“You said it would get better. It's just as bad as the day I quit smoking!”

Subconscious use cue extinguishment

“You said it would get better. It's just as bad as the day I quit smoking!”

Joel
Joel

January 27th, 2001, 7:20 pm #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library


"You said it would get better. It's just as bad as the day I quit smoking!"


Recently I was met with this warm greeting from a clinic participant on his 8th day without smoking. As you may recall, we explain during the clinic that if a smoker can get through the first three days without smoking, the physiological withdrawal will start to diminish, and within two weeks all physiological withdrawal will stop.

While we can accurately predict the physiological withdrawal, psychological withdrawals can occur at anytime. It is possible that the urge this man was having was just as painful as the ones he had a week earlier. While the urge may have been as strong, it was different. When he had an urge before, there was really nothing he could do to get over it. If he just held out a few minutes, the urge would pass. But psychological urges are more under the ex-smoker's conscious control. A good analogy demonstrating the difference between physiological and psychological pain can be seen by analyzing a common toothache.

A rotting tooth can cause a lot of pain. If your dentist explains to you why the tooth hurts it really doesn't resolve the situation. You know why it hurts, but it still hurts. Simply understanding physical pain does not make the pain go away.

To illustrate another point, say you go to the dentist and find out that you have a cavity. He has to drill the tooth and put in a filling. The drilling can be a very rough experience. After it is all over the pain will stop, but whenever you hear the sound of a dentist's drill, even if it's years later, you cringe at the thought of the pain. Once you realize that you are simply reacting to the sound, you know that you are not really in danger and the reaction will end. Understanding the root of the fear alleviates the anxiety and the associated pain.

Any urges for cigarettes that occur today are reactions to conditioned triggers. You are doing or experiencing something for the first time without smoking. It may be going to a bar, a wedding or going on a plane. It may be seeing a person or being in a place where you always had a cigarette in the past. It may be something you hear or even an old familiar aroma. The sense of smell is a powerful mechanism for triggering old emotional feelings.

So today, if you find yourself desiring a cigarette, look around you and see why at this particular time and place a cigarette is on your mind. Once you understand that the desire is being triggered by some reaction to an insignificant event, you can just say "no" to the cigarette without further problem. All you need to do is understand what triggered the thought. The urge will pass. The next time you encounter a similar situation you will not even think of a cigarette. You will have learned how to face another experience as a ex-smoker.

Quitting smoking is a learning experience. Every time you overcome an urge you will have overcome another obstacle that threatened your status as an ex-smoker. As time goes by, you will run out of obstacles and you can comfortably go through life a happier and healthier person. All you need to remember and practice to stay an ex-smoker is - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF.


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KathyJo
KathyJo

January 28th, 2001, 12:21 am #2

Thank you for this reinforcement! Just yesterday (day 4) and today (day 5), I was thinking I was having the strongest cravings to smoke. I took some deep breaths, drank my water and thought about the cravings. I realized I wasn't having a craving for a smoke - I was having a panic attack! I realized it would not be cured by smoking - it would only get worse. I got through another day.... Sometimes what we think are cravings are really something else. Sometimes we need to look really deep inside ourselves to find the real problem and work on THAT. KathyJo
Four days, 14 hours, 21 minutes and 23 seconds. 68 cigarettes not smoked, saving $16.69. Life saved: 5 hours, 40 minutes.



Edited October 9, 2012 to add in the following videos discussing concepts covered in original post. Both videos cover the same material, you only need to watch one of them to get same information. First one titled Will I ever stop thinking of smoking," the second one titled "Difference between physical and psychological cravings":


Last edited by KathyJo on October 9th, 2012, 2:37 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Debi289(Gold)
Debi289(Gold)

February 2nd, 2001, 12:55 am #3

Wow, I needed this article. I am going to Wash DC for work on Sat. I have taken this flight many times, and there is a stop for about an hour in Pittsburgh. So, in the past I have gotten off the plane, and headed right for the bar where I paid too much for a soda just to have the priviledge of smoking in their establishment. Then, you know smoking in the hotel room etc. This is my first trip without cigs. Even in the past when I have "tried" to quit before, I always broke down and bought some cigs. When I was at this same conference last year, I got to my room and saw an ashtray (trigger!), and went out and bought a pack right away (I mean, I could SMOKE in my room!). Ok, so this year, I called the hotel and made sure I was in a NON smoking room. The article reminded me that I can work through those triggers, and to expect an urge during this trip. I will have a laptop with me, and I made sure I would be able to access the internet with it. I will keep in touch, and keep saying NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF. Debi289
I have been smoke free for 3W 10h 39m 13s. I have NOT smoked 428 life destroying cigarettes, for a savings of $60.04. I have saved 1D 11h 40m of my wonderful life.
Last edited by Debi289(Gold) on November 6th, 2009, 11:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

