a fix. I didn't enjoy eyeing the long ones in the ashtray. The longest I went w/o a cigarette in the 20 or so years I smoked was the 4 days I spent in the hospital when my first child was born via c-section. If I'd felt up to it, I would have gone downstairs and out the hospital to have a cigarette then. I smoked when I had colds. I smoked when I had the flu. I smoked when I had bronchitis. I smoked while I was pregnant both times, and while I breastfed both times. I couldn't quit.

The fear kept growing though. Fear of cancer, fear of painful, lingering death. Still, I couldn't quit. I just got more scared and smoked more. But finally, the love began to balance the scales a bit ... love for myself, compassion for myself. I got to the point about this time last year that I knew 2001 would be the year I quit smoking. I didn't know the date and didn't worry about it. I just knew I would quit sometime in 2001. One night last May, I knew that the next morning would be the first morning without cigarettes for the rest of my life. So, I sat in the living room after the kids had gone to bed and smoked my last cigarette - really enjoyed it too. Smoking served a purpose in my life - it showed me and the world what I thought of myself, what social trappings I'd bought into. I can't be angry at myself or tobacco companies or my parents. I'm just glad I finally have awoken from that dream and can be free of it. Has it been easy? **** no. But not in the ways I was afraid it would be. Has it been easy? **** yes. But also not in the ways I thought it would be either. Like childbirth, you have to go through it to know what it's like, and it's different for everyone.

So, I'm here to say, this is my First and Last Quit. A puff, drag, draw or hit off a cigarette will never be an option as long as I love myself more than I fear.

Image Melissa

7 Months 4 Days 13 Hours 48 Minutes Free
4371 Less
$633.87 More
1 Mo 8 Hrs 35 Mins Added
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From: Nora (Gold) Sent: 12/27/2001 12:41 PM
Hello Joel,
This is a good idea for a parade...thank you.

I am not sure you could say I have ever relapsed as I cannot remember a time when I became nicotine free before this quit. There were numerous times I tried quitting. I think the first time I wanted to try and quit was when I bought the nicorette gum. I chewed one piece and it made me sick so I threw it out. $30.00 GONE.
There were numerous times I tried cold turkey but couldn't last long enough to become nicotine free. I would get to craving and go buy a pack...smoke one...tear up the rest and throw them away. It kept me in constant withdrawal until I was back feeding my addiction full time.
Then there were the times I would use the patch. The first time I tried them I had very few cravings as I used the 21 mg ones. I remember lasting about 7 weeks one time...3 weeks another time...and who knows how long at other times. It got so the patches didn't seem to help very much at all. It got so I would smoke with the patches on and scare myself half to death! When my nurse sister told me she knew someone that died from doing that I thought there must have been a purpose for me to have lived through it. Still never could get nicotine free until I found this Freedom from Tobacco site in August 2000.
You can probably see why I am scared to ever take another puff. I do not think I would be smart enough to try again after my history of being so weak. Thanks to the education about my nicotine addiction that I received here... I have been free from nicotine for:
One year, four months, three weeks, one day, 2 hours, 36 minutes and 12 seconds. 15273 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,458.71. Life saved: 7 weeks, 4 days, 45 minutes. ImageImage
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From: Kck9595 (Green) Sent: 12/27/2001 3:35 PM

Thanks for the parade Joel...what a great idea. I have quit more times than I can count. Every time I quit, it was cold turkey. Some lasted days, some weeks, some months, and one quit lasted well over a year. All of them ended because I thought I was strong enough to smoke once in a while. During my longest quit, I actually thought I had smoking "under control". I would smoke for one night every few months when I went out....then it was every few weeks...soon it became every weekend. Not long after that, I became a full time smoker again. Now I realize the only control you can have when it comes to smoking is to never take another puff....ever. Taking any other option is being controlled by nicotine and will eventually (if not immediately) cause a person to become a full-time smoker again. Thanks to the education and support I've received from Freedom, I have made myself a promise to never take another puff. Image

Nicotine free for 1 Month 1 Week 4 Days 16 Hours 49 Minutes 49 Seconds. I have NOT smoked 854 cigarettes, for a savings of $160.13. Life Saved: 2 Days 23 Hours 10 Minutes.

