Blog Post created by Giulia Champion on Apr 27, 2011

...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.


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.