Blog Post created by Giulia Champion on May 13, 2012




A rite of passage is a ritual event that marks a person's progress from one status to another.   It’s a ritual marking the transitional phase between childhood and full inclusion into a tribe or social group.”

I often tell quitters that cravings come with the territory.  That they’re part of the “rite of passage” from slavery to freedom.  All of us who have strong quits under our belts have had to run the same gauntlet the new quitter does.  We have suffered the same pains, experienced the same sense of loss, lack of focus and emotional bombardment.  Change is not easy.   But if you think of cravings as part of the “ritual” of becoming a non smoker, it might help you get through them.

Rites of passage have three phases: separation, transition, and reincorporation.
“In the first phase, people withdraw from their current status and prepare to move from one status to another. There is often a ‘cutting away’ from the former self in this phase.

I guess I would call the first phase the preparation leading up to and including the quit day and first week.  It’s that period spent reading and educating one’s self about the addiction, cutting back on smoking, using an NRT, working a quit program, eliminating triggers, changing habits, throwing out the smoking paraphernalia, etc.  It’s that time spent separating and withdrawing from our smoking selves and from that mindset.  And it’s the elimination of the nicotine from our bodies. 

The transition phase is the period between states, during which one has left one place or state but has not yet entered or joined the next.  The attributes are necessarily ambiguous.

This is the time after we have quit for a week (or perhaps a month).  After that  initial high of the pride of the accomplishment has started to fade.  It’s  No Man’s Land.  That ambiguous, dimly lit area between our old thinking and newly created selves.  Our minds are still clinging to the smoking child that we were.  We think we should be free from cravings and become confused when we’re not.  And we are often taken by surprise.

"In the third phase (reincorporation) the passage is consummated by the ritual subject.   Having completed the rite and assumed their "new" identity, one re-enters society with one's new status. Re-incorporation is characterized by ceremonies.

This is that wonderful time when celebrants get to ride the Freedom Train.  When you experience your first entire day without thinking about a cigarette.  Or the first day you think about one but don’t have a craving for it.  The day when you see someone smoking and it doesn’t stir a thing within you.  Or if it does, it stirs the pot of gladness that you no longer do that.  It’s the time when you have gone through an entire season and experienced all your triggers without being triggered.  When you can safely ingest alcohol without worrying whether you’ll relapse.  And the time when you look back and wonder how you could have ever been so stupid, so childish, so selfish as to put a cigarette in your mouth.  And when you get to this stage, you’re free and you have joined the Mighty Tribe of Ex Smokers.

These phases tend to blend together a bit, they’re not clearly etched.  But when you get to the final phase, you will not have cravings any more.  The passage has been completed.  You are truly free.  Until then - be a WARRIOR. 

With love,

(quotes are fromWikipedia)