Last edited by Joel on 23 Feb 2011, 18:33, edited 1 time in total.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

28 Dec 2001, 22:35 #5

From: SweetLorraine (green) Sent: 12/27/2001 10:43 AM
 My first quit lasted 3 years - at which point I felt I could have a cigarette and throw away the rest of the pack, next day I bought a carton. My next quit 16 years later was sheer misery for 1 year and back to smoking, not even bothering to pretend that I wasn't going back to all out smoking. Eight years later I quit on a whim held on for three months and resumed smoking. Now thanks to Freedom's teaching here I am not hanging on by a thread (well at the beginning but not now) but rather comfortably not smoking. for Two months, two weeks, two days (like those 2's!) But very aware that there is never a safe point where I could have just one. The truly amazing thing is I don't want one - I don't envy smokers. I pity them because either they are so locked into their deadly addiction that they don't understand they are killing themselves or they know and lack the information to quit. I am so thankful that I was pushed into quitting and happened upon this web site.

yqf Lorraine (a former diehard smoker now a very happy but cautious ex-smoker)
Last edited by Joel on 23 Feb 2011, 18:34, edited 1 time in total.

GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:00

30 Dec 2001, 01:28 #6

Well, I'm not at all different from anyone else here in my earlier unsuccessful attempts to quit smoking.

It was approximately 11 years ago, because my daughter tried at the same. At the ripe old age of 17, she said...."i can do this, this is no big deal." Yeah, sure.

On a beautiful summer day, my husband, Hal, daughter Susie, and I donned patches. Add to this, my neighbor who shares a backyard fence. We thought we could all support each other and be successful together. Now we had our own elite quit smoking support group.

On day 3, while outside in back, working on a flower bed, I smelled cigarette smoke wafting from my daughter's upstairs bedroom. I yelled up to her and not only was she smoking, but she couldn't believe that I could smell it so far away. One down!

On day 4, husband, Hal, gets home from work and I smell tobacco on him....yep, smoking again! Two down!

Later that day I see my neighbor working in the beds in her yard, smoking. I went back to talk to her. She had red marks from the patches on her arms and shoulder. Said the patch didn't agree and the cigarettes that were left unsmoked in her house, kept calling her name. Three down.

That left just me, who on the 6th day of my quit, figured that if everyone else was smoking, then I could too. Took off the patch and joined the group. Four down!

That was the end of our elite quit smoking group. It wasn't until 10 years later that we were forced to attempt to "quit" again.

Big difference this time. Over the years I knew many people who quit smoking and were successful. All our friends quit and all our relatives. Hal, Susie, and myself the only smokers left. When with family and friends, we went outside to smoke or hid, to avoid remarks. Then, when I went back to work 8 years ago, in a drug store, I met many ex smokers who had quit successfully for many years but were now smoking again. Why?....they took one puff thinking that they could handle it. It upset me to hear that and I always vowed that if I could last longer than 5 days quit, I would never take another puff. I met and envied many ex smokers who quit and were loving their freedom, and I shook my head in disbelief at those who thought they could take a puff, stay quit and were now smoking more than ever.

about two and a half years ago and about 10 years after the last attempt to quit, my husband had a gall bladder attack and when they did tests, they found three aneurysms in him. Doc said not only were they time bombs and had to be repaired, but smoking caused them and we'd have to stop and stop now. Still it took another 4 months before we did and that was just three weeks before his surgery.

