"Your Stupid Letters"

"Your Stupid Letters"

Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

05 Jan 2001, 00:13 #1

Joel's Reinforcement Library
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"The only time I think of cigarettes is
when I receive one of your stupid letters!"




"The only time I think of cigarettes is when I receive one of your stupid letters! Recently, a clinic graduate expressed this sentiment when I inquired as to how life without smoking was going. He was trying very hard to forget that he had ever smoked. It was a part of his life that he no longer wished to dwell upon. But my follow-up correspondence was making forgetting impossible. He was now at the point where he threw out my letters without even opening them.

The fact is that I continue to send these letters so that the ex-smoker will never forget about smoking. For if he is like most ex-smokers, he will never totally forget his smoking past. He will forget the cigarettes that made him sick, the ones that made him feel socially ostracized, and the countless ones he smoked daily without even being aware that he was lighting them. Most important, he will forget the cigarettes he didn't want to light but which were alleviating urges that were too powerful to control. In essence, he will forget about the majority of cigarettes he had smoked, and then, only occasionally, he will remember a "good" one.

And then it happens. One day at a party, under stress, or just out of boredom, he will get the desire for that "good" cigarette. By having distanced himself from his past addiction, he will have forgotten or just no longer accept the fact that even "one puff" is almost certain to result in full and complete relapse. Because he no longer accepts his addiction, he sees no reason why he shouldn't be able to enjoy a good cigarette. So he tries one. Maybe it will be a great cigarette, maybe it will be a horrid one. It really doesn't make a big difference. Good or bad, it will take control and he will once again be an addicted smoker. He must now suffer all the physical, emotional, social, financial and health consequences that accompany nicotine addiction.

I actually sent the letters to everyone from my clinics for two reason. First, as stated above, to keep the ex-smoker from getting complacent and losing a quit. The second was in the sad cases when the smoker had relapsed, the letters were to serve as a constant reminder (usually referred to as pestering) that smoking was a problem that needed to be dealt with. There were plenty of times that people came back saying that one of the letters brought them back to quit again. Those were some of the most wonderful effects I felt these letters had.

Never allow yourself to forget your smoking past. Yes, there may have been some "good" cigarettes, but there were certainly a lot more bad ones and even the "good" ones were slowly killing you. What is sad is that the man who made the comment, as well as all the others like him who really need to read the letters, will never see this one before it's too late. They will have thrown the letters out without ever having opened them. Maybe next time they quit smoking they will know better - if there is a next time. Consider the full ramifications of just one cigarette and then choose to - NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

05 Jan 2001, 00:17 #2

Oh yes, there was a postscript in the original letter I forgot to add here. It read:

P.S. What is sad is that the man who made the comment, as well as all the others like him who really need to read the letters, will never see this one informing them of it. They will have thrown the letters out without ever having opened them. Maybe next time they quit smoking they will know better- If there is a next time.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

01 Mar 2001, 21:10 #3

I also saw the comment made today about people no longer needing support. Some people do seem to be more contingent on help from others, but it is very important that everyone works on becoming as self-reliant as possible. You just never know where another person or support system is going to be when you most are counting on them. You have to be quitting to make yourself healthier, happier and to live longer, not to make others proud of you. Others pride and admiration is a possible side benefit of your quit, not the primary purpose of it. If you ever think the reason you are quitting is for another person or group, your feeling will be that you are depriving yourself of a cigarette for another and not that you are ridding yourself of smoking for yourself.

But does that mean people shouldn't come in for reinforcement once they have quit? Not at all, please recognize something about this letter and about most of my letters. The vast majority of the materials that I wrote and have made available here in the quit library and elsewhere were actually not written to help people quit smoking. They were written to people who had graduated from my clinics and had already quit. They were in fact not sent or given to these people until weeks, months and even years after they had quit.

They were not even meant to remind people I was behind them, but more important to keep them focused on why "they" quit and how "they" could stay off. Because of postage costs it became impossible to send them to thousands of people over a many year period. But with the invention of the internet they can be utilized by everyone anytime they have computer access.

So come back and read and read to stay focused. Remind yourself why you wanted to stop. Remind yourself how hard it was and how you persevered. Remind yourself of the benefits you derived from not smoking. And most important, read and remind yourself that to stay smoke free saving your health and your life that you must never take another puff!

Joel
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

13 Jun 2001, 05:25 #4

The reason some people only seem to come back when they are experiencing difficulty is that they are afraid of being reminded of smoking in the good times. But sometimes being reminded, even thoough it makes the person feel nervous, may help the person from getting complacent.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

20 Jul 2001, 11:01 #5

Kind of for Treese. Is it natural to get to the point where you are now? For some people yes it is. I get some people in clinics who seem like they get there in just two weeks. Many take longer though but they all get there. But they still must all remember that they are recovering addicts, thus the point of this post.

To keep from ever developing the mindset of a smoker constantly thinking about the next cigarette again just always remember to never take another puff!

Joel
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Alice
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:59

05 Mar 2002, 09:02 #6

Thanks Joel. I did like it.
I do have a tendency to want to get HERE right away when I get home. I'm in and out all day, my office is only 5 minutes away. (no boss/ real estate agent) OK so this website is like a security blanket for me right now. Thanks for confirming that even though I don't think about cigarettees all day long anymore it's OK to stay close. I'm still taking it day by day.
Alice
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

25 Jul 2003, 00:56 #7

I realized I should probably attach a note here that the letter are all bound together now, (well kind of bound together if you considered an e-book bounded) and can be downloaded for free by clicking on www.whyquit.com/joel/ntap.pdf.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

06 Sep 2003, 20:59 #8

The links in our left-hand margin are temporarily down. I thought I would bring this one up to cover the link to Joel's Library. Also, for anyone who has not yet downloaded a copy of all of the letters, get a copy by clicking here: www.whyquit.com/joel/ntap.pdf. At those times when Freedom may be down you will still have the book on your local computer as a resource. It wouldn't hurt to print out a copy for times when you don't have access to a computer at all.
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John (Gold)
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

15 Jan 2004, 22:15 #9

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If you've read Joel's Library once and are now further along in recovery it's amazing the new insights gained upon a second reading. Your focus going into recovery was likely very different than it is now.
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Joel
Joined: 18 Dec 2008, 23:57

18 Jun 2005, 04:21 #10

The reason some people only seem to come back when they are experiencing difficulty is that they are afraid of being reminded of smoking in the good times. But sometimes being reminded, even thoough it makes the person feel nervous, may help the person from getting complacent.
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