Why we must never take another puff

Joel
Joel

10:31 PM - Dec 28, 2001 #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!

Joel
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 !
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Joel
Joel

10:32 PM - Dec 28, 2001 #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 ...
 
NOTHING HURTS ME MORE THAN WHEN ONE OF OUR MEMBERS RELAPSES.
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
NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF
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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
I CAN'T CONTROL MY SMOKING
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.
YQS
Alice
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.

Beccy
1 day away from 15 months smoke-free
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Joel
Joel

10:33 PM - Dec 28, 2001 #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. 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.




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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.

I WILL NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF

Subie0 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours

I AM SOOOOOOO EXCITED ABOUT BECOMING GOLD!!!!!

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From: knowbutts (green) Sent: 12/27/2001 10:11 AM
Joel,
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.

knowbutts
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Joel
Joel

10:35 PM - Dec 28, 2001 #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" 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.

Hurray!
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.
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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.

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.

-Cheri
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Joel
Joel

10:35 PM - Dec 28, 2001 #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)
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GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)
GrumpyOMrsS (Gold)

1:28 AM - Dec 30, 2001 #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
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Joel
Joel

8:03 AM - Dec 30, 2001 #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 : )
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AMD33 (gold)
AMD33 (gold)

8:21 AM - Dec 30, 2001 #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.

yqs,
Jessica
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.
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Joel
Joel

12:19 AM - Dec 31, 2001 #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!

Joel
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

4:01 AM - Jan 03, 2002 #10

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

8:03 AM - Jan 09, 2002 #11

I thought I better bring this up to clarify something Marty said today. Marty wrote in the string by Newme, and I quote, "As Joel said, many people here have gone thru multiple quits." That statement is true but needs a little clarification for our newest members. While it is true that many of our members have had multiple past quits, they were quits that were in fact lost before coming to Freedom and having a received thorough understanding of addiction and relapse prevention strategy. If you look at most of our gold members I would be willing to bet that they made it from their first day of membership with us.

I feel the need to clarify this for I don't want anyone working with the common belief that your odds improve with every time you quit or stated another way, if you lose this quit, you will just come back next time and be more successful. In live clinics I normally get 80-90% of my first time participants through the first two weeks successfully. The odds my repeaters making it the same time period are usually closer to 50/50. They are people who jsut seem to have a hard time accepting addiction. While you would think they would have learned from their past experience and be better equipped the next time around--it just doesn't work that way.

So my message to everyone here is whether this is your first time around with us or your second--make this time your last--the one that lasts a lifetime. To insure that this is the case always know to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

8:09 PM - Jan 31, 2002 #12

I have one man in my current clinic who 14 months ago lost a 25 year quit. My record holder last year was a 35 year quit that was lost to a puff. If a person can lose a quit after 25 or 35 years by taking a puff, guess what it is going to do to a person who is off 25 days, 25 weeks or even 25 months. Everyone here must realize that addiction is a lifetime condition now--but it will become symptom free with eventually no physical sign or manifestations--and will stay that way as long as you always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

12:58 AM - Feb 10, 2002 #13

Another woman who started in this group but didn't stay in had a 3 year quit going once that she lost to a puff. She has smoked 30 years since that one and is still smoking today. If the first puff is never taken, latter ones can never happen either. To stay smoke free preserving your quit, your health and your life is no more complicated than knowing to never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

10:49 PM - Feb 14, 2002 #14

I had one woman come into a seminar last night who lost a 6 month quit. I figured this one would be a good one to bring up in case she lurked around Freedom today.
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Joel
Joel

8:31 PM - Mar 06, 2002 #15

I suspect some of our newer members--people who quit since the new year may have had some past longer-term quits lost that they may like to add to this string. It really is an important string in serving to teach all members, new and old alike the importance of staying ever vigilant in their resolve to never take another puff!

