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Thoughts From a Former "Hopeless Addict"


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#1 Eric

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:23 PM

 I intially wrote this in response to a question if there were people that had tried to quit numerous times, so it sounds almost like coming into the middle of a conversation, but the response became so long and so general, I thought I'd just post it as a post. 

 

 Question: Is there anyone who have failed after like 5 attempts but eventually succeeded?
 

 

Yeah, me.

 

  I think this is one of the reasons I stuck around for years and maybe why others do the same. It is the hope that maybe someone can learn from my mistakes so that hopefully they don't continue making their own and have multiple failed quit attempts in the process.

 

  I had tried to quit so many times and so many different ways that I lost count. Some of those quits lasted days and some lasted less than that. But each time I quit and relapsed, I only validated what I already knew. That quitting smoking was too hard and I was too weak. I often times resigned that I was a hopeless addict.

 

  Besides, I had all of these things happening in my life that always caused me to relapse. There was the stress at my job, stress in my relationships, the girlfriend breaking up with me, being in a bad mood, the bad weather bumming me out, hanging out and relaxing in the fantastic weather, the cable going out, hanging out with my smoking friends who still got to smoke, etc. If it wasn't one thing, it was another.

 

  It wasn't until I started educating myself about this addiction that I began to realize that nothing outside myself caused me to relapse. Nothing. Not the stress, the job, the relationships, the ex-girlfriend, the moods, the weather, the cable, the friends, etc. Nothing. All the responsibility/accountability fell square in my lap. I think often times us addicts don't want to hear this.  “No, no, no!”, we may say. “If only this didn't happen or that didn't happen, or if this happened or that happened, I wouldn't have smoked.”  Yet the truth is, every time I relapsed, I made the decision to smoke.

 

  The funny thing about decisions like this though, is that often times we think that they are something that happens in a split second. Yet, upon an honest closer examination, we can see how often times we start to build up these thoughts/fantasies about just having that cigarette. And as these thoughts/fantasies start to build, the mind starts making justifications, rationalizations, and/or maybe even compromises. The mind then starts to look for people, places, situations, etc. that will fit into these justifications and rationalizations and as soon as they arise, the addict takes advantage of the person, place or situation, all the while blaming that this was the reason that “caused” them to smoke. It is like the addict's version of the self fulfilling prophecy. Looking back, telling myself I was a hopeless addict was kind of a way out. After all, it's not my fault if I'm hopeless.

 

  Yet, when that responsibility shifts over and we see that it is ourselves and only ourselves that is responsible, we might not fully embrace this idea at first, because no longer can we blame anyone or anything for “causing” us to smoke. We realize that to justify or rationalize one reason is to open the door to justify and rationalizing any reason.  But that is actually the good news when it is embraced!

 

  This is why I think that educating oneself about this addiction is so key to not only freeing oneself from the prison of the physical addiction, but also the prison of the psychological addiction. It is my philosophy that through the years of ingesting nicotine causing a physical addiction, created  deeply rooted psychological beliefs in the cigarette based on fallacies.  Since nicotine addiction is based on the negative reinforcement principle (meaning continuing to do something to keep the negative effects of not doing it at bay), quitting smoking seems to reinforce these fallacies that the smoker believes.

 

  This again is why I think education is so important. It helps to remove these beliefs that until brought to light we might not even recognize we had. Yes, quitting smoking and stopping that behavior is good, but without a change of mind the person can go from one prison (being in the grip of addiction) to another prison (being free from the addiction, while still holding cherished beliefs that causes the person to feel they are giving the addiction up). The truth is, we are giving up nothing! We are getting rid of an absolutely absurd and useless addiction!

 

  But the thing with education is the applying of it. Information without application will not get one very far, for this is where the rubber meets the road. Education doesn't mean that a person will no longer have withdrawal symptoms, or craves, or thoughts when first quitting. The value lies in that we will have the knowledge and tools to be able to respond to these rather than merely becoming a reaction to them.

 

  It is so important to understand that quitting is temporary, the key word being TEMPORARY. Freedom is forever! It can seem scary to think that quitting smoking we'll just have to deal with these craves forever, but the truth is, the only people that will have craves forever are people that don't quit smoking! Yes, when we quit we go through withdrawal. Withdrawal then turns into craves, that turn into thoughts, that eventually turn into memories. Memories that we hold onto to remember how smoking really was and not what we want it to be.  

 

  To you newer quitters going through the transitional period or withdrawal and craves. I can tell you, this is not what it is like to be an ex-smoker, for it were, I wouldn't be here telling you this. I would be smoking myself. There are many things I have done in my life that I regret, but quitting smoking is not one of them! It is absolutely the best thing I have done for myself and it is the best thing that you can do for yourself!