This time was different. We were determined to quit as this was the end of the line for us. but still scared and afraid we couldn't do it and would fail again. I found online support and the rest was history. This time, a clear and concise lesson in nicotine addiction was at my fingertips. Thank you Joel! We learned that we were addicts and why quits were lost with just one puff. We also realized that quitting could be, and was enjoyable once we learned why it was we smoked to begin with. Going through this quit with others who were learning with me also was a tremendous boon. We were not alone. This time, we also learned there was a huge distinction between the words "trying" to quit and "determined" to quit. One leaves the door open for possible failure and the other tells us that no matter what, "we're going to be successful".

Well, here it is almost two years later and my husband and I are free. Following our quiet example...we never were allowed to push her or talk about our quits, our daughter, Susie, has now been almost a year quit. My neighbor continues to smoke to this day, although not around me. She still does not believe or realize that smoking is an addiction. I will always have customers who will dare to take that "one" puff and will find themselves smoking once again. Two of them are dying of smoking related illnesses and still continue to smoke. And then there are the countless others, who continue to spend hard earned dollars each and every day to feed their addictions and compromise their health believing, like we once did, that nothing will happen to them

Lessons learned...... quit for yourself, realize nicotine for the deadly addiction that it is, know that to remain nicotine free and continue the road to recovery, we can never take another puff. How wonderful it is....this thing called "freedom".
Linda....After smoking for 41 years...I have been smokefree for one year, eleven months, three weeks, five days, 9 minutes and 46 seconds. 14,520 cigarettes not smoked, saving $2,904.03. Life saved: 7 weeks, 1 day, 10 hours

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

30 Dec 2001, 08:03 #7

From: John (Gold) Sent: 12/29/2001 5:17 PM
In 1982 I had a really awesome quit going - about nine months - but I had absolutely no idea of why. What I mean is that I didn't realize nicotine's power, nor did I know the Law of Addiction. I think I was just a pack a day smoker when I decided to reward myself with just one ..... and then another one .... and another one ..... and you know the rest.

In that I ended up increasing my intake to three packs by 1999, I guess an average of around two packs for 17 years would be the price of my relapse. (17 yrs. x 365 days x 40 smokes)
248,200 Relapse Smokes!
That's a very sick thought!
Thanks for the exercise Joel : )

AMD33 (gold)
Joined: 19 Dec 2008, 00:10

30 Dec 2001, 08:21 #8

Sorry I'm late for this one.

I first tried to quit in 1986 and made it about 2 days. My next attempts were ill fated, uneducated NRT attempts. I made these over the course of many years and they ranged from a couple days to about a year and a half of chewing the gum :) I was so miserable. (During this period, however, I did manage to quit drinking...)

A few years ago, 96 or 97 I think, I went 14 months cold turkey. No excuses for my relapse, except I was complacent, tired and angry and had not educated myself about this addication. After that lost quit (and how very painful a loss it was) I had maybe a half a dozen attempts that lasted anywhere from three days to three weeks. And I had one over this past summer that lasted six weeks.

Believe me, there is NO SUCH THING as JUST ONE CIGARETTE or JUST ONE PUFF. It's a myth that our inner junkies try to sell us when they think we are tired or angry or complacent or otherwise vulnerable.
Don't ever buy that lie.
Take a nap, go for a run, or watch a movie. Your "thought" will pass, and you will be so happy that you are still free. Just wait it out. Just let it pass.

A cigarette is no reward. And it offers no solace. If you smoke that one, your crisis or celebration will go on just as it was before, but you will have lost something precious and rare.

Celebrating freedom for One month, one week, one day, 1 hour, 49 minutes and 28 seconds. 380 cigarettes not smoked, saving $101.85. Life saved: 1 day, 7 hours, 40 minutes.

Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

31 Dec 2001, 00:19 #9

Hello Jessica:

You were not late for this one. This string will be timeless. The messages here speak loud and clear as to what is making this quit work for all of our members. It is from learning from our own past experiences that will make our futures success at smoking cessation secure. The one bottom line lesson illustrated by all of these responses is that for anyone to stay smoke free requires understanding the one simple rule of this addiction is to never take another puff!


John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

03 Jan 2002, 04:01 #10

Thanks for copying my post over here Joel!
You're always looking out for us Image