Joel
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Dawnie
Dawnie

8:21 AM - Mar 19, 2002 #16

Hi. Great parade! I smoked for 22 years before I quit this time. I always said I would quit if I ever got to 20 years. But my doctor told me several years ago that because I used to smoke a pack and a half a day, that I had already reached the equivalent of 20 years before I had even reached the 20 mark!!! So, I said the **** with it and kept on smoking. I loved smoking. I loved everything about it for a long long time. I liked the look of holding a cigarette with my nice long manicured nails. I loved sitting at a bar and having a guy light my cigarette for me. That is actually why I smoked my first cigarette - I wanted a guy to notice me when I was in college and I noticed that if a lady pulled out a cigarette, he would pull out a lighter or match and light it for her. How stupid. But at the time, I thought I was cool and I really thought smoking was cool up until last year. Prior to that, I made a couple of half-hearted attempts due to peer pressure but I did not want to quit. Last March 2001, I saw a commercial on tv that really scared me. It was the husband telling about the 46 year old woman who died from cancer because of smoking. His remark was: "I didn't know that 23 was middle age" - meaning her middle age came at the age of 23 since she died at 46. Well, I was 43 and that was too close for me. I found Freedom and April 1, 2001 was my quit day. I actually threw out a whole carton of cigarettes because a friend mentioned that if I gave them away to someone who still smokes it was the same as offering poison to this person. I started an excercise program right away. I maintained my weight. But, the withdrawal was terrible. I was a wreck. I would go 4 or five days, take a cigarette, get sick, go for another few weeks, smoke, in a constant state of withdrawal. I finally found Freedom in June and I went 6 weeks. Then I lost my temper at work and people complained about me (no one has ever complained about me before as I consider myself a model employee) and I bummed a cigarette and that was that. I have been quitting off and on every other week since last July. I have been in continuous withdrawal. I have been trying to tell myself that I enjoy smoking - but something happened. I stopped loving it! I could not believe it. I hated the smell, the addiction, etc. but I still thought it was cool to smoke. In February of 2002, after quit number 20 or so, I started getting sore throats and nausea whenever I took even one puff. I had also become fairly successful at being a social smoker. Or, so I thought. Finally, almost a year from when I first started to quit - I am back at Freedom and I am so happy to be here. I no longer want to smoke. I no longer think it is cool. I get nauseous whenever I am near the entrance to my work building and I am near the smokers. I can't believe I used to go out in sub-zero temperatures on my breaks to have a cigarette. I stunk up my upstairs spare bedroom again. My car stank again. My breath stank and the pain was horrible. I firmly believe that I became allergic to cigarettes!!! Thank you God. The memory of the painful throat at the end keeps me from taking another puff. And in all probability, I would not have stayed a social smoker. I am an addict. I now know that I have hopefully saved my life and certainly lengthened it my quitting. I am happy, relaxed most of the time and did not go through the horrible withdrawal that I did last year. I believe I was finally ready and that God is removing my compulsion to smoke. I plan to join Nicotine Anonymous as I very much believe in 12 step programs - as I am a member or Al-Anon. I am free from tobacco finally and I feel very thankful and blessed. Everyone is right, I'll be fine as long as I never take another puff.

Dawnie 2 weeks, 4 days
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Ladybird is Gold
Ladybird is Gold

9:51 AM - Mar 19, 2002 #17

I am glad you brought this up originally Joel. A thread requiring a lot of thinking! During the last month I have had fleeting thoughts of past unsuccessful quits & I have quickly pushed them from my mind so as not to sway the confidence of this quit. As a matter of fact the last quit I had (the only one I really can call a quit) was in February 2000 & I did it with Zyban. I lasted until May 2000 when I went on a business trip, bought "cheap" cigarettes for my husband (how ironic & maddening that I bought them because I thought they were cheap & the carton ended up costing me about 15 cigarettes a day or more for the next 2 years!!) I then decided that I should let myself smoke, but just a couple that night with my dear smoker friend (as a favour to her?? lol) & just while I was away from home. The trip home was grim. I recall being on the flight with a headache (enhanced by the stink coming off my jacket), a sore throat, & worst of all an emotional hangover. It was Mother's Day when I arrived home & I could hardly face my mom, let alone consider telling her I had failed! I let go of a 3 month quit & my stinking thinking led me to think once my quit was tarnished, it was just as well it was dented too, so I smoked after that just to psych myself up for the deprivation I was considering going through again. I became a closet smoker (hiding from my family) from that day. Turns out I put the next quit off from May 2000 until February 10, 2002 - my start day of this LAST QUIT!!
The really ironic thing for me is that on Thursday I am going on a business trip to the same place (the home of "cheap"cigarettes . . . lol). This time I know I can never take another puff for any reason, with anyone, in any place, at any time. I just think if there was ever a recipe I believed would add up to be a "just one" situation it was that one . . . being away from home, without my brand, with a long quit behind me & with everyone home knowing I was quit (I figured I could just resume it when I got home). I was wrong then & I know that because I went back to being a full fledged smoker that day . . . I will again if I ever believe that again. I live ever day now believing I have smoked my last cigarette 1 month, 1 week & 1 day ago. I will never take another puff because I chose not to. That was then, this is NOW. I value my life much more.
Susan
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casey
casey

8:35 PM - Mar 19, 2002 #18

Hi,
I smoked 17 years. I thought I would never be able to quit untill I found this site.I am 31 years old and I have been quit for 1year and 3months:) I don't post very often but I do come and read at the site to keep my quit strong. I realize that I am an addict. I tell myself every day that "I'm Not Going To Smoke Today". It works for me. My husband and my mother quit after I did and they are still quit. That motivates my quit also. Even if they would start again I would not. I feel the health benefits from not smoking. My smoking cough went away and my skin looks so good now. I am very grateful for this site. It saved my life. Thank You
Never Take Another Puff!
Casey 1year3months
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childofnite GOLD.ffn
childofnite GOLD.ffn

5:29 AM - Mar 20, 2002 #19

Hi Dawnie, nice to see you again. I'm glad you decided to come back to Freedom. It takes a lot of guts to come back after defeat, and I commend you. Just remember that you have to put all you have into your quits. Give it 100%, and I'm sure you'll do fine!