February 9th, 2001, 2:01 pm #4



Please take the time now to make a written record of what yesterday and tomorrow will be like. As best you can, explain to yourself exactly what a real live honest to goodness crave feels like. Boredom and impatience at the seeming pace of recovery can grow substantial within a few weeks. You'll need a reference point from which to measure your healing. Without it can be like being lost in the woods. Also be sure to write a DETAILED list of all your reasons for wanting to make this journey home. Make it a loving letter to you, to be read in a year from now, as by then your primary adversary will be complacency, as you go days without once thinking about wanting to use nicotine. Congratulations on reaching the mountain's top! A nicotine free body! Wowsers!!!!

Breathe deep, hug hard, live long,
John
Last edited by John (Gold) on November 6th, 2009, 11:47 am, edited 2 times in total.
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shakes
shakes

February 21st, 2001, 12:48 am #5

Thanks Joel.......I've been doing my homework for the last few hours....and I really want you all to know how much this site means to us who are really committed to quiting. (H) I am now on my way to 6 days of a smoke free life. thanks Shakes!
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Kristal
Kristal

February 21st, 2001, 2:19 am #6

Thank you for bumping this, Joel! :) The dentist analogy helped me a lot...no matter whether u understand something intellectually, the emotional part of us needs to have knowledge re-inforced repeatedly! :)
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tammer
tammer

April 2nd, 2001, 11:02 pm #7

All Physiological Withdrawal should resolve itself in 2 weeks! WOO HOO

This article is helpful to me today after a very trying weekend!! I will have 2 weeks of nicotineless existence tomorrow and that is the longest that I have ever been nicotine free since I was 17 years old! I went to church with my son and my husband went into work. When I got home from church I was just furious that he wasn't home! I called him at his office and told him that if he didn't come home I was going to smoke!!! I guess I'm acting like everything is about me these days and everyone should be catering to me cause I am going thru such a tough time. Normally, I would be very giving and just live and let live and would have gone on to the park with my son or played in the back yard or whatever! One of the problems was that I didn't want to go to the back yard to let my son play outside cause that is where I always smoked. Anyway, I think that if I can weather all of these emotions and all of the triggers for several months then I will be free and I will truly stop thinking about it all of the time as well. That is the freedom that I crave, where cigarettes are not the only thing that pops into my head for good times, bad times, any time.

I smoked my last cigarette on March 20th at 9 am.

1 week 6 days ago!
Last edited by tammer on November 6th, 2009, 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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synthman39
synthman39

April 3rd, 2001, 9:46 pm #8

Oops! Hit the silly enter key too soon.

Where was I? Oh, for those of you who may or may not know us, Mariah and I quit at the same time, a long time ago when this site was just a bit smaller!!!!

Now that we have gone 18 months, I hardly ever have any cravings let alone think about it. Mariah on the other hand has difficulty if she visits this site. Every day she mentions that she would like a smoke. It passes and we move on to the next day. SHe would probably attribute this to the different amounts that we smoked. I'm not sure how true that could be. She had quit for long periods and I am on my first REAL quit! My mother quit years ago and occassionally has cravings. I guess what I'm getting at is that like just about everything in life, things affect us each individually. You just have to get through those cravings no matter how long it has been. For those fortunate (like me?) who don't seem to have to go throught that, we are the lucky ones? I always remember that SMOKING IS NOT AN OPTION!

Synthman and Mariah
One year, six months, one week, 14 hours, 12 minutes and 22 seconds. 11091 cigarettes not smoked, saving $1,663.90. Life saved: 5 weeks, 3 days, 12 hours, 15 minutes.
Last edited by synthman39 on November 6th, 2009, 11:51 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Chet Kast (Gold)
Chet Kast (Gold)

April 3rd, 2001, 10:23 pm #9

I want to say thanks to both Joel and Zep for your threads today. The previous weekend, we purchased a new car (you guys know what that's like) and I made it through that week with the normal stress triggers; and, I now have the first smoke free car in my life. I actually placed paper in the ash tray. I want to say that those cravings, of course, are obvious and easy to identify.

