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2011
Giulia

Relapse Prevention -

Posted by Giulia Champion Apr 27, 2011


DO YOU HAVE A QUIT KIT?

Please add your own as you have discovered it during your quitting process.

I don’t know if I ever had a quit kit, actually.  But I think it would be a good idea to have one.  What that kit consists of is entirely personal.  What motives me to stay free and keeps me free  may not mean a thing to you.  So lets share what works for us and why.

My Quit Kit

First days/weeks/month:

Water bottle with a nipple (like a sport bottle).  I’d fill that thing with water and suck on it all day long.  The need to suck is primal and if you’ve continued that mode by smoking for X number of years, weaning off is a gradual process. 

Taking long deep, slow breaths.  Take as long a breath as you can through your nose, hold it for as long as you feel comfortable, then exhale slowly through your mouth.  Between sucking up water and sucking up air I didn’t know whether I’d sink or float.

Straws.  I’d cut them to cigarette length and wad up a little piece of paper and stuff it in until it created the same kind of draw as a cigarette.  I sucked on so many of those things I went into straw withdrawal when I tried to go off of THEM.  LOL. 

Positive notes to myself stuck everywhere around my home.  “You CAN!”  “You’re DOING IT!”  “Don’t give up.”  “You wimp - get over it!”  For me the last one was the most potent.

Supporting others: I found this incredibly helpful.  The more I supported other people, even early in my quit before I had a lot to offer, it reinforced my own mindset.  The trick is to heed your own words.

Keeping a sense of humor.  Making fun of the misery of withdrawal helped me deal with it and bear it.

Reinforcement.  Especially of “smoking is NOT an option.”  NOPE came after that for me. 

Using the energy of the cravings in a creative way.  Craving energy is phenomenal.  It is all consuming in the beginning.  We are filled with anger and wanting and desire to overcome and it’s HUGE.  We’re consumed with all these conflicting emotions at once.  And if you can harness even a part of that energy in constructive ways - it’s so enlivening.  That’s why I suggest doing ANYTHING new, anything you’ve never done before that you may have contemplated at any time in your life.  It will occupy your mind, take it off the cravings, and you may even discover talents you knew not of. 

For the long term quitter: come to a support site and blog if you get a craving.  Express it.  Use the site to help you remember where you came from and why you don’t want to go back there.  Keep in touch with those who are in the early stages of withdrawal.  It will remind you, in case you forget.  And they need your wisdom.  On the other hand, don’t remain too close if it keeps you thinking about cigarettes.  Know when giving support helps you and when it hurts you.  Sometimes we need our distance.  I didn’t recognize that until several years after I quit.  There are times to be active and times when refraining may be better for us.

Warning Signals.  Attune yourself to them.  Any time you start thinking about the possibility of smoking - that’s a warning bell.  At any stage of your quit.  Any time any excuse pops into your head - that’s a warning bell.  Heed the bells at all times. 

What does Your Quit Kit consist of?
 

...that the new quitter is plagued with.  Whether ‘tis worth suffering the slings and arrows of withdrawals, or to give in.  To take arms against the demon and by opposing end him, or to give up and accept the seeming inability to quit.   The “native hue of resolution is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought.”   Indecision eventually killed Hamlet.  Don’t let it kill you.

AND FURTHER RAMBLINGS -


Have you ever met a smoker who didn’t want to be free of it?

No.  At least I haven’t.  There isn’t one smoker I know in all my many years on this planet who hasn’t said (including me before I quit) , “Oh, I Wish I could quit.” 

Have you ever met a smoker who wanted to quit?

No.    Most smokers know that what they’re doing is harmful to themselves.  But they don’t WANT to quit.  They just know they SHOULD. 

Have you ever met a quitter who didn’t want to smoke?

Yes.  A long term quitter who has gotten past the craving stage.

Have you ever met a quitter who thought they were past the craving stage and caved in?

Yes - at any stage of their journey.