I just wanted to try to clarify some things in your post:
"And in all probability, I would not have stayed a social smoker"
That is the understatement of the millenia, my dear. If you addicted, you can never become a social smoker. You were still an addict, you were just not getting your full compliment of nicotine, hence the constant withdrawal. Social smokers (and they are extrememely rare, you know) are NOT addicted.

"I believe I was finally ready and that God is removing my compulsion to smoke." As John always says, God is always welcome here at Freedom, but you must take responsibility for your quit and for your success. None of us here should ever rely too heavily on anyone for this. I'm sure God is smiling down on you for doing this most wonderful thing for yourself, but He is not going to do the work for you.

"I plan to join Nicotine Anonymous as I very much believe in 12 step programs - as I am a member or Al-Anon. I am free from tobacco finally and I feel very thankful and blessed." In my own opinion, if you feel that Nicotine Anonymous can help you, please do it! However, also keep in mind this VERY important fact: Nicotine Anonymous, although named after Alcoholics Anonymous, and other such programs, it does NOT adhere to the most important principle in the Law of Addiction, and that is: When you are addicted to a substance, you can NEVER readminister it in any form if you wish to become clean. NA advocates the use of NRT, and I'm sure as you know, we do NOT.

In addition, when one really stops and thinks about this incredibly important point, does Alcoholics Anonymous tell participants to carry a flask, or to drink light beer if they have a craving? Or do drug rehab programs tell the junkie to carry a needle around with them if a 'tough time' ever happens by? The answer is NO, because they understand the law of addiction. Nicotine Anonymous does not seem to completely understand this, but we do - and that's what we're here for. Just wanted to be sure you made an informed decision.

"Everyone is right, I'll be fine as long as I never take another puff." And may I add: Or chew, or patch, or lick, or sip... Basically, never readminister nicotine in ANY of its devious forms, and you're all set, Dawnie!

Yqs, Diana
7 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS, 1 DAY following that very same rule.
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Joel
Joel

3:43 AM - Mar 25, 2002 #20

I borrowed this post from Rachel. Her father's experience fits this string very well.

From: Nevada Gal Sent: 3/24/2002 11:46 AM
I finally told my dad I quit smoking today. This is a huge step for me because I was not going to tell him until I was sure I could do it, and he has always been so bothered that I smoke. Yet he never hounded me about it. And I never smoked in front of him.

Well, he decided to tell me that he smoked for 18 years (I was born when he was 40, so I am assuming this was over by the time I was born). I am kindof shocked!! He also told me his quit story. He also had an easy time of quitting. He made the decision and stuck with it without much problem. About two months into his quit he said it got very hard for him, but he made it through. And 4 years later he had just one! And it took him 2 1/2 years to quit again! I really took this to heart since our early quits sound so similar. I wanted to write this out in case I need a reminder later on... He is a great inspiration for me since his age and health are something to aspire towards!!

Everyday is getting better for me, and now I feel like telling everybody that I quit!! (I have held out because I was afraid of failing again). I don't think I will worry about that any more because today I am not going to smoke, and tomorrow will take care of itself...

rachel

One week, two days, 9 hours, 44 minutes and 27 seconds. 94 cigarettes not smoked, saving $6.11. Life saved: 7 hours, 50 minutes.
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Joel
Joel

4:29 AM - Apr 11, 2002 #21

A funny thing happened in my current clinic. Only one person had a really past longer term quit--6 years I think. Usually a high percentage of the group have these past experiences to learn from each other from. Thought this string would be beneficial to bring up for these people--as well as all the rest of the members.

Joel
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Joel
Joel

10:52 PM - Apr 21, 2002 #22

For Probe:

I thought she may like to add her past experiences to this one.
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Joel
Joel

8:33 AM - Apr 26, 2002 #23

For Carolyn
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Joel
Joel

7:41 PM - May 16, 2002 #24

It was pretty interesting that in last night group, one man had once quit for 6 months, one woman for five days , one girl who was 17 had once tried to quit for two days, and one man who has smoked for 40 years had never tried to quit before. Normally in groups they get to witness more lost long-term quits to learn from--that did not happen here. So in the event that the four people read here, I am bringing up some post specific to this issue--that no matter how long a person is off they will lose their quit if they don't understand the bottom line law of addiction that to stay smoke free you must never take another puff!

Joel

Make sure to click here to see the original posts to this thread.
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Joel
Joel

6:56 AM - May 19, 2002 #25

For Cando
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