I have a problem with my psychological cravings that occur each day or night where I can't identify the trigger or cause. Your statements made me take a serious look this morning and compare them with the early cravings I experienced. It now makes me feel that some of these desires to smoke may or may not be cravings at all. Can they be new feelings I am experiencing because I don't smoke anymore (simply new hungers, new metabolism) and I am linking those experiences to cravings? Do we identify all our triggers? Can I be undergoing cravings where I will never identify the triggers? Thanks for everything.


Chet


I have Quit for: 1M 1W 6D 8h 20m 44s. I have NOT smoked 1108 cigs, for a savings of $166.30. Life Saved: 3D 20h 20m.
Last edited by Chet Kast (Gold) on March 18th, 2009, 12:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joel
Joel

June 3rd, 2001, 7:09 pm #10

Well this is exciting. I used to feel bad about bringing this one up for it was one of those long titles that caused a scrolling problem on the old board. But low and behold, the new board text wraps the titles. This is great. We probably should still try to keep title lengths to a manageable size so we can keep more posts on the page at once, but it does not appear to be as crucial as it was before. So I guess for once, we seem to be making ourselves less restrictive, one less rule that we have to aggressively try to enforce. This is truly a banner day.

But do not get too festive here--some things haven't changed. Just because we look newer and more spruced up, we are still the same people with the same message here, that quitting smoking is a fight for your health and your life. Some things may look different and change over time, but we will never waiver on the message that to guarantee total success at staying smoke free you must always enforce your own rule that you will never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joel

July 21st, 2001, 6:50 pm #11

This article better than any other I use I think clarifies the difference between the physical and the psychological "urges." They are both real, but they are different. Not in the way they feel, but in the way they can be controlled. Both will be overcome though as long as you always know to never take another puff!



Joel


Last edited by Joel on October 9th, 2012, 2:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

January 8th, 2002, 9:40 pm #12

There may be a few bumps along Freedom's Road but they become fewer and fewer, and further and further between, until the road becomes almost as smooth as glass! It may be that Freedom's Road carries you deep within the forest of healing but don't get lost among the many trees. Quitting is a temporary transition period from an endlessly feeding nicotine addict to a comfortable and relaxed X-smoker! Focus on the positive and let the healing continue! Unlike a healing broken bone, if you pull this cast off early, the bone is sure to break again. Baby steps to comfort! Look at your list of reasons! This is doable! Breathe deep, hug hard, live long, YQB John : )
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DubiouslyDos
DubiouslyDos

June 12th, 2002, 1:00 am #13

What a great article for today. I had to run errands at work this morning, among other places, I had to go to a Big Box store - I found myself waiting in line right next to the HUGE cigarette conter. My first thought, like a reflex was...."Hey, how many cigarettes do I have left, do I need another pack?".....Then it clicked, HEY YOU DON'T SMOKE ANYMORE REMEMBER???? The man in front of me was buying chewing tobacco, but he smelled like an ashtray, I looked at all those cartons, packs, and products and thought to myself, "You're nicotine free now, you don't need this anymore"...My crave today was just a few seconds...and it was gone in a flash - as I left the store, I was proud of what I have accomplished, with Freedoms help these last couple weeks. This article is a keeper!!!
Dos (Dubiously)
X-Smoker who is never going to take another puff
2 Weeks, 2 Hours, 2 minutes.....421 cigarettes I chose not to smoke and a savings of $63.15
Last edited by DubiouslyDos on November 6th, 2009, 11:53 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Joanne Gold
Joanne Gold

September 26th, 2003, 10:53 am #14

"Quitting smoking is a learning experience. Every time you overcome an urge you will have overcome another obstacle that threatened your status as an ex-smoker. As time goes by, you will run out of obstacles and you can comfortably go through life a happier and healthier person. All you need to remember and practice to stay an ex-smoker is - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF."
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John (Gold)
John (Gold)

March 11th, 2004, 11:26 am #15

I can allow the conscious "thought" of a nice juicy steak to linger in my mind for as long as I want. Early in my recovery I could do the same with the thought of smoking nicotine if that's what I chose to do. Subconscious triggers are different. A trigger may cause thoughts of smoking to be generated but the triggered crave episode itself will not last longer than three minutes. Be sure and look at a clock as time distortion during recovery is very real and your days can feel 20% longer than normal.