The point I’m trying to make here is that all us ex smokers enjoyed smoking.  (Feel free to argue the point.  Should make for a lively discussion!)  Call it the addiction, but there is no doubt it gave us a sense of pleasure once we got over the dizziness and nausea of those first few cigarettes.  You can learn all about the brain receptors and how they’ve changed and grown, been activated - whatever - because of the drugs in the cigarettes but - bottom line is - smoking gave us pleasure.  Pretending that it didn’t - is a lie, as far as I’m concerned.  If it weren’t, people with 20 years quits wouldn’t suddenly say, oh give me a puff and then be right back to smoking as much as they did 20 years prior. 

So let’s not fool ourselves by saying, well, I can o’er think that desire.  No, you can’t.  You can be ever mindful and vigilant against it, but it seems to me, once you’ve experienced that - whatever it is that cigarettes give us - it’s in your emotional and physical tissues.  After you’ve quit, the drugs are out of your body, but the patterns you developed while smoking ain’t out of your mind.  The pleasure receptors have been set for life it seems.  Can one give up ice cream or chocolate and never have a wistful longing to have them again?

And so I think the failures of an 8, 15, 20 year quits is just that.  First it’s a failing to recognize -  and perhaps pure denial - that one puff will bring us back to day one all over again.  But second, I think it’s because there is an underlying sense memory of the pleasure smoking gave us.  It was killing us, but it pleasured us at the same time.  And the trouble with quitting is the immediate perceived pleasure (whether it’s real or not) is a stronger motivation than the  perceived physical detriment.  Look at those who have COPD and still can’t quit. 

The good news is that the longer you’re quit, the less your desire to smoke.  You’re  granted a reprieve for as long as you choose to keep it in effect.  With a single puff, however, the sentence is re-instated from day one.  So don’t let yourself go back to jail.  Keep your butt out of your mouth. 

Those who quit smoking are less aggressive kidney cancer

 

 

                                  
     
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       Those who quit smoking are less aggressive kidney cancer       NEW YORK: Researchers have found that kidney cancer is not only more common among heavy smokers, it also appears to be more aggressive.

According to a study out Monday, more than one in four smokers undergoing kidney cancer surgery had advanced stages of the disease, compared to only one in five patients who didn't light up.

Researchers say about 70 percent of people with early-stage tumors survive at least five years, whereas that number plummets to just eight percent after the cancer has begun spreading.

About one in 70 Americans, most of them elderly, develop kidney cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

But the findings aren't all bad news. Indeed, former smokers who'd kicked the habit had a smaller chance of turning up with advanced cancer.

While the study wasn't designed to prove that quitting can slow tumor growth, Dr. Thomas J. Polascik, who led the work, said he believes that to be the case.

"It can't bring you down to the risk of a nonsmoker, but it can get you almost there," Polascik, a surgeon at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, told Reuters Health. His findings appear in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Polascik and his colleagues looked at data for 845 people who'd had surgery for kidney cancer at their hospital. A quarter of the patients had advanced disease, defined as cancer spreading beyond the kidney.

The odds of finding late-stage cancer were 60 percent higher in smokers -- about a fifth of the patients -- than non-smokers, even after taking age and other factors into account. And the more cigarettes they had smoked, the higher the odds.

Former smokers also had higher odds of advanced disease. But the odds fell by nine percent for every decade they had been smoke-free.

The researchers say that means smoking might not only up the chances the a tumor will form in the first place, but might also fuel cancer growth, perhaps by suppressing the immune system.

However, Alexander S. Parker, a kidney cancer expert at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, said it's also possible that smokers are less likely to seek medical care than non-smokers.

"If this is true, then it would not be the case that the biology of these tumors is different," he told Reuters Health in an email. "Rather, just that the individuals themselves have less contact with the health care system and are less likely to be diagnosed when their cancers are at an early, treatable stage."

Still, Parker, who was not involved in the new work, said the findings lined up with earlier data showing that smokers have twice the risk of developing kidney cancer, in addition to other health problems.

"In the end," he said, "we need to be clear that smoking accounts for hundreds of thousands of deaths every year in the U.S. and therefore, the overall effort should still be focused on getting people to quit smoking and to keep young people from starting in the first place."
   

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