 

  This addiction is absurd and it is absolutely useless. And to show you just how absurd and useless it is, I want you to imagine this. Since I have quit smoking I have not smoked 143,686 cigarettes. I have also not wasted almost $36,000.00 on cigarettes since I quit smoking.

 

  Now imagine this. If I had not quit smoking, I would have smoked 143,686 cigarettes! For what? To keep relieving the anxiety that the previous cigarette created! An anxiety that shouldn't have even been there in the first place! And I would have spent almost $36,000.00 (not counting inflation which would be much more these days) to do so! And where would I be? I would be getting ready to smoke my 143, 687th cigarette to relieve the withdrawal anxiety from my 143,686th cigarette, and on and on, on the hamster wheel it would have went. Is that not absurd?! 

 

And how useful is that to smoke all of those cigarettes and spend all that money to relieve withdrawal anxieties from smoking that smoking itself created in the first place?! It's insane really. Smoking gets you no where. It always ends up at the same point no matter how many cigarettes are smoked....it is always smoking the present cigarette to relieve the withdrawal anxieties of the previous cigarette.

 

  You will never find peace within the addiction, because addiction can never be satisfied, and what cannot be satisfied will never bring peace. It is a beast  with a voracious appetite that will keep taking and taking. This is not a pleasure, but a prison, but it is a prison in which you hold the key to escape!

 

  I urge you to read, read, and read some more.  Be patient with yourselves. This is truly a wonderful gift, sometimes it just takes a little time to unwrap it.

 

  And above all,

 

NEVER TAKE ANOTHER PUFF!!

 

Eric 


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“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”~Rumi

#2 ********

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:45 PM

I failed at two long term quits where I continued to suffer the loss of my constant companion, my smoking habit. I think this pearl of information finally set me free. I simply didn't get it before, "The truth is, we are giving up nothing! We are getting rid of an absolutely absurd and useless addiction!". The sense of relief I got when I fed my addiction had caused my brain to interpret that as feeling better and I could not imagine life without "feeling better". Well Hell, now I don't go through constant withdrawal so I feel "better" all the time. I know some people say you can make it as long as you want to quit more than you want to smoke....
It is easier when you simply no longer want to smoke.
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#3 Eric

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Posted 08 May 2014 - 11:58 PM

Absolutely Jaunita,

All my past quit attempts were absolute living hell due to "giving up" smoking.
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“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”~Rumi

#4 Breatheasy2

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:04 AM

Eric, I would read part of your post and copy it thinking "this part is so very true" until I got to the next part and copied it thinking "this is critical". Well, after reading your whole post I just want to....

 

clapping.gif

 

Eric, your words and thoughts on breaking the chains of smoking addiction are golden.

 

You truly are my quit smoking guru. I know I'm gushing, but it's true!

 

Those new and old to your quit, take time to really absorb what Eric posts, you won't be sorry!

 

BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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~Happily Quit and Free since 7 June 2012


#5 SanDar

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:05 AM

Thanks for posting this Eric! Exactly what I needed to hear.

#6 Eric

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:18 AM

LOL B,

You know that's embarrassing, but I appreciate the kudos. I just feel very fortunate to have found that key that freed me from this addiction and if I can help others find their key, well that is awesome too!! :smile:

And you're very welcome Sandar. I'm glad to be of any help at all.

Ok, off to dinner time

Eric
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all of the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”~Rumi

#7 Breatheasy2

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:23 AM

LOL B,

You know that's embarrassing, but I appreciate the kudos. I just feel very fortunate to have found that key that freed me from this addiction and if I can help others find their key, well that is awesome too!!  :smile:

 

 

Thank you for popping in and penning a great thread.

 

I know it will help many. :-)

 

Is that better? LOL

 

((Eric))

 

I always look forward to seeing a post from you. I hope you will come by more often. :-)


~Happily Quit and Free since 7 June 2012


#8 Melody

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:48 AM

Loved it, thank you!

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#9 donvesta

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 01:01 AM

Thank you for taking the time to post this. I know there are alot of us that need this kind of post right now. I will remember this for a long time.

 

I will not smoke today.


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Acceptance is the key.

 

Be grateful for the pain. We can not heal without it.

 

I became a non smoker on March 26, 2014.

 

PROUD TO BE A 2014 AVENGER.


#10 Dors67

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 01:05 AM

Damn it ,,, out of likes but......1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, +

(how many is that...???)  but alot....This is a post for my favorites...GOLD BABY....GOLD.


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image.png?base_img=2&size=0&date_yr=2014event.png<p> 2014 AVENGER 2j3342d.jpg

#11 Kathleen0515

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 01:25 AM

A little while back, in response to the ongoing turmoil,  I started a thread titled "What's so darn special about QSMB". It's posts like this, and people like you who comprise the rich history of this board, that are what's so darn special. Thanks Eric, you never disappoint  :smile: . 


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image.png?base_img=1&size=0&date_yr=2012

 

      phpus0IwXPM1_zps54aa894a.jpg"

"Grammy, why are you putting smoke in your body?"

 

I stopped putting smoke in my body on June 28, 2012. 


#12 AmandaG

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 01:41 AM

 I intially wrote this in response to a question if there were people that had tried to quit numerous times, so it sounds almost like coming into the middle of a conversation, but the response became so long and so general, I thought I'd just post it as a post. 

 

 Question: Is there anyone who have failed after like 5 attempts but eventually succeeded?
 

 

Yeah, me.

 

  I think this is one of the reasons I stuck around for years and maybe why others do the same. It is the hope that maybe someone can learn from my mistakes so that hopefully they don't continue making their own and have multiple failed quit attempts in the process.

 

  I had tried to quit so many times and so many different ways that I lost count. Some of those quits lasted days and some lasted less than that. But each time I quit and relapsed, I only validated what I already knew. That quitting smoking was too hard and I was too weak. I often times resigned that I was a hopeless addict.

 

  Besides, I had all of these things happening in my life that always caused me to relapse. There was the stress at my job, stress in my relationships, the girlfriend breaking up with me, being in a bad mood, the bad weather bumming me out, hanging out and relaxing in the fantastic weather, the cable going out, hanging out with my smoking friends who still got to smoke, etc. If it wasn't one thing, it was another.

 

  It wasn't until I started educating myself about this addiction that I began to realize that nothing outside myself caused me to relapse. Nothing. Not the stress, the job, the relationships, the ex-girlfriend, the moods, the weather, the cable, the friends, etc. Nothing. All the responsibility/accountability fell square in my lap. I think often times us addicts don't want to hear this.  “No, no, no!”, we may say. “If only this didn't happen or that didn't happen, or if this happened or that happened, I wouldn't have smoked.”  Yet the truth is, every time I relapsed, I made the decision to smoke.

 

  The funny thing about decisions like this though, is that often times we think that they are something that happens in a split second. Yet, upon an honest closer examination, we can see how often times we start to build up these thoughts/fantasies about just having that cigarette. And as these thoughts/fantasies start to build, the mind starts making justifications, rationalizations, and/or maybe even compromises. The mind then starts to look for people, places, situations, etc. that will fit into these justifications and rationalizations and as soon as they arise, the addict takes advantage of the person, place or situation, all the while blaming that this was the reason that “caused” them to smoke. It is like the addict's version of the self fulfilling prophecy. Looking back, telling myself I was a hopeless addict was kind of a way out. After all, it's not my fault if I'm hopeless.

 

  Yet, when that responsibility shifts over and we see that it is ourselves and only ourselves that is responsible, we might not fully embrace this idea at first, because no longer can we blame anyone or anything for “causing” us to smoke. We realize that to justify or rationalize one reason is to open the door to justify and rationalizing any reason.  But that is actually the good news when it is embraced!

 

  This is why I think that educating oneself about this addiction is so key to not only freeing oneself from the prison of the physical addiction, but also the prison of the psychological addiction. It is my philosophy that through the years of ingesting nicotine causing a physical addiction, created  deeply rooted psychological beliefs in the cigarette based on fallacies.  Since nicotine addiction is based on the negative reinforcement principle (meaning continuing to do something to keep the negative effects of not doing it at bay), quitting smoking seems to reinforce these fallacies that the smoker believes.

 

  This again is why I think education is so important. It helps to remove these beliefs that until brought to light we might not even recognize we had. Yes, quitting smoking and stopping that behavior is good, but without a change of mind the person can go from one prison (being in the grip of addiction) to another prison (being free from the addiction, while still holding cherished beliefs that causes the person to feel they are giving the addiction up). The truth is, we are giving up nothing! We are getting rid of an absolutely absurd and useless addiction!

 

 

 

  It is so important to understand that quitting is temporary, the key word being TEMPORARY. Freedom is forever! It can seem scary to think that quitting smoking we'll just have to deal with these craves forever, but the truth is, the only people that will have craves forever are people that don't quit smoking! Yes, when we quit we go through withdrawal. Withdrawal then turns into craves, that turn into thoughts, that eventually turn into memories. Memories that we hold onto to remember how smoking really was and not what we want it to be.  

 

  To you newer quitters going through the transitional period or withdrawal and craves. I can tell you, this is not what it is like to be an ex-smoker, for it were, I wouldn't be here telling you this. I would be smoking myself. There are many things I have done in my life that I regret, but quitting smoking is not one of them! It is absolutely the best thing I have done for myself and it is the best thing that you can do for yourself!

 

 

 

  You will never find peace within the addiction, because addiction can never be satisfied, and what cannot be satisfied will never bring peace. It is a beast  with a voracious appetite that will keep taking and taking. This is not a pleasure, but a prison, but it is a prison in which you hold the key to escape!

 

 

 

Eric, 

How long have you been free?  Great post!

I too thought I was hopelessly gonna die a smoker.

I'd see ads and commercials like this: 

new-fda-graphic-warning-against-smoking-

 

This will be me....This will be my end.  Even if I had a trach, I'd probably tell myself, "I might as well make it worth it" 

Disgusting.  I am almost 25 days quit now! Longest ever quit.  Most committed and educated ever quit! MAN today is trying though!


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AmandaG

 

Cigarettes... You take my breath away!

 

"Tell the negativity meeting going on inside your head to sit down and shut the f**** up!"

 

"kindness is the language the blind can see and the deaf can hear"

 

                       

NICODEMONSLOGO.jpg

LION-COPY-2.jpg

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#13 Breatheasy2

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 01:55 AM

Amanda,

 

Girl, you better keep putting one foot in front of the other.

 

You're doing so well and working so hard for this to be the quit that sticks.

 

If you want it bad enough, it's yours.

 

Just don't put a rolled up stick of tobacco in your mouth and light it on fire!


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#14 Holski

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 01:56 AM

Thank You for this post, Eric.

It really speaks to me.

 

 


"A journey of a thousand miles, starts with one step."  -Taken from the Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu-

 

"Recognize the Truth -- YOU control your hands and your mouth. NOTHING can make you smoke unless you decide to do it." Terry Martin

 

"NO WAY I'll put that stinking s*** stick in my mouth." Chani

 

Quit 6/18/14

event.png

 

795px-Wasatchfront.jpg

 


#15 Guest_Phoebe77_*

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 03:19 AM

Thank you Eric. Brilliant!

 

 

My boss quit the same time I did. However there was a huge difference looking back now. He has tried quitting numerous times. This time, to save face I suspect, he kept telling everyone he was only quitting temporarily. Temporarily? WTF? He would segregate himself from the smoking 'pack'. I threw myself in the middle of the 'pack' from Day 1. I told everyone I was now a non smoker. He told everyone he was still a smoker but just not smoking at the moment.

 

He's back on the cigarettes. I think he set himself for failure by justifying his reason for relapsing before he'd even relapsed.



#16 runRH

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 04:04 AM

Thank you for posting this, Eric! This is awesome!
NO ONE defeats an Avenger! 2014 Avengers ROCK!!!

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#17 Stewie14

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 04:14 AM

That is exactly what I needed to hear your message came in a perfect time, in my previous post I confessed that on my third day I had succumbed back to smoking, and needed to hear someone who had succeeded after failing more than times. That idiot is me!!!
Now I am on my 2nd day and more determined you just have injected great anti nicotine in me in a psychological way.

I have copied your message on my notepad

Thanks for sharing!
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#18 anna2013

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 06:38 AM

Thanks for such a wonderful post Eric. Yours is the sort of wisdom that helped me so much in my early quit and I know this will be helping so many newbies and lurkers here right now. As others have said, I hope you stop by more often!


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[/url]">http://1367710200_20_1_EUR_8.75_default.png

 

         Smokers don't 'get' to smoke, they 'have' to smoke - that's when the penny dropped for me..


#19 Cristobal

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 07:00 AM

What a fantastic post Erix,

Thank you so much for inspiring all of us !!!


Cristóbal
► I am a ** OLDE PHARTE ** (1 year + :grin: ) !!!
► I smoked 30 years, 2 packs a day ... Bleah ..... :shock: :shock: :shock:
► 14 October 2012 - ¡ This day I took control .... and took back my freedom ! :grin: :grin: :grin:

► ¡ Cold Turkey On A Whim ! :lol: :lol: :lol:
¿¿ How to quit and *STAY* quit ??
¡¡¡ Rocket Science !!! (N.O.P.E. - Not.One.Puff.Ever .... Just For Today)

My Quit & First Post: http://www.quitsmoki...php?f=2&t=46786


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#20 BuffyCat

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 10:18 AM

Wow Eric, that was a wonderful and thought provoking post.

 

It truly is an utterly insane addiction. I am so happy I quit.


"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain"  ~  Patrick Hughes

 

"Buffy understands the Easy Peasy

You're gonna make it, Buffy the Cat.

Easy Peasy" - Sgt. Sausage

 

There is no Freedom without the Freedom to say NOPE

 

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PROUD TO BE A 2014 AVENGER !! 

 

RELAPSES ARE NOT ACCIDENTS - THEY ARE CONSCIOUS DECISIONS


 





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