So how do you help move those pesky thoughts along? Well, there are a couple of ways. Reflecting upon the "thought" in an open and honest manner could cause you to abandon it as unworthy of your mind's time.
Thought: Gee, I'd sure like just one cigarette
Truth: A drug addict can't have just one, so I need to picture the thousands and thousands of others that come along with it.

Another means of helping move a pesky thought along might be to relax, take a few slow deep breaths and try clearing your mind by concentrating and focusing on something new - a shape, your favorite color, an object, a place or, yes, even a your favorite food.

Another means may be to acknowledge the thought but to put it into proper perspective.

Calm all needless fears. Don't be afraid of the unknown up ahead as what's waiting is the real "you!" Although it may feel like it during recovery, you're leaving no part of you behind.

The mind's dependency recovery weather can change very rapidly and delay, distraction, relaxation, deep breaths, cool water, and truth are some of your best tools while you get the hang of things. The bottom line always remains the same. Thoughts and craves can't hurt, burn us, cut us, make us bleed, or destroy our glory. The path to comfort and lasting freedom is the same for all of us - no nicotine just one day at a time, Never Take Another Puff!

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FoolNoMore2
FoolNoMore2

July 13th, 2006, 10:54 am #16

This site never ceases to amaze me...and it just proves how important it is to continue to read, read and read some more.

This is my 8th day and I have experienced this exact scenario...I got through it, but was hanging on by my fingernails all day and night. I should have looked for help on this site earlier, but didn't. I am so grateful this topic popped up tonight. I realize that circumstances which transpired throughout the course of the day triggered my feelings of being unworthy of being successful and there are certain people in my life who feel pretty lousy about themselves and would just love to see me fail. Not going to happen today!!! Never take another puff!

Barb- Free and healing for 8 days, 10 hrs & 51 minutes, while extending my life expectancy 1 day & 4 hrs. by avoiding the use of cigarettes that would have cost me $62.06.
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Marixpress
Marixpress

September 21st, 2006, 12:21 am #17

It does get better just hold out for one more day.
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sunflower39861
sunflower39861

February 15th, 2007, 3:30 am #18

Thanks for bumping this thread up today Joel. Day 8 which was yesterday for me, was a really rough one.
I had read this thread a few days ago and couldn't find it again, but remembering what you said helped me get thru my rough day.
I'm definitely going to put this one in my favs so I don't loose it. lol
Barb -Smoke Free and Healing for Nine Days, 4 Hours and 29 Minutes, while extending my life expectancy 1 Day and 14 Hours, by avoiding the use of 459 death sticks that would have cost me $143.60.
Last edited by sunflower39861 on November 6th, 2009, 11:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Apryl9
Apryl9

March 31st, 2007, 2:42 am #19

Gosh I am so glad I found this thread, maybe I'm not so weird after all. I just couldn't figure out why it was getting "worse". I think I understand a liitle more!
Free and healing for 7 days.
Last edited by Apryl9 on November 6th, 2009, 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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savide7
savide7

April 8th, 2007, 1:47 pm #20

Yea!!! You are here, and no little 4 inch tube of tobacco is going to hold you hostage! I finally broke my one month plateau. Never take another puff!
Everybody here is holding everybody's hand!
Debbie
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FreedomNicotine
FreedomNicotine

November 6th, 2009, 11:59 am #21

Any urges for cigarettes that occur today are reactions to conditioned triggers. You are doing or experiencing something for the first time without smoking. It may be going to a bar, a wedding or going on a plane. It may be seeing a person or being in a place where you always had a cigarette in the past. It may be something you hear or even an old familiar aroma. The sense of smell is a powerful mechanism for triggering old emotional feelings.

So today, if you find yourself desiring a cigarette, look around you and see why at this particular time and place a cigarette is on your mind. Once you understand that the desire is being triggered by some reaction to an insignificant event, you can just say "no" to the cigarette without further problem. All you need to do is understand what triggered the thought. The urge will pass. The next time you encounter a similar situation you will not even think of a cigarette. You will have learned how to face another experience as a ex-smoker.

Quitting smoking is a learning experience. Every time you overcome an urge you will have overcome another obstacle that threatened your status as an ex-smoker. As time goes by, you will run out of obstacles and you can comfortably go through life a happier and healthier person. All you need to remember and practice to stay an ex-smoker is - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF.

Joel


(Excerpt from the original post)
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Johnnie
Johnnie

October 21st, 2010, 4:54 pm #22

Another welcome find from Joel's amazing library. Embracing craves is just the start...transcending the triggers becomes the new